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How to find your winning Shopify theme

How to find your winning Shopify theme

Here at Pixel Union, we currently have 11 Shopify themes available between our website and the Shopify marketplace. And while they all come with top-notch capabilities and amazing features, we prefer not to take a generalist approach when creating themes. In fact, every one of our themes is created with specific merchant needs and store types in mind. In this blog post, we’ve included a few important factors to take into consideration when picking a theme for your store, happy reading! 

Finding your Niche

Perhaps the first place to start when creating your store is to ask yourself, what am I selling and who is it intended for? In other words, are you appealing to “someone” (a specific niche with limited product collections) or are you appealing to everyone (totally unique product collections and offerings)?

An example of a niche might be a comic book store, while the opposite might look something like a wholesaler or mass marketplace, such as Costco or Amazon. making this distinction, will not only influence your theme choice but also impact how you engage with your audience. It's important to note, however, that while your business might belong to a smaller niche, that may not necessarily mean you have a small product catalog. Thus, determining your catalog size is also of importance when it comes to theme selection.

Catalog size

Once you’ve determined what you’ll be selling and to whom, begin sizing up your catalog and inventory levels in order to determine how many products and variations you might have within each collection. Be sure to take your market into consideration when choosing what to include on your product pages. For example, though they both appeal to a niche, a small fashion boutique will likely have fewer products than a golf store franchise. Thus, it’s important that you select a theme that’s geared toward how many products you’ll have available for purchase immediately upon opening. Don’t worry too much about your growth projection three years from now, it’s better to find the right theme for where you’re at currently. After all, you can always upgrade your theme should you outgrow your current one. 

At Pixel Union, we have four large catalog themes to choose from Pacific, Superstore, Empire, and Atlantic.

Conversely, if you have a smaller product catalog, you may want to explore some of our other themes, such as Grid, Startup or Reach.

Design flexibility 

Another important aspect to consider when selecting a theme is how much flexibility and customization you wish to have when it comes to the design and layout of your store. If for instance, your store will be heavily branded with various media assets such as images, slideshows, and video you’ll want to ensure you select a theme that supports a higher level of customization and layout options. 

Additionally, if you have a large product catalog with multiple variants per collection or product (color options, sizes etc), you’ll need to take that into consideration when designing product layouts and collection pages. For example, a golf store may carry as many as ten to fifteen different shoes for both men and women, each with individual variants, all of which are categorized under different product collections and pages. Thus, trying to contain all of these products on one page would result in an organizational nightmare for you, and a poor user experience for your shoppers. Our most flexible theme is Superstore in terms of design and layout options, though Pacific and Atlantic also come with customizable features as well.

Mobile-first vs. Mobile-friendly

Mobile-first and mobile-friendly, while similar in practice, bring with them unique differences. Mobile friendly, simply means that your store will adapt to various devices and screen sizes to the best of its ability, without sacrificing functionality and key design elements. Mobile-first is designed to maximize the user-experience across mobile devices and varying screen sizes. Think adaptive (mobile-friendly) vs. prioritized (mobile-first). Thus, while you don’t need to use a mobile-first theme, your theme does need to be mobile-friendly. 

The good news is that all Pixel Union themes are mobile-friendly. However, if you are looking for something made specifically with mobile users in mind, be sure to check out our Shopify Handy theme. In order to determine what’s best for your business, you’ll need to determine what devices your customers are frequently using when visiting your store. 

Product pricing plays a factor here, as high ticket purchases tend to have a longer sales cycle. Someone looking to purchase a vehicle, for example, will likely visit and revisit your store multiple times on multiple devices before making a purchase. Thus, your store needs to present well on mobile and desktop. For small-ticket items, such as phone cases, a good percentage of customers may visit your store on mobile devices. Therefore, you might consider using a mobile-first theme to showcase your products. 

Regardless of the theme that you choose for your store, be sure to give it a sufficient amount of thought and consideration. Your store is more than a website, it's a representation of your business and the community of customers you've built around it! 

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