18 Must-have Features for your Shopify Theme in 2020

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Shopify themes have many different features. Whether you’re a Shopify veteran or a new entrepreneur opening a new shop – these are your must-have theme features. These premium features will help you manage your shop easier, maximize sales, and save many headaches as your business grows.

1. Support for 3D and AR product models

Beginning in March 2020 Shopify made 3D and AR support available for Shopify themes. This is completely new functionality so any themes that haven’t been updated since then are won’t have it. If you’re theme supports it you can upload a 3D model or video directly to your product pages as easily as an image—without the need for custom code or a third-party app.

3D models offer more flexible customization and lower costs in the long-term compared to traditional photography. 3D models can be used to generate:

  • Photorealistic images 
  • Color variations 
  • Lifestyle shots 
  • Augmented reality experiences
  • Virtual reality experiences 
  • Animations 
  • And more

 

3D models in AR have been shown to increase conversion rates by up to 250% on product pages.

2. Built-in product video support

Shopify’s new product video options let you add videos to products as easily as images. Use your own video files or paste your Youtube video link without the need of a third-party app or confusing embed code. And premium themes will let you show images, video, and 3D models seamlessly in one product gallery.

You can now upload videos directly to Shopify to show your:

  • Explainer videos 
  • Teasers 
  • Reviews
  • Testimonials 
  • Product demonstrations
  • And more

3. Professional and intuitive design

It doesn’t matter how cheap or expensive your products are, your theme must make a good impression to establish trust and confidence. Make sure your theme is aesthetically pleasing and intuitive to use. This will help establish trust and reduce friction leading to more sales.

Use your site as your shopper would by browsing and searching for products, adding to and editing your cart, and checking out. Try this on your phone and desktop computer to understand where your theme excels and falls short.

4. Sections for rich content on all pages (not only the homepage)

Sections are blocks of content like slideshows, featured products, image with text, Instagram feeds, etc. Shopify introduced sections for your shop’s homepage in 2017 but some themes have improved on this with the ability to display sections on any page.

Shopify announced that it will begin supporting theme sections for all pages in fall 2019. Check your theme’s development roadmap to make sure it will support this update.

5. Optimized for page speed

Your theme should load fast on mobile phones and computers no matter how many images or videos you have on a page. There a some page speed testing tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom that can show you how fast or slow your site loads. Test different pages on your site – not just your homepage – for an accurate look at your site overall.

6. Built-in promotions

Popups, promo bars, pricing tables, countdown timers are great ways to incentivize your shoppers to buy from you. Many apps provide these as add-ons to your site but charge monthly fees that can add up over time. Apps don’t always integrate well and can require extra development to work with your theme. A good Shopify theme will have these promotional features seamlessly integrated for better stability and will save you the extra monthly cost.

The Source Made Enterprise Theme has popups, promo bars, and countdown timers with a sophisticated built-in promotion manager. Use the manager to schedule announcements for specific dates and choose where they show. Its smart algorithm will let you announce limited-time offers then display other messages when the offer expires.

7. Announcement bars

The best way to quickly communicate time-sensitive messages to your customers is with an announcement bar at the top of your site. Announcements can include shipping delay notices or free shipping offers, daily sales, or new stock notices on popular items

8. Newsletter sign up forms for email list building

Your email list is the holy grail of your business’ marketing strategy. Make sure your theme has multiple ways to help you build your list. Some list building forms include:

  • Sign up forms within sections on the page
  • Popups with time-sensitive incentives to sign up
  • Back-in-stock forms for out-of-stock products
  • Footer newsletter form that shows on every page
  • A checkbox on your contact page form to add them to your list

9. Customer reviews and star ratings

Customer reviews are very important for converting shoppers into customers. Make sure your theme has customer reviews built-in to your product’s sales page. And give your theme extra bonus points if it can display review stars for each product on collection pages.

 

10. Quick shop product windows

Premium Shopify Theme Demo Site Quick Shop

These handy popup windows allow shoppers to quickly learn about and add products to the cart without leaving the page.

11. Easy to customize without editing code

Does your Shopify theme strike a good balance – enough customization options to accomplish your business objectives without so many that it becomes overwhelming to use?

12. Coded to high development standards

As your shop grows and evolves you may eventually want to customize your theme beyond what theme settings allow. This requires modifying or writing new code in your theme files. Choosing a theme that has been coded correctly and to high coding standards will save your business time and money when hiring a developer.

13. Secure and stable on all devices and screen sizes

Most online stores see a 50-50 split between mobile and desktop shoppers. And if you’re running Facebook or Instagram ads your mobile traffic will be an even greater share. Your Shopify theme should make the purchase experience effortless for shoppers on any device.

14. Navigation and mega menus for any shop size

Great Shopify themes have site navigation menus that accommodate both large and small shops. Drop down mega menus that include columns, featured products and collections, product sliders, and images provide a great way for your shoppers to find what they’re looking for from any page on your site.

15. Theme developer support

Check out the types of support your Shopify theme developer provides. Live chat support is great when you have an emergency. Contact forms work well if you have a question but can’t address the issue immediately. And a searchable knowledge base with videos and text instructions sometimes work better than either of the previous options because your question may already be answered and quickly found.

16. ADA compliance

Making sure your website is accessible to all shoppers is more important than ever and being ADA compliant helps you take the right steps to reach everyone. Surprisingly few Shopify themes are built to the ADA compliance requirements. And even when compliant you will still need to make sure your style and content customizations meet the ADA compliance specs.

17. Microinteractions

Microinteractions are small design considerations that create a more seamless journey for the user.

When someone adds a product to the cart in your theme, are there harsh transitions that leave your shopper feeling disconnected on their journey through your site? Examples include carts that pop out onto the page intrusively and carts that unexpectedly take you to a completely different page.

Instead of disrupting your shopper with the jarring add to cart examples above, your theme could use a microinteraction where the cart animates onto the foreground of the page while dimming the background.

To maintain shopping continuity, your theme could use this subtle microinteraction to indicate that they’ve 1) added a product to the cart and 2) opened the cart to view its contents.

This would also set the expectation that the cart is always going to be accessible just off screen while they are shopping on your site – and they won’t have to break their flow to view it.

18. Establish trust and convert sales

Many themes look beautiful but are hard for shoppers to use because they lack essential functions. Other themes have those missing functions and utilize conversion boosting tactics but the design falls short and gives a spammy impression to the shopper.

To turn shoppers into customers your theme needs to establish trust with beautiful aesthetics and maximize conversions with effortless functionality.

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