If you are someone who has recently joined the Shopify community and is feeling highly confused about whether you should choose the free Shopify theme or the paid one, you’ve come to the right place. When you are setting up your store in Shopify, you get to choose from multiple themes and while this looks interesting and gives you variety, it can also be highly confusing. The theme you select for your store will go on to play an integral role in your store’s functioning and that is why it is crucial to select the right theme for your store. While this all sounds simple, the real struggle is deciding if you should use the free theme or the paid theme.
What is a Shopify theme?
A Shopify theme refers to the appearance of your website determined by its features, layout, color, and fonts and how each of these factors affects its look and feel. Your theme can be changed in Shopify at any time without creating any impact on your page content or product listings.
Why should you choose the right Shopify theme?
You may have heard several times that choosing the right Shopify theme is extremely important and this is because if your store doesn’t perform well, you will not get the kind of conversions and sales you desired. As a result, you may end up facing a loss and to prevent this, you must enable your store to perform as well as it can by choosing an apt theme. There are around 100 free and premium themes in Shopify and to add to the list, numerous third parties are offering a wide variety of themes for the platform. A free theme is pocket-friendly and can be a good choice when you’re only starting with Shopify, you may eventually wish to upgrade to a paid theme to gain access to more and better features. Therefore, here are some of the most essential reasons why giving a good amount of thought to the choice of your Shopify theme is extremely important.
Creates visual appeal
You probably would not deny that the world today is highly inclined toward visually appealing things be it in their social media feed or otherwise. If something does not look and feel aesthetically pleasing, particularly on digital platforms, people won’t care to check it out and the same applies to online stores too. If you want to impress people with your store, at first sight, you need a store that looks visually appealing. A good-looking store can attract potential customers easily as opposed to a store that lacks visual appeal. Hence, choosing a theme that can enable your store to appear visually appealing is highly essential.
Determines user experience
One of the most important reasons why you must select a good theme is because it governs the functioning of your store and also determines the kind of experience it will deliver to customers. As per reports, around 40% of customers will leave a site if it does not load within the first 3 seconds and if your store does not load quickly within these seconds, you should be prepared to lose potential customers.
An easy-to-use interface
Having a user-friendly theme for your store is of utmost importance because such a theme will make your store have an easy-to-use interface. Customers will want to navigate through different pages and browse through different products smoothly and quickly without any hassle and you cannot do the same if you do not have a smooth interface. Not getting customers to your store is bad but what’s worse is getting customers who leave halfway because they don’t like your store’s interface.
Determines your store’s functioning
The main thing about choosing the right theme is to determine the functioning of your store which will depend on the features offered by the theme you have chosen. Your store may need several features to function successfully such as related products, mailing list, product image zoom, popup, related products, and more and this is something that you may be able to access only through a few themes. Hence, looking for themes that allow your store to have more features is always better.
Sets the brand image
Another important reason why you must give a lot of thought to your theme selection is that it sets the tone of your brand. A theme may look very cool and you probably can’t stop thinking about it but the main question is if it fits well with your brand. You must always choose a theme that fits well with your store and the products you are selling. If a theme does not fit the niche of your store, it might even mislead the customers which is why selecting a theme related to your niche is highly important.
Before you select a Shopify theme, you must always make sure that the theme has troubleshooting support so that if you have any issues during development and customization, you can get support and resolve the issue immediately and effectively. You can also gain this information by going through the reviews and seeing if a theme has this support or not.
If you think about it, you’ve probably put a lot of time and effort into building your online store and you may be aiming to generate a lot of sales through it. If the theme you have selected is not highly functional and lacks features, it’s all pointless. Hence, choosing the right theme for your Shopify store is something you should never neglect.
Free vs Paid Shopify Themes: Differences
Still in a bubble deciding if you should opt for the paid Shopify theme or the free Shopify theme? Well, here are some major factors that differentiate between the two.
The first difference is certainly the pricing as the free themes do not cost anything whereas the paid themes do come with an attached price tag. However, even though the paid themes may not be free, they only cost around $17-$480 which is pretty economic and easily affordable. However, you can always hire a theme Shopify plus developer as well to create a theme for your site or to edit an existing theme.
Page Loading Speed
The loading speed of your store’s web page is perhaps the most important thing that will determine customer experience and this depends on the theme you choose. The page loading speed varies for every theme and the free themes in Shopify have a good reading speed but there is no denying that the paid themes are relatively faster.
Free themes offer limited features and hence, you can customize and use them easily but because paid themes offer a lot of features, using and customizing the same may get a bit overwhelming. Many premium themes tag along with tutorials so such kinds of themes can come in pretty handy.
The conversion rate of each store varies due to factors such as the product page, website design, the marketing angle, the product, and more but if all of these are working well for you, pairing it with a good Shopify plus developer theme can certainly reap productive rewards and help you gain higher conversions.
Shopify’s free themes allow you to integrate your store with many apps and while this may look beneficial on your part, it will also make your store bulky and many customers with poor internet will certainly face problems browsing through your store. With premium themes, however, many of the features and apps are in-built and optimized so they load faster and can work well even for customers with a poor internet connection.
Upgrading to a paid Shopify theme? Things To Know
Shopify has grown to become a highly prominent platform and as a result, there are many other developers offering themes for stores. You can also hire a professional developer to create and customize your store’s theme. Rest assured, there are numerous options you can choose from. If you’re new, free themes can certainly be a good starting point but once your business scales up, upgrading to a theme with better features becomes a necessity. Hence, if you’re still feeling confused if the paid Shopify themes are worth your money, here are some things about the same you must take note of.
More in-built features
With a paid Shopify theme, you will naturally gain access to more built-in features such as a slideshow, homepage, “quick buy” button, social media integrations, and more. To do all of these in a free theme, you may have to buy separate subscriptions and you may not notice it but doing so will keep piling up your expenses. With paid themes, you only have to pay once and you will have access to all features. Opting for a paid theme will certainly help you in the long run.
More design options
An estimated 75% of customers visit an online store if they like its design. You need to take these numbers seriously because, in today’s world, your store’s appearance can be crucial in determining whether customers will visit your store or not. With paid themes, you will gain access to more design options accompanied by more customization options, variation, and more which ultimately helps your store deliver a good and rich customer experience.
In premium Shopify themes, you gain access to the “quick pay” feature which means that your customers can add products to their cart quickly while staying on the same page is highly helpful for reducing cart abandonment which is something common among Shopify merchants. With this premium feature, you can decrease checkout friction and this will eventually increase your conversions.
Improved mobile experience
It’s not a hidden fact that these days, most people use their phones to perform online shopping, and hence, allowing your store to offer customers an enhanced customer experience is highly necessary. Having a mobile-friendly store is extremely crucial and you will get a chance to gain more conversions. With a paid Shopify theme, your store can offer a better mobile experience to customers.
Better customer support
Customizing a theme can be difficult and when you are facing troubles and issues with the same but do not have anyone to fix the same for you, it can be difficult right? Well, with a paid Shopify theme, you can enjoy robust and responsive customer support too as you can put all of your queries and solve them in an instant through a reliable team.
Reasons To Get A Paid Or Premium Shopify Theme
If you are looking for some reasons to opt for a paid Shopify theme, here are some reasons to help you out.
If you have the budget and can afford a paid theme, you should certainly take the plunge and opt for a paid theme. In such cases, do not shy away from a premium theme because it will certainly make a huge difference for your online store.
It cannot be denied that every store owner has probably envisioned a specific look and feel for their store and if you have the same, a free theme isn’t going to help you much. With a premium theme, you can always customize and design your store according to your vision and liking.
Lack Of Free Themes
If you cannot find a free theme for your niche, you can’t stay away from opting for a paid theme for long because you will ultimately want a theme that is exclusive to your store’s niche if you want it to function smoothly.
A paid theme can certainly work wonders for your store and it is also a great pick if you do not specialize in a particular niche. With a paid theme, you get more freedom and flexibility for your store’s design and this can take your store to new levels of success. While you can certainly opt for a free theme too, picking a paid theme will be better for the long run.
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