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What are Shopify Themes?

A Shopify theme sets the stage for your online store’s look and functionality. Selecting the right theme is crucial, as it contributes to your store’s user experience, conversion rates, and alignment with your brand identity.  As a pioneer Shopify expert, before building a website, we always review already created themes from the Shopify theme store as the initial starting point before we begin a project.  Lets review some tips that will help you choose the best theme for your business.

Tip 1: Understand Your Business Needs

When navigating through so many themes in the Shopify theme store, understanding your business needs is the first step in choosing the perfect Shopify theme. Remember, your Shopify store should be more than just an online store. It should be an online representation of your physical store, catering to your target audience’s expectations. Whether you run a new store or an established online business, the Shopify theme you choose plays a pivotal role in shaping your brand’s online identity.

With numerous Shopify themes available in the theme store, both free Shopify themes and paid ones, it might seem like a big deal to settle for one. But don’t fret, that’s where understanding your business needs comes in handy. A clear understanding of what your business represents helps you sift through the vast sea of Shopify themes, enabling you to spot the best Shopify theme tailored to your needs.

The Shopify Help Center provides an article that talks about selecting themes in the Shopify Theme Store, which offers guidance on finding the ideal theme for your business.

Consider the nature of your business and the product catalog size. Do you offer a large catalog of products, or is your focus on a select few items? Each Shopify theme is designed with certain businesses in mind. For instance, some themes are perfect for large catalogs, supporting advanced product filtering, which enhances the user experience. Other themes are better suited for stores with fewer products, offering attention-grabbing features to hold your audience’s attention, like full-screen product images.

Tip 2: Buying from the Shopify Theme Store vs. External Websites

Choosing the best Shopify theme involves more than just understanding your online business needs; it also means identifying the most reputable sources to purchase your theme. When it comes to sourcing Shopify themes, you generally have two options: buying directly from the Shopify theme store or from external websites.

One major advantage of purchasing from the Shopify theme store is the stringent quality control process. Each Shopify theme, whether it’s a free theme or a paid one, goes through a rigorous screening by Shopify’s theme review team. This meticulous process ensures that every theme meets high standards in terms of functionality, responsiveness, and most importantly, security.

When you choose a theme from the Shopify theme store, you’re guaranteed a theme free from deceptive coding practices that could jeopardize your customers’ data privacy. This is an especially critical factor when building an online store, as trust is a cornerstone in ecommerce.

Another factor to consider is the theme license. Purchasing a theme directly from the Shopify theme store ensures you get a legitimate license for your theme. Owning a valid license is not only crucial for accessing all the features and updates that the theme developers roll out but also for complying with Shopify’s Terms of Service. According to Shopifys Terms of Services, Operating your online store with a non-licensed theme could potentially result in your store being shut down – a risk no online business can afford to take.

External websites may offer cheaper themes or even new styles, and it can be tempting to cut costs by purchasing from these sources. However, these platforms do not necessarily have the same rigorous quality control as Shopify’s theme store. Hence, there’s a greater risk of ending up with a theme that doesn’t offer the necessary security or one that isn’t optimized for an excellent user experience on all mobile devices.

Tip 3: Free Themes vs. Paid Themes

When you create a Shopify store, one of the first decisions you’ll face is whether to opt for free Shopify themes or invest in paid ones. The perfect Shopify theme for your store depends on various factors such as your business model, target audience, and budget constraints.

The Shopify Theme Store provides a variety of themes, both free and paid, for you to choose from, each with different styles and features that can give your store a distinct look. One of the main features to pay careful attention to is the theme’s mobile responsiveness. With the proliferation of mobile devices, it’s crucial to ensure your store looks great and functions seamlessly on all devices. Most themes, free or paid, offer this feature, but it’s always a good idea to test this using the theme preview or theme demo.

Another aspect to consider is your store’s growth plans. While free themes are attractive for new businesses, they may not support a large catalog of products or provide advanced features. A new Shopify theme, especially a paid one, can be more adaptable and robust, offering more customization options and features to enhance your ecommerce store.

Free Shopify themes can be a great starting point for small businesses. They are usually quite straightforward and incredibly easy to set up, with user-friendly theme settings. Free themes from Shopify also come with the assurance of Shopify support, making it easier to navigate any potential hurdles during setup.

On the other hand, the best Shopify themes usually come with a price tag. These premium themes offer more sophisticated features and design options that can give your store a professional look and feel. For example, they may offer additional product pages layouts, unique color schemes, advanced product filtering, and more flexible navigation menus.

A paid theme can help you stand out in the competitive ecommerce space, capturing your target customers’ attention with a unique and engaging user interface. Plus, paid themes often come with world-class support from the theme developer, providing assistance and updates to ensure your store always performs at its peak.

Tip 4: Check User Reviews and Ratings

As you journey to find the perfect theme for your Shopify store, don’t overlook the power of user reviews and ratings. They can provide a clearer picture of the theme’s performance and can be instrumental in making an informed decision.

Many Shopify themes come with ratings and reviews from users who have already implemented them in their stores. These reviews offer valuable insights into a theme’s functionality, performance on mobile devices, and even the support team’s responsiveness. They also provide social proof, an important factor that can enhance trust in a theme.

When you look for a theme, checking user reviews can help you identify recurring issues or bugs with a theme. You can gain insights into other features of the theme, such as whether the theme is mobile-friendly or if the theme’s product pages are well-structured and user-friendly. Users often share their experience with the theme, including how it impacted their conversion rates, or if changing themes led to issues like cart abandonment.

Remember, reviews and ratings can provide a bit of insight into a theme’s real-world performance, beyond what you might see on a theme preview page. A theme might appear perfect at first glance but reading about other users’ experiences can reveal potential pitfalls and give you a better idea of what to expect.

You should also consider the longevity and updates of the theme. Themes that have been around a bit longer tend to have more reviews, giving you a broader perspective. Also, a theme that is regularly updated shows that the developer is actively improving it, which is a good sign of great support.

Checking reviews can also be a good way to assess the theme developer’s responsiveness. If you see a responsive support team actively addressing user issues in reviews, it can be a promising sign that you’ll receive assistance when you need it.

Tip 5: Evaluate the Theme’s Value, Speed, and Features

It’s important to assess whether it’s worth paying for a Shopify theme. While free themes, like Shopify’s popular “Dawn” theme, have their merits, premium themes often offer advanced features and customization options. Be sure to evaluate the value, speed, and additional features a theme offers before making a purchase.

Academy Ecommerce can help you in this evaluation process by providing insights and step-by-step tutorial courses on setting up your chosen theme.

Selecting a Shopify theme is a vital step in setting up your online store. When making your decision, it is essential to consider factors such as understanding your business needs, buying from reliable sources, assessing the advantages and disadvantages of free versus paid themes, reviewing user feedback, and evaluating the value and features of the theme.


Can I change my Shopify theme later?

Yes, you can change your Shopify theme later, but be prepared to reconfigure your settings.

How often should I update my Shopify theme?

It depends on your business needs, customer feedback, and design trends. However, regular updates can keep your store modern and functional.

Do all Shopify themes support mobile responsiveness?

Most modern themes are mobile-responsive, but always double-check to ensure a seamless shopping experience across all devices.

Is it worth investing in a premium Shopify theme?

Premium themes often offer more features and customization options, which can be beneficial for your business. However, always evaluate the theme’s value before purchasing.

What is the best Shopify theme?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, as the best Shopify theme depends on your specific business needs, product offerings, and brand aesthetics.

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