Want to open an online store fast? Yes, you can!
Experts anticipate that by 2026, global retail e-commerce sales will increase from roughly $5 trillion to just over $8 trillion. (Source)
A solid online presence is more crucial than ever as the e-commerce industry grows. Creating a visually appealing online store that can attract customers is one-way businesses do this. This is where Shopify theme development comes into play.
Shopify theme development is key whether you're just starting out or your strategy is quick go-to-market. You can also look at our earlier blog, where we outlined the approaches one can follow for setting up their online store.
If you're unsure what Shopify theme development means, don't fret – we've got you covered. Come, let's dive in and explore the world of Shopify theme development from scratch together!
What is a theme?
A theme is a design framework that establishes how an online store appears, feels, and works for both merchants and their customers. The ability of merchants to visually and interactively communicate their brand identity to the public is essential.
Shopify theme development is like building a house with pre-built components that can be easily modified to suit your needs. Shopify offers a selection of pre-made themes that may be utilized as a jumping off point for the design of your store. You can customize the theme's appearance and functionality using Shopify's user-friendly DIY interface.
When to Opt for Shopify Theme-Based Development?
Shopify theme development is best suited for those venturing into the world of e-commerce and seeking a swift and easy solution to get started.
- Cost-effective: It's a cost-effective option for merchants who have smaller budgets parked for their online stores and hence they can opt for this option.
- Faster to go market: The themes are already suited to be launched with minimum edits, so merchants who want to have their online store in a few weeks/limited amount of time can opt for this option.
- Minimal custom coding: With Shopify's plethora of themes, online stores can be built with minimal coding. So, merchants who want to avoid the hassle of engaging with development teams can opt for this option.
How is theme-based development done?
Firstly you need to choose from a wide selection of premium, well-optimized themes in the Shopify theme store. The only thing those pre-made templates can't offer is uniqueness. Since the themes are globally the same, you may find someone in the other corner of the world with a similar-looking store as yours.
Process of theme-based development
A complete in-depth process for shopify theme development goes something like this:
To guide your customers seamlessly, “From when they arrive at your Store to when they make a purchase”, your store layout should be planned carefully.
You must create a funnel that directs them towards their desired product or service within minimum clicks.
Think of the layout of your elements as a series of steps on a journey. Factors to consider when planning:
- What will be the gateway to your store? (i.e. what page they may start at).
- What will be on their search list? You must direct visitors to the content they seek as rapidly as you can, whether they are searching for a new black t-shirt or ideas for holiday gifts.
- Which action comes first? You must define whether they should “Know more” about the product or “Buy now” the product.
- How many clicks are required to reach their target? You must define if the target is the purchase or discovery.
This approach will help you select and map your target audience's journey.
Designing the Online Store
Now that you are clear with the required user behavior, it's time to choose your Shopify theme. Shopify theme lets you create pages of all types when setting up a store and allows unlimited page creation when working with the platform.
The must-have pages are:
- Homepage: Homepage with a clear value proposition, simple navigation, and clear calls to action.
- Collection pages: Collection pages combine products based on brands, user preferences, promotions, and more, making them easier to find and lowering friction.
- Product pages: Product Pages with optimized product titles, customer testimonials, and simple add-to-cart functionality.
- Cart page: This page displays the specific pricing of each product a user is purchasing, the quantity being purchased, and the total sum being paid for all the items.
- Checkout page: The checkout page has order details, multiple delivery options, guest checkout capabilities and payment options.
While the content and products you sell in your store will set it apart from others, you'll still need the standard pages essential to a successful online business. Examples include "Contact us," "Privacy," "Returns and Exchanges," etc.
Developing the Online Store
Now the user journey and the pages are defined, it’s time to start building!
- Download the theme into your development store: The first step to building your online store is downloading a theme from the Shopify Theme Store. Once you've selected a theme that fits your brand and style, the theme is downloaded to the development store. This will allow customizing the theme without affecting your live site.
- Customize the theme based on your user journey: After downloading the theme, it is customized to fit your business needs. This includes creating a user journey that is tailored to your target audience. You can customize the theme's design, layout, color scheme, and typography to match your brand identity.
- Create pages and menus: Next, the pages and menus are created to guide users through the online store. These pages can include your home page, about us page, product pages, and more. Shopify's drag-and-drop editor creates pages and menus that match your brand style.
- Set up payment and shipping options: To sell products on the online store, payment and shipping options set up is done. Shopify offers a variety of payment gateways that can integrate into your store, including PayPal and Stripe. The shipping rates are set based on location, weight, or order value.
- Test your online store: Once the store is set up, it's important to test to ensure it functions properly. This includes testing the user journey, discovery, and checkout process.
- Launch your online store: Once you're satisfied with the design and functionality of your online store, it's time to launch it to the public. This is done by selecting a pricing plan that fits your business needs and connecting your domain to your Shopify store. With your store live, you can start marketing and promoting your products to your target audience.
When should you pick an agency?
When building an online store, a few factors may affect your choice, so you might consider that you should pick an agency:
- When you want to save time: Developing a Shopify theme can take time, especially if you need to become more familiar with the platform. You can save time by working with an agency and concentrate on other areas of your company.
- When you want a professional-looking online store: By hiring an agency to develop your online store, you may access a team of seasoned professionals who have likely worked with similar goals and developed stores that cater to them.
- When you want additional support: An agency can provide much more support and maintenance than just building your online store. Eg. selection of right apps, payment gateways, tools, etc.
- When you lack resources: If you lack the resources required to develop a Shopify theme, it may be a good idea to hire an agency to do it for you. Shopify themes are built with HTML, CSS, and Liquid, which require a good understanding of web development.
Hiring an agency for Shopify theme development can be a good idea if you want a professional-looking Store with a unique design and need more technical skills or experience to do it yourself.
Make sure you select a theme from the Shopify Theme Store in order to avoid any unexpected issues of service and support.
In closure, Shopify theme-based development is an efficient method for merchants seeking to build a professional online store in a short timeframe. Regardless of the chosen path, merchants can leverage Shopify's robust platform to create a successful and unique online presence.
If you're seeking guidance on selecting the right theme for your online store or need help customizing your existing theme, our team of Shopify experts can help!
Get in touch with us now!