10 steps to choosing your perfect Shopify Theme including checklist by Site Unicorn

10 Steps To Pick Your Perfect Shopify Theme

This is something that we hear a lot – especially from our amazing clients that want to either upgrade their current Shopify store or build a brand-new Shopify store. These are the exact steps we go through with clients to make sure we get them their perfect theme match for their brand new Shopify store.

Choosing your theme is a big deal. It sets the tone of your Shopify store and can determine exactly how your site will function, feel and behave. The theme of your store dictates how it looks, how the pieces fit together and exactly what functions you will natively have without the use of additional apps. Every single theme has limitations, advantages and some even have disadvantages for certain stores and ranges. We get it. It can be super hard and overwhelming when it comes to picking your stores theme. These are our 10 Steps to Picking Your Perfect Shopify Theme that are designed to take the hassle, stress and overwhelm out of picking your theme.

  1. Make a list of things you LOVE on your current site or sites you use regularly.

Do you love the way your product page is laid out? Or what happens when you add something to cart? Do you love the way a certain site loads or it’s homepage layout. Write it down or add it to your screenshot file. This is list is all about finding a look/s, features and designs that you love to use and interact with. Things that make your site easy to navigate and work with behind the scenes.

  1. Make a list of things you HATE on your current site, or sites you use regularly.

What features drive you nuts or make something hard to navigate? Does everything look the same, so you don’t know what to click on? Be critical here! Find all those things that you dislike on your site or things on other sites that drive you batty. Add them to this list or screen shot file.

  1. Make a list of features your site MUST have.

This is your wish list of features – In a perfect world my site will – have swatches, confetti, great filters etc. Write all the features down so you can create a checklist against it for your possible themes. Grab those features of the list of things you love too!

  1. Set your budget.

Remember themes are in US$ so make sure you factor in the exchange rate if you are after a paid theme. If you have no budget the free themes are awesome too! Be realistic in what you can afford. Remember you don’t have to stick with your theme it is completely ok if you decide in 12 months’ time you want to change again!

  1. Make a shortlist of sites you LOVE the look and function of.

You want no more than 6 stores on this list that you love the look and function of. This is the list that really starts to cement what your site will look like overall.

  1. Find out what platform and themes your loved sites are on (Hint: most of them will be Shopify).

There is a brilliant little Chrome plugin called Koala Inspector that will tell you if the site you are looking at is on Shopify and if it is it will normally even tell you the theme that store is using. Interesting fact – 74% of all online stores are build using Shopify.

  1. Notice the “theme” in your “themes”.

Pun aside here, do all the stores you have chosen look a certain way? Do they all have lots of white space, crisp lines, and square corners? Or are they playful with lots of colour, great imagery, and round corners? We are looking at things that categorise a style here. The look and feel of your brand.

  1. Browse the Shopify Theme Store with intention.
Be brutal here and honest to your brand! Use the filters in the Shopify Theme Store to help narrow down the themes using your set budget and must have feature list.
Then from this list look at the images you can see of the themes. Do they match the style and themes that have mate it on your like list? If yes add them to your short list.
  1. Make your theme shortlist and compare.
This is where we dig into all the real nuts and bolts of each theme. Ideally you should have narrowed it down to no more than 6 theme options now. Use our Shopify Theme Selection Checklist (get access at the bottom of the page) to set your criteria and compare the features of each of your shortlisted themes.
Make a list of all your must have features then check off against each of your shortlisted themes. Does it have your must have feature? Yes, or No? Do this from the Shopify Theme Store listing. Then click into the theme and look at the features in the theme as well. Does it tick any more boxes on your list?
  1. Pick your winner!

From your shortlist checklist you are literally looking for the top 1 to 2 themes that tick as many boxes as possible. The shortlisted Shopify Theme that ticks most (fingers crossed for all) boxes will be your best theme match! Remember any boxes that are left unticked can generally be achieved with the addition of applications.

Bonus tips when selecting your next Shopify yourself:

Use the Koala Inspector Chrome Plugin to help you find out what theme the sites you love are using if on Shopify.

Use our Shopify Theme Selection Checklist (get access at the bottom of the page) to compare your shortlisted themes.

Download a couple of trial themes to your Shopify store and see if you can get them to fit your brand right. Remember you are not locked in on these until you purchase the theme.

Remember to ask us, Site Unicorn for help if you need!


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