How to select the perfect e-commerce theme for your business

While web-to-print may be an essential part of your business, it doesn’t end there. A successful online business consists of many different components. An e-commerce theme is another crucial building block for creating a customer experience that exceeds your competition. There is no shortage of website templates to choose from – the question is, which one is most suitable for your goals? Should you choose a free or paid theme? This blog post aims to help your search for the perfect e-commerce theme.

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If your customers’ first impression of your website is a clunky homepage with chaotic navigation, they’ll run away to a competitor before they even reach your product page. That’s why it’s crucial to think carefully about not only your online store’s product range or ordering capabilities but also its design and user experience. Build an attractive store with a clean and easy-to-use interface, and the orders will flood in. 

What is an e-commerce theme?

An e-commerce theme is a prebuilt template that companies can choose and customize to fit their business needs. This method is cheap and easy to execute because you don’t need to hire developers and grapple with code.

The e-commerce theme dictates the design of your store, while plugins like analytics tools add more functionality.

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Popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce have various themes that fulfill almost any business goal. On the surface, the variety can be a great advantage, but it can turn into a challenge to find the perfect theme without getting stuck among thousands of options.

Should you consider a free or paid e-commerce theme?

A free e-commerce theme is tempting for any business that wants to save some money. However, free themes seriously limit what you can accomplish. Free themes have no extra functionality, and many businesses are already using them, so you don’t have anything unique to offer your customers.

online-theme

The level of support that comes with a theme is another point to consider. Some free theme developers will provide support via forums, while others don’t offer any support to customers using their free version. These themes can also be poorly coded and make your site vulnerable to security issues.

Use a free theme if you want to experiment and compare different options. However, when you use an e-commerce theme for a business website, you should consider using a paid theme instead.

What should you consider when selecting an e-commerce theme?

Clean and responsive design

You should choose a theme with an attractive design and an intuitive interface. A pretty design alone won’t guarantee conversions. If it becomes oversaturated, the client may get confused on their journey to purchase a product and leave your online store.

Modern customers increasingly use mobile devices to place orders. Responsive design means that your website automatically adapts depending on the user’s device. Ensure that your end-users get the same smooth experience when ordering from a desktop computer, iPhone, or any other device.

devices

A responsive theme will allow visitors to:

  • Easily read text without having to zoom in or out.
  • See the entire page without having to do any horizontal scrolling.
  • Click navigation buttons without an issue.

At this point, most online themes should be fully responsive, but you can use Google's mobile-friendly test tool to check if a theme works well on mobile devices.

When you integrate web-to-print, you should adapt your design tool to the e-commerce theme’s design.

How many products you plan to sell

Different themes are geared toward different catalog sizes. If you sell a single product type like T-shirts, you should present everything on your homepage. However, if you have six or more products, consider using a theme that allows you to feature a small selection on your homepage and place the rest on a separate, well-designed product page.

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Fast loading time

Don’t let slow speeds harm your customer experience. When you edit or customize themes, file sizes can increase and affect your store’s speed. Try to find a lightweight theme that won’t leave customers waiting between clicks on your storefront.

loading

If you encounter speed issues, don’t install plugins for the sake of speed improvements. Each new plugin affects the loading speed.

Compatibility with e-commerce plugins

Plugins are extensions that allow you to add more advanced e-commerce features without any custom coding. For example, there are plugins for analytics, shipping, email marketing, and much more. The web-to-print solution can also be integrated into your e-commerce platform as a plugin.

Be aware that some platforms like WooCommerce may have compatibility issues with many third-party plugins.

Stand out from competitors

Some e-commerce platforms segment themes by industry, tailoring some specifically for jewelry companies or sporting goods, for example. Don’t limit yourself to themes that make your online store look identical to your competitors.

competitors

Customization options

Depending on the theme, you may be limited to specific user-experience functionality. Be sure to understand what your theme is capable of before building your online store (e.g., page builder options, translation ready, add-ons).

Search Google for theme reviews

Reviews are a great information resource that can help you make the right decision. An e-commerce theme, like every other product, has online reviews.

We’ve collected the following resources to help you find a suitable theme for some popular e-commerce platforms. You can also find plenty of reviews here.

In a nutshell

If you follow our guide for choosing an e-commerce theme, you will significantly simplify the process of building and managing your store. You will also save time and resources that you can allocate to other important business aspects.

A well-chosen e-commerce theme should help you create the best user experience to attract more customers, not frustrate and drive them to the competition’s website.

Customer’s Canvas has additional services to help you create a turnkey web-to-print storefront. If you need assistance to build your store from the ground up, we are happy to help!

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