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If you're looking to build an ecommerce store with Shopify, or in the process of upgrading your existing store, you’ll need to know how to select the right Shopify theme for your business. In this post, we’ll outline what you need to consider when selecting a Shopify theme, how to find out what themes other sites are using, how to change your theme, and what to look for in a theme. We’ll also explore some of the best Shopify themes to review when making a selection.
What to look out for in a Shopify theme
If you’ve already decided that Shopify is the right ecommerce tool for your store, it’s time to select the best Shopify theme to suit your needs. The theme you should choose depends on several factors, including your niche or industry, the types of products you sell, your geographic location, etc.
Once you’ve found a theme you like, and determined that it has all your required features, what else should you test before making a purchase decision? We recommend reviewing mobile optimization, site speed, as well as the reputation of the theme developer.
Nowadays, all themes are optimized for mobile. But you should still check it out for yourself regardless of what the developer claims. To do this, you can load the theme’s demo store on your phone and check the mobile user experience. Pay attention to how smooth it is to scroll and swipe image slides, as well as whether the button sizes are optimized for smaller devices.
Let's dive in and try to find the best theme for your store.
What to look for in the design of a Shopify theme
Theme design should be a crucial part of your selection process. We all know that branding goes way beyond a catchy slogan or attention-grabbing logo. Your Shopify theme should visually represent the qualities of your brand, and provide a simple and engaging user experience.
You need to select a theme that’s both in keeping with your brand style, and that will enable you to put your best foot forward in terms of UX. Consider typography, spacing, colors, and whether the design best directs visitors’ attention toward your products and store content. It also needs to be mobile-friendly – to support those increasing mobile purchases – and have an optimized checkout to avoid card abandonment.
But, it’s easy to fall in love with the thousands of Shopify theme designs out there. Of those themes that you could move forward with based on aesthetic alone, which features can’t you live without?
What are the features you should prioritize in your Shopify theme?
To calculate your must-have features, write down a list of the features you think are going to best attract and convert customers. For example, do you need a blog, video player, slide-out cart drawer, or review functionality? Consider the type of products you’re selling and what type of item listing page you’ll need, as well the navigation levels your ecommerce store requires, the catalog size, product image sizes, whether you need an image zoom feature, how many products per page you want to show, etc.
Then, compare the features of the theme designs you like, with the features you’ve determined are a priority for your business. This will significantly reduce the shortlisted themes.
How to find out what Shopify theme a website is using
As part of your theme selection process, it’s a good idea to review the stores of your direct competitors, as well as the indirect competitors you look to for inspiration. You may get ideas not only on how to present your products and content and the types of features you should consider for your store but also, on what kinds of Shopify themes are being used in your industry. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to find out what Shopify theme a website is using:
- Load the website in your browser.
- Open the website source code. For the Chrome browser, go to View -> Developer -> View Source.
- Search for the dot theme “.theme”
It should show how the store owner has named the theme on the admin panel, but usually, it includes the original theme name too. The theme vendor will likely have added the theme name and URL within the code (see the green-colored code in the example above). Once you have the theme name you’ll be able to Google the theme and be directed to the vendor’s website.
What you need to know about Page Speed and Core Web Vitals
Google’s latest set of ranking factors, Core Web Vitals, are made up of a combination of three-page speed and user experience measurements: largest contentful paint, first input delay, and cumulative layout shift. You can test the theme’s demo store with Google’s Page Speed Insights tool, as well as the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console.
Page Speed Insights gives the page speed score of any website for both mobile and desktop. As an ecommerce store is a complex website, you might find it hard to get a green score (90-100 points) for a Shopify store. The example screenshot with 78 for mobile is a good score; Shopify requires a minimum of 60 points for themes hosted on Shopify.
Please note, the content, theme features, and installed apps also influence the page speed score. As the theme has many demo configurations, you should test the demo store with a configuration closest to your needs. The final score for your live store may differ. It’s good to ask the theme developer for a trial version to play with theme settings and test page speed first.
How to find a theme developer with a good reputation
The Shopify theme store is a good starting point to find a Shopify theme. Here you will find free Shopify themes created and supported by Shopify and other 3rd party developers.
Free themes are often very plain and simple but may be used initially while you’re starting your business and learning how to use and get the most out of the Shopify platform. The average price for the paid theme is $180USD, but the theme itself may not offer many theme options and page layouts. You will still need to install additional apps to add more features to your store.
Envato Market (themeforest.net)
The Shopify category on Envato Market is another great place to look for a Shopify theme.
It’s populated by the largest community of web developers in the world!
Envato Market offers more than a thousand premium Shopify themes from hundreds of authors (theme creators). Some themes include hundreds of pre-made stores and many have advanced features and options, and you don’t need to spend additional money on the app’s monthly fees.
The average price of a theme on this marketplace is $79USD. Start with the bestsellers category, check out reviews of themes, and ask creators if you have questions about their themes.
Envato Elements is also simply overflowing with fantastic Shopify themes. Powered by a community of talented creators, Envato Elements offers hundreds of Shopify themes in a variety of styles, suited for a variety of ecommerce needs.
With an Envato Elements subscription, you can access as many Shopify themes as you need, as many times as you need them! This is great for people who aren’t sure what they’re looking for or simply want to indulge in a little trial and error.
Google: Search for 'Shopify themes'
Of course, you’ll find many more Shopify theme developers – from marketplaces to theme shops – with a quick search based on the type of theme you’re looking for.
Remember to always double-check the support policy, and what’s included in the price, and ask for a demo store and trial version before you buy. You should also check the refund policy and the options available if something goes wrong.
These little details may not be the most exciting part of shopping for themes, but it’s an important one.
How to change your Shopify theme
Installing a new theme for your store is super simple. Shopify allows users to install up to 20 themes simultaneously, but only one theme should be published at a time. You may test and explore the other 19 themes in the store admin panel to determine which theme works best for your ecommerce needs. Whether you want to switch to a new theme from the same developer, or select a theme from a different source entirely, install your newly selected Shopify theme, hit the publish button, and after a few seconds your new theme will be live. If you notice any issues after you’ve launched your new theme, you can revert to the previous theme in just one click.
Find more information on the Shopify help page, including how to publish a Shopify theme.
Best Shopify theme editor/builder
Whether you’re prioritizing a theme that’s mobile responsive, super sleek, and minimal, enables dropshipping, focuses on a single product, or is simply the best in show, we recommend you do your due diligence and seek out expert opinion. Look for the themes that are cited in multiple ‘best of’ lists, as well as flexible themes that meet the needs of various niches and businesses.
Here are some Shopify themes for your consideration:
Highest converting Shopify theme
The Venedor Shopify theme is built for speed and performance, and it is designed with rich promotional components that can have a big impact on conversion rates.
Minimal Shopify theme
Outstock is a unique Shopify theme with a clean and modern design. It’s a subtle and smart choice for any shop owner looking to ensure that their products are the focus of any design.
Fastest Shopify theme
Shella is a premium, responsive Shopify theme. The team behind Shella has put years of web development experience into creating the theme. It includes the same features as other themes, plus some unique features which you can find elsewhere. Plus, with a page speed score of 89 (based on Google Lighthouse), you’ll have a faster store than similar Shopify stores out there.
Well, there you have it, a summary of the key things to consider when selecting a Shopify theme, as well as where to look and what to look out for. Good luck on your Shopify journey, and for more information and advice, check out this guide on how to set up a Shopify store.
This is a guestpost from Maryna Petrenko. Maryna is an ecommerce expert and Envato contributor. She's the owner of MPIthemes web agency where she aims to help merchants make more money.