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Complete guide to Shopify Design 2023

Designing a Shopify store is all about finding the right balance between what you want to do, what you can afford, and what your customers want.

This can feel overwhelming if you're new to e-commerce design, but don't worry—we've got your back!

In this guide, we'll walk you through the entire process of designing a Shopify store.

What is Shopify store design?

Shopify store design is the process of creating a website for your business to sell products. 

With Shopify, you have total autonomy over how your website appears and feels. You can customize it to your heart's content and create a unique user experience that reflects your brand. Shopify is also designer-friendly, meaning you can use any text editor to modify all template files and assets. Plus, syncing your changes to your live store is a breeze, so you can test out your new design without worrying about disrupting your online presence.

It's easy to assume that picking a Shopify theme from the vast selection of templates is all it takes to nail your store's design. However, the truth is a little more complex.

While choosing a theme is certainly the first step in the design process, it's far from the only one. Design is about so much more than just the look and feel of your site. It encompasses your branding, the images you use to promote your products, where you place them, how you display them, and even the smallest details like buttons and pop-ups.

In short, every element of your store plays a crucial role in creating an exceptional User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX). Achieving this level of excellence takes hard work and attention to detail, but it's worth it to create a truly standout online presence.

Why is Shopify store design important?

1. First impressions matter

The first thing a customer sees when they arrive at your store is the design. Does it look professional? Does it reflect the products you're selling? Is it easy to navigate? These are all important questions that can make or break your conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

Did you know that it only takes mere 7 seconds to make a first impression? So your brand needs to be well-designed from the get-go, with a clear message.

It's important to remember that first impressions are not only about how your site looks but also how it feels. If you want to create an engaging experience for customers, you need to make sure that your store design is consistent with your brand and messaging—and that means more than just throwing in a few photos of your products on the homepage!

Just think about which of the following stores would you prefer -

2. Branding

When designing your Shopify store, you want to make sure that your brand has been incorporated into every aspect of the design.

A good brand will make people feel like they've found something they can trust, and that they can connect with on a deeper level. A great brand will make them want to buy everything you sell!

A Shopify store design can help you create a strong brand that connects with customers on an emotional level.

This can include colors, fonts, logos, and even the layout and organization of your products. Shopify makes it easy for you to create custom themes for your store so that everything looks cohesive and on-brand.

3. User experience

The best Shopify store designs are those that realize User Experience (UX)  is the most important part of any e-commerce website. If your users don’t have a great experience on your site, they won’t come back.

When you want to drive traffic to your site, there are a lot of things you can do: SEO, paid advertising, social media marketing, etc. 

But when all these tactics are taken into account, nothing has more impact than how easy it is for users to find what they're looking for on your page. And this is where good design comes in—it helps people find what they need quickly and easily so that they can make a purchase without being distracted by other things on the page (or worse: leaving!).

You also need to make sure that it doesn’t take too long for them to get through each page on the site, among other things to ensure great UX on your Shopify store.

4. Conversion rate optimization

This is because your Shopify store design affects how people perceive it, and therefore influences their decision to purchase or not. If a site has a good design, customers will trust it more than they would another site with less attractive aesthetics. 

This trust leads to more purchases because customers are more likely to complete an order if they believe they're dealing with a legitimate business.

5. Search engine optimization

The key to SEO is making sure that your content is easily accessible by search engines and that it provides value to users.

Shopify store design is important for SEO because it affects how your products are displayed on the page and how easy it is for users to navigate through the content on your site, among many other things. 

So, when you're designing your Shopify store, you need to be thinking about how you can make it easier for Google to crawl and index all of the content that's on your site. 

6. Mobile responsiveness

In the last few years, mobile devices have become the dominant way that people access the internet. 

So if you want to make sure that your customers are able to easily find and buy your products on their phones, you need to design a Shopify store that  is fully responsive. This means that it will automatically adjust to look good on any device—from desktop computers all the way down to smartphones and tablets, so no matter what device a customer uses, they'll always be able to find your products in an easy-to-read format.

How to design a Shopify store?

There's a lot to consider when you're building your Shopify store. You have to think about your brand, and how you want your customers to feel when they come into your store. You also need to think about what will make them want to stay and come back for more.

1. Pick the right theme

When it comes to designing your Shopify store, the first thing you need to do is pick a theme. You can choose from thousands of different themes on Shopify, and they range from simple and clean to highly customized and complex. Themes come in different price ranges—some are free and some have a monthly fee associated with them.

Some themes are designed specifically for certain niches, like fashion or jewelry. Choose one that fits your brand identity and style.

If you're not sure where to start, we recommend going with a default theme. It's easy to customize and comes with pre-built pages and layouts that will help you get started as quickly as possible.

2. Customize your theme

Once you've chosen a theme, you can customize it to fit your brand perfectly by changing fonts, and colors, and even adding special effects like animations or videos.

Read more about Shopify theme customization here.

3. Add Shopify apps based on your store requirements

Shopify gives you the ability to add apps to your store in order to help you make it work for you. These apps can include things like shipping software, customer support tools, social media integrations, and analytics.

Explore the Shopify App Store to find apps that cater to your needs.

How to design a store on Shopify - Important elements for your Shopify store design

Universal elements

1. Functional navigation bar

All Shopify stores should have a functional navigation bar. This is a universal element that helps visitors find the products they're looking for and get through your store with ease.

How to add: 

Every Shopify theme comes with a navigation/menu bar. To edit your menu, from your Shopify admin, go to Online Store > Navigation.

Best practices: 

  • Group similar items together and use submenus to organize content into clear and logical categories.
  • Prioritize important pages and pages, such as your "About Us" or "Contact" page, in the main menu to ensure easy access.
  • If your store has a large inventory, consider including a search bar in the navigation bar to make it easier for customers to find what they're looking for.
  • Ensure that the navigation bar is prominently displayed and easily accessible on all pages of your website.
  • Regularly review your navigation bar and analyze user behavior to identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes.

2. Announcement bar

The announcement bar is a simple way to make announcements to your customers. It can be used for displaying new products, sale offers, promotions, events, etc.

How to add: 

Most Shopify themes include an announcement bar, which you can modify and personalize using the Shopify theme editor. However, if your chosen theme doesn't include this feature, don't worry - you can always install the Free Announcement Bar app.

Best practices:

  • Keep it short and sweet.
  • Use attention-grabbing language.
  • Make it visually appealing.
  • Use your announcement bar to promote time-sensitive events, sales, or promotions to create a sense of urgency and encourage customers to act quickly.
  • If your announcement bar is promoting a specific product or sale, make sure it links to the relevant page to make it easy for customers to take action.
  • Avoid displaying your announcement bar too frequently, as this can be seen as annoying or intrusive by customers.

3. Footer

A footer is a section located at the bottom of a website or webpage that typically contains important information such as contact details, copyright information, legal disclaimers, and links to other relevant pages. 

How to add: 

Every Shopify theme comes with a footer. To edit your footer, from your Shopify admin, go to Online Store > Navigation.

Best practices:

  • Include essential information such as your contact details, shipping and return policy, and social media links. Also, include links to important pages such as your "About Us" page, FAQ page, and customer support page to help customers find the information they need.
  • Use hierarchy to organize the content in your footer, with the most important information at the top.
  • Use clear and concise language
  • Use design elements such as color, font, and imagery to make your footer visually appealing and engaging.
  • Consider including a newsletter signup

Homepage elements

1. Header

The first thing your customers see when they land on your homepage is the header—which is why it's so important to make sure this area looks great. You can use a logo or an image to bring attention to your brand, and then fill the rest of the space with text that explains what you do and what you offer.

How to add: 

Add and customize your header through the Shopify theme editor.

Best practices: 

  • Ensure a clear hierarchy of information. Include your logo and a tagline or brief description of your business, along with navigation links to key pages on your site.
  • Use clear and legible typography
  • Consider including a call to action (CTA).
  • Use high-quality images.

2. About brand/brand story

Your brand story should be succinct and clearly communicate what your business is about, what sets it apart from other companies in your field, and why customers should choose you over competitors. Make sure that your brand story is easily accessible from the homepage so visitors can get a quick overview before they abandon your site.

How to add: 

You can add this section through the Shopify theme editor.

3. Best-seller/featured products

These are two different things but essentially serve the same purpose: highlighting your most popular items for sale on your website. Customers love browsing through these sections because it gives them a sense of what products your store has to offer without having to go through each page individually (which can take ages).

How to add: 

You can add this section through the Shopify theme editor.

Best practices:

  • Use high-quality images.
  • Use short, attention-grabbing descriptions that highlight the key features and benefits of the product.
  • Keep the section fresh by updating it regularly with new products or rotating featured items.
  • Add clear call-to-action buttons, such as "Buy Now" or "Add to Cart," to encourage visitors to take action and make a purchase.

3. Collection list

A collection list is an essential part of every Shopify store because it allows you to display all of your products without overwhelming visitors to your site with too much information at once (which can cause them to bounce before they've even had a chance to look). 

How to add: 

You can add this section through the Shopify theme editor.

Best practices:

  • Consider prioritizing the categories that generate the most revenue or are the most popular with your customers. 
  • Use clear and descriptive titles
  • Use high-quality images that represent the products or services in each category. 
  • Ensure that the collections list is easy to navigate, either by using a dropdown menu or by displaying the categories in a grid or list format. 

4. Testimonials

One of the best things you can do for your Shopify store design is to include testimonials from your customers. You can use these testimonials to show off how much people love your products, or how great you are at customer service.

This is a great way to build trust with new customers, and it's also one of the most effective ways to close sales. Testimonials are a great way to show that other people have experienced success when using your product or service—and if they've had success, there's no reason why you won't either!

How to add: 

You can add this section through the Shopify theme editor.

Best practices:

  • You don't need to include every single testimonial you've received. Instead, choose a handful of testimonials that are most relevant and impactful.
  • Include testimonials from different types of customers (e.g. businesses of different sizes or individuals from different demographics) to showcase your business's versatility and appeal to a wider audience.
  • Including photos or videos of the people who provided the testimonials can make them more compelling and authentic. 
  • Make sure your testimonials section is easily visible on your homepage, ideally above the fold. 
  • Use design elements like color, typography, and layout to make your testimonials section visually appealing and stand out. Make sure the testimonials are easy to read and that the design matches the overall aesthetic of your website.

Product page elements

1. Product images

The image is the first thing your customers will see when they land on your product page. It's important that you use high-quality images that show off the item in its best light and are visible on a variety of screen sizes. You can upload your own images or use stock photos from various websites.

How to add:

Product images are enabled by default. To customize it, click on individual product pages on the Shopify admin.

Best practices:

  • Use high-quality images
  • Include product images that show the product being used or in context, such as on a person or in a room. This can help customers visualize how the product will look or work in their own lives.
  • Use consistent styling for all product images, such as using the same background, lighting, and image size. 
  • Include multiple images of each product, showing the product from different angles and in different contexts.
  • Use zoom and pan features on product images to allow customers to see details up close.
  • Use alt text for all images.

2. Product description 

The product description is one of the most important elements of a Shopify store design. It's what your customers read to help them decide if they want to buy your products. 

How to add:

Product images are enabled by default. To customize it, click on individual product pages on the Shopify admin.

Best practices:

  • Focus on the benefits of the product, rather than just its features
  • Keep it concise and to the point.
  • Use clear and simple language.
  • Include technical details about the product, such as its dimensions, materials, and any relevant certifications. 
  • Use imagery (if necessary), such as photos or diagrams, to help illustrate the product and its features. 
  • Address common customer concerns in your product descriptions, such as durability, safety, or ease of use.

3. Social proof

Reviews let shoppers know what other people think about a product, which is important if you want them to make an informed decision about whether it's right for them. And they're also a great way to build trust with your customers, so they'll be more likely to come back again in the future!

How to add: 

You can add this section using certain Shopify apps like Judge Me.

Best practices:

  • Include at least 2 reviews
  • Enable sorting and filtering of reviews

4. Personalized recommendations

Personalized recommendations are a great way to increase your store's average order value. This section can be added below the product description or customer reviews.

How to add:

If you want to showcase product recommendations on your store, it's essential to select a theme that incorporates a complementary products section and product recommendations section. Once you've found a compatible theme, you can add these sections to your product pages to display your recommended products to shoppers.

You can also add this section using certain Shopify apps like Wiser.

Best practices:

  • Use data to make personalized recommendations based on the customer's browsing and purchasing history. This can include recommended products, similar products, or products that other customers with similar browsing or purchase histories have also purchased.
  • Test and Iterate.

Cart page elements

1. Trust badges

Trust badges are visual cues that help your customers feel safe and confident when they're making a purchase. They can be words or logos, but they should always be clear, visible, and trustworthy.

How to add:

You can add this section using certain Shopify apps.

Best practices:

  • Include relevant badges
  • Place the badges strategically
  • Use high-quality images for your trust badges. 
  • Display third-party endorsements

2. Personalized recommendations

Personalized recommendations during checkout are an excellent way to encourage customers to buy more from you than just one item. By showing them items they may be interested in purchasing based on their previous purchases (or even based on simple browsing patterns), you increase the chance that they will add these additional items to their carts as well. 

This can lead to higher average order values because people feel like they're getting a deal for buying everything at once rather than just one thing at a time.

How to add:

You can add this section using certain Shopify apps.

Best practices:

  • Use data to make personalized recommendations based on the customer's browsing and purchasing history. This can include recommended products, similar products, or products that other customers with similar browsing or purchase histories have also purchased.


When you're building a Shopify store, it's easy to get bogged down in the details. You might spend days just trying to figure out which fonts best suit your brand, and another few hours deciding whether you need an animated background or not.

We hope the Shopify store design tips mentioned above helped you.

If you need additional help, reach out to the Shopify experts at Friction Studio. We design, build, and optimize Shopify & Shopify Plus websites for D2C brands. Check out some of our work here.

Schedule a call with us to get started!


  • How do I customize my Shopify store

You can customize your Shopify store by selecting a theme, adding products, setting up payment and shipping options, and configuring design and layout.

  • How much does it cost to design on Shopify

While it depends on the type of design, ideally it should cost $4k-5k for complete store design and development.

  • What is the benefit of Shopify store design

Great Shopify store design can help with -

  • First impressions 
  • Branding
  • User experience
  • Conversion rate optimization
  • Search engine optimization
  • Mobile responsiveness

Vishal Goswami
May 23, 2023

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