One thing I often notice beginner eCommerce store owners doing is changing their Shopify theme on an extremely high frequency. In this article, I have explained When to Change Your Shopify Theme and When Not To.
There are a lot of unintended consequences in changing your theme that you should be aware of. Changing your Shopify theme should be done wisely and with purpose – not just because you got bored of your existing design.
In this blog post I will explain some of the unintended consequences, some of the benefits, and when you should change your theme.
Table of Contents
- 1 Benefits of Changing Your Shopify Theme
- 2 Unintended Consequences of Changing Your Theme
- 3 When You Should Change Your Theme
- 4 When You Shouldn’t Change Your Theme
- 5 Conclusion
Benefits of Changing Your Shopify Theme
Let’s start with focusing on the positive outcomes that changing your theme can provide:
Some themes can be fast and some can be slow. Switching from a slow theme to a fast theme can have serious benefits to your eCommerce store.
Speed can have many impacts on your store. Visitors hate slow websites – the slower your website the more people you will notice bounce back to wherever they can from.
Many studies have shown that website speed has a significant impact on conversion rates – the quicker the webpage, the more likely the visitor is to perform the target action, in this case make a purchase.
CloudFlare has shown that going from a page that takes 5.7 seconds to load to one that takes 2.4 seconds can increase its conversion rate from 0.6% to 1.9%. Depending on how much traffic you get this can triple your revenue!
Certain themes are designed for a particular type of store, whether it is a single product store, one with thousands of products, or anything in between. If you have selected a theme that doesn’t suit your business model then you may want to consider swapping.
It really depends on your goals – are you trying to showcase your best selling product or helping your customers navigate through your wide range.
Picking a theme can help your customers find what they want and help them make a purchase.
Suits Your Brand
The design and style of a theme may or may not suit your brand. If you are selling childrens party products then you may want a theme that is colorful with lots of splashes of shapes. If you have picked a theme in industrial grey with straight lines then it might not suit your brand.
Another example is selling suits to professionals – this might require a theme that is clean and clinical with plenty of photos of men wearing suits. A theme that is playful and only shows individual product photos might be confusing for your customers.
Picking a theme that suits your brand is an important considering when selecting your design.
Unintended Consequences of Changing Your Theme
But not everything is positive – changing your theme can cause some serious problems and should not be done if there is not a suitable reason. Let’s explore some of the unintended consequences:
Confuse Your Customers
For a customer who was looking at your website yesterday and just decided to make a purchase, coming back to your website today after a theme change can be a confusing experience. They will often need to re-evaluate whether your store is trustworthy enough to pub in their credit card information.
Expect to see a drop off in sales during the theme transition as your potential customers try to figure out what has happened and whether they have entered the correct URL.
Slow Down Your Website
Just as a good theme can make your website faster, a bad one can make it slower. And it is always difficult to tell which direction it will go until after you have made the switch.
A slow website can annoy your customers and reduce your conversion rate.
It can also hurt your Google rankings – Google has previously stated that they use user behavior in their ranking factors. If your speed causes more people to bounce from your site back to where they came from then this can tell Google that your site isn’t answering the users query and can drop your ranking for that keyword.
Try and look for theme that are described as fast or lean. These may not have all of the features that you are looking for.
Break Your Store
If you have made a lot of changes to the code of your existing theme or added dozens of plugins then changing your theme could potentially break your store.
A lot of plugins may need to be re-installed or their feature re-activated.
Some of your tracking codes and 3rd party software may need to have their code re-added (once you realize it has broken).
It Wastes Time
Changing your theme, getting all of your plugins working again, and fixing any issues that will inevitably occur can take up a lot of time. Is this the best way for you to be growing your business.
For most store owners who only work on their business part time, you need to be extremely strict with setting priorities.
Unless your current theme is absolutely terrible, then it is unlikely that changing your theme will become a higher priority than hustling just to get some more sales.
When You Should Change Your Theme
There are a few occasions when changing your theme is absolutely the best thing to do for your business:
- When you theme doesn’t suit your product range or your business model. This might occur when you have started off your business with a single product and a theme designed to highlight a single product, but you have since expanded your product range.
- When your theme doesn’t suit your style. If you picked the wrong design of your theme from the beginning or if you have pivoted your product range then it might be worth changing your theme to suit the new dynamics.
- If your existing theme is extremely slow – make sure to check whether it is your theme that is slow or whether it is the dozens of plugins that you have added.
- If your theme requires extensive plugins to operate – you might be better off selecting a theme that is designed with your required functionality rather than haphazardly forcing it to work through apps.
- You are experiencing an extremely low conversion rate – although this should only be done if you are convinced that there is nothing wrong with your prices, copywriting, product photography, or anything else on the backend of your store.
If one or more of these reasons are true then you should consider swapping your theme. Make sure you do a comprehensive backup of our existing theme before you begin in case you want to back out mid way through.
When You Shouldn’t Change Your Theme
There are also plenty of reasons that you shouldn’t change your shopify theme:
- You have just gotten bored with your existing theme. There are just too many unintended consequences that could bring your store to its knees.
- You are worried about your websites speed but you have dozens of plugins installed. Make sure there is not another reason for the slow speed – changing themes might not solve this problem.
- You have more important priorities you should be working on – if you have a big list of jobs to do then changing themes simply might not be the best use of your limited time to grow your business.
That brings me to the end of this article. Actually swapping themes is another full topic in itself. There are some technical aspects that you should consider, there are also some customer service issues that you might want to forecast.
Changing your Shopify themes is a way to take advantage of your existing customers and is a great way to spice things up and optimize your conversion rate and site speed. But it can also be a huge waste of time and can have some serious unintended consequences that can break your store.
Swapping themes should not be done lightly and you should have some solid justifications before you begin.
I hope this has shone some light on this process so that you can make an educated decision going forwards.