Shopify Themes: The Ultimate Guide

Shopify Themes: The Ultimate Guide


Shopify Themes sit at the foundation of all hosted Shopify websites. Prebuilt, free, paid, custom, and bespoke are terms thrown out there with little clarity on why and when they are incorporated.

We will be breaking down the different options in detail so brands can strategically find a solution.

See below for the general build solutions.

1. DIY Website Development

You can create a Shopify store using the platform's drag-and-drop interface. Shopify offers a range of customisable free and paid templates/themes that you can use to create your store. You can also add functionality to your store using Shopify's app store.

2. Hire a Shopify Expert

If you need more confidence in building your store, you can hire a Shopify Expert to help you. These experts (Pluro) are certified by Shopify and can provide tailored solutions compared to off-the-shelf self-starters.

3. Use Shopify's Theme Store

Shopify offers a range of customisable themes that you can use to create your store. These themes are designed by professional designers and developers. They are optimised for mobile devices with free and paid versions.

Shopify Themes

Shopify themes are pre-designed website templates that you can use to create your Shopify store. These themes are created by professional designers and developers and are available in the Shopify Theme Store. Both free and paid themes are available, and each theme is somewhat customisable.

Themes typically include a range of design elements such as layouts, fonts, colours, and imagery, as well as functionality such as product pages, collections, navigation menus, and cart checkout pages. In addition, shopify themes are designed to be mobile-friendly and responsive, which means they can adapt to different screen sizes, ensuring a consistent user experience across all devices.

When choosing a Shopify theme, you must consider your business needs, brand image, and target audience. You should also ensure that the theme you choose is compatible with any third-party apps you plan to use and offers the features and functionality you need to run your store effectively. Customisation options can vary, so choosing a theme that provides the flexibility you need to create the website you envision is essential.

Remember the total cost of ownership when using a free theme with apps(Page builders/Sections/Elements) as a build method!

FREE Shopify Themes

Shopify offers a range of free themes that you can use to create your online store. These themes are available in the Shopify Theme Store and are designed to be mobile-friendly and responsive.

Here are some examples of free Shopify themes:

1. Dawn

This clean and modern theme is excellent for starting new businesses. Theme developers often use Dawn as a starting point for custom developments due to the flexible theme architecture and high performance on core web vitals.

2. Refresh

This theme has a classic and minimalist design, A bold theme that elevates product quality and brand storytelling.

3. Sense

An energising theme featuring extensive product detail layouts allowing you to maximise rich content features.

4. Craft

A simple yet effective layout, well-rounded content blocks and built to optimise merchandising.

These are just a few examples of the many free Shopify themes available. When choosing a free theme, consider the needs of your business, the design elements you want to include, and the features and functionality you require to meet brand guidelines and technical specs.

PAID Shopify Themes

Shopify also offers a variety of paid themes that offer more advanced design and customisation options, as well as additional features and functionality. Paid themes are available for purchase from the Shopify Theme Store.

Here are some examples of paid Shopify themes:

1. Impulse

This theme has a clean, modern design, customisable homepage sections and a mobile-friendly layout. It also includes features such as product filtering options and an Ajax cart.

2. Empire

This theme is designed for large catalogues, with a customisable homepage and advanced filtering options. It also includes features like predictive search, a mobile-friendly design, and a quick buy option.

3. Prestige

This luxury theme offers a customisable homepage with video backgrounds and full-width banner images. It also includes product filtering options, a mobile-friendly design, and a quick buy option.

4. Icon

This theme has a minimalist design and a customisable homepage layout. It also includes features such as predictive search, product filtering options, and an Ajax cart.

Paid themes can offer more advanced functionality and customisation options, but they also come at a higher cost. When choosing a paid theme, consider your budget, the needs of your business, and the design elements and features you require to create a website that meets your goals and represents your brand effectively.

Custom Themes

Custom Shopify themes are designed and developed specifically for your business based on your unique requirements and specifications. Custom themes can be created by Shopify Experts, who are certified professionals with expertise in designing and developing custom Shopify themes.

With a custom theme, you have complete control over the design and functionality of your website, which can help you to stand out from your competitors and create a unique brand identity. Custom themes can also be tailored to your business needs. They can include advanced features and functionality specific to your industry or niche.

When working with a Shopify Expert to create a custom theme, you'll typically start with a discovery phase, during which you'll discuss your business needs, brand image, and target audience. The designer will then create wireframes and mockups of the website, allowing you to review and provide feedback on the design. Once the design is finalised, the developer will build the theme using Shopify's Liquid templating language.

Custom themes can be more expensive than pre-designed themes, and the timeline for development can be longer. However, the result is a website tailored to your business needs and reflects your brand identity. If you want to create a custom Shopify theme, consider contacting a Shopify Expert to discuss your options and get a quote.

Pre-built Themes


  1. Time-saving: Shopify themes are pre-designed templates that can save time building your website. You don't need to start from scratch; you can choose a theme that matches your brand image and business needs.
  2. Customisation options: Even though Shopify themes are pre-designed, they are somewhat customisable. You can change the colours, fonts, and layouts to create a unique look and feel for your website.
  3. Mobile-friendly: All Shopify themes are designed to be mobile-friendly, which means they are optimised for viewing on mobile devices. This is important because many consumers are using mobile devices to shop online.
  4. Easy to use: Shopify themes are user-friendly and intuitive, meaning you don't need coding experience. You can simply drag and drop elements to create your website.


  1. Limited customisation: Although Shopify themes are customisable, there are limitations to what you can change. Suppose you have particular design requirements or functionality needs. In that case, you may need a developer to create a custom theme.
  2. Cost: While free Shopify themes are available, many more advanced and feature-rich themes come with a price tag. The cost can add up if you choose a premium theme and need to purchase additional apps or features.
  3. Template-based: Because Shopify themes are template-based, your website may look similar to others using the same theme. This can make it harder to stand out from competitors and create a unique brand identity.
  4. Learning curve: Although Shopify themes are user-friendly, there can still be a learning curve if you need to familiarise yourself with the Shopify platform. You may need to learn how to use the platform and customise your theme.
  5. Core web vitals: Shopifyt themes are built for the masses and, as such, contain a lot of section code which won't be utilised, causing drops in performance.
  6. Bugs/issues: Commonly, pre-built theme code can conflict with third-party apps and integrations due to the rigid nature of the code structure.

Custom Themes


  1. Unique Look: A custom theme can give your website or application a unique look and feel that aligns with your brand, vision, or audience.
  2. Flexibility: Custom themes give you more flexibility to control the layout, colour scheme, typography, and other design elements of your site.
  3. Branding: A custom theme can help establish a consistent branding message across your digital channels.
  4. Improved User Experience: Custom themes can improve the user experience by making your site more user-friendly and intuitive.
  5. SEO Optimisation: Custom themes can be optimised for search engines, which can help improve your site's ranking and visibility.


  1. Cost: Custom themes can be expensive, mainly if you hire a professional designer or developer to create them.
  2. Time-consuming: Developing a custom theme can take a lot of time and effort, particularly if you're unfamiliar with web development.
  3. Compatibility: Custom themes may only sometimes be compatible with all devices and platforms, limiting your audience.
  4. Maintenance: Custom themes require ongoing maintenance, updates, and bug fixes, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
  5. Security: Custom themes can be vulnerable to security threats if not adequately developed or maintained.


We recommend a custom solution if budget allows, as generally, the pros outways the cons; however, if budget/resource is limited, you may consider using a pre-built or even a free theme.

Contact us if you'd like to learn more about Shopify Themes, and a team member will be in touch!

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