How to Change Your Theme in Shopify

November 19, 2019
Derek Cromwell

How to Change Your Theme in Shopify

November 19, 2019
Derek Cromwell
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There are Shopify themes available for every kind of online store.

For example, an electronics store looking for an energetic and sleek design should be happy with Kingdom...... single-product stores will find the perfect match in Parallax...

Kingdom theme

... single-product stores will find the perfect match in Parallax...

Parallax theme

... and Empire is an excellent fit for stores with a large product catalog.

Empire theme

A new Shopify account comes with the Debut theme by default. In this guide, we'll show you how to switch to one of the many other Shopify themes that are available.

Customize your Shopify theme with ease.
Join 18,000 other leading merchants who use Shogun Page Builder to customize their storefronts. Start your free trial here.

How to Change Your Shopify Theme

You can see the current theme of your store by logging into your Shopify dashboard and visiting the “Themes” section using the navigation panel.

You can see the current theme of your store by logging into your Shopify dashboard and visiting the “Themes” section using the navigation panel

If you haven't installed any other themes then you'll only have the Debut theme listed here by default. 

You're free to add up to 20 themes to your theme library (including the default theme). At any time you can make customizations to individual themes or change your Shopify theme to any another theme you've installed.

Note that just because you install a theme to your library doesn't mean that theme is active.  Whatever theme is active and published will be listed in the "Current Theme" section of the Themes page. The remainder will be listed below it under "More Themes".

To Change Your Active Theme in Shopify

Step 1: Navigate to the Theme Dashboard

Once you're logged into your Shopify admin panel, use the navigation pane to go to Online Store > Themes.

Once you're logged into your Shopify admin panel, use the navigation pane to go to Online Store > Themes

Step 2: Find Your New Theme

To change your Shopify theme, find the new theme in the "More Themes" section of the Themes page.

To change your Shopify theme, find the new theme in the "More Themes" section of the Themes page

Click on Actions > Publish for your desired theme.

Click on Actions > Publish for your desired theme

Step 3: Publish Your New Theme

In the Publish window that appears for the new theme, click "Publish". This will make the new theme active and will deactivate your old theme, moving it to the "More Themes" section.

Remember, you can only have one active theme at a time.

Your Content Is Safe When Changing Themes

Any content you've loaded into your site prior to changing themes will remain. This includes changes to your home page, contact information, collection pages, products, and new pages you've created. 

A key thing to remember is that any changes made to the code or template files of your theme may not carry over to the new theme. When you activate a new theme, the template files for that theme replace previous template files. 

For example, if you edited the code to add sidebar options to a specific template file in your previous theme, those changes may not be present when you change your Shopify theme. You'll likely need to replicate your changes in the new theme if there are custom features or design elements you want to carry over.

Your previous customizations aren't lost, though. 

Any customizations you made to the previous theme will be saved. This allows you to quickly revert with nothing lost if you're not happy after changing your theme in Shopify.

How to Change Your Theme - Acquiring New Themes

There are two ways to acquire a new theme if you want to change your theme in Shopify.

  • Purchase a free or premium theme from the Shopify store
  • Upload a theme your purchased elsewhere
Visit Theme Store

The most common way is to use Shopify's Theme Store, which is loaded with a variety of themes categorized based on collections and industries.

Shopify theme store

The Shopify Theme Store includes free as well as premium themes, each with their own unique features and layouts to help you find a fitting design for your online store.

Each of the themes in Shopify's store include a link to see a live preview, like a test-drive, to help you take the theme for a spin before choosing it or buying into a premium theme.

Speck and Stone is an online retailer hosted on the Shopify platform, and it was built using the Brooklyn (free) theme from Shopify.

Speck and Stone

Check out our updated guide on the best Shopify themes for 2019 for more great free and premium options.

Once you're ready, you can install the theme to your library right from the Shopify Theme Store. Once installed, it's available to customize and publish whenever you're ready to change your Shopify theme.

Uploading your own theme

Shopify themes are also available outside the Shopify Theme Store. 3rd party developers offer a variety of themes for Shopify, coded using Shopify's custom Liquid code.

If you purchase a theme from a reputable 3rd party, you can upload the theme files through your Admin dashboard. Once uploaded, your new theme will appear in the theme library just like those purchased from the Shopify Theme Store, and are ready to be customized and published once visible.

What to Consider When Changing Your Shopify Theme

When choosing a theme for your Shopify store, don't focus too intently on whether or not you like the way the theme preview looks. There are a number of factors you should keep in mind before you change your Shopify theme.

Not only is this a visual representation of your business, but the theme you choose can have an impact on the performance of your store.

One study found that 75% of consumers state that poor web design and functionality can impact their trust with a new site. If your store feels thrown together, with a poor user experience, you'll struggle to gain consumer trust and you'll likely struggle with high cart abandonment and bounce rates.

Website's first impression
Image Source

Try not to base your choice on the colors or style elements in the preview because any theme will let you customize these options. Instead, Shopify recommends asking yourself a series of questions when you're shopping to change your Shopify theme:

  • What kind of experience am I trying to create for my customer?
  • What are some desired features I want for my store?
  • What are my competitors doing that I like, and how can I emulate it?
  • How do I want my products to be displayed?
  • How many products will I be displaying on my store?
  • Do I want a paid or free theme?

Some additional things to consider when preparing to change your Shopify theme to something new:

  • Consider whether your products and categories will work with the theme as is, or if custom code will be needed
  • Think about how much content you want on your store; is the theme capable of displaying your content properly?
  • Understand how content gets displayed and make sure you have the assets for it; does the theme require big hero images with text overlays?
  • Will your logo and brand sit well with the layout and design of the theme?

Make sure you can get support for the theme; are the developers reachable or is there an active support community for the theme?

It's not about whether or not you like it; it's about how the theme and its options will impact the consumer shopping experience.

Easily Customize Your Theme with Shogun

The first step of changing your Shopify theme is complete - now it's time to have some fun. Once you've chosen a theme that meets your needs for the look and feel of your online store, it's time to customize it. Virtually every theme from Shopify is loaded with options to help you customize it to fit your unique brand. You can use your Shopify admin dashboard to make basic changes or take customization to the next level with the Shogun App for Shopify.

Once you've made the theme your own, it's time to make it live. Follow the steps above to change your Shopify theme, click publish, and let your customers check out the new design of your online store.

Build your store, your way
Run a fast-growing Shopify store? Join 18,000 iconic brands who drag and drop together high-converting pages with Shogun Page Builder.

Derek Cromwell

Derek is the founder of Thunder Bay Media and lover of everything related to content writing and copywriting. He has 15+ years of copywriting, content writing, and digital marketing experience and is a featured guest blogger published by more than 30 marketing publications.