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Best Shopify themes: The best ecommerce templates for a great-looking online store

Shopify is a specialist website builder that’s dedicated to helping you build and run a brilliant online store. It powers the online presence of brands from Penguin Books to Tesla Motors, but it’s also an excellent tool for business beginners, with a wealth of ecommerce functions and dozens of themes for quickly customising the look and feel of your store.

The best Shopify themes are stylish as well as functional, helping you present your products beautifully and sell them efficiently. As you would expect, you’re free to put your own unique spin on the design without having to know a line of code, thanks to the drag-and-drop templates bundled with each theme; but if you want to edit the code, you can do that too.

There are currently 11 free and 114 paid-for themes in the Shopify Theme Store, plus thousands of third-party themes in Shopify’s partner marketplaces. Narrowing them down can be a tricky task, so in this guide we’ll help you learn how to find the perfect fit for your store. Or, skip down the page to go straight to our pick of the best Shopify themes.

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Best Shopify themes: At a glance

How to choose the best Shopify theme for your online store

Where can I see all the Shopify themes?

If you’re familair with website builders such as Wix and SquareSpace, which greet you with a huge choice of stunning templates to lure you into signing up, then Shopify’s homepage may feel a bit spartan. Where are all the designs? Even when you sign up for your free trial, which takes seconds, you’re directed straight into listing items. Make no mistake: Shopify wants to get you selling, not prettying up your pages.

But once you find the themes in the Shopify Theme Store, you’ll quickly realise they’re far from an afterthought. The store has well over 100 themes to browse, including some seriously attractive image-focused designs with clean, modern fonts and optional skins. Every theme is optimised for fast loading on screens of all sizes, no matter how big or small your online store, so customers can quickly browse and breeze through checkout. 

Are Shopify themes free?

A few of them are. Eleven, to be exact, including a few of our clean, fast, modern-looking favourites such as Dawn and Taste. And all Shopify themes are free to try out with your store – customising the design, adding your product inventory, choosing optional site functions, and giving it all a test run – as long as you don’t publish it.

However, most of the themes come with a price tag. They’re not cheap, starting from $180 (£144) and rising to a cool $300 (£242) plus VAT. That’s actually a steal if you’re running an ambitious ecommerce business and want a feature-packed, highly scalable professional website to match. For those just starting out, however, it’s a lot of money for a website theme.

So it’s worth knowing that you can often find the same premium themes at cheaper prices in third-party marketplaces such as Out of the Sandbox and Evanto’s Theme Forest, both approved Shopify partner sites. Theme Forest is particularly affordable, with prices starting at around $19 (£15) plus VAT, and regular discount sales.

Be aware that marketplace themes don’t offer all the same guarantees as those found on Shopify Theme Store. For example, occasionally you’ll come across a brilliant theme (such as the much-liked Gecko) that hasn’t been updated to keep up with the Shopify platform. The marketplaces do let you try themes before you buy, though, and these sites are packed with tips and info to help you get the best out of them.

To install a marketplace theme in Shopify, download it to your computer, make sure all the files are compressed into a ZIP, and then upload it to the Themes page in your Shopify admin. You will find more information about uploading a theme in Shopify’s excellent help pages.

How do I choose the best Shopify theme for my store?

The main jobs of your online store’s theme are to show off your products at their best, give your target customers the functions they want, and be quick and easy for you to edit. 

Here are the key factors to bear in mind when choosing your perfect fit.

  • What are you selling? There’s a wide range of themes to suit all kinds of different stores, especially if you explore the marketplaces. Themes range from image-led portfolios containing a few high-value items, to quick-fire storefronts with homepage «mega menus» for massive inventories of items such as electronics and jewellery. You can filter for certain product types and features in the Shopify Theme Store.
  • How much customising do you want to do? Most Shopify themes let you focus heavily on selling rather than customising. All Theme Store themes include drag-and-drop templates that you can customise, with sections and page elements such as galleries, carts, reviews and even blogs – and they’re all designed to get you up and running quickly. If you’re looking for templates for a sophisticated, content-rich blog or portfolio, then you may find some of Shopify’s themes a little too inflexible. As we noted in our in-depth Shopify review, you’re often limited when customising page elements such as text styles and images sizes. Most of the themes we tested include a CSS code editing section under «theme settings», so you can get stuck into more extensive customisation if you have coding skills. But for the many of us who don’t, the drag-and-drop editing options can feel a bit constrained, especially with the free themes.
  • What do you want your customer to do? If you want them to gaze at your amazing portfolio and wow at your site’s stunning 3D animations, there are Shopify themes that will let them do so, but most of these themes are designed to make the buying process quick and easy. The the stripped-back architecture of Shopify’s lighter themes makes them especially good for ecommerce, because the pages load quickly. If you want to add more advanced features, you can find them in the Shopify App Store.

Will I have to update my Shopify theme?

Not if you get it from the Shopify Theme Store, which guarantees all its themes to be updated for the latest Shopify platform (currently 2.0). All Theme Store themes are also…

  • Speed-tested for screens of all sizes;
  • Approved by Shopify’s developers;
  • Free to try forever until you publish;
  • Customisable to fit your brand colours and product inventories;
  • Compatible with Shopify App Store apps;
  • Able to support high-resolution images.

Every theme you try out is stored forever in your Library, so you can easily switch back to a theme you’ve tried before. You can switch between themes at any time; but it can get a bit tricky once your store is full of products. As such, settling on a theme early on will cut your workload, while also helping to keep your storefront consistent and well organised, so you can get on with the business of selling.

READ NEXT: Shopify pricing

The best Shopify themes for your online store in 2023

1. Avone: Best Shopify theme for a growing store

Price: $79 (£64) | Find on Theme Forest

At first glance, Avone doesn’t look very different from Shopify’s neat, clean free themes (such as Dawn, below). It’s minimalist and extremely fast-loading, with large featured images followed by simple thumbnails to show off your products at their best. Avone is also very easy to get started with, so you can have your online store published on the same day that you join Shopify and begin listing products.

But behind the scenes, Avone is a far more scalable and sophisticated beast, making it a favourite among experienced retailers. Click Live Preview then choose a demo store to get an idea of what we mean. Hovering over the apparently simple header links (Features, Pages, Blog and so on) reveals a wealth of further customisation options and functionalities, including a CMS (content management system, such as WordPress) and dozens of different homepage designs.

If you had considered using Shopify but were put off by the idea that its themes are too limited, then give Avone a try and you’ll soon discover otherwise. At just £64 plus VAT (after a free trial that lasts as long as you like, until you publish), it’s a fantastic buy and comes with solid customer support.

Key specs – Mobile optimised: Yes; Shopify compatibility: Shopify 2.0; In Shopify Theme Store? No

Try Avone now

2. Dawn: Best free Shopify theme

Price: Free | Find on Shopify Theme Store

Dawn is one of Shopify’s default themes, so it will probably be among the first you try when setting up shop and listing your first few items. Chances are pretty high that you’ll want to stick with it, too, because instead of screaming «free default» it’s actually a classy gem that’s ideal for beginners. You get the added reassurance that it will update automatically and always remain free.

The theme is clean, fast and minimalist, using modern classic fonts and bold lines to direct your audience to your products. Menus, search, basket and account shortcuts are all easy to reach, and scrolling down the homepage reveals thumbnails, categories, testimonials, quick links, contact box and more, all of which are super easy to customise using the drag-and-drop template. High-res images, videos, GIFs and multiple checkout options are all supported, and the template includes a blog and image-led lookbook.

Dawn will be too limiting for larger stores comprising multiple categories and a need for features such as FAQs and customer support. But if your business is just starting out and you want an attractive theme to show off your products, Dawn is hard to fault.

Key specs – Mobile optimised: Yes; Shopify compatibility: Guaranteed to stay up to date; In Shopify Theme Store? Yes

Try Dawn now 

3. Wokiee: Best Shopify theme for extensive customisations

Price: $79 (£64) | Find on Theme Forest

It’s hard to describe Wokiee’s style, because this extensive theme has dozens of different styles under one highly scalable umbrella. From simple image-dominated homepages with barely a clickable icon to litter the view, to busy animated food menus with more headers than a hydra, Wokiee has a template to suit any taste and a layout (more than 70 of them) to fit any store. And as your store grows, adding more menus, categories and functions is as easy as dragging them onto your pages then customising to suit.

Wokiee lets you take the customisation reins via a proprietary CMS if you want, letting you tweak every element to your precise liking. But it’s also full of presets and store templates that are very quick and easy to switch between, so you can see how your inventory looks when presented in different ways. The templates extend far beyond homepages, too, with additional templates for product category pages, product displays and shopping carts, all fully customisable.

Key specs – Mobile optimised: Yes; Shopify compatibility: Shopify 2.0; In Shopify Theme Store? No

Try Wokiee now

4. Responsive: Best Shopify theme for mobile screens

Price: $240 (£194) | Find in Shopify Theme Store

Responsive is a gorgeous, highly customisable design which, as its name suggests, is particularly good at adapting to mobile screens. Even long blocks of text look clean and uncluttered, so this theme will suit you well if you’re keen to include blog content to help tell the story of your business.

The theme comes in various preset flavours, each named after a major city. We went for London in our screenshots; you can also choose New York, San Francisco or Paris. Each offers a slightly different layout with full-screen image options, plus plenty of control over fonts, banners, product displays and layout.

As you would hope from such an expensive theme, Responsive also includes many advanced features that cheaper themes leave you to buy separately in the Shopify App Store. For example, you can enable Disqus customer comments, require age verification, enable «buy now» options, and upload branding to help your SEO.

Responsive is also available via Out of the Sandbox marketplace, but its $240 price tag doesn’t save you any money over the Shopify Theme Store, so we’d recommend buying from the Theme Store.

Key specs – Mobile optimised: Yes; Shopify compatibility: Guaranteed to stay up to date; In Shopify Theme Store? Yes

Try Responsive now

5. Ella: Best Shopify theme for selling clothes

Price: $89 (£71) | Find on Theme Forest

Ella is the best-selling Shopify theme on Theme Forest, largely down to the fact that it offers tons of code-free customisation options and built-in ecommerce features without breaking the bank. It’s an excellent buy for a cool, contemporary, image-led theme with dozens of page templates and skins that make easy work of customising your store’s look and feel.

Key specs – Mobile optimised: Yes; Shopify compatibility: Shopify 2.0; In Shopify Theme Store? No

Try Ella now

6. Outstock: Best Shopify theme for product demos

Price: $79 (£64) | Find on Theme Forest

Outstock puts us in a lovely zen state of mind, with its clean lines, cool white space and minimalist styling. But behind that tidy exterior lies a wealth of features that we didn’t find in other Shopify themes, such as the Look Book tool that lets you show off your products in action.

You can show your visitors around a virtual room, or use 3D models, animations and videos to demonstrate how products can be used: ideal for homewares and electronics. This really boosts customer engagement and stands a great chance of translating into sales. Plus, features such as augmented reality and virtual reality will also delight some shoppers. Just bear in mind that bandwidth-hogging video and animation can put off as many customers as it converts.

Customer support is another big plus point with Outstock, whose creators offer 24/7 chat support and ample documentation and tutorial videos. 

Key specs – Mobile optimised: Yes; Shopify compatibility: Shopify 2.0; In Shopify Theme Store? No

Try Outstock now

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