For e-commerce businesses, Shopify is one of the most convenient options out there. You don’t have to be a skilled web developer to open up a Shopify site, and what’s more, you can likely create a beautiful looking store for free.
However, for some store owners, it will make more sense to invest in a paid theme instead. Here are some pros and cons to consider when deciding if you will choose a free or paid theme on Shopify.
First, let’s talk about the advantages of using a free theme on Shopify.A free theme is a great option when you're first starting out in your business and you don't have a huge budget for your shop. They give you the ability to implement basic customizations that are going to work for a variety of catalog styles.The designs are mobile-friendly, modern, and most themes offer a variety of styles.
Free themes are also easy to test out with the demo feature. You can assess the desktop and mobile versions of a free theme on your site to see if it works for you and your brand. Even if they aren’t quite perfect, you are able to customize Shopify themes. For example, you can change fonts or colors on a site-wide level to ensure consistency throughout your store. The specific theme may offer other customizable features, such as a slideshow. If your free theme doesn’t have what you want, Shopify also offers an app store that allows you to add design features such as Instagram galleries and product reviews. Finally, if you do have the technical skill, it’s possible to edit the site with HTML, CSS, or Fluid.
While there are certain advantages to free themes on Shopify, there are certain limitations as well. But as your business continues to grow, that free theme can become a lot less flexible. I tend to see a lot of merchants going over to the app store and trying to find different apps that they can implement into their shop that are going to give them the same customizations that a paid theme is going to give them.
Depending on the level of additional customization added to your site, these apps can have an impact on your site, such as speed, and they can also drive up the monthly cost of your Shopify bill.
You can build an effective and beautiful site on Shopify for free, but that won’t be the best option for everyone. Ultimately, you can decide which is best for you by considering what features you need for your store. If you can get away with a pretty simple site, then a free Shopify theme may be all you need. If you need more features to truly give your customers what they need to make an informed decision about your product, it is worth the investment in a paid site.
But also remember time is money. An investment into a paid theme is going to save you time, money and the headaches of trying to figure out solutions and the cost of trying to implement all these different features into a free theme. So my suggestion is take a look at the theme store, make a list of the features that you are looking for in a theme, try the demos out in your store and see if an investment makes sense for your business.
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Online Store 2.0 opens up huge opportunities for developers to be able to successfully build themes and apps for Shopify merchants.
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