Best Print On Demand Shopify Themes For Your Online Store Success
Picking the right Shopify theme for your eCommerce site, and for your Print On Demand store in particular, can be intimidating if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Good design is imperative for success in the online retail industry as it establishes credibility with the customer, inspires them to make purchases and sets the tone for a company’s brand identity. Luckily, Shopify’s theme store offers many options that are well suited for a variety of product lines, brands, and industries.
For more tips and best practices to start and run a successful Print On Demand Store, check out our: The 09-chapter Essential Print On Demand Master Guide.
I. The basics of Shopify themes
When it comes to picking a theme for your Shopify store, you’ll find a myriad of options. But what exactly is a “theme”?
A theme is a template that determines the layout and look of your online store. They come in various styles (the specific aesthetics of the layout), which create a unique brand experience for your customers. For instance, if you were to create a print-on-demand shop that specifically sold custom art prints, then you’d want to create a site that evokes feelings of creativity and beauty. This can be achieved through images, compositional elements, page text, font and color choice.
The general look of your pages- from the homepage to product pages- is vital to your success as a business owner because it’s the first impression your customer has of your shop. It’s the same as running a traditional brick and mortar store: your shelves must be neatly stocked and presented, your items correctly labeled and organized, your front shop window displayed in such a way to both entice potential customers and immediately relay your brand’s focus and wares.
For more explanations on why good website design is an imperative for any online business, click here.
The good news is that Shopify uses a unique programming language that can be accessed and edited easily. This means that any user can directly edit any theme code to make custom changes to their site. However, for those who are not particularly tech-savvy, third-party theme developers have made the job much easier by creating highly customizable themes with features that are suited for a wide range of industries, like apparel and accessories.
Shopify has also made it super easy for users to surf, review and select different themes by creating a repository of free and paid themes offered by Shopify and other outside developers. Their theme store has many different categories and filters that help store owners sift through the 60+ available options. You can explore themes by collection, industry and weekly trends.
II. What to consider when picking a Shopify theme for your print-on-demand store
When it comes to choosing the perfect Shopify theme for your print-on-demand store, you’ll want to consider some specific criteria that relate to your particular needs as an ecommerce business owner.
2.1. General aesthetics
As mentioned earlier, the look and feel of a site has an equivalent effect on the customer as a traditional storefront. Your aesthetics should match your brand identity, stylistically and otherwise. For example, if your brand is minimalist, then your site should be uncluttered, image dominant and full of negative space.
Acid87 is a great example of a custom-printed apparel company with unique and consistent branding.
Maintaining consistency in your branding is how you relay authenticity and trust to your customer- ultimately, the goal is to create a business with an individual personality which your customers can immediately recognize. There should be no question as to what you sell, what your focus is and value proposition to your customers. This is especially important for print-on-demand owners that sell white-label products. Since your base products are essentially the same as many other stores, your value arises in the unique design you print on your products.
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In order to differentiate yourself from your competitors, you need to create a look and feel that is your own. So, when choosing a theme, it’s important to keep these main questions in mind:
- How are my images and text displayed?
- How big is the logo/product images/homepage features/banners, etc.?
- What style options are available? (Most themes come in several different style options)
- Can I use my brand’s color and font options?
- Does this layout emulate my brand identity? (ex: is it minimalistic, creative, exciting, vintage, etc.?)
2.2. Product display
In any ecommerce shop, the product pages are some of the most important features on the site. The page must convey all of your product’s details, including the size, characteristics, look, feel, material, colors, shipping specifications, promotions, customer reviews and more. It should also anticipate your customer’s needs.
For instance, if you have a detailed print on a shirt, your customer will probably want to zoom in to get a better look. Or if your product is part of a larger collection, then you’ll want to display other products that are created with the same print.
An example of a “related products” section using the SalesHunter theme.
However, products are not exclusively displayed on product pages- your homepage, collections pages and promotional pages are also key display spots. When choosing your theme, you should make sure your products can be displayed successfully on all relevant pages.
Look for themes that have some or all of these features:
- Quick buy options
- Large, clear images
- Promotional labeling
- Collection or related product carousels and/or sidebars
- Image zoom
- Product slideshows
- Descriptive product pages (size/color options, product specifications, shipping)
- Customer review options
2.3. Mobile responsiveness
Current trends point towards a monumental increase in digital consumerism- customers are more likely to view your online shop on a mobile device, rather than a desktop. However, recent market research shows us that retail conversion rates are up to 3x lower on mobile devices compared to desktop computers.
So, why the big disparity? While there are many different factors involved, we can still assume a good portion of it can be chalked up to the fact that mobile sites are just not as user-friendly as desktop ones. This is why it’s incredibly important for ecommerce businesses to create websites that are mobile responsive (meaning it can intuitively adapt to any device display).
When picking a Shopify theme, you’ll want to check that your theme can properly convey your brand and product catalogue in a way that’s enticing for your customers.
2.4. Customization options
While all Shopify themes can be edited by manually accessing the liquid.theme files and making changes to the code, that process can be tedious and difficult for store owners who aren’t proficient with technology. It’s much easier to find a theme that offers customization options and make design changes through the front-end, rather than the back-end.
With customization options, you can create your own store environment, whether that be a narrative-focused design, a grid of unique collections, an extensive social media integration with instagram pictures and social share buttons, or any other combination of elements and features that entice your target audience.
III. Free vs paid Shopify themes
In the Shopify theme store, you’ll find a variety of both free and paid themes. The primary difference between the two comes in the form of features. For the most part, free themes are limited in functionality- in order to get one expert feature, like a full-width homepage slideshow, you often need to sacrifice other features, like promotional bars. On the other hand, paid themes offer a robust range of features, like customer reviews or quick buy options, and are often customizable, but come with a fairly hefty price tag. So, which is the best option for you?
All of the free themes are handcrafted by Shopify’s expert team of designers and are great options for new store owners that are unsure of their brand direction, have a small inventory or a low budget, or are savvy enough to directly edit the theme code and customize it themselves.
Shopify currently offers 08 free themes:
Each theme is designed to suit a specific style and brand identity, with Debut serving as the most flexible, all-purpose theme of the bunch. If you’re just testing the waters of the print-on-demand industry, then perhaps the free themes are the best options for you. If you decide to upgrade, you don’t have to worry about losing your content (products, payment, shipping methods, blog posts etc.) as it will transfer over to your new theme.
Premium, or paid themes, are generally created and supported by third-party developers. There are currently 64 paid themes available in the Shopify theme store, with an average price of $180. Paid themes are best suited for those with established businesses, unique branding, a large customer base or product line and a moderate budget. The greatest benefit of paid themes lies in their custom features, like slideshows, related products, currency selectors, filters, promotion banners or stickers, quick buy options, image zoom, instagram integration and more. Developers are constantly updating their themes and offer robust support services for business owners. These perks make the one-time upfront price worth it, as the right design can lead to higher conversion rates.
IV. Top 7 Shopify themes
We’ve selected our favorite themes available on Shopify’s theme store, including both free and paid options.
As an off-site option, this Shopify theme is a hidden gem. With a plethora of feature options and customization tools, there’s no need to use extra plugins on your site, making it a great option for any print-on-demand store.
Best features: Real-time purchase notifications, countdown clock, customizable cart page, promotional pop-ups, very customizable, email collections, product recommendations, quick view options, social sharing, currency converter
With 4 style options and great developer support, the Responsive theme is perfect for print-on-demand stores that have a large inventory with detailed print designs.
Best features: Image-heavy design, collection page sidebar, product image zoom functionality, multilevel menu, blog-friendly, currency selector, customer product reviews
Reviews: 98% positive (294 reviews)
This theme offers 3 styles and a multitude of essential functionalities, and is perfectly suited for store owners that want to streamline their site by cutting down on the number of plugins they use.
Best features: Lots of customization options, quick view/buy function, customer product reviews, social share buttons on product page, large image display, custom promotion tiles, collection sub-listing, homepage videos, currency selector
Reviews: 99% positive (207 reviews)
This theme is perfect for print-on-demand stores that need to showcase large visuals and wow customers with beautiful imagery and effects in 3 different styles.
Best features: robust product page, quick buy functionality, product promotion tags, focus on collections, image zoom, images included in menu navigation, currency selector, full-width instagram integration, multi-column menu, parallax effect, sticky navigation
Reviews: 95% positive (176 reviews)
As one of Shopify’s most popular free themes, Brooklyn’s 2 style options are perfect for new, modern print-on-demand stores.
Best features: very large image displays, slide-out shopping cart, uncluttered design, banner slideshow, dynamic product grid, homepage video
Reviews: 74% positive (68 reviews)
We’ve created a demo print-on-demand store using the Brooklyn theme and Printful so you can check out how the Brooklyn theme functions in practice. With its simple approach and emphasis on clean lines and images, the Brooklyn theme is a great choice for beginners in the industry. Also, take a look at this informative article on the Brooklyn theme for a more in-depth review on the benefits and disadvantages of using it for your store.
This modern theme that comes in 4 unique styles is ideal for print-on-demand stores that have a large inventory of products.
Best features: Quick buy functionality, instagram feed integration, focus on images, multilevel menu, customizable homepage, long-form homepage, product slideshow, drop-down product description, currency selector, blog-friendly, promotion tags
Reviews: 93% positive (174 reviews)
With 3 great style options, this popular free Shopify theme is great for stores that want to focus solely on their products and avoid any extra, distracting fluff content.
Best features: Product image zoom, related product feature, product filtering options, product slideshow, homepage video
Reviews: 86% positive (86 reviews)
The SalesHunter Theme
You’ll notice that the SalesHunter theme option topped our list of best Shopify themes. With some of the most advanced and intuitive homepage builder tool, this theme makes designing the perfect print-on-demand store site a breeze. For more page builder help, take a look at PageFly Advanced Page Builder.
The theme comes in 3 beautiful styles:
- Intuitively build your pages with the Theme Customizer
- Notify shoppers about real-time purchases to encourage them to buy
- Keep your customers informed of current promotions with a top announcement bar
- Offer up-sells with smart pop-up boxes
- Customize your shopping cart page to reduce your cart abandonment rate
- Create a sense of urgency with a purchase countdown clock on the product page
- Allow customers to convert prices to their local currency
- Implement product recommendation sections for cross-selling
- Display payment processing trust badges on the product page
- Utilize product quick view functions
- Offer coupons with email collection pop-ups
- Allow customers to share your products and site on any social media platform
SalesHunter’s advanced product pages offer a multitude of benefits for print-on-demand stores, especially during important times of the year, like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas. You can easily offer discounts or coupons with pop-up boxes, announce promotions like free shipping with the top announcement bar, or create a holiday collection list to feature. All sellers know that these high-volume, high-traffic periods are crucial for moving inventory, and SalesHunter can help you do just that.
SalesHunter’s development team at SellerSmith can help you sort out any issues you may encounter, quickly and efficiently. They have serviced a range of international customers, from small businesses to large enterprises, with a great track record of success. SellerSmith also offers custom ecommerce solutions, including landing page design, theme customization, store set-up, and data migration to Shopify from other eCommerce platforms.
Why it’s the best option for print-on-demand stores
When building any successful website, business owners must optimize their site to suit the needs of their customers. In regards to ecommerce, this comes in the form of buyer psychology.
Ultimately, there are two different types of customers visiting your site at any given time: those who know what they want to buy and those who are just browsing. This is why it’s imperative to anticipate what your customers want and need, before they even know it themselves. By placing a related products section on a product page, you’ll entice customers to further explore your catalogue. Including a pop-up feature that collects email addresses in exchange for coupons encourages visitors to become repeat customers, or perhaps make a first initial purchase. And utilizing “urgency” tools, like a countdown clock, and social sharing functions, like an instagram feed full of real customers wearing your product, will make your customers want to “join the club”.
With SalesHunter, you can maximize your profitability by giving your customers what they want, and tailoring your design and format to meet the needs of your specific audience demographic. There are also three different style options that you can choose from, which will allow ultimate flexibility in branding and identity based on your product line.
How difficult it is to set up
Click play to see how easy it is to set-up the SalesHunter theme for your Shopify store.
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