Choosing the Perfect Shopify Theme in 2024

Welcome to another episode of the Product Powerhouse Podcast! I'm your host, Erin Alexander, creator of Product Powerhouse, and I’m thrilled to have you here today. In this episode, we’re diving into a topic that’s crucial for anyone running a Shopify store: choosing the perfect Shopify theme in 2024. Let’s jump in and explore the best ways to select a theme that not only looks good but also meets your store’s functional needs.

If you are starting a brand new Shopify store, click here to get your first month for only $1! 

Understanding Shopify Themes

A Shopify theme controls how your site looks and functions. There are two main aspects to a Shopify store: the database (where product listings, collections, blog posts, and pages live) and the theme (which determines how this information is displayed). Many people mistakenly believe that switching themes means redoing all their product listings or blog posts, but that’s not the case. Your data stays intact; only the settings and information in the theme editor (or customizer) change.

The Importance of Functionality

When choosing a theme, most people focus on aesthetics, but the primary consideration should be functionality. Every theme can handle basic features like video integration, but you need to look for themes that offer specific functionalities suited to your store. For instance, if you need robust back-in-stock notifications, a calendar for events, or a store locator, it’s essential to find a theme that includes these features to avoid relying on additional apps that can increase your monthly costs.

Researching and Selecting Themes

I recommend a simple exercise to help you understand what you need in a theme. Look at three specific types of websites for inspiration:

  1. Any website you enjoy using: This can be any site, e-commerce or not, that you find enjoyable to navigate.
  2. An e-commerce site serving the same audience: Look at businesses targeting your audience but selling different products. This can provide insight into useful features and design elements.
  3. A role model business: Choose a business you admire for its marketing, social media, or overall strategy.

Take notes on what you like and dislike about these sites, focusing on features and functionalities that could benefit your store.

Free vs. Premium Themes

In the Shopify theme store, there are free and premium themes. All free themes are built using the same framework, known as Dawn. The main differences between these themes are stylistic, meaning you can customize any of them to fit your brand without worrying about core functionalities. Premium themes, developed by third-party developers, offer more design flexibility and additional features, but they come at a higher cost.

My Experience with the Dawn Theme

I use the Dawn theme for my t-shirt shop,, and I can confidently say it’s a good theme. While it might not be as feature-rich as some premium themes, it gets the job done and can be customized to match your brand. The key is to spend time personalizing it with your fonts, colors, and photos.

Customizing Your Theme

Customizing your theme is crucial to make your store stand out. Here are some tips:

  1. Change Fonts and Colors: Use apps like RT: Font Picker to upload custom fonts and swap out default ones. Ensure your theme’s color scheme matches your brand.
  2. Add Custom Sections: Use apps like Section Store or Theme Sections by Sections Pro to add unique sections to your site, enhancing its functionality and appearance. I also like Qwiqode.
  3. Utilize Basic CSS: Learn basic CSS to make small but impactful changes, like altering header colors or adding background images to sections.

This workshop teaches you how to use Basic CSS in your Shopify Sections! 

Avoiding Page Builders

Many ask about page builder apps, but I generally advise against them. They can be expensive and add extra code that may slow down your site. It’s often better to use built-in theme customization options and apps for specific features.

My Favorite Themes

Here are some themes I highly recommend:

  • Turbo Theme by Out of the Sandbox*: Although not available in the Shopify theme store, it’s a robust theme with many customization options. The Product Powerhouse website uses the Turbo theme! Client Example: Lori Portka
  • Impulse Theme by Archetype Themes: A beautifully designed and highly customizable theme. Client examples: Joyia Jewelry  and Shining Rock Goods
  • Flow Theme: Offers a lot of flexibility and customization features.
  • Broadcast Theme: Another excellent option with great functionality.

Final Takeaway

Don’t spend too much time overthinking your theme choice. If you find a theme that meets most of your functional needs, go ahead and install the demo to test it on your site. The user experience is more important than finding the “perfect” theme. Get your site up and running, focus on providing a great shopping experience, and remember that you can always make changes and upgrades later.



Need help designing a killer Shopify store? Check out DIY Shop(ify) - a self-study program to help you create an amazing Shopify website!

If you have questions or want to talk more about this, join our Product Powerhouse Community on Facebook. It’s a free group of almost a thousand shop owners who are passionate about their products, just like you. We’d love to see you there!


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