In order to understand why one theme may convert more than another, it first helps to understand the underlying framework of Shopify. Ruby on Rails. Ruby on Rails is a programming framework. A combination of code along with a certain way you are supposed to implement that code. Rails is designed to make programming easier, cleaner, and easier to manage. The way they approach that is by limiting options. If 80 percent of people are going to do something one way, then generally that is how Rails will do it. It makes no sense spending countless hours writing millions of lines of code, to try to cover every possible combination of things that the other 20 percent want. Shopify is much the same. It keeps things simple. This helps to make implementing it and using it a breeze. You wont find pages and pages of weird extra configuration parameters that act as a barrier to learning the system. Shopify for the most part just works and in the places where you need help many times, it will usually offer some guidance when the answer is not obvious.

MySpace as a Lesson

Understanding this “less is more” ideology is important if you want to choose a high converting theme (a theme that “converts” your visitors into customers). In many ways less is more also drives how Facebook and Amazon work, at least visually. Check out these two MySpace pages below and ask yourself, if I learned where all the pages and information is at in one of these pages, will it be any guide or help to me when I visit the other? Do all the unique options and navigation elements help me to use these pages or would they present a barrier?

The clear answer is a resounding no. Each MySpace page can present a learning curve, a cognitive barrier to the person visiting it. It operates on the premise that the pages visitors care enough about the person, brand, or company to learn how to use the page. If you learn anything from this article, it should be this: Most people don’t care. People want stability and familiarity, and they will usually respond to being forced to figure out where things are by simply closing the browser. This is one of the reasons MySpace died and is hardly used by anyone these days. What did MySpace in?

Facebook

Facebook is configurable to a point. You can upload your own header images and post unique content all day long. The page elements like the navigation, about tabs and how the posts work, however, are always the same. While you can add some different tabs and make a few small tweaks, they will still be 99% similar to all the other Facebook pages. Check out the 2 examples below. If you went to YOLO Life Supplements Facebook page and learned your way around, could you then go to Barney the Dinosaurs page and know more or less how to find stuff?

Here the answer is yes. This is because Facebook limits your options. Users who visit only one Facebook page now know how to find things on all Facebook pages. Facebook has a standardized user interface with minimal configurability. This makes it easier to use, and learning one page means learning them all. Amazon is the same. Once you know how to buy one product, you can buy any product. Each store has essentially the same options and has things in the same places.

Shopify Themes

When choosing a theme in Shopify, many people think that a MySpace type of store is what they need. They want to create fancy video hero images, then more images, then more sections that tell people how great their brand or product is. Each section is designed in a different way from their competition, each done differently so as not to give the impression of copying someone else’s page. In reality, this is the exact opposite of what works. You want your customers to be presented with as few cognitive barriers as possible. You don’t want to have to ask them to commit to learning your new design, and learning how to find stuff. You want them to commit to buying your stuff! For everything that you ask them to do, expect them to do less of something else. In other words, the second they don’t feel familiar with your sites layout and design, expect a large percentage to drop off, or bounce off the page. The more familiar the design and layout are, the more likely it is people will keep browsing and eventually convert into a customer. Because you didn’t ask them to learn your “creative” layout, they instead learned about your products. Check out these two high converting themes, The Proven Profitable Theme and Shoptimized.

See any similarities? There are tons. The more you conform to the standards used in themes like these, the more similar your site becomes to others. The more similar it is, the easier is it to use. That my fiends is the point. Your goal is not to create a work of art, or express your brands creativity by creating super unique design elements, charts and info graphics. The goal of your e-commerce site is to make navigating and buying easy. There are places to be creative, but do it in a Facebook type of way by keeping things in their respective places! I hope this helps some of you wanting to implement your first Shopify store. If you need any help drop me a line for a free consultation.