Among the many decisions you’ll make when establishing your online business is the look of your web presence. While this is very important in terms of branding and user experience, it’s far from the most significant consideration you should have when you’re choosing the perfect theme for your ecommerce store.
The Primary Questions to Answer
Before you even get into esthetics, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the nature of the experience you want your customers to have. It’s also important to determine what features you’ll need, as opposed to what you think would be nice to have. If you’re coming into a field in which there are already a number of people offering similar products, look at what they’re doing to see what you can “embrace” and what you need to do to stand out.
Finally, you’ll need to have a good idea of how many products you’ll be offering and whether it makes more sense for you go with a free theme or a paid theme. Answering these questions in advance will make it easier to judge the suitability of a template before you fall in love with the way it looks only to learn it lacks the functionality you need.
Key Feature Considerations
The nature of the product(s) you offer will determine some of the functionalities you’ll require. If you’re dealing with a complex item video is a must have so you can demonstrate its usage more readily. In addition to helping you sell, this will reduce returns. Customization potential will come in handy if you run a lot of sales. In this case, you’d want the capability to place banners and slides to call customers’ attention to those promotions. You’ll need a shopping cart and checkout pages too. Website themes like those offered by Shopify include these automatically, but you’ll need to decide upon applications for payment gateways and third-party payment processors—if you use one.
Why the Number of Products Matters
As you’re looking at themes, you’ll notice some are better suited to smaller product portfolios, while others handily accommodate a large number of offerings. This usually determines the navigation strategy for the site, as well as its bandwidth and data transfer requirements. It’s better to choose a theme already optimized for a larger number of products than it is to try to make one designed for a limited catalogue work with a huge inventory. This could make your site load slowly, which will cost you customers.
Paid vs. Free Themes
If you’re working with a good ecommerce website builder, the theme offerings have all been thoroughly vetted, so whatever you choose will have benefits. However, just as a highly trimmed car comes with more equipment than the base model, paid themes tend to already have features you might have to add to a free theme. This is why it’s important to figure out what you want your site to be capable of doing first. That way, you can make more economical decisions.
Yes, Looks Matter Too
Once you’ve taken all of those factors into consideration, you can focus on the look. Keep in mind, this is a significant branding opportunity, as well as your chance to cement your market positioning in the minds of your customers. When you’re choosing the perfect theme for your ecommerce store, you want it to be appealing to the type of customer you anticipate shopping with you, easy to navigate and above all, capable of showing your products to best advantage. Nail these elements and you’ll be well on your way to a successful ecommerce business.