Congrats on your theme purchase! This Shopify theme setup guide has everything you need to get started.
Welcome to the Pixel Union family!
We’re thrilled to welcome you to the Pixel Union family, and we can’t wait to show you around. To help you get started, we created this quick-start Shopify theme setup guide. It covers the basics of setting up your new theme, some common pitfalls to avoid, and tips on how to give your online store a competitive edge.
We’re here for you.
This guide covers a lot of ground, but it doesn’t answer every question.
For questions about your Shopify theme, our support center features tons of helpful articles about Shopify themes and other Shopify-related topics.
You can also contact our support team at any time. We're online Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST. We do our best to respond to every support request within one business day.
Now, let’s get started!
Get to know your community
Now that you're selling on Shopify, you’re a part of a supportive ecommerce community that shares a wealth of knowledge and useful resources that can help you grow your business. Some of these resources include Reddit, Facebook groups, and Shopify’s Ecommerce University discussion boards where you can post questions and get feedback from experienced merchants.
We also highly recommend keeping up to date with Pixel Union ecommerce news and product updates by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We promise to never send or post spam.
Setting up for success
The importance of organization
Navigation is crucial to the success of your online store and something you should consider as early as possible. If you make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for in as few clicks as possible, they'll be much more likely to convert and return to buy from you in the future.
Before adding any products to your store, consider how many products you want to sell and how to organize them. Keep in mind that while having more products may bring in more traffic, having too many products (especially if they're not well-organized) can overwhelm and confuse customers.
Creating collections through your Shopify admin is a great way to help your customers find products and navigate your store.
Customizing your theme
When it comes to designing a great ecommerce experience, remember that less is more. Don't overwhelm your customers with design. Instead, provide them with a shopping experience that’s easy to use, read, and interact with.
By purchasing a Pixel Union Shopify theme, you’ve already taken a big step in the right direction. Now it’s up to you to make it your own by adding your brand’s logo, colour palette, and typography.
Here are some simple design tools you might find helpful:
Shopify’s Online Logo Maker - There are a ton of tools you can use to cobble together a logo, but for our money, this is one of the simplest and best.
The Noun Project - A lot of people ask us how to create simple, elegant icons like the ones in our Shopfiy theme demos. This is the answer.
COLOURlovers - This site has over 4 million colour palettes, and almost none of them are ugly. If you need a colour scheme for your brand, give them a try.
Font Pair - We've already provided a curated font list for your theme, but if you want to customize your store’s fonts even further, this website will help you choose font combinations that look great together.
If you have more advanced customization ideas in mind, the folks at Storetasker can help. They're Shopify experts who have helped hundreds of Pixel Union merchants tweak their stores, add features, and execute design updates.
For more information about Shopfiy theme customizations, check out our blog post on the do's and don'ts of customizing your Shopify theme.
Creating great product pages
Images are everything
High-quality product images are essential to ecommerce success. Most customers won't automatically feel comfortable purchasing something they've found online. Good product images go a long way in building customer confidence and trust. Low-quality or misleading product images can result in a poor conversion rate and a higher-than-normal return rate.
So, what makes a good product image? It can depend on your theme and industry. Here are some best practices to always keep in mind.
Bigger is better.
With more and more people shopping from retina screens and mobile devices, large, high-resolution images are a must. This is especially true for slideshows and lookbooks. Small, pixelated images do not look professional or trustworthy, and are simply not acceptable. Shopify recommends that square high-resolution product images be 2048 x 2048 px.
That said, it’s important to be aware of your page loading times. If your files are unreasonably large, your store will take too long to load and will lose customers. To improve loading times, you can reduce large image file sizes through image optimization.
Consistency is key.
You have the ability to control the quality and consistency of your images, so pick a style and stick to it. This means keeping image backgrounds, product placement, and lighting consistent throughout your store. If your product images successfully mirror each other, they will feel like a cohesive collection and allow the customer to focus squarely on the products.
Understand aspect ratios.
In order for all of your product images to line up properly, they need to have the same width to height proportions, also known as aspect ratio.
For example, a square product image has equal height and width, meaning it has a 1:1 aspect ratio. An image that’s twice as wide as it is tall would have a 2:1 aspect ratio. Without a consistent aspect ratio, your product cards won’t line up, making your product gallery look wonky.
A good aspect ratio tool can help you resize photos correctly, making sure all your images appear consistent in your store.
A clean white backdrop may help an image pop, but it does little to show how the product works or who it’s for. Contextualizing images can create a more immersive experience for your customers. This can be as simple as showing a hand interacting with the product, suggesting both functionality and product size.
Product photography tips
When it comes to creating big, beautiful, contextualized photos for your online store, you’ve got options. Here are a few:
Hire a professional photographer.
Putting your product photography in the hands of a professional helps ensure that you get high-quality images. If you don’t have a friend in the biz, sites like Upwork are great for connecting with capable, affordable freelancers.
Take your own images for cheap.
All it takes is a camera, some natural light, and a roll of plain white paper.
Edit your own photos.
Incorporate stock photography.
Stock images obviously won’t work for product photos, but for slideshows and backgrounds they can be a great option. There are lots of royalty-free websites to choose from. Just keep in mind the look and feel you’re trying to achieve in your store, and keep your images consistent.
Don't forget product descriptions
While great product imagery is what pulls your customer in, it’s your product descriptions that make the sale. It's important to write a good product description for every product. These descriptions should not only describe features and benefits but also convey to customers the problem your product solves.
Spelling, grammar, and word flow play a huge part in building trust. If you’re not a confident writer, find someone with experience to edit your descriptions.
Here are some tips for writing great product descriptions:
Gather basic product information.
What is the important information your customers should know? This may include size, weight, colours, materials, care instructions, size information, and any unique selling points. Consider FAQs and make sure that information is available.
Identify your customers.
Ask yourself who is shopping your store. What would they want to know about your products, and why would they be shopping for them? If your descriptions don’t focus on meeting your customers’ needs, your customers won’t connect with your products.
Use a consistent format and tone.
The most popular format for product descriptions is to share basic product information (sizing, materials, etc.) in bullet points, accompanied by a sentence or two describing the product and its value. The language you use in your product descriptions should be consistent with the language used elsewhere in your store.
Consider Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You need to account for SEO when writing product descriptions. Strategically written product descriptions include one or two keywords that make it easier for search engines to find your products.
Take a cue from competitors.
Visit your competitors’ stores or other online stores you admire, and pay close attention to their product descriptions. What kind of language do they use? What makes you want to buy that product? Does it make sense with their branding?
Writing great content
Creating copy that converts
Every page in your store—from the “About” page to the “Contact” section—needs great, consistent copy. This copy establishes trust, encourages customers to engage with your brand, convinces shoppers that your products are right for them, and contributes to your store’s search visibility through SEO.
Many of the same rules as the previous section (writing product descriptions) apply, but here are some things to shoot for when writing content for your store.
Establish and build trust.
Your store’s copy needs to explain what you sell and why. This humanizes your brand and helps customers understand who you are and why your store is worth supporting. Spelling, grammar, and clarity are extremely important and show attention to detail. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Freelancers on Upwork can be a great resource for writing and editing assistance.
Get your brand message across.
Shoppers aren’t just looking to purchase products—they want to connect with your brand. Ask yourself: Why would a customer choose to buy from you and not a competitor? This is your unique selling proposition. Once you’ve nailed it down, make sure it comes through in every line of copy in your store.
Know who you're writing for.
Sketching out profiles of your ideal customers will help you craft more tailored and persuasive copy that speaks to their particular needs and interests. Spend the time researching and defining the demographics and behaviours of your ideal customer, and let that buyer persona influence all of your marketing.
Don't beat around the bush.
Good writing gets to the point. Make it easy for your customers to read and understand your online store with short sentences and paragraphs, bullet points, subheadings, and easy-to-read font sizes.
SEO is important.
Search engines are the key to being found online. Use relevant keywords in your copy to improve your store’s searchability and bring in valuable traffic. Shopify makes it easy to fine-tune your SEO by customizing your meta description, blog post URLs, collections, products, web pages, alt text, and title tags.
Keep in mind that SEO is not a “set it and forget it” situation. Trends change and competition evolves, as will your business over time. Make sure you update your SEO keywords regularly.
Updating your Shopify theme
We regularly release updates to our Shopify themes to improve performance, fix bugs, and add new features. Updating your Shopify theme can be straightforward or complex, depending on whether you've customized your theme's code.
In order to receive updates, you’ll need to register your theme. This helps us validate your purchase so we can continue to offer products and support at the highest standard. You can register via the Theme Updater app. If you have questions, here’s a support article with some additional information about theme registration.
If you've customized your theme's code, it's a great idea to keep a list of changes and what files are involved. That way, when it comes time to update your Shopify theme, if any of your changes are lost during the update process, you can easily find them and implement them again.
We're always looking for ways to improve our themes, so keep us in the loop if you find a bug or have any feedback for our product team.
Take it up a notch with apps
Once your theme is set up and you're ready to start optimizing for sales, dig into our catalog of Shopify apps designed to help engage customers, improve your marketing, increase conversions, and more.
Build your mailing list with Pixelpop
Email is one of the best marketing tools for online merchants, so make sure you're doing everything you can to build your mailing list.
Pixelpop is our all-in-one popup app that lets you quickly and easily capture email signups from everyone who visits your store. With seven popup types, you can also encourage customers to shop a sale, use a coupon code, and more.
New users can install Pixelpop and try the Pro plan free for 14 days. There's also a forever-free Basic plan, which you can use for as long as you want.
Run better sales with Ultimate Special Offers
Ultimate Special Offers is the ultimate sales app to help you sell more.
With Shopify's best variety of sales and discounts, Ultimate Special Offers supports almost every type of promotion imaginable. It's quick to install, easy to use, and means you don't need to install (and pay for) multiple apps to manage your discounts and special offers.
Try Ultimate Special Offers free for 10 days and create bundles, upsells, cross-sells, "Buy X Get Y" offers, and much more.
Create urgency and build trust with Bizzy
Did you know that shoppers are more likely to make a purchase from your online store when they see others doing the same?
Bizzy Social Proof proves it by displaying slick little recent sales notifications that alert shoppers when other customers have placed an order in your store. This helps you create urgency and build trust with shoppers.
See how Bizzy can increase your conversions with a 14-day free trial.
Offer exclusive pricing with Wholesale Club
Interested in selling wholesale? Wholesale Club is hands-down the easiest way to do it, eliminating the need for hacky workarounds or multiple storefronts.
Not only does Wholesale Club make it easy to offer special pricing for signed-in, tagged customers, it also offers goodies like customizable discounts, order minimums, “net” payment options (buy now, pay later), and a tiered incentives program.
Wholesale Club is free to try for 7 days. If you install today, one of our support agents will be in touch to make sure you get properly set up.
Reach out for help
Remember, you’re not alone in setting up your online store. Our merchant support team is always listening and happy to help answer any questions you might have about your Pixel Union theme or app.
If you do have a question, check out our support page where you’ll find tons of helpful information. You can also get in touch with our support team any time through our contact page. Best of luck out there!