Shopify Themes: Free vs Premium, Which is Right for your online store?

Shopify Themes: Free vs Premium, Which is Right for your online store?

Whether you're just starting as a Shopify website for business or have been using a free theme for a while, you might think, "Is it time to upgrade to a premium theme?"

Free themes are a good starting point for new entrepreneurs, but you'll likely need more as your online business grows and sales increase. Upgrading to a premium Shopify theme is the next step. It's recommended to transition sooner rather than later, as changing your store's layout could disrupt your business operations as you adjust to the new theme.

You can hire a Shopify developer to streamline the Shopify website process, providing a better experience for your customers and potentially increasing sales. Premium themes offer the benefits of high-quality e-commerce design without requiring a significant financial investment.

Free themes, however, may need more reliability, have consistent customer support and meet only some of your business needs. However, our developers are skilled at tailoring them to fit your requirements.

This blog post discusses the importance of choosing a high-quality theme, whether gratis or premium, for the success of your e-commerce website. We explore the fundamental aspects and weigh the pros and cons of both options. Remember to check these terms while choosing a free or paid Shopify theme.

Checklist for a select perfect Shopify theme
  • Is it simple for my target customers to find my products?
  • Is my site design modern, clean, and attractive?
  • Does it provide an enjoyable experience for my customers?
  • Are there capabilities that will help me convert more customers?

What is the Shopify Theme?

A Shopify theme is a layout that shapes the visual design of an online store for customers. Each theme offers a range of customizable designs and layouts to provide a unique user experience.

The website theme refers to the overall appearance of your website, covering colours, fonts, layout, and features. Customize your online store's look and feel to match your brand and target audience with a solid foundation.

Shopify theme is a pre-designed template that defines your online store's appearance. While launching your service or product online was easy, creating an e-commerce store and maintaining sales is challenging.

If your e-commerce business doesn't provide a professional customer experience, you'll likely experience low conversion rates. However, the suitable Shopify theme makes sales much more manageable. Shopify theme choice is important for businesses because it affects customer attraction, engagement, and conversion.

Difference Between Free and Premium Shopify Theme

Before deciding, you must be clear about the difference between the free Shopify theme and the paid one. Both are good for a business. If you are new in business or starting a company with a low budget, a free Shopify theme still fulfils your business requirement, and then your business starts earning to invest more cost in it. Paid tools provide premier features and customization options for your website faces.

Both teams have different features, elements and tools for customization options. The free Shopify theme offers basic features and limited customization options, while the premium one provides advanced and extensive customization capabilities. Additionally, the paid theme often includes dedicated customer support to assist you in optimizing your website's performance and resolving any technical issues. Choosing between the free or paid theme depends on your business needs, budget, and long-term goals.

Our suggestion for choosing between the Shopify theme: When starting your online business, choose a free or premium one. While a free theme can work initially, many business owners need a premium version for the site.

Here, the Elightwalk team helps you make an informed choice by comparing free and premium Shopify themes.

Difference Between Free and Premium Shopify Theme

This comprehensive assistance extends to theme-specific queries and customization needs, offering users a higher level of support for a more seamless experience.

User Interface

  • Free Themes: The user interface of free Shopify themes is intentionally crafted to be straightforward and user-friendly, mainly catering to beginners. Its simplicity is an accessible starting point for those venturing into online store creation. However, it's important to note that customization options are deliberately limited, offering a basic design foundation. While this simplicity benefits those new to e-commerce, it may pose constraints for businesses seeking a more distinctive visual identity.
  • Paid Themes: Paid Shopify themes maintain a user-friendly interface akin to their free counterparts but introduce a more extensive range of design choices. This expanded palette of options provides users with the tools needed for advanced customization, enabling the creation of a highly personalized and distinctive appearance for their online store. This is particularly advantageous for entrepreneurs who establish a unique brand identity and a visually appealing storefront.


  • Free Themes: Free Shopify themes are designed to provide a basic and straightforward visual foundation for online stores. While they serve as a viable starting point, they come with limitations in design alternatives. The options for customizing the visual aspects of the online store are intentionally kept minimal. Free themes offer simplicity for beginners and those with ease of use but may limit their ability to create unique or highly tailored designs. This trade-off can be challenging for businesses seeking a distinctive visual identity or in visually competitive markets.
  • Paid Themes: In contrast, paid Shopify themes to cater to users seeking a more sophisticated and highly personalized appearance for their online stores. These themes provide a significantly broader array of design choices, offering users the tools for advanced customization. The emphasis here is on creating a unique and visually distinctive online presence that aligns closely with the business's brand identity. Paid themes offer extensive design choices, allowing companies to customize their online store's visuals, including unique branding, colour schemes, and layouts, resulting in a professional, polished appearance.


  • Free Themes: Free themes come equipped with a basic set of features that cater to the needs of beginners. These features, while fundamental, may need more sophistication found in paid themes. This intentional simplicity is an entry point for those initiating their online presence. It provides a straightforward design foundation, making it suitable for businesses with minimal customization requirements.
  • Paid Themes: Shopify Paid theme offer a more robust set of features. These may include advanced customization options, industry-specific functionalities, and enhanced flexibility. The investment in a paid theme is often justified by the added value these features bring, allowing users to design a unique and professional business-looking online store. This option particularly appeals to businesses seeking a competitive edge and a richer user experience.


  • Free Themes: The primary advantage of free Shopify themes lies in their cost – they come at no financial burden. This makes them an attractive choice for budget-conscious users or those just embarking on their e-commerce journey. However, the absence of a monetary investment often correlates with limitations in advanced features and customization options.
  • Paid Themes: Opting for a paid theme involves a monetary investment, typically between $140 and $400. This pricing structure is tailored for users seeking a more comprehensive suite of features, advanced customization capabilities, and a distinctive online presence. While there is an upfront cost, the functionality and visual appeal benefits can outweigh the initial expense for businesses with specific requirements.


  • Free Themes: Users of free themes can expect essential technical support covering general inquiries and initial troubleshooting. However, additional consent may be required when faced with more complex issues or specific queries related to the theme. The level of support is generally adequate for those navigating the early stages of online store setup.
  • Paid Themes: Opting for a paid theme often includes advanced technical support. This level of support extends beyond general inquiries and encompasses theme-specific queries and customization needs. The goal is to provide users with a higher assistance tier, ensuring a more seamless and efficient experience. This elevated support can be precious for businesses relying on the theme's intricate features for optimal performance.

Is a free Shopify Theme Better Than a Paid Shopify Theme?

When looking at the value of a free Shopify themes over a paid one, several factors might make the free option a better choice for many users. It's important to know that the suitability of a theme depends on the specific needs and preferences of the individual or business owner.

Free Shopify themes offer simplicity, a beginner-friendly interface, and limited customization options, making them accessible to new e-commerce users. They are cost-effective, suitable for small businesses or individuals with limited requirements, and can provide faster loading speeds and improved website performance, benefiting user experience and search engine optimization.

These themes may need more extensive customization, advanced features, and dedicated support that come with paid alternatives. Ultimately, the decision between a free and paid Shopify theme hinges on the specific requirements and priorities of the user, weighing simplicity and cost-effectiveness against the desire for a more feature-rich and customizable online presence.

The Most Advanced Features of Paid Shopify Themes

Free Shopify themes are less extensive and customizable. At the same time, this may limit the design options. Paid Shopify themes provide you with more advanced features and greater flexibility for customization. Before diving into the development part, you must be aware of the important features of your successful online store.

  • Customization Options: Paid themes usually provide a greater level of website customization. This allows you to modify the look and feel of your online store more specifically to meet your brand's unique requirements.
  • Design Quality: Paid themes often have more elegant and visually appealing designs. They are created by professional designers who invest time and effort in crafting a polished and aesthetically pleasing user interface.
  • Responsive Design: Paid themes are more likely to be designed with responsiveness, ensuring that your online store looks and functions well across various devices and screen sizes. It is the most important feature to reach Gen-Z customers.
  • Advanced Functionality: Paid themes frequently come with advanced functionalities, such as product filtering, enhanced navigation options, mega menus, and other features contributing to a better user experience.
  • Integration with Third-Party Apps: Many paid themes are built to integrate smoothly with popular third-party apps and plugins, providing additional functionalities and tools to enhance your store's performance.
  • Dedicated Support: Paid themes often come with reliable customer support. This means you can get assistance when you face issues, have questions about customization, or need guidance on using specific features.
  • Regular Updates: Developers of paid themes provide regular updates to stay compatible with Shopify's latest version and address any security or performance issues. This is important for the long-term sustainability of your online store.

Paid themes often come with built-in SEO optimization features, helping your store rank on top in search engine results and give more organic traffic. Investing in a paid theme is highly recommended in today's digital landscape for better website results and organizational growth.

The Best free and paid Shopify Theme Suggested by Elighwalk


Shopify provides 12 free themes. Among these 12 for a simple e-commerce store, the Spotlight theme is straightforward and clean for creating your e-commerce store.

The Best free and paid Shopify Theme Suggested by Elighwalk

Quick Launch:

Set up your store in minutes with a user-friendly layout. Just add a brief brand description.

Key Features:

  • Swift Setup: Minimal steps for a quick launch.
  • Shopping Convenience: Cart notes, in-store pickups, and a slide-out cart for a seamless buying process.
  • Boost Marketing: Utilize blogs, cross-selling, FAQs, and recommended products to enhance your marketing strategy.
  • Merchandising Tools: High-res images, image galleries, and product videos to showcase your products effectively.
  • Transparent Information: Provide shipping details, size charts, and usage info for customer trust.
  • Enhanced Discovery: Make product discovery easy with advanced search, mega menu, and product sorting options.
  • Sticky Header: Keep your brand accessible with a sticky header for smooth navigation


Xtra is one of the most usable and successful e-commerce themes with a 99% good rating. As for the price, it fulfils all e-commerce store needs and provides an attractive design and smooth user experience.

Enhanced Features for Maximum Impact:

Free App Blocks: Access premium app blocks like Product Connector, Stock Urgency, Trustmarks, Countdowns, and more to supercharge your conversions.

Key Features:

  • Cart and Checkout: Simplify the buying process by including features such as cart notes, in-store pickups, pre-orders, quick buys, a slide-out cart, and a sticky cart.
  • Marketing and Conversion Boosters: Utilize tools like age verifier, blogs, countdown timer, cross-selling, customizable contact form, and multilingual support for EU translations.
  • Engage Your Audience: Enhance your store with event calendars, FAQ pages, product badges, reviews, promo banners, popups, tiles, quick view, recently viewed, recommended products, and a stock counter.
  • Store Optimization: Implement merchandising tools such as animations, before/after image sliders, colour swatches, high-res images, galleries, hotspots, rollovers, zoom, and detailed product information like ingredients and nutritional facts.
  • Shopping Convenience: Provide options with product tabs, videos, shipping details, size charts, slideshows, and usage info, and facilitate discovery with features like a back-to-top button, breadcrumbs, collection page navigation, enhanced search, infinite scroll, mega menu, and product filtering and sorting.
  • Persistent Brand Presence: Keep your brand at the forefront with sticky headers, ensuring easy navigation.
  • A complete range of features that not only simplifies management but also improves your customers' buying experience.

    Also Read: 5 Best Free Shopify Store Templates in 2024


Shopify has around 174+ Shopify themes, 12 of which are free, and the rest are premium. The free themes may be simple with this amount, but they only provide a restricted selection of typefaces and colour palettes. As a result, Shopify's site will have a standard layout, making it difficult to differentiate from the competitors. After reading this blog, your mind is clear to choose a theme. Our Shopify developers give you the proper guidance and support for developing the Shopify website.

Elightwalk provides a wide range of services for website development and customization. Our experienced Shopify developer team works closely with you until your website stands out.

We provide proper guidance and solutions to create a Shopify website that reflects your brand identity and requirements. Contact us for a free consultancy call. Our professional developers assist you with your business requirements.

FAQs about shopify themes

What are the main advantages of using a free Shopify theme?

What are the benefits of creating a Shopify website with a premium theme?

What makes the Shopify premium theme different to the free theme?

What do I have to consider when choosing a Shopify theme?

Jayram Prajapati
Full Stack Developer

Jayram Prajapati brings expertise and innovation to every project he takes on. His collaborative communication style, coupled with a receptiveness to new ideas, consistently leads to successful project outcomes.

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