In the never-ending search for "the one" theme to propel your Shopify store to your first six figures...
Aesthetics come first.
After all, it's the theme's appearance that catches your eye and makes you slow down your scroll for 1... 2... 3 seconds.
Only when you open the theme's thumbnail will you get to know more about it:
"A contemporary design."
"A clean and minimalist vibe."
"A stylish, image-focused theme."
No matter how you look at it, the beauty of a Shopify theme's design always takes center stage in the selection process.
A clean, professional-looking theme makes for a great first impression. A unique design makes you stand out and blurs millions of other online stores in the background.
Though choosing a theme based on aesthetics is not bad by itself...
The worrying thing is when you base your decision SOLELY on "the look" of your theme.
Shopify defines a theme as "a template that determines the way an online store looks, feels, and functions for merchants and their customers."*
While aesthetics cover the look and feel of your Shopify store...
It doesn't automatically translate to function.
Function involves having particular features and settings in a theme that all help you achieve your goals as a brand owner...
Whether it is getting more people to know about your brand, having more customers, or reaching six figures fast.
In other words...
Your Shopify theme needs to have a strong mix of FORM and FUNCTION to help your store succeed in no time.
Think of aesthetics as your first filter.
The holes in your aesthetics filter are large enough to make every decent-looking theme pass... but small enough to weed out the cluttered and clunky ones.
But you also need a second filter with finer holes to narrow down your theme choices beyond the look.
The question is, what are the criteria for narrowing down your choices?
You'll find a lot of recommendations on what to look for in a theme...
But based on our extensive research and experience with Shopify store owners, these four are your absolute must-haves:
Must-Have #1: Intuitive Navigation
Just like customers in a brick-and-mortar store...
They want their shopping experience to be as breezy as possible.
But when you have multiple products and collections for sale, navigation can quickly become a convoluted mess.
You can easily overwhelm your visitors if you have more than one product listing of the same item with minuscule variations.
The lack of a search bar can also make it harder for your potential buyer to look for the exact thing they want to buy.
And as much as 38% of people leave a website that's difficult to navigate.**
That's why keeping your inventory organized is crucial in ensuring intuitive navigation.
But there is more to navigation than just keeping an organized inventory.
You should also look at the overall customer journey -- the route your customer takes from the moment they land on your Shopify website until they check out.
Of course, every customer journey is different.
A new visitor might browse the collection pages first...
While a repeat buyer might automatically add their selected item to the cart and check out.
But if you have seamless navigation in your Shopify store that takes customer journey into consideration...
You can take your customers by the hand and GUIDE them to the shortest path to purchase.
To illustrate, put yourself in your customer's shoes.
You've already filled your cart, ready to checkout.
But when you arrive at the checkout page...
You're asked to create an account first. There is no other checkout option.
Instead of getting your money and satisfying your shopping itch right away...
The store owner wanted you to take the EXTRA TIME-CONSUMING STEP of filling out a form to create an account...
An account in an online store that you'll probably never visit again after this tedious experience.
Do you see how much potential revenue this store owner is leaving on the table?
That's why research shows that forcing customers to create an account before checkout leads to 37% checkout abandonment.
Just add a guest checkout option for a faster process.
You'll instantly eliminate all those checkout abandonment issues.
Must-Have #2: Mobile Responsiveness
A mobile-responsive design is one of Shopify's requirements for every store.
After all, projections show that mobile e-commerce will grow by as much as 68% by 2022 from 53.9% in 2021.***
But it's not enough to rely on a theme labeled as mobile-friendly.
Some "mobile-friendly" themes simply condense the desktop view to fit into your mobile screen, so your long product descriptions might take up the whole screen.
Others don't even remove the pop-ups shown in the desktop view, so those pop-ups end up covering the entire mobile screen.
So you see, being mobile-friendly doesn't guarantee a bump-free ride for your mobile-using customer base.
You have to test your store on mobile to truly claim it's mobile-responsive.
A quick mobile tweak you can do is to condense your product your information down to the bare necessities: the product, its cost, and the buy button.
Simply have a toggle button so your customer can decide if they want to know more before buying.
Must-Have #3: Page Speed
Slow websites can kill the buying mood faster than an empty wallet.
You can't expect your online buyers to stare patiently at your unmoving website for more than a few seconds.
With 40% of online consumers saying they will abandon a slow-loading website...
You have to make sure your site loads in as fast as 3 seconds, tops.****
And one of the biggest culprits of slow loading times is your IMAGES.
You see, high-resolution images can consume lots of bandwidth while loading
Your visitor would already be shopping from your competitor's website by the time the image finishes loading.
That's why you have to keep your image file sizes below 1MB to make sure they don't mess up your site loading speed.
Must-Have #4: Additional Built-In Features
When you're starting your Shopify store...
You can't be 100% sure of what you'll need right from the beginning.
As you move closer to your first six figures...
You might need to install add-ons to help you serve customers better.
Maybe you need a review collection app for social proof.
Perhaps you want to change your colors, fonts, and layouts to reflect your growing brand.
You might even be running a sale, so you need to display a countdown timer you haven't used before.
Having a wide array of built-in app options allows you to tweak your store whenever you need to.
The more add-ons available to you (even though you can't use them all at once)...
Remember: All these do more than ensure your Shopify store has a beautiful appearance.
All these must-haves contribute toward CONVERSIONS.
Conversions are the very reason you're building your Shopify store in the first place.
You want your store visitors to CONVERT into paying buyers so you can achieve your 6-figure milestone fast.
And all four must-haves detailed above have built-in CONVERSION TRIGGERS that make your visitors want to buy from your online shop.
How does this happen?
The answer is found in our brain and its inner workings.
You see, when you are faced with any decision, such as buying or not buying from an online store...
Your brain activates a series of processes to help you decide the best course of action with the most favorable outcome.
The thing is...
Triggering these processes makes your brain expend electrical energy, just like a battery.
And like a battery, its energy is finite unless you recharge it.
So to save time and conserve energy in case of emergencies...
Your brain takes as many "mental shortcuts" as possible to preserve energy for when it counts.
These mental shortcuts are known as heuristics -- that gut feeling you use to quickly solve problems and make efficient judgment calls.
Just like when you assume that the higher the price is, the better its quality... even if you don't know anything else about the product.
Or when you see a 5-star rating for a product and automatically think it's good.
Or even when you receive a discount coupon, making you think you'll get to save money... even if you're really spending money.
And of course, these heuristics apply to your customers as well.
Your buyers also use mental shortcuts to arrive at their buying decision as fast as possible.
That is why choosing your theme based on our must-have criteria is crucial. It ensures that your theme leads your shoppers towards the quickest path to their buying decision.
Just take a look at how our must-have criteria put consumer heuristics to good use:
- Intuitive Navigation = Fast. If you have a search button in your Shopify store, it's easier to find what your customers want in just a few clicks. They don't even have to scroll through tons of products in your inventory.
- Mobile-Friendly = Easy. Imagine having to wrestle with a pop-up covering the entire screen when you're browsing on your phone. It's not only intrusive, but it also makes it harder for your customer to see the products you're selling.
- Quick-Loading Website = Timesaver. If your potential buyer has to drum their fingers while your store is loading... trust us, they probably have another tab for your faster-loading competitor. Which of the two do you think they'll browse first?
- More Add-Ons = More Functionality. Your customers are more likely to buy from you if you have an add-on that displays custom trust badges on your checkout page than if you don't.
See how you can increase your visitor's chances of buying with heuristics?
You can use heuristics to intensify their desire to buy... leading to conversions and sales.
Now, you're probably thinking...
Do you need a developer to make a custom Shopify theme that meets all these criteria?
While that seems to be a great way to ensure you can insert these mental shortcuts into every step of the buying process to help you reach your target revenue...
This is actually the fastest way to shoot yourself in the foot before you even start.
For one, the cost is unpredictable.
You might be quoted with a few hundred dollars... only to end up paying thousands more as you stack feature after feature.
Even if you can create a theme yourself...
You're better off using your time growing your store than going down the rabbit hole of coding a custom theme.
And while pre-built Shopify themes get automatic updates and fixes...
You have to find a Shopify developer to fix bugs for you and make sure you don't miss out on the latest e-commerce trends.
But the good news is...
You don't need a custom theme to leverage the mental shortcuts in your buyers' brains because...
You can use a pre-built Shopify theme that boosts conversions with Consumer Heuristic Intensification...
A mechanism that injects persuasive and psychology-driven triggers into your Shopify store...
To guide your customers to the shortest path to purchase.
With this Shopify theme, you get...
- a simple and clean interface that attracts potential buyers like a magnet so that they check out everything you offer...
- a seamless navigation experience so your customers arrive to the checkout page without anything to stall them...
- a mobile-responsive Shopify store that converts visitors regardless of the device they're using...
- a fast-loading store that gives your customers what they want in less than three seconds...
- and a collection of 52 built-in add-ons (and counting) battle-tested to increase your conversion rates in no time.
If you're interested to know more...
Click here to discover the Shopify theme that will set you on the quickest path towards your eCommerce business goals.
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