A number of you have mentioned at my webinars and elsewhere about plans to set up your own online stores this year.  Your store design has to be as appealing as possible, be easily navigable, displays the important information and so on. So choosing the right theme is very important. Here are 5 things to consider when choosing the right theme for your jewelry online store.

Shopify Free Theme - "Supply"

Themes are the templates used to build an online store or website. They are the most cost effective way of doing your own website as opposed to starting from scratch.

1. Responsive and Mobile
Make sure that the theme you choose is responsive (auto-resizing no matter what screen is being used to look at it) and that a mobile view is included. Many people now do their surfing and shopping on smartphones and tablets.

2. Background Color
Shopify, one of the most powerful and popular ecommerce services has some excellent themes (both free and paid) which are professional, clean, modern in look and function. Themes are easy to customize yourself or you could get an independent Shopify expert to help you set up and/or re-design a theme.

Stick with white or pale backgrounds. Black backgrounds are somewhat passe and are more difficult to see.

MamaandLittle based in Vancouver, Washington, sells baby teething necklaces. The designer's Shopify based shop is a great example of how an uncluttered design is visually more appealing because there are no distractions.

Think about what sort of information you wish display other than the obvious items you are selling.

You can do so much more with Shopify as you can put your key information in a visual manner which you cannot do with one size fits all themes like those on craft marketplaces like Etsy.

MamaandLittle's shop above has a great grey banner which quickly sums up the important information about the teething necklaces - 100% food grade silicone, no BPA, no phthalate etc. Also commendable are her blog and Instagram sections.

Navigation is also self-evident like clicking on an item, section or the drop down menu.

Do you want a featured slider stretching right across the page which cycles through certain photos? Or just one static photo?  Or none at all? One example of a Shopify shop which has not one but two banners is One Happy Leaf, an Australian shop selling laser cut wood jewelry. The second banner immediately shouts "meet the designer"!  Whereas, the shop designer on say Etsy is hidden in further pages.

Craft marketplaces like Etsy pretty much offers the same theme for everyone. But another standout issue is that you can only categorize your items one way. That is, the same item cannot be listed in more than one category. If you use Shopify you can do that. 

Paper Anniversary by Anna, based in Montreal, Canada, specializes in first wedding anniversary handmade paper jewelry. Go to her site and you can see that her Cufflinks with Vow or Song appears in both the "For Him" as well as the "Under $90" categories.

Her success story is also worth a read. She shares many tips, adding, "For years, I had a small hobby of selling my handmade jewelry online and at craft shows, but it wasn’t until I switched to Shopify that my hobby morphed into a living, breathing online boutique. After 3 months of starting my Shopify store, I was able to quit my day-job as a speech therapist, rent a studio in Montreal and hire a team of amazing individuals to work alongside me."

5.Social Media Integration
Once your store opens, the next step is to get word out. So your theme must show off your social media sites. As you can see from the examples, these modern themes have at the very least buttons have the social media buttons on your website. And some have much more visible areas. These provide additional and vital interaction with your fans who may very well share and thus help you publicize.

In comparison, Etsy has only 2 buttons, Facebook and Twitter which forces sellers to add the links in the About page. Not pretty!

Have fun customizing and setting up your shop!

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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