Think about the feeling you get when you walk into a physical store: the lighting, shelves, glass display, clear labels, the AC. Take it a step back to when you’re outside: their sign, the door handles, and windows.
Your online store needs to embody all that and more. With just a website, you should reproduce as much of that feeling as possible. It’s the foundation for massive sales. This makes your store’s theme a very vital asset for your business and without the right one, you can’t make your store come off the way you want it to. And if visitors can’t experience it the way you’d like, say goodbye to sales.
Go through these great tips on how to pick the perfect Shopify theme for your store.
Pinpoint Your Top Features
Come up with a shortlist of features you feel your store must-have. Think of how you’d want customers to be able to shop. Try out the stores of competitors. Note their features that you felt were a huge plus.
These could be expanding drop-down menus, image zooming, a prominent search bar, and more. Remember, features aren’t just about the look. Don’t say, “I want my store to look like that.” It should be more of, “I want it to work like that.”
Think of the features more in terms of how they help the customer: how zooming shows product details and how picture slides enable easy switching between view angles.
Count Your Product Listings
Different themes are designed to house varying numbers of products. If you’re only selling a few books, crafts, or albums, a simple theme focusing on the homepage is fine, especially if most of your stock is in digital form.
If you want to sell a wide range of products, such as everything from power tools to kitchen utensils, think bigger. You’ll probably need a theme with a product catalog that reaches the thousands.
Also, the more products you sell, the more page features you may need. Elements such as category lists and related product suggestions will be more necessary.
Set Your Budget
Once you have that combination of features down, decide how much you’re willing to spend on them. There are many free themes out there, some from Shopify itself. You can also choose to pay for one.
When you find one that offers what you want, the job isn’t done yet. You may quickly discover that it’s missing a few things that you have to buy to add on. It may also have a major limitation that you just can’t stand.
This is another reason your budget is important: you can go back and try another theme, knowing that you were financially prepared to test options.
Premium themes will help you be unique, look more professional, and combine different tools. They also make certain adjustments to boost sales.
Whether it’s individuals or businesses, shopping on the move has become more common. According to BigCommerce, mobile commerce made up 34.5% of all 2017 eCommerce sales and is projected to hit 54% by 2021.
Sleeknote agrees too, projecting mobile sales to make up at least half of all eCommerce sales by 2021. This is up from making 24% of all eCommerce sales in the last quarter of 2017.
Simply put, if your store isn’t smooth on mobile phones, you’ll miss out on plenty of smartphone shoppers. Make sure the eCommerce store theme you go for loads on mobile devices, just as quickly as on desktop – for each and every page.
Pick one that allows you to redesign, resize, and rearrange buttons and other features. You should be able to tweak as many details as possible to minimize scrolling and zooming. This will help you pass the thumb zone test. An “Add to Cart” button displayed above the fold, for instance, will help you convert more.
Go for a theme that can facilitate page speed tools such as Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This will also help you to rank higher in search engine results.
Cater To Your Resources
You probably have images and videos you want to use somewhere within your store. Take a look at different themes and their featured images. See what areas favor landscape versus portrait. Check whether some are positioned in a background style. Judge whether you’d be able to place a video there without the space getting too packed. Lean more towards a theme that would easily house your resources/content.
Remember Theme Support
Every now and then you may get stuck trying to make changes to your theme. You need to be able to get quick help, whatever the problem is. With free themes from Shopify, you can get assistance from their theme support team.
Third-party developers usually have their own support teams. Look for reviews and testimonials from those who tried to get help. This will tell you whether you’ll run into a lot of problems with a theme – but more importantly, how quickly and easily those problems will be solved.
Check The Back End
Shopify eCommerce themes come with a dashboard where you can change various settings. You want to ensure it’s set up to make things easy for even the least tech-savvy person.
You’re going to be making changes to your store from time to time. Sometimes, live. You don’t want to always have to go through a process. It should also be easy to store your changes as presets and create altered copies. The same goes for plug-ins/add-ons.
Now that you know the basics, let’s look at a few other small things to keep in mind.
Don’t force uniqueness into every area of your online store. Layouts that scatter things like “Add to Cart” buttons to the extreme side may not be ideal. Whatever you choose, try to have some similarity to typical eCommerce sites.
Every field has clichés and it’s for a reason: they work for most people. Stay close to the common stuff. If you’re not selling very niche products like war memorabilia, try not to over-customize the look.
Just because your favorite artist or that new movie has a flashy site doesn’t mean you should do the same. Don’t sacrifice website performance for looks. Stick to lighter themes with simpler sections and buttons. The faster your store pages load, the better.
Favor Your Brand
You may already have your business up and running. There’s a logo, brand colors, fonts, and other things that make up your corporate image.
Think of all the things that are consistent in your packaging, business cards, ad posters, etc. Select a theme that can give you that exact look or the closest option. Once a brand has been built, it has to remain consistent everywhere.
If visiting your webstore feels nothing like interacting with other parts of your business, some shoppers might even think it’s a scam or knock-off.
Especially if you’re new to the platform, play around with the default theme and understand the core of the service. Understand how Shopify favors your business and where it is limited. Once you have a hold on the basic styles, functions, and configurations, you can set targets for what you want to achieve.
Just like people build houses and make changes to them, your theme is no different. eCommerce trends are always changing, and so will your product listings and other offers. Leave room for testing further changes. Be willing to change your entire theme if it comes to that. Once you’re into the journey, work to receive feedback from customers on how they find the shopping experience. You can use this to determine what changes to make.
Here are three things to consider when choosing a theme for your Shopify store: the look, the functionality, and your budget.
A free Shopify theme may be able to do what you want, but it probably won’t help your store stand out. Know exactly how much you’re willing to pay for what you want. Make sure it looks attractive.
Your theme may not be very unique, but it should be able to keep someone looking. One of the major goals for any eCommerce store is conversions. Don’t just say, “My theme can do this and that.” The theme must do it in a way that makes customers act or opt in. Every theme has a checkout section, but not all themes offer a smooth checkout process. Many offer product pages, but not all get people clicking.
Don’t be swayed by just one magnificent page. Think of your theme as not just a storefront but an entire journey. Make sure there’s unity in all parts – this is what ultimately gets the visitor to buy.
With these tips, you can surely find a Shopify theme that gets you the most conversions relative to your goals.
Ricky Hayes is the Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at Debutify - free Shopify theme, helping dropshippers build high-converting stores in minutes. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies and mentoring programs.
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