The web design of your online store has a huge effect on your brand and how well it stands out from your competition. If your eCommerce website is well-organized, has a memorable look and feel, and offers a streamlined shopping experience to your customers, your business will reap the benefits. The appearance and functionality of your website is crucial for establishing your brand identity and turning visitors into repeat customers.
A poorly designed website will suffer the opposite, losing customers and failing to convert. That's why any business owner who neglects their web design is making a big mistake. Your eCommerce website should help propel your business into ongoing success, not hold it back. You need fast loading speeds on all devices, a compelling look, mobile-friendliness, ease of navigation, and more. Falling short in any of these aspects can hurt your business.
Of course, stellar web design is challenging, so nearly all of today's eCommerce platforms offer a selection of themes or templates you can activate on your website. Both free and premium (paid) themes are usually available, but most businesses choose to start with a free BigCommerce theme as they evaluate the eCommerce platform, leaving premium or custom design for later when they're confident in their choice of software. For that reason, it's important to have an assessment of available free themes for each platform you may be considering.
BigCommerce plans include free themes for eCommerce websites. Let's see how they compare with themes from Shift4Shop.
BigCommerce offers 12 free themes, including multiple styles which are variations on a particular theme. Style variations mostly consist of changes to colors and sometimes the layout of certain elements, including relative sizes of page banner images and top menus.
The way each theme and style is listed in the BigCommerce theme catalog would suggest a total of 36 possible styles, but each style is displayed individually in the Free Themes category as if it were an individual theme. Once you account for this, it becomes clear that (not including styles), the number of free themes offered by BigCommerce is closer to 5. Additionally, if you're looking for specific functionality, you're limited to specific theme sets — for example, only a few of BigCommerce's free themes are enabled for Google AMP. This means that if you're relying on having a certain feature, you're more or less stuck with what you can get.
You may be able to get around this with customization, as BigCommerce offers an easy-to-use theme editor for making minor changes. However, few of the free themes are optimized for larger catalogs, so businesses ready to sell a large assortment of products may soon need to upgrade to a premium theme regardless. In any case, the theme editor has its limits, and bigger changes will need to be made by directly editing the code — and unfortunately, web designers report dissatisfaction with the clarity of BigCommerce's documentation for its Stencil theming framework.
All of BigCommerce's free themes are attractive and built with responsive design, ensuring compatibility with all mobile devices. However, even considering the way themes and styles are represented, your choices are quite limited. You may also find yourself switching among free themes repeatedly as you discover which elements can be changed with the built-in theme editor, and which cannot. Once you do start editing, you'll discover that many of the styles are redundant, as they serve simply as presets utilizing certain colors.
The biggest issue with BigCommerce's free themes is the illusion of choice. By presenting their theme selection in this way, they can give you a false impression of having 36 styles available right out of the box, when in reality, they offer about 5 themes with 12 styles between them. If you want to take your online store's design to the next level, you're going to have to shell out for a paid theme or a custom design much sooner than you might have expected. BigCommerce website owners also frequently report bugs and slow loading times (over 20 seconds) regardless of which theme they use — problems that can only be fixed with custom development.View more BigCommerce themes here
Shift4Shop offers dozens of free online store themes and often adds new ones to the selection to help give online merchants more choice for the look of their eCommerce websites. The selection is much more diverse than BigCommerce's free themes, with much more variety in colors, layouts, and built-in features. Our built-in Theme Editor and Drag n' Drop HTML Builder also ensure you can quickly create a website that shows off your brand to its best effect.
Shift4Shop themes offer plenty of options for numerous types of businesses — and for free. Our ever-growing catalog includes designs suitable for all industries. Many of our templates have high-end features like a Mega Menu, an enhanced dropdown menu that includes images. A Shift4Shop theme is often the quickest way to bring your website to the cutting edge without needing to pay for custom development.
Shift4Shop's Core themes also benefit from our Core Template Engine, a Bootstrap-based theme framework that brings several advantages to online stores including Google AMP for product pages, code optimization and AJAX implementation for fast page loads, SEO-driven responsive design, and more. The Core Template Engine also makes it easier for developers to create and edit Shift4Shop themes using a modular set of code building blocks.
A stylish, modern theme with a versatile layout and enhanced navigation via a sticky menu that remains on the page as customers scroll.
A powerfully image-focused template perfect for greeting the customer with lifestyle shots that increase their desire to own your products.
A classic dark theme with a familiar sidebar menu, perfect for bringing a sense of luxury and timelessness to your website.
A friendly theme ideal for educational supplies, toy stores, or any other business wanting a welcoming and whimsical image.
Shift4Shop themes strike a balance between originality and the necessity of a layout that's proven to work well for eCommerce. Online customers have certain expectations from eCommerce websites, and it's important to consider their needs without sacrificing uniqueness. Shift4Shop themes make branding and customization easy, with tons of color schemes and layouts available right out of the box. Plus, many of our themes often include special bonuses like sticky menus, parallax backgrounds, and product animations, which you'd have to pay extra for on other platforms.
With Shift4Shop, it's easy to build a website that fully represents your brand while providing a smooth customer experience for shoppers everywhere. All our themes are fully customizable, whether you prefer to use built-in tools like our Theme Editor or HTML Builder, or want to jump into total freedom with our well-documented Core Template Engine. We've removed the limits from eCommerce theme design so you can migrate from BigCommerce, start from scratch or take any template and make it yours.