After you create an account for your BigCommerce store, you’ll notice that Cornerstone Light is set up as your theme by default.
Of course, you don’t need to stick with the default theme if you don’t want to.
Cornerstone Light is just one of the 100+ options that you have to choose from in the BigCommerce Theme Marketplace. And while Cornerstone Light and several other themes were developed in-house by BigCommerce, there are also many themes in the Marketplace that are provided and supported by third-party agencies.
In this guide, we’ll review the most popular third-party theme providers and show you the best BigCommerce themes that they have to offer.
Founded in 2009 and based in Victoria, Canada, Pixel Union is well-known throughout the BigCommerce community. They are by far the most prolific third-party agency featured in the BigCommerce Theme Marketplace, with over a dozen themes to their name.
All Pixel Union themes include:
- Free customer support
- Free theme updates
- Responsive design
- Customizable layout
- Built-in style and color options
- Advanced filtering and search
- Social media sharing icons
- Cross-browser compatibility
- Search engine optimization tools
Variants: Soho Classic, Soho Light, Soho Bright, Soho Rich
Pixel Union’s Soho has a fun, bold design that’s a perfect fit for handmade crafts and other creative products. Its most distinctive design element is the playful circle icon that’s used to display prices.
Do you have a large catalog? No problem! Soho was designed specifically for stores with sizable inventories.
Variants: Mogul Classic, Mogul Clean, Mogul Warm, Mogul Dark
Like Soho, the Mogul theme is optimized for large catalogs. Mogul is much different than Soho design-wise, though.
While Soho goes out of its way to be stylish, Mogul is more focused on user experience. For example, the left sidebar on Mogul’s homepage is a little clunky, but it does help visitors navigate through your site.
Variants: Lookbook Standard, Lookbook Colorful, Lookbook Organic, Lookbook Dark
Want to show off your products? You won’t find a better theme for that purpose than Lookbook. It will certainly help you catch the visitor’s eye with its highly visual layout.
Keep in mind that Lookbook works best for single product stores and stores with low inventories: if you have a large inventory, you’ll be better off with a theme like Soho or Mogul that gives you the space to feature more products above the fold.
Variants: Solo Bright, Solo Luxe, Solo Minimal, Solo Organic
As you might have guessed from the name, Solo was built for single product stores. It cuts out all the noise and allows you to put your product front-and-center with full-width images.
Lone Star Templates
Lone Star Templates is a Certified BigCommerce Partner based in Buda, Texas.
Variants: Vault Bright, Vault Cool, Vault Natural
Most BigCommerce free themes were developed by BigCommerce, but that’s not the case for every free theme. Case in point: Lonestar’s Vault template won’t cost you a dime.
They say that “you get what you pay for”, but every cliché has its exceptions. The Vault theme might be low in price, but it’s high in quality. Out of the box, it gives you everything you need to set up an online store that looks as good as any Fortune 500 company’s site.
Variants: Parts Warehouse Classic, Parts Warehouse Light, Parts Warehouse Dark, Parts Warehouse Champion
When you have a particularly large catalog, it can be difficult to display all the products you have to offer without cluttering up your pages or making your navigation system confusingly complex.
With its clean, organized design, Parts Warehouse gives you the ability to feature hundreds of products on your store without negatively affecting user experience. Its left sidebar with collapsible categories allows visitors to quickly find what they’re looking for.
PapaThemes is an app and template provider (with an unforgettable logo) that has created a number of themes for BigCommerce.
Variants: Supermarket Yellow, Supermarket Pink, Supermarket Blue, Supermarket Modern
Supermarket offers an excellent blend of style and usability. This well-balanced theme works well for just about any type of store. With its signature categories dropdown menu, Supermarket is an especially good fit for stores with large inventories. And if you want to make your store look like Amazon, check out the Supermarket Modern variant of this theme.
Variants: Chiara Furniture, Chiara Sport, Chiara Toys, Chiara Fashion
Chiara is characterized by a bold, image-heavy style.
High-definition images are an effective way to hold the attention of your visitors and express what’s appealing about your products, but they can also slow your site down if you’re not careful.
A slow site is unacceptable, as visitors will back out (and likely head over to one of your competitor’s sites) if your store takes more than a few seconds to load.
Thankfully, Chiara has a built-in page speed tester, which you can use to ensure that you’re never losing traffic due to slow load times. If there is ever a problem, you’ll know about it, so you’ll have the opportunity to get it fixed quickly.
PSDCenter is a web design agency and Certified BigCommerce Partner based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Variants: Milano Default, Milano Blue
Of the BigCommerce premium themes by PSDCenter, Milano stands out as the best. With features such as scrollable slideshows and highlighted product sections, you can use this theme to make an impressive online store with ease. Also, at $170, it’s one of the most affordable premium BigCommerce themes.
Must-Have Features for BigCommerce Themes
Now that we’ve gone over the best BigCommerce themes of 2019, let’s review how you should determine which theme is right for your specific store.
The best theme for one business isn’t necessarily the best theme for another. The type of products that you sell, the demographics of your average customer, and many other factors will affect your decision-making process here. As we touched on in the descriptions of BigCommerce themes above, one key factor is the size of your inventory: some themes are made for large inventories, while others are better suited for smaller inventories.
That said, there are a few must-have features that you should look for in every theme, regardless of what kind of store you have. These include:
About half of all visits to your site will be made on a mobile device. That means your site needs to look good and function well on small screens. Otherwise, half of the people who land on your site will likely back out without making a purchase.
With a responsive theme, your store will automatically adjust to the size of the screen it’s being viewed on. Don’t use a theme that doesn’t have this feature.
The benefits of online shopping are obvious: instead of having to drag yourself to a brick-and-mortar store and wander through aisles until you finally find what you want, you can simply have your order sent to your doorstep with the touch of a button.
There is a downside to online shopping, though. You don’t get to evaluate your order in person before you buy it, so there’s a chance you won’t get exactly what you were expecting.
This is why high-quality images are so important to your online store. They allow you to compensate for the fact that customers can’t physically inspect the items in their cart before they complete their order.
So, make sure your theme is able to handle high-resolution images. These visuals give customers some peace of mind, making them more likely to trust your service and buy from you.
We live in an age of distraction. From the moment they wake up to when they close their eyes for sleep at the end of the day, people almost always have a device within reach that has dozens of apps calling out for their attention. In addition to those technical distractions, there are also the traditional stresses of work and family that keep people up and moving.
You’ve probably lost countless sales to visitors adding something to their cart, getting up to do something else, and then completely forgetting about the order that they were considering making on your store.
The persistent cart feature ensures that items remain in the customer’s cart even when they switch over to a different device. This will remind customers about incomplete orders, and it increases the odds that eventually they’ll make the purchase.
One Page Checkout
Again, people are easily distracted these days. The more steps there are between browsing products and placing an order on your site, the fewer visitors you’ll be able to convert into customers.
Once a customer is ready to check out, there’s no reason to make them jump through extra hoops and click through multiple pages to fill out their contact, shipping, and payment information. That’s just asking for an abandoned cart. The one page checkout feature streamlines the checkout process and helps you make more sales.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the key to your online store’s success.
Most web traffic is generated through search engines, and the majority of traffic from any given query goes to the top two results.
In other words, it isn’t good enough to just make it to the front page of search engine results pages (SERPs) that are relevant to your business. You need to make it to the very top of SERPs to really bring in new customers to your store.
One trick to getting to the top of SERPs is to pay attention to off-page SEO, which involves adding your targeted keywords to your page’s URL, meta description, and other areas that aren’t actually seen on the page. Your theme should allow you to easily edit these areas so that you can fully optimize your site for search engines.
Comprehensive Customer Support
When your site is down, you must get it back up as soon as possible. You’ll be missing out on revenue until you’re able to figure out how to fix whatever’s going wrong, of course.
That’s the direct consequence to downtime: the indirect consequence is the impact it has on your reputation. It makes you look unprofessional. If you can’t even keep your site up, why would a customer trust you to provide them with efficient shipping, returns, etc.?
Ideally, your theme will have 24/7 live phone or chat support. The least you’ll want is a guarantee that they’ll respond to support tickets within 24 hours.
If you paid hundreds of dollars for a theme, you shouldn’t be charged an additional fee every time the theme is updated. And if you chose a free theme, what was the point of doing that if you were just going to end up paying for updates down the road anyway?
Thankfully, free updates is the norm for BigCommerce themes, but you should always double-check before you confirm your purchase.
Create Your Own Design with Shogun
No matter what theme you choose, you’re going to be limited to a certain range of customization options within your theme. For more control over the look of your BigCommerce store, you’ll need to pair your theme with a page building app.
Specifically, the Shogun page builder app allows you to create whatever kind of store you want.
Here’s how it works: Shogun has a drag-and-drop interface and a library of elements that you use to create your pages. Whenever you’d like to add a particular element to a page, you simply drop it in where you want it. The available elements range from simple sections for text and images to advanced features such as countdown clocks, slider menus, and customer reviews.
With these tools, you can build pretty much anything you need for your store by yourself instead of hiring a web developer. That has the potential to save you hundreds of thousands of dollars.