The Devil is in the detail: picking the perfect storefront

February 28, 2016

shopify theme image

Before I reveal the shop’s landing page, including logo (yes, it’s done!) and before I share with you my criteria for picking the designers that we’ll feature in the shop, I thought I should take you through the process of picking a Shopify template since I just finished this task last week. I can’t wait to reveal the brand to you, but I figured I should post my tips in chronological order, non?

Be an educated online shopper

My best advice is to do some online shopping before you buy a template. Yes, I know, I’m encouraging you to shop!? The reason being that once you’ve made a few purchases from several online shops, you’ll know exactly what you like and don’t like about their different systems.

For example, I know that I like the “quick shop” option, which let’s me hover my mouse over a picture and click “add to cart” without having to open up the product page. I also like those shops that remember my cart items even if I close the site before making a purchase. Even better are the sites that send me an email reminding me of my cart full of items to process. I also like sites that don’t need me to refresh the page to update my cart. I often open up separate tabs for each item that I want to look at in more detail as I scan through a shop’s inventory. If the product automatically opens up in a new tab without me having to right click on my mouse, I’m happy. That’s one less step for me and one step closer to making a purchase.

The checkout

Those requirements relate to the browsing side of online shopping, but what about the checkout part? I like sites that give me the option to sign up for regular updates or to checkout as a guest. I certainly don’t want to be forced to enter all of this information before I can make a purchase. That’s a real turnoff for me. Second, I like shops that give me the option to check off a box that gives them permission to remember my billing and shipping information for future purchases. It’s a real plus if a site can tell me the expected date of arrival too. And how about for gifts? I appreciate sites that give me a message box to send a little note to the recipient and a comments box in which I can put instructions such as to gift wrap or not.

These are all subtle elements to a site that you don’t notice as you shop, but that you should take note of when buying a Shopify template. Not all of their templates offer these services, so make sure you have the processes that you want. You don’t want to purchase a template only to realize that you can’t add multiple images for a product or offer coupons. The devil is in the detail!

So which template did I choose?

I chose Grid. I know, it isn’t a free one, but this is a one-time cost that I was willing to spend. Grid’s first appealing aspect for me was its grid-like system. During my consultations with the design firm I worked with, I soon realized that I wanted a site that was image-based, and that gave me the option to remove any white space between images. This is a special setting that I can turn on or off. I wanted the home page to look like a grid of images and this aptly named template can do just that.

grid light template

In addition, this template had all of the advance cart and checkout features that I listed earlier on in this post. It also allows Mailchimp integration and buy buttons on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. What more could I want?

Next steps

I’ve begun toying around with the template but I really have to get my hands dirty in the coming two weeks, especially the landing page. I’m going to launch an Indiegogo campaign next week and I want the landing page to be all purty before things kick off. It feels great to have the template chosen, but I’m eager to get some images up once the product shots are done in early May. For now, I’ll focus on perfecting the layout, navigation, terms of service, shipping and return policies, privacy policy, and other unique features. The last thing to work on will be uploading the products, images, product descriptions, sizing charts, designer profiles, and populating the blog. Is that all? 😛


  • Jess | Rose & Fig

    This post is SO enlightening! Thank you for sharing – I had no idea Shopify even had Instagram integration. My husband and I have been tossing around the idea of an online shop, and this just nudged us one step closer!

    And like you, I really appreciate sites that provide a dynamic shopping cart with a good memory. Because sometimes you just accidentally close the site’s tab. (It’s tough to keep track of the 120 tabs I have open.)

    Have a great Monday!

    • Malorie Bertrand

      Yay for enlightening! Agreed, I always have a gazillion tabs open. Shopify is incredibly dynamic. I can hookup my shop through Instagram and Facebook to sell from there, but, being in Canada, I can’t do Twitter shop just yet. Or do I have that the other way around? I’m still figuring things out. LOL. What will you sell? What will you sell? Great to hear from you 🙂

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