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How to Choose a Shopify Theme for Your Store

12 minutes read
How to choose a Shopify theme
Ana Gelevska

As a Shopify store owner, you naturally want to do the best you can for your store’s branding. To distinguish yourself from other stores, your best chance is to pick an e-commerce theme that embodies originality while reflecting your brand’s values and still matching the industry’s expectations. 

It’s a tough balancing act, but it is not impossible. And keep in mind, not all Shopify themes are equally compatible with your goals. 

It’s easy to have your heart set on a theme design you like, but in the long run you might be missing much needed features, or the theme might be completely different from your closest competitors online experience.

Here are our top tips and guide to choosing a theme for your Shopify store.

Why It’s Important To Choose the Right Theme for Your Shopify Store

Importance of choosing the right theme

First and foremost, the right theme will represent your brand’s style and identity from the get-go. 

We live in an era when sales are an instant form of communication, and customers need to be visually attracted to what they are purchasing. A theme that visually complements your brand’s style and identity will quickly communicate your story, mission, and values in the first few seconds of customer interaction. 

You also need to think about your website’s UX (user experience). This includes your e-store’s navigation, layout, speed, and mobile responsiveness. Put yourself in the position of a client for a second. Do you think they’ll spend even one second on a disorganized and slow site to reach a product? 

When a client enters your online store, they expect an intuitive structure where everything is neatly labeled. This helps them easily navigate your store and purchase the needed item. Would you choose to shop in an online store that is the complete opposite of this? 

Remember that each brand has a unique inventory and audience demands that default themes can’t always match. A good theme allows for high-level customization so you can adjust to all your industry’s requirements.

How To Choose the Perfect Shopify Theme

How to choose the perfect Shopify theme

Here are 3 steps to help you choose the perfect Shopify theme for your store

Reflect Your Branding and Identity

Choosing the right Shopify theme is more than just a matter of aesthetics—it’s about effectively communicating your brand’s identity. This involves selecting the right color scheme, typography, and overall design to reflect who you are as a brand.

Color Scheme

Most Shopify themes comes with preset color schemes that also offer further customizable color schemes that allow you to adjust the backgrounds, texts, links, and buttons. The colors you choose can significantly influence the atmosphere of your store and the emotions they evoke in your customers. For instance:

  • Red: Conveys urgency, energy, and action.
  • Blue: Conveys calmness and trust.
  • Green and Brown: Work best for organic and eco-conscious products.

 

Applying color psychology effectively across your theme can improve both your store’s recognition and conversion rates.

Layout and Overall Aesthetics

The layout and overall aesthetics of your theme should align with your products. For example; a clothes store aimed at teens might be bold and vibrant. However, If your products are luxury like jewelry, we recommend a clean and simple minimalist theme.

Typography

Typography, including typeface and font, is another important but often overlooked aspect of your store’s theme. Here are some tips:

  • Limit to Two Typefaces: Using more than two typefaces can create a cluttered appearance.
  • Improve Readability: Good typography enhances readability and helps set the tone of your store.
  • Assist Navigation: Clear and consistent typography aids in user navigation.

 

Consider how elegant versus dynamic typography can represent your products and brand differently.

Thankfully, most Shopify themes come with multiple presets where you can test how this looks before committing to going live with your store.

Prioritize Functionality and Features

Now you have the aesthetics covered, your Shopify theme shouldn’t just look good; it should function flawlessly for a great user experience.

Investing in a theme that uses the specific features your brand can benefit from allows you to have a more personalized branding experience. It influences the functionality of your site and its credibility, consequently impacting the sales rate. Some important features to keep an eye out for are high-quality product images, clear navigation, product filtering, and customer reviews.

A theme that enables the use of high-quality imagery can help you convey dedication and professionalism, further creating trust among your customers. Moreover, if potential clients can see the products clearly, they can make sure they are buying the right stuff. 

With clear navigation, your theme contributes to a cleaner structure. No one has the time to stress searching for an item. The easier the experience of using your site, the longer the customer engagement. This, in turn, means improved SEO and overall sales. 

Product filtering ensures a personalized experience, ensuring your clients can easily find the product options they are after. This feature increases the chances of a successful product purchase. 

You can also customize elements of your review section and review submission page. It will encourage clients to give you feedback and optimize how previous reviews and testimonials influence new customers.

Understand Your Target Audience

Before choosing the theme, think about your niche. What is your product, and to whom are you trying to sell it? Naturally, you want to sell to a wider group, but if you are indecisive about your target audience, you lose more than you gain. By trying to sell a niche product to everyone, you waste money and resources sending messages to the wrong crowd. 

Knowing the age range, location, and gender of your target audience can help you determine your marketing strategies when buying a Shopify theme worthy of your investment. Understand the needs your product satisfies, as well as your audience’s shopping patterns and browsing habits. Only then can you tailor their shopping experience, refine product development, and drive traffic to your site.

With targeted marketing, you focus on why certain marketing segments work and others don’t. Take a look at what the competition is doing to get a more clear idea of what is expected and what works. Make sure you anticipate customer expectations and still find a way to stand out from the competition. 

An e-store dedicated to a sophisticated adult male audience will use a darker color palette, a minimalist design, and quality video and imagery. Contrary to that, a store for a female teen audience would use bold colors, trendy imagery, and urgent CTA’s.

How To Navigate the Shopify Theme Store

how to navigate the theme store

To select the best theme for your store, you must first learn how to use the filter options of the Theme Store, the best way to shop for a Shopify theme, and how to use a demo store

Browsing by Category

shopify collections navigation

After visiting the Shopify Theme Store, you can go to the top menu to find the Collections option, as shown in the image below:

Click on it to explore its dropdown menu and find categories, such as “Minimalist style” (themes that feature a clean design and emphasize speed and usability).

You will also find categories like “Trending this week” and “New theme releases” and explore other options if you are more into the bold or artistic style. As the names suggest, the bold styles will feature stronger elements that empower your brand, while the artistic ones focus on storytelling techniques and enable creativity. 

Another way to do research is by using the search bar to type in keywords and find what you need.

Filtering Options

sidebar filters

As you are using the Shopify Theme Store, you might notice that aside from Collections, there is the option All Themes. When you click on it, a sidebar will appear with some filtering options available. There, you can filter by Price, Industry, Catalog Size, and Features, as shown in the image below:

  • With Price, you are choosing between free vs. paid themes
  • The Industry filter can help you find your niche
  • Catalog Size determines the proportions of your inventory
  • Features help you find themes that support a desirable functionality, such as an Age verifier or an Event Calendar

 

Make sure to favor mobile-responsive themes.

On the right side of the screen, you can further filter which themes you see first from the category you have chosen (Price: high to low, Popularity, Most recent, etc), as shown in the image below:

shopify store filters

Demo Stores

preset filters

After you have found a theme you are interested in, click on it and select View Demo Store to see how the theme works with some sample content. A great piece of advice is to pick three features you want your theme to have, make sure you find them, and test them out in the demo.

4 Essential Elements of a Shopify Theme

Essentials of a shopify theme

When learning how to pick a Shopify theme, there are some theme elements you should never compromise on. 

Design and Aesthetics

Carefully select the theme’s aesthetic and design elements for your Shopify store to drive a bigger crowd. This will also help to improve conversion rates and build a memorable brand identity where customers return.

The right colors, typography, and layout of your store’s brand can make an impression on your customers, making your brand easily recognizable. This way, you will have returning customers which will affect the conversion rate of your brand, turning your overall audience into paying customers.

Functionality and User Experience (UX)

The theme should contribute to a seamless shopping experience for clients as soon as they land on the page. Without the store’s clear navigation, product filtering, and mobile responsiveness, your potential customers can give up before purchasing a product and find another store with a more optimal UX.

Similarly, product pages should provide detailed product descriptions and be easy to navigate on any device. You don’t want to discourage your customers right before they proceed to checkout. An intuitive checkout process features a concise layout, fields that are easy to mark, multiple payment options, a countdown timer, clear information, and a confirmation page

Customization Options

Find a theme that can be easily customized. You can see what changes are available within the theme documentation and make these changes using the theme editor. Product images, details, variants, and reviews are some elements of a highly customizable Shopify theme. In addition to your landing page, you can also change your review section, check-out process, and product pages. 

These themes offer more variants of the use of imagery, colors, logo size, layout, and text. Some themes even allow you to add animations, hover over the product to see text details, and change the spacing between characters. Conversely, with some low-customization themes, you can only alter your store‘s homepage, while the color options are limited and some elements are default. 

Lastly, you can edit your theme’s code yourself if you feel comfortable using HTML, CSS, and Liquid. The higher customization flexibility the theme has, the better. Highly customizable themes allow optimizing your store to the tiniest detail, leaving no room for negative reviews.

Theme Support

Active customer support is essential in case you encounter any issues while setting up the online store or during its performance. You can also check the developer’s reputation by reading the testimonials written by previous users of the theme

Free vs. Paid Shopify Themes

free vs paid shopify themes

Plenty of free Shopify themes do a great job, but perhaps it’s worth investing in a paid one. Here is what distinguishes a free Shopify theme from a paid one.

Free Shopify Themes Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
With free themes, there is no other upfront cost except for your monthly Shopify subscription. You might invest in additional apps or hire a developer later, bringing you further expenses.
Excellent performance.  The design, layout, and customization options are limited. 
Built for fast loading and mobile responsiveness. Free themes offer only basic features
Additional apps for more features can slow down the theme
Only basic technical support and documentation are available.

Paid Shopify Themes Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Paid themes are easy to brand and provide high customization. Paid themes on Shopify go from $140 to $400 (one-time payment), which can be costly for a start-up. 
They offer even greater performance than the free themes while supporting larger loads.  Themes bought on other marketplaces don’t offer the same standards of performance when used on Shopify.
The user has great control over the theme without needing external apps. 
Some popular features include advanced filtering options, mega-menus, and regular updates at no extra cost.
These themes come with advanced customer support.

Conclusion

Your theme choice should never be left to chance. 

Focus on user-friendliness, design, mobile responsiveness, and specific features for your industry. 

Stick to top-rated themes by reputable developers to avoid issues in the long run.

For additional information and to see some of the top themes in 2024 used by the biggest stores, you can check out the best Shopify themes based on our research.

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Ana Gelevska
Ana Gelevska
Ana is a creative and customer-oriented freelance writer with over 5 years of experience working with eCommerce global clients. Ana enjoys breaking down the latest eCommerce trends and diving into the needs of today’s merchants.

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