If you’re looking at themes for your e-commerce site and basing your decision purely on aesthetics, you’re about to make a decision that might backfire and may cost you big. While the look of your site absolutely should bear significance, it’s but one of the many elements you’ll need in place to create the best possible experience for your customers. The most important features of an e-commerce theme are those capable of enhancing its performance for your shoppers and easing the burden of managing your business. So, if you are ready to take the digital plunge and are looking for a website theme that is both aesthetically pleasing and robust, you are at the right place. This ultimate guide will help you make the right decision and find the right theme design for your site.
However, before we get on to the design part, we would want you to focus on your needs. Defining your needs before and having a clear goal in mind will keep you away from getting carried away by looking at the amazing range of themes available. Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself before getting started.
- Are you planning to build a site that works equally well on tablets and mobiles?
- Are you foreseeing a change in the design template in the coming 6-8 months?
- Will content or design dominate your website?
Once you have the answers to these questions, it will become easy for you to analyze other aspects of the available themes. Here is what you should be looking for when choosing a theme for your e-commerce site. Take a look!
The Personality of Your Site
Before we get on to the technical aspects of finding the right theme, the first thing is to look for a theme that matches the personality of your e-commerce site. The usual practice followed by website owners is that they first pick the most good looking theme and then try to mold their requirements. However, it should always be vice versa. The right approach is to first define the personality of the site then browse for themes that will match the requirement of your upcoming business.
When a shopper arrives at your store, do you want to send them wandering frustrated through a maze, like the Swedish furniture store that shall go unnamed here (rhymes with the idea), or would you rather want they immediately find the item they came for, buy it and get other shopping suggestions afterwards? Anyone familiar with e-commerce bounce rates will choose the latter. If things are too difficult to find on your site, shoppers will abandon it and look elsewhere.
Mobile is here to stay. In fact, it’s poised to become the dominant form of casual computing, which is the category into which shopping falls. With that said, while more and more purchases are being researched on mobile devices, the majority of buying still takes place on desktop machines. For this reason, your site needs to be optimized to perform well in both environments. Responsive design gives your store the ability to do this. It also makes it rank higher in search engine results. So, as a rule, when browsing for themes, start by filtering out the non-responsive ones to have your choices ready.
Studies show some 40 percent of e-commerce customers will bail if your site takes more than three seconds to load. Some even set the cutoff at two seconds. Even if you’re considering a free website template from a provider like Shopify, you should always pay attention to loading times. The best themes automatically optimize photos and other bandwidth-heavy features for speedy loading.
In the past, you could get away with having a security certificate for your checkout page while leaving the rest of your site unsecured. This has changed. The best e-commerce themes protect every page of the site to reduce the likelihood of a hacker sneaking in through one of those unguarded doors. People are relying on you to keep their financial data and personally identifiable information safe. Security certificates on all pages give shoppers peace of mind.
Pretty much everything an e-commerce store sells must be shipped to the customer. Therefore, it only makes sense for your e-commerce theme to support shipping activities. It should be capable of automatically calculating shipping charges as well as sales tax. The best eCommerce themes are even capable of printing shipping labels with the proper amount of postage for the weight and destination. You should also have the ability to designate areas to which you can and cannot ship and have the site automatically notify customers.
Useful Management Features
Adding and keeping track of products should be easily accomplished, with a minimum of effort. Compatibility with a wide variety of payment gateways is a must, as is a secure checkout procedure. Customers should be given the option of registering—after they make purchases. Marketing, promotional and SEO functions should be integrated to help you attract attention to the site. Analytics tools and reporting functions should also be readily accessible, run with minimal effort and easily decipherable.
If you are planning to open an e-commerce site that caters a global audience, keeping the translation factor in mind is advisable. So, be sure of checking out if the theme you have selected is translation-ready or not. This feature will help buyers from across the globe to shop from your e-commerce site with ease.
Technology is now incorporated into our day to day life, and consumers are demanding a more intuitive website and application experience. Adhering to this list of the most important features of an e-commerce theme, you will easily make your selection that will arm you with an attractive store, perfectly suited to conduct business. Also, with the best theme backing your eCommerce site, you will have the freedom to make your site look and feel the way you always have thought of.