How to Choose the Best Shopify Themes to Improve your E-commerce Business
Nowadays there is a huge emphasis on the engaging design of online content. By nature, people are attracted to something that excites the senses and is intuitive to use, so a modern and pleasing aesthetic is crucial to convey a certain level of professionalism. Combine this with the booming e-commerce industry and there is vast development potential.
Updated in 2021: Choosing the right Shopify theme is even easier with PageFly's Shopify Theme Detector. Simply find the store you like, run it through this free tool, and find the Shopify theme and try it out on your store!
Table of contents
- The Best Shopify Themes
- Examples of the Best Industry-Specific Shopify Themes
- Brooklyn Free Fashion Shopify theme
- Empire Shopify theme - Electronics
- Prestige - Health and Beauty theme
- Pop - Free Toys and Games Shopify theme
- Gecko - Fashion Shopify theme from ThemeForest
- What to Consider when Deciding which is the Best Shopify Theme for You
- Easy Navigation
- No Redundant Features
- Showcasing Products
- Some other major considerations should include:
- Shopify Theme Store or 3rd Party - Pros and Cons
How will a Shopify Theme Elevate your E-commerce Store?
Shopify themes are responsible for simplifying the control and arrangement of how the content is displayed visually on the e-commerce platform.
A lot of new business owners aren’t aware of some crucial factors to consider when deciding which theme is the best fit including pricing, style, cross-platform performance and specific functionality.
Below I’ll go over how to make a good assessment of themes and the tools that are available to help you preview or demo the themes for free, as many themes from Shopify give you this capability.
Enter the Shopify theme market.
Many individuals are choosing to sell products online because of the enormous potential for visibility and market penetration that expanding your customer-base across the internet can provide, especially with the application of mobile users which make up for 50% of E-commerce traffic. Platforms like Shopify grant anyone the ability to do so.
However, in this day and age where everyone is in a hurry and doesn’t have time to learn the complex functions of an e-commerce platform, the information must be presented in a way that is natural and enjoyable, and which guides them subconsciously to further purchases through suggestions and patterns.
A wider audience of potential customers with increasingly discerning opinions and no time to waste requires powerful and intelligent tools that simultaneously create an atmosphere, personality and ease of navigation.
An effective theme is conducive to many benefits. The right design can make sure that the personality of your business is on display and reinforce your brand identity.
The right layout can guide your clients to the products they need while also subtly boosting sales conversion. A great example of a theme that offers a customized experience that influences customers to make further purchases is the SalesHunter Shopify theme.
Finally, the right theme can ensure that clients don’t perceive your business as outdated, but rather a modern and competitive entity.
The Best Shopify Themes
Choosing the right theme is largely dependent on what your goals are. You must consider the type of products you are selling, the anticipated volume of sales, your target demographic, the potential benefits from a theme, and the list goes on.
Aside from basic out-of-the-box themes, a business owner might be inclined to use a more comprehensive tool that allows complete freedom and flexibility in the design and functionality of their e-commerce shop.
The PageFly application is an outstanding example of how easy it can be to have complete control over your page. You can learn more about PageFly Shopify app at here.
The true value of Shopify templates is that they take something that was once esoteric and simplify it so that anyone can use it effectively. To get a better understanding of how to approach the problem of making a decision amongst so many options, visit this SellerSmith blog post to gain additional insight into how to figure out which theme is the best fit for you.
Let’s now take a look at some of the most popular and impressive themes in some of the biggest e-commerce markets. I’ll provide examples of some of the best free shopify themes and the best paids themes, as well as a brief look at some 3rd party platforms.
It’s important to be aware that 3rd-party developers may come with more issues than themes originating in the Shopify theme store - more details are provided later in this article.
Examples of the Best Industry-Specific Shopify Themes
Some of the largest industries on the Shopify theme store include fashion, electronics, health & beauty and toys & games. Customers can browse thousands of products of varying style and price from the comfort of their home.
To navigate to themes for specific industries, hold your cursor over the “industries” tab on the homepage of the Shopify Theme Store and select the industry you would like to view.
Themes can be sorted by free/paid, most popular, most/less recent amongst other filters.
Because the modern consumer experience is highly visual, it’s extremely important to have a stylish and clean design that highlights the products and provides clear functions that are easy to follow through to purchase.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular themes, both free and paid, and in the spirit of thoroughness, a theme from a third party service. Click on the theme titles to view product specs, support and reviews. A link to the free demos will be included with each theme as well.
Brooklyn - Free - Fashion
Brooklyn is a minimalist, contemporary online shop for apparel and accessories that is free-to-download with 2 styles (classic & playful) included. The key feature are as follows:
Brooklyn also comes with a fully customizable homepage, built in colour pallets, social media icons and is completely mobile friendly. The developers at Shopify offer support on an individual basis by allowing users to contact them with specific questions and coming up with solutions for each one.
This theme currently has a 75% positive review score, with most complaints arising from the limitations on catalogue size - which is something to be mindful of.
Brooklyn can be demoed here for free.
It’s important that your shop provide all the necessary information about it’s products, especially when dealing in electronics as the customers need to be able to make an informed decision that they can feel confident about.
As electronics stores often require a large catalogue of products, it’s wise to make sure the theme you choose emphasizes this:
Empire’s slick interface stylishly displays a large amount of products without sacrificing design. It is fully optimized for mobile and includes live search, product filtering, custom promotion badges in addition to core features included with all Shopify themes.
The price tag on this theme should not deter the potential user as it it tailored to shops with large amounts of product and presumably larger sales numbers. Empire can be previewed by clicking here.
As with electronics, health & beauty shops are predominantly made up of a large quantity of unique SKUs with smaller price tags. This theme accentuates the design of the products themselves and is still optimized to organize the catalogue in an easy way with three unique styles.
Some notable features of this theme are the visual storytelling and built-in timeline tool which allow you to tell the story of your brand chronologically and with live updates.
Check out the demo of the Prestige theme.
A clean theme with storybook-esque design features. Pop offers 2 unique styles and boasts a 91% positive review status.
Specs and demo can be viewed here.
Finally, an example from a popular website that allows 3rd-party developers to create themes for various applications and platforms. Themeforest offers paid products typically ranging from around $30-$60. As previously mentioned, these themes are not developed nor do they receive ongoing support from Shopify.
Gecko is a third-party fashion theme for Shopify. Aside from functional design tools, it receives ongoing quality check and support for 6 months, with the chance to extend the support to 1 year for a price.
Roughly 5 months since its release it has 500+ sales and has received overall favorable responses from users. Gecko can be previewed by following this link.
These themes and more are available at the Shopify theme store.
Shopify also offers themes that are tailored to stores with large inventories. Some notable names are Envy, Capital, and Handy. These are powerful themes and extensions designed to handle many products and high sales volumes. Reviews, support and demos are available for these themes and others directly on the Shopify theme store.
What to Consider when Deciding which is the Best Shopify Theme for You
Audiences today are sensitive to different design styles. Although every individual may not acknowledge it, the way they perceive a website visually has an enormous effect on their decision to buy and whether or not they would remember or recommend your shop to others.
Make sure that you’re theme makes an impression and is consistent with the product and identity that you want to convey.
Most themes come with several ready-made templates but to truly make your shop unique, I would suggest using a third party application like PageFly to unlock the complete ability to make your vision a reality for your business.
There is nothing more frustrating than a website that is confusing to interact with. Your theme should follow a logical “flow” that naturally leads traffic from the main page, to the products page and finally to purchasing. Your customers should feel elated after buying from your store and that great experience will bring them back again and again.
Being sure not to make your page more convoluted than necessary is the first step toward “flow”. Make sure key elements like the navigation bar are in a standard location, use meaningful yet simple titles and labels, and use descriptions that reflect SEO techniques so customers can find your store more easily. Here is a list of common mistakes that you can avoid when deciding on the layout of your page.
No Redundant Features
Each feature on your shop should have a specific function. Make sure there are only features that complement the type of products you are selling and the way you wish to portray your business.
The best way to present your products is largely reliant on the amount and type of item. As seen on many of the fashion themes, most of the area should be taken up by images that accentuate the styles that are available. This will draw the eye and play on the subconscious of the customers by attracting them toward new products.
In a store with a large and varied inventory it may be more effective to present the products in a series of catalogues or grid format. The trick is to make sure the information is readily available without sacrificing the integrity of your design/theme.
Some other major considerations should include:
- Speed and loading time - loading your shop with too many features will slow it down and have a negative effect on conversions. Fast pages get favourable treatment in search engines as well.
- Previews and demos - most Shopify themes allow you to demo them in the Shopify Theme Store. Take advantage of this before making a final decision.
- Support and Reviews - the best shopify themes will have a significant support system and customer reviews for you to gain a better understanding of the benefits and possible setbacks.
- Competition - keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Take a look at other high-performing shops in the same environment as yours. You can learn a lot about what is working and what is wasteful.
- Cost - there are tons of free shopify themes that offer valid design solutions but you may need additional features that can only come with a paid product. Make an assessment of what you will need specifically then focus on themes with those features.
- Mobile-friendliness - more and more users are accessing websites from their mobile devices. It is paramount that your shop be user-friendly on both desktop and mobile interfaces.
Shopify Theme Store or 3rd Party - Pros and Cons
Theme development is a competitive bracket, so there is bound to be many 3rd party services offering design solutions and themes. One of the most popular sites is Themeforest.net. Let’s take a look at what some of the advantages are to using products directly from Shopify or from other places.
The following are some of the main benefits for using a native Shopify theme:
As these themes are designed distinctly for Shopify, you will notice that most of the functions and features will run relatively smoothly. The issues with 3rd party themes is that they may have originally been designed for another platform and adjusted to fit Shopify. There will also be a more consistent level of support from the Shopify theme store. This is largely because Shopify themes follow a stringent approval process and have a detailed checklist for contributors to follow.
Themes from the Shopify store will receive updates faster than competitors, as other developers need time to catch up. This is key in maintaining functionality of your online business and ensuring your customers don’t have any negative experiences.
Simplicity & Flexibility:
A lot of 3rd party themes seem to be overloaded with so many features that it affects their utility. This also makes them more difficult to customize, restricting the creative freedom for your business.
There are also some characteristics of 3rd party themes that might be appealing:
If you’ve decided that you will need features beyond what a free theme can offer, you may consider a theme from another site. While premium Shopify themes can go for as much as $180, premium themes on other sites are typically limited to around $60. That being said, the reduction in price may be offset by issues that take time and sometimes money to correct.
Many different developers create the themes on sites like Themeforest, so there is a possibility there will be a greater range of unique styles and influences.
It’s important that you have a concept and identity in mind before you choose a Shopify theme. Narrowing down your options to the design and functional features that will be of most benefit is the best first step to take. It can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience to have complete creative freedom on how your store is displayed and you will surely learn more as you experiment and be mindful of consumer trends and how the changes to your shop affect your customers.
A final note is that Shopify themes themes are created to assist with the design of the homepage only. Stores looking for full control of their product pages, landing pages and others should look into applications like PageFly - Advanced Page Builder to grant them the ability to influence all pages with consistency.
What methods do you use when researching Shopify themes? Have you come across any particularly outstanding themes that everyone should know about? Let us know in the comments below. Happy selling!