A Guide To Shopify Themes, Templates, & Design Tools
Shopify is a cloud-based, SaaS solution for online sellers. This ecommerce platform allows you to build a full website, add products, create promotions, and sell from your own site.
Shopify is an incredibly popular solution, hosting online stores for over 500,000 merchants; this popularity is due primarily to Shopify’s simplicity and ease of use. Sellers of all skill levels can set up and operate their stores on Shopify.
What’s more, Shopify is well known for its excellent web design. The platform offers a wide selection of modern and elegantly designed website templates.
Like everything this company does, Shopify’s responsive design is intended to be easy to use and accessible to merchants with little to no experience in web development. Keep reading to learn more about Shopify’s design templates, design tools, and best practices for your own designs.
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How Do Shopify Designs Work?
Shopify uses a theme marketplace to provide design templates to their users. Every merchant has access to Shopify’s theme marketplace, which includes 63 themes made to fit a variety of industries and online stores.
When you find one you like, you simply download the whole package and enable it on your site (in some cases, you will have to purchase the theme). You can then tweak your site with a few of the available design tools. We’ll talk more about those design tools later. First, let’s talk about the kinds of Shopify templates available.
Types Of Shopify Templates
Free Shopify Templates
10 of Shopify’s 63 themes are free to download. Those themes are a bit simpler than their premium counterparts. However, many merchants will find that the free themes fit their needs just fine.
Here are a few of our favorite free Shopify templates:
Premium Shopify Templates
If the free themes don’t strike your fancy, take a look at Shopify’s premium themes. These themes are a little more complex, and they are typically priced between $140-$180.
Here are a few examples of Shopify’s premium templates:
Buying Shopify Templates
If you do choose a premium design, purchasing the template is a simple process.
Just go into the theme marketplace, and select the template you’d like to buy. Then, click the “Buy Theme” button located under “Try Theme.”
You’ll be redirected to your admin where you can confirm the purchase.
Then, you can enable your brand new template on your site.
Available Design Tools
Once you’ve found your template, it’s time to start customizing your store. Shopify provides a variety of tools for different levels of customization. Here are a few of the tools you can use to change up your site.
- WYSIWYG Editor: Use a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor to quickly update copy and add content to your site, without touching the code.
- Theme Editor: Use Shopify’s built-in theme editor to make a few simple changes, and preview those changes in real time. You can use this tool to adjust the backgrounds, images, colors, and fonts of your online store.
- Sections: Sections is Shopify’s new drag-and-drop block design tool. Sections lets you make large-scale changes to your site by adding content blogs and rearranging widgets. This tool is currently only available with select themes. However, Shopify is continually working to expand its availability. View the Sections editor below.
Advanced Customization Tools
While the above tools are great for merchants who simply want to tweak their existing designs, they do have their limitations. If you want to alter your templates more than these easy editors will allow, you’ll have to go deeper.
Here’s how you can best customize your website design:
- Hire A Shopify Expert: If you want to make changes to your code, but you don’t have the skill to do it, look into outsourcing your customization to Shopify Experts.
Shopify Template Designs & Best Practices
When you select a Shopify theme, you get every template that comes with it. You will have a pre-designed template for your About Us page, storefront, blog, checkout page, etc.
As we’ve already discussed, while most of the design elements are determined by the theme you choose, you can edit a few elements of your online store’s design using available tools.
Here’s what you can do to make sure your site meets with industry best practices on every page:
Shopify Store Templates
Before we get into best practices for your storefront design, let’s take a look at one of Shopify’s preset storefronts. This image is taken from the free Brooklyn theme.
Shopify does a lot right with this preset. And, with a little work, you can make this design even better. Here are a few of the most important factors to keep in mind as you customize your design.
Prioritize Site Navigation
Excellent site navigation helps your customers locate the products they’re looking for, hopefully reducing your store’s bounce rates. One of the best ways to improve site organization is by implementing a navigation bar with a drop-down menu at the top of your site.
This navigation bar should include categories and subcategories (which you can display using a drop down bar). Everything in your navigation bar, from titles to promotions, should be clickable.
Not only does a navigation bar aid your customers, but also it improves your online store’s overall SEO. Listing your categories and subcategories on every page gives Google more keywords to grab onto, helping your site rank better on organic search results.
Focus On Images
Studies show that image-focused responsive design inspires more engagement. Design your homepage to feature your products and your brand with engaging, high-quality images.
Keep Information Above The Fold
Make sure your most important information is displayed at the top of your page, so customers will see it before they scroll. This includes contact information, promotions, shipping information, and your shopping cart icon.
Shopify About Us Templates
The About Us page is your space to shine. Share your story with your customers, and let your brand’s personality come through. Scroll down for a few more tips for your About Us page.
Connect With Customers
Your About Us page should be a place where you build a relationship with your customers. Make sure to welcome customers to your site and don’t be afraid to use flattery. (“You won’t settle for anything but the best!”)
Tell A Story
Every business has a story. Use your About Us page to put your history on display. Show your customers that you are regular people and demonstrate your business’s growth to date.
As you write your About Us page, be sure to use your brand’s own voice. Include all the personality of your brand.
Consider Including Alternative Media
Got a video you’d like to share? This is a great place to put it! Consider using videos, images, and testimonials on this page, as well as links to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and others.
Shopify Blog Templates
We love that Shopify offers built-in blogs with all their themes and designs. Maintaining an active blog is a great way to build your brand, promote your online store, and harness some extra SEO power. Here’s a look at Shopify’s blog template for the Brooklyn theme. See below for more information on blogging best practices.
The most important part of having a blog is actually using that blog. Develop a publication schedule and stick to it! Posting frequently and regularly will show customers that your online store is still in business, and it will indicate to Google that your site is active.
Write Relevant & Useful Information
While your blog is an important part of your business’s marketing strategy, your articles should not read like advertisements for your products. Write articles that are interesting, useful, and entertaining to your customers. Each article should have some value for its reader. Keep in mind your customers’ needs and interests as you write.
Shopify Thank You Page Templates
The Thank You page is the page your customers will see after they finalize a purchase. Shopify gives you an excellent starting place with their predesigned Thank You page. However, you can still do more to optimize this page.
Now that you’ve secured a purchase, it’s the perfect opportunity to encourage more purchases. Consider displaying related products in the sidebar of your Thank You page. You could even provide a discount code for future purchases at your store.
At the very least, make sure customers can easily return to browsing with the easy “Continue Shopping” button that Shopify has already included.
If you’re already a Shopify merchant, you’re only a few steps away from a beautiful baseline for your online store. Just take a tour through the theme marketplace, test out any responsive themes that pique your interest with a demo, and settle on one that fits your website design plans.
Then, customize, customize, customize, until your site works exactly the way you need it to!
Are you already using Shopify’s design tools? Do you have any favorite themes? Let us know in the comments below which theme you’re using and how web design is going for your online store.