When an online store is poorly designed, customers can tell. While there are plenty of eCommerce marketing strategies that will help your Shopify site get more traffic, the design is still the base of the pyramid: If you want customers, your website needs to be easy and intuitive to use.
Using a free Shopify theme is a great way to get access to beautiful designs and basic functionality. And that’s actually all you need to figure out whether your online store works. You don’t need a premium or paid theme to succeed. After all, premium themes don’t always mean more sales.
Choosing the best free Shopify theme can be tricky. They aren’t always up-to-date, and some have better support than others. We’ve put together a list of the top free Shopify themes you can download right now, so you can make your store uniquely yours.
What is a Shopify theme?
A Shopify theme is a template that you can use to give your online store a specific look and feel. While each theme comes in a different layout and style, you can customize it by changing things like fonts or colors to best match the look and feel of your brand.
For example, if you’re selling perfume, you might want your site to look elegant and stylish. Using a different Shopify theme for each business goal will help you do just that.
Themes are also a great way to tune your site because they let you modify how it looks and feels without knowing how to code. Currently, Shopify offers eight free eCommerce templates of their own, which you can find on their theme site.
How to choose the right Shopify theme
While it might be tempting to jump right away to choosing a theme for your site, it’s essential to think about the customer experience before choosing a theme. In particular, these are some of the things you need to pay attention to:
Who your target audience is
Great design feels personal. When choosing a free Shopify theme, you need to start with your customers in mind: How old are they? What are their interests?
What type of experience you want to offer
You need to figure out the type of experience you want your customers to have when they browse your store. For instance, if you sell sports equipment maybe you want people to feel motivated and energetic. If your store design is doing its job, it should make your target market feel at home, keep the focus on the products, and make it easy for the customers to buy.
The website features you’ll need to use
Perhaps you want lots of customer reviews or need to sell a large inventory. Whatever you decide, avoid doing too much at once. When starting out, keep it simple. Your aim is to create a cohesive, organized, and intuitive layout.
What makes a good Shopify theme
These are some of the things to consider when choosing a free Shopify theme for your site:
It looks great and is highly customizable
Free themes don’t mean you need to settle with basic or plain design. Good design helps create smooth experiences for your customers as they interact with your online store, which contributes to boosting sales. Customizing will align the design of your eCommerce store with your business goals.
It loads fast on both mobile and desktop
On mobile, 53% of visits are likely to be abandoned if pages take longer than three seconds to load, according to Google Think. Taking site speed into consideration when choosing a theme will contribute to not losing customers along the way.
It matches your company’s brand
It’s not just adapting your theme to your customers; a good theme also needs to represent your brand. That’s why great Shopify themes should be fully customizable, from uploading your logo or changing fonts to personalizing color schemes.
Good customer support
Often, when building your first eCommerce you’ll have questions. Imagine for example, that you’re stuck connecting Shopify to a payment provider in order to accept payments. Getting that fixed is critical. When looking to choose a free Shopify theme, the ability to contact the developer for help is something to take into account.
The best free Shopify themes in 2020
Here are some of the best Shopify themes in 2020.
There’s a reason why the Debut Shopify theme tops the charts: it’s customizable, super-fast, easy to navigate and is flexible enough to suit a broad range of stores, regardless of how big your inventory is. Plus it looks great on both desktop and mobile. This theme is distributed by Shopify itself, which means it’s officially supported by Shopify.
The Simple theme gets consistently good reviews. This clean and minimalistic theme is very easy to set up while offering the basic functionalities you need to get your eCommerce up and running quickly. Simple is particularly useful if you have a “Shop” page on your website, since this sectioned Shopify theme provides a huge area for product image display.
If you’re looking for a solid alternative to Shopify-distributed themes, Debutify is a great option as it’s focused on conversion. The theme doesn’t require coding and it has a fast page loading speed, which is key to not lose potential customers.
Debutify comes with more advanced options like adding a customizable footer or product testimonials as well as advanced product filters and featured image slider.
Brooklyn is another theme made by Shopify itself. It comes with a mobile-first responsive design approach, so you can expect great navigation even on a mobile device.
The theme is perfect if you have fewer products, as opposed to a large inventory. The top fullscreen slideshow is an eye-catching area for you to show product images.
Brooklyn works particularly well from mobile devices thanks to its “mobile-first” philosophy. Pictured above, the Playful theme.
Narrative is not just this theme’s name; it’s also a hint of what it does best: showcasing single products through storytelling.
The Narrative theme was designed to feature a product and highlight all of its benefits and features on a single page. This is not to say that you can’t add more. You can, but works best for single products.
The Narrative theme is best if you need to showcase a single product.
If high-quality photographs are your site’s strong point, then Boundless might be a good option. This free theme makes your product photographs the highlight of your online store. Because it’s quite minimalistic, you can use it no matter whether you’re selling bikes or candy.
It won’t always be about retail, and Voonex is a great example of a completely different purpose: events and conferences. This free theme is elaborately built to fit in any eCommerce website about a conference, meeting, summit, exhibition, concert, expo, etc.
Some of the best features include event information, speaker profiles, sponsors, schedules, the venue…all very well structured so that it’s easy to navigate around the site.
This theme is free for its basic version which comes with some limited features. If you want to upgrade to more sophisticated options, you’ll have to pay for the Premium version (which costs USD $56).
Minimalistic themes work great because you can use them for many different categories, but sometimes you’ll want something that looks and feels different. Venture is a free Shopify theme that has a clear outdoorsy vibe, so it’s a great solution if your product targets the sports and adventure categories.
Keep in mind that this theme was built for Shopify dropshipping stores with a lot of products, so if you have just a few products it may not be the best option.
Fashe is a Shopify theme developed by Colorlib.
The strength of the theme is the minimalist design that works well for different categories, from bakery to electronics. The downside of that is that it can come across as a bit simplistic. However, if you customize it well, you can end up with a great-looking eCommerce without the price tag.
Annabelle has been around for a while and it’s still a free yet powerful alternative to the options offered by Shopify. Using high-quality images you can transform this basic theme into an online store that feels expensive while keeping your costs very minimal.
It comes with three different styles, each aimed at apparel, furniture and jewelry. The downside of the theme is that customization is somewhat limited so you won’t be able to completely change the default presents.
If you’re a merchant with a large inventory and multiple collections, Supply could be the Shopify theme for you. This theme will make you shine if you’ve got more than 50 products, over 5 collections, or large menus.
Another interesting feature is that it lets you activate filters so your customers can filter collection pages by brand, price, and other customizable options. The theme also has a simple integration with the Product Reviews app, which allows you to add a customer review feature to your products.
While the latest update to the theme seems like it has brought the speed of the site slightly down (according to user reviews), Supply is still a great alternative to a paid theme if you have a long list of products on sale and you’re on a budget.
Use Shopify free themes and get your eCommerce rolling
Design is an essential factor in eCommerce. You can create a beautiful Shopify store with every theme, even the free ones.
While free themes can feel a little limiting in terms of design and functionalities, most Shopify free themes do offer good customization options to give your site the look and feel you need.
The baseline is that you can boost your conversion no matter what theme you choose, as long as you’re paying attention to your customers’ needs.
Having a clear understanding of who your audience is, the experience you’d like to offer, and the features you’ll need will help you find the best Shopify theme and tune it perfectly for your customers.