Shopify Focal Theme Review: Is This Popular Theme All It’s Hyped Up To Be?

September 25, 2023

shopify focal theme review shopify focal theme

Sometimes things just aren’t worth the hype—but just in case they are, it’s always a good idea to check.

In this case, we’ve noticed a lot of rave reviews coming out about the premium Shopify theme, Focal.

Reviews are helpful in seeing what worked (or didn’t) for others, but as with all things, your mileage may vary. So, we wanted to do the checks and balances ourselves.

In this article, we go through an analysis of the Focal theme to determine whether it’s everything you dreamt of and more in a theme—or mediocracy hidden behind the hype.

#cta-visual-pb#<cta-title>Add even more powerful customization to your store<cta-title>Use Shopify with Shogun Page Builder to create a website that works and looks like a dream.Start building for free

What is the Shopify Focal theme?

Focal was developed by Maestrooo, a Shopify Plus Partner that specializes in building themes for the platform.

It uses grid-style layouts and is designed for effective visual storytelling through lifestyle and product images.

Priced at $320, this premium option accommodates:

  • Broad customization: You can tailor website colors, sections, animations, and more to your branding.
  • Editorial content: It allows you to create long-form text sections or use over 20 prebuilt ones to tell your brand’s story.
  • High-volume sales: Build an online store that can handle tons of transactions, which is ideal for brands looking to scale.

Shopify Focal theme styles

What’s more, Focal comes in four unique styles, and each acts as a mold for its designs. Let’s look at how each of these styles differ while maintaining the same functionality.

Carbon

focal carbon theme shopify focal theme

Carbon has a sleek, minimalist aesthetic and allows stores to provide seamless navigation. It’s perfect for showcasing gadgets, electronics, and their associated accessories.

Ivory

focal ivory theme shopify focal theme

Ivory focuses on displaying larger images, which is perfect for placing individual products and collections at the forefront. As such, this style is suitable for clothing and apparel.

Quartz

focal quartz theme shopify focal theme

Quartz offers a classy and luxurious feel while leveraging slideshows and galleries—characteristics that suit high-end items such as fashion pieces or watches.

Sapphire

focal sapphire shopify focal theme

Sapphire boasts a modern look, generously making use of white space so every photo pops. That design is thus ideal for selling intricate, high-end items such as jewelry.

What types of brands is Focal best for?

Besides those that offer the products mentioned, the Shopify Focal theme is really flexible—it can adapt to different industries and businesses, big or small.

With Focal, you can design your website according to your vision. We’ve compiled a quick list of different brands using the Focal theme to give you an idea of how flexible and industry-agnostic the theme can be.

Tip: To simplify overall store design, look for an intuitive page builder like Shogun.

Apparel: Holderness & Bourne

holderness focal store shopify focal theme

Holderness & Bourne takes a minimalist approach, emphasizing images that show off their golf apparel and accessories.

Their offering ranges from shirts, shorts, and hats to collections for major golf events like the Ryder Cup.

Smartphone accessories: Dropguys

dropguys shopify focal theme

Dropguys maximizes visuals for their iPhone cases as well as screen and lens protectors by showing them in action. They also provide a seamless shopping experience through their streamlined layouts.

Lighting solutions: ELEDLights

eled lights focal store shopify focal theme

ELEDLights employs a more straightforward tactic, taking customers straight to popular categories, then providing their brand content further down.

Automotive wheels, tires, and accessories: Valor Offroad

valor focal store shopify focal theme

Valor Offroad creates an intuitive shopping experience and helps visitors imagine their products in action with stunning photos.

Women’s underwear: BRANWYN

branwyn focal store shopify focal theme

BRANWYN’s design exhibits their sustainable performance underwear in action through Focal, and they streamline their purchase experience by showcasing items straightaway. Product reviews and content are also proudly displayed to convince shoppers to buy.

Jewelry: Obsidian Piercing

obsidian focal store shopify focal theme

Obsidian Piercing walks customers through their top-quality piercing jewelry by highlighting their selling points and showing off their selection. Long text sections also detail the brand’s story.

Household and Garden: Andermatt Home & Garden

andermatt focal store shopify focal theme

Andermatt Home & Garden flaunts their environmentally friendly gardening products with ‌ clear visuals. Customers can choose bestsellers from the moment they arrive on the site, while text and video introduce the brand further down.

Education: Tampa School of Real Estate

tampa real estate store shopify focal theme

The Tampa School of Real Estate simplifies educational “shopping” by showing off their online classes and courses on their main page. Customers are then presented with the school’s guarantees and advantages to encourage a purchasing decision.

Shopify Focal theme top features

These and other brands choose Focal because it excellently blends aesthetics and functionality, enabling a beautiful design and seamless user experience (UX).

Multiple key features make this possible and add to this theme’s popularity.

Mobile responsiveness

Every option in Shopify’s Theme Store must meet the platform’s performance standards, which requires responsiveness across all types of devices.

Mobile-first design in particular is critical to making sales, as almost 80% of smartphone users have made a mobile purchase in the past six months.

By designing for those mobile users you ensure it’s as easy as possible to convert, even on a smaller screen.

focal mobile shopify focal theme

As a Shopify theme, we can rest assured Focal performs smoothly on smartphones and tablets as well as desktops.

User-friendly design

37% of website visitors assert that poor navigation and site design causes them to leave.

Focal’s intuitive layouts avoid those issues, making it easy for merchants to design storefronts and for customers to traverse them seamlessly.

Looking at their homepage layout, it opens with a slideshow where you can feature top collections, sales or deals, and other items that visitors are likely to be looking for when they visit your website.

For example, someone who sees an online ad for your holiday sale might type in your website URL directly, will see the same marketing materials on the slide, and then can do directly to your sale items.

full slideshow home page banner shopify focal theme

After the slideshow, visitors immediately see collections, where you can feature your top selling or brand new products.

You can also drag and drop different sections around based on what you want to feature first.

If you have a ton of great reviews, you can put them near the top of the homepage to show social proof. If you have a featured item you want to showcase above all else, you can switch that to the top, right below the fold, instead.

featured product shopify focal theme

The Focal theme makes it easy to create webpages that have a good flow, want to keep shoppers scrolling, make sense informationally, and highlight what you want to.

Cart and checkout

Focal’s purchasing process is all but effortless thanks to various cart and checkout improvements:

slide out cart shopify focal theme
  • Customers no longer have to visit dedicated cart pages thanks to its slide-out cart
  • Quick buy buttons instantly add items to shoppers’ carts and direct them to checkout right away
  • Cart notes allow shoppers to provide specific order instructions to merchants
  • Companies can even enable a sticky cart and in-store pickup

Marketing and conversion

Various marketing tools and conversion optimizations are also available in Focal:

  • Quick view buttons let customers view product details without leaving the page they’re shopping
  • Display product reviews to build trust with existing and potential customers
  • Showcase promos and product recommendations to entice shoppers to complete purchases or make additional ones
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  • You can create blogs and FAQ pages
focal blogs shopify focal theme
  • It’s possible to enable product badges, trust badges, and others as well
focal badges shopify focal theme

Merchandising

product merchandising shopify focal theme

How products are presented plays a huge role in your customers’ shopping experiences.

So, besides the standard support for high-resolution images and product videos, Focal leaves room for greater creativity on product pages through:

focal product visuals shopify focal theme
  • Image zoom
  • Galleries and slideshows
  • Usage information
  • Product options
  • Animations
  • Color swatches

Pop-ups and overlays

The Focal theme also supports pop-ups and other types of overlays, which many basic themes do not.

These features allow for more opportunities to gather customer emails without having to add a pop-up integration.

focal theme pop ups shopify focal theme

This is an excellent way to grow email lists so you can further nurture shoppers who aren’t quite ready to buy.

Product discovery

Customers can find new items they may like thanks to Focal’s previously mentioned product recommendations.

The theme, however, offers more product discovery capabilities:

  • Enhanced search along with product filtering and sorting make it easy to locate specific items and categories. Related content is shown as well.
  • Collection page navigation lets customers quickly browse through grouped products.
  • Other capabilities display recently viewed items, while a sticky header for easy navigation follows visitors as they scroll.
products search shopify focal theme
shopify collections blocks shopify focal theme

#cta-visual-pb#<cta-title>Power-up your Shopify store<cta-title>Use Focal and Shogun Page Builder to create a highly customizable website with a strong base and numerous conversion-boosting elements.Start building for free

What do merchants think about the Focal theme?

On paper, Focal looks impressive, and in practice, it also appears to live up to its claims, as merchant reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

focal reviews shopify focal theme

Besides its aesthetics and mobile responsive design, users appreciate how both stores and customers can use it with ease.

Not to mention, they receive direct support from Maestrooo and their team. The rare negative ratings, however, do mention issues with Focal’s setup.

#cta-paragraph-pb#Check out another highly praised Shopify theme with 95% positive ratings by reading up on the Impulse theme.

Pros and cons of the Focal theme

Based on what users have said, here’s a quick breakdown of the theme’s upsides and downsides.

Pro: Polished UX

Focal’s overall design produces user-friendly experiences.

It combines visuals and intuitive layouts with merchandising, discovery, and checkout features for smooth online shopping.

Merchants can easily build their storefronts and tailor it to their brand as well. Even developers like Quintin find it simple to work with.

“Without a doubt, one of the best-designed themes on any platform I’ve had the pleasure to use—both for customer experience (SO much polish), merchant experience, and development experience. Bravo!”

Quintin Schenage, senior web designer and developer

Pro: Optimized for mobile

Mobile commerce is predicted to make up 40.4% of ecommerce sales in 2024, presenting huge opportunities for those who tap into it.

That makes Focal’s stellar responsiveness on mobile devices a major boon for Shopify brands.

“Fast and responsive theme fully optimized for mobile. Highly recommend.”

Dropguys

Pro: Optimized for conversions

Focal’s ability to enable seamless purchase paths, as well as its trove of features, help Shopify brands build high-converting online stores.

Some even boast increased average carts.

“This theme is perfectly optimized for conversions and offers many features, especially to increase the average cart. It is fluid, fast, and easy to customize. What more could you ask for? Congratulations to the developers!”

Fauna

Pro: Hands-on support

Not all of Focal’s users have the technical know-how to set it up.

However, Maestrooo and their team actively provide support to those who run into any hiccups, and most of their customers say they’re superb.

“The guys that made this theme are amazing. I’ve installed it and reached out to them to see if they could do a couple of tweaks. They did it for free. On top of that, they’re polite, fast to respond to emails, and really helpful.”

Branwyn

Con: Complicated setup

For those looking to make complex design customizations, Focal can become a challenge.

It requires some knowledge of Liquid (Shopify’s coding language), CSS, and other technical aspects. Even some experienced developers have found it difficult to work with.

“The basic setup of this theme is a real hodgepodge of Liquid, HTML, CSS, custom JS, and JSON configuration objects, making any customization very involved. I’m pretty experienced as a developer, and this is not easy or quick.”

Gossamer Petals

Customizing Focal in the Shopify theme editor

With a solid understanding of Focal under your belt, it’s time to learn how to build your store with the theme using Shopify’s theme editor.

shopify focal theme added shopify focal theme

Before you start, though, make sure it’s loaded into your admin. Then, click Customize.

Templates

First, note that Shopify provides templates that serve as the foundation your pages are built on.

shopify page templates 2 shopify focal theme

You can access them by clicking on the dropdown menu at the top, with options available for your:

  • Homepage
  • Products
  • Collections
  • Blogs
  • Cart
  • Checkout
  • And more

Within Focal you can also create templates and file them under the different pages you want to create.

Sections

For our example, we selected the Home page template. You’ll notice it has many components neatly arranged on the left.

sections focal theme shopify focal theme

These are its sections, where you can incorporate customizable elements including, but not limited to:

  • Pop-ups
  • Banners
  • Slideshows
  • Collections
  • Images
  • Featured products
  • Testimonials

Adding sections and blocks

shopify add section shopify focal theme

The template is unrestrictive as well: You can add more sections or blocks by clicking on + Add section or + Add block, which opens up customization options in another menu.

These include a newsletter signup, video, and a custom Liquid block, to name but a few.

Moving sections

slideshow header banner shopify focal theme

If you want to move sections around the page, you simply drag and drop them up or down the menu.

All you have to do is click and hold on the six-dotted icon to the right of your selection.

Customizing sections

Meanwhile, each section has unique customization options that you can tweak via the interface on the right.

featured collections section shopify focal theme

For example, with Featured collections selected, you’ll see specific characteristics you can enable, including:

  • Subheading
  • Heading
  • Content
  • How many products to show
  • The number of products per row
  • Whether products should be stacked
  • If an add to cart button should be displayed
  • Page colors

However, remember to customize these two key sections carefully:

  • Header: This is where your brand’s logo, navigation menus, and language selector are situated.
  • Footer: This is where brand information, additional navigation options, newsletter signups, social media links, and other similar elements are located.

Tweaking theme settings

shopify theme settings shopify focal theme

To access Focal’s settings, click on the cog icon on the left. This will reveal various options, among which are foundational ones like:

  • Appearance: This is where you set the thickness of icons and your sections’ vertical spacing.
  • Colors: This is where you tailor your color scheme and choose options for your header, footer, buttons, and more.
  • Typography: This determines your heading and body font styles. Matching ones produce a consistent look, but you can make them differ from one another if you want.
  • Animation: This sets animations like image zooms, whether products or blog posts are revealed one at a time, and the unveiling of product media.
  • Social media: You include your social account URLs here, and then they’ll be presented to visitors in your footer.
  • Checkout: This lets you further customize your checkout page.

Use Shogun Page Builder for seamless personalization

Shopify’s theme editor offers a simple website design experience. However, the Shogun Page Builder provides deeper Focal customizations and a more intuitive experience.

It works well with whatever theme you choose, taking on the styling you’ve set, then offering additional room for design creativity.

Starting with Shogun

First, install it through Shopify’s App Store. Once done, you’ll be redirected to the app.

Then, navigate to its Settings and input your Storefront Password. This lets you see your Shopify theme on Page Builder.

shogun shopify app 1 shopify focal theme

You can then click on Dashboard to start page creation.

Here, you’ll notice that Shogun also provides templates, or you can choose to start from scratch. The same goes for blog posts.

You can even craft and store your own templates, which lets you compile branded designs that align with the look and feel of pages across your store.

shogun templates page shopify focal theme

Importing and editing product and collection pages from your Shopify store is also an option, which lessens the work of starting anew.

product collection templates shopify focal theme

Building your pages

For the sake of this guide, we’ll show you how to build a fresh page and introduce you to Shogun’s many aspects.

You can then apply this knowledge throughout your own customization of Focal.

Click on Create new page.

shogun create new page from scratch shopify focal theme

Name it, then make sure to tick Include theme’s header and footer so your blank slate has the Focal top and bottom built-in. For landing pages, you can leave them off.

Once done, you’ll notice the page is essentially empty.

The block library

shogun blocks shopify focal theme

Clicking on either Block Library in the center or the icon on the left reveals a menu containing pre-built blocks or already-structured components like:

  • Banners
  • Featured boxes
  • FAQs
  • Product sliders
  • Value props
shogun block library shopify focal theme

Shogun has a key advantage over Shopify regarding these components because you can drag and drop them directly onto the page, which enables an intuitive design process.

The same applies when you want to move around individual elements.

shogun page builder 3 shopify focal theme

For instance, this is what a portion of the page looks like after dragging and dropping additional value prop and product slider blocks, which took just a few seconds.

Elements

shogun elements shopify focal theme

Next, clicking on the + icon on the left reveals Shogun’s elements, which are individual pieces you can add to your page.

These come in different types as well.

Structure
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These help structure your layouts before adding in content—a design aspect where Shopify’s theme editor falls short. You can place your images, video, text, and more within this structure.

  • Container: A large, rectangular space that houses page elements
  • Columns: A container split into two, with each half accommodating elements
  • Slider: Lets you add a slideshow, and each slide can contain elements
  • Table: Lets you add a container with multiple columns, rows, and a header
  • Tabs: Inserts a container with clickable tabs
  • Accordion: Adds containers that reveal their content when clicked
Content
content elements shogun shopify focal theme

These elements, meanwhile, allow you to add visuals, text, and other content forms. Along with the self-explanatory Image, Video, Heading, Text, and Button, you can also insert:

  • Icon: This inserts small icons that can visually represent categories, actions, and the like.
  • Countdown: This adds a timer that can count down to new product launches or be used for limited-time offers.
  • Separator: This places a divider between portions of your page.
  • Map: This inserts a Google map you can use to show your business’s location.
  • HTML: This adds a section that you can customize using HTML.
Shopify
shopify elements shogun shopify focal theme

Through Shogun, you can also add elements from your Shopify store.

However, before you can insert a product’s Title, Description, Image, or other component, you need to insert a Product Box or Collection to your page first.

Once they’re placed, you can incorporate an Image Gallery, the product’s Price, Variants, Quantity, an Add to cart button, Reviews, and widgets.

Forms
forms elements shopify focal theme

This type is simple, as it lets you incorporate text input forms, dropdown lists, check boxes, radio and submit buttons, as well as reCAPTCHA elements.

But, similar to Shopify elements, you’ll need to add a Form Box before you can use them.

Alternatively, Shogun also integrates with Klaviyo to add custom forms so you can add emails submitted on different landing pages directly to the right email list.

Social

social elements shopify focal theme

Shogun’s social media elements are straightforward—you’re able to add icons that direct shoppers toward profiles on platforms like:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest

The one dedicated to Instagram embeds your feed directly into the page.

Customizing your pages

Now that you know about blocks and elements, the next step is to learn their various customization options. Here, we’ll cover how you can tweak the most vital ones.

Compared to Shopify’s theme editor, each Shogun section has a deeper set of design choices, and you can tweak them using the interface on the right.

shogun container settings shopify focal theme

For instance, you can tailor each section’s:

  • Alignment
  • Background
  • Overlay
  • Animations
  • Dimensions
  • Padding
  • Borders
  • CSS
container settings shopify focal theme

With banners, you unlock the option to enable parallax scrolling, where its background moves slower than the foreground and adds a visually appealing effect.