Are Shopify Themes A One Time Purchase? [All You Need To Know]

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Are Shopify Themes A One Time Purchase? [All You Need To Know]

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If you run an eCommerce store on the Shopify platform, then chances are, you are going to want to change how your store looks and works. Your theme is essential for the general layout, for functionality and for the general customer experience. But, how costly is it to make the transition? With multiple stores in my portfolio and that I have ran over the years, I’d like to share some of my findings with you.

So, are Shopify themes a one time purchase? Yes, most themes will only require you to pay a one-time licence fee. This should include all future theme update releases and support. However, some theme and web developers may charge a monthly/yearly fee for continued updates and support, and some may charge more for you to be able to upload and use the theme on multiple stores.

For the most part, buying a theme is a one-time cost. But as always, with many different web developers and ‘suppliers’ it is always subject to differences and change. Some will look to introduce costs down the line.

With this being said, in my experience, I have only ever used and felt the need to pay for a theme once.

Let us know take a closer look at the most commonly asked questions regarding purchasing a theme for the Shopify platform. Be sure to read or jump to the end to discover the best themes currently available on the market.

How Much Are Shopify Themes?

It would be impossible to provide an exact price that it will cost you for a Shopify theme due to the fact that there are several independent theme developers and marketplaces. Each set their own prices, and there are many options available.

Going further, themes can differ in terms of complexity, functionality and performance; each being factors that go into the price of the theme.

However, after a lot of research, the average price for a Shopify theme is between $30-$500.

For example, you you were to take a look at the marketplace Envato (formally Themeforest and one of the leading marketplaces for online digital assets), you will find hundreds of themes across the price point.

A lot of themes have been designed for specific niches; whereas others are targeted at a more broad general store with multiple product lines.

When browsing online marketplaces like Envato, you can soon see that the price is influenced largely by the functionality each theme provides, along with popularity and other marketing incentives like sales and discounts.

On Envato, themes are uploaded and sold by a huge collection of independent developers; so licences can range. Typically, however for the purchase price your licence can be used on one store and you get a limited period of support (6 months). This can be extended at extra cost.

Out of the Sandbox, is an example of a premium independent Shopify theme development company.

Typically, their themes cost in the multiple hundreds of dollars. Ranging from $180 to $450.

The reason for the higher-end prices is that these themes have been designed with a more premium design and focus primarily on your stores performance. For example, the Turbo theme is designed to accommodate very high volumes of traffic, peaks and spikes.

For your theme price at Out of the Sandbox, you get access to resources and support and one year of updates. From there, updates cost $9-$79 / $14-$129 depending on the subscription you sign up to.

Then, there is the option to get your theme from Shopify direct. They have their own marketplace where they sell premium themes from their own team of developers. These are priced at a flat rate of $180 and you get free updates and support.

Lastly, there is the option to use one of Shopify’s free themes. These can be installed immediately when you start your store and updates come with your Shopify plan subscription. Consider customizations and functionality is limited as we will discuss int the section below.

Generally, the more you pay for a theme, the more you tend to ‘get’ in terms of performance, functionality and the ability to customize.

Of course, this is not always the case.

Should You Buy A Shopify Theme?

In the last section, we looked at the different options and price points when it comes to getting a Shopify Theme.

But now the questions; should you even buy one?

This will depend entirely on the individual, store and context. It will depend on your budget, your experience level and how many sales you are hoping to achieve.

With all this being said, generally, it is recommended that you do buy a premium Shopify theme.

Free themes, whilst serving a purpose and great in the first few days of setting up a store, are relatively limited when it comes to customizations and functionality.

Store owners generally find that the free themes are quite rigid – and you are unable to change elements and layouts exactly how you want.

Equally, these themes tend to have a rather generic look and feel – it makes your store look like a Shopify store and not as professional as they could be with some further customizations.

Secondly, a lot of store owners who use free themes tend to install applications to boost the functionality of their store. These however come at a price. The average application fee comes in at $10 per month.

If you can imagine, there are a lot of effective apps that boost conversions, customer satisfaction and enable you to do a lot more with your incentives, marketing efforts, customer retention etc.

These apps do tend to pay back for themselves, but if you are relying on a theme where you need to be paying $100-$200 per month+ just to get the functionality you need – the math doesn’t make sense.

This is where premium themes actually become cost-effective.

Many of the premium themes have these applications built into the code. Therefore, upon installation of the theme you get these apps and this functionality on your store. Plus, they are there (free to use) for as long as the theme is deployed on the store).

A lot of premium themes are built directly upon such functionality; and many are the result of frustrated Shopify store owners who felt unable to do what they wanted with the free themes offered on the platform.

So, over the long run, while a premium theme may seem like another frustrating upfront cost, it is generally worth it for your sales and costs in the long-run.

Can I Reuse A Shopify Theme?

When it comes to reusing a Shopify theme, a lot will depend on the theme developer and how they have coded their theme.

When purchasing a theme, you should first check to see how many stores it can be installed on.

Some themes can be used on multiple stores at any one time. This is generally called a multi-licence and can range from anywhere between 2-5 stores. This means that you can upload, activate and run the theme and all the functionality from a single purchase of the theme.

Developers are likely to tier their prices accordingly. So, a one-store licence will be cheaper than a 3-store licence. Usually, you can get a multi-licence at a discounted price than buying the theme independently and outright for each store.

With other themes, you may find that they can only be used on one store at a time. This will mean that once you have used them on a store, that is all they can ever be used on.

Some of these themes can be re-purposed on other stores. In this way, if you have a collection of stores in your portfolio and want to move the premium theme from one to another, you can.

This will likely involve de-activating the theme on your initial store before you can move it across.

For the most part, when purchasing a theme, an activation key or code will be supplied.

It is with this code that will activate the theme once you have uploaded it onto your store.

Either way, it is important to know exactly what you can and cannot do when it comes to reusing a theme as it is another potential cost for your eCommerce business.

What Is The Best Shopify Theme?

With a lot of Shopify themes on the market, it requires quite a bit of research to find out what is available, to compare across and to identify what going to be best for you and your store.

For my own portfolio of stores, I decided to research the market pretty extensively.

I have pulled together my findings of the best stores, across various niches, in the following article: Best Converting Shopify Themes.

For me, eCom Turbo comes out on top.

It is very easy to use, completely customizable, loads your store much more quickly and comes in at a respectable one time price. You get access to life-time updates, support and theme training.

Plus, there are different licences to choose from depending on how many stores you want to run it from (1x-unlimited).

Perhaps the main benefit of the theme are the conversion boosting applications that come included. These include:

  • Built In Scarcity Timer
  • Cash Boosting Upsells
  • Custom Clean Footers
  • Call To Actions
  • Urgency Sales Tickers
  • Instagram Synchronizations
  • Trust Badges 
  • Profit Boosting Cart Buttons
  • Custom Related Products
  • GEO-IP Currency Recognition
  • Go Directly To Checkout

As you can see, there are over 10 apps working for you to help you boost your sales and get your store visitors to buy.

I suggest you take a look at eCom Turbo, so that you can see for yourself what it can do.

Finally

Most Shopify themes will be a one-time purchase; there are only a small selection that are not. Thankfully, most developers will provide future updates and support as part of this fee.

Whether or not you can use the theme on multiple stores at a time or re-purpose it from a store to another will depend on the licence itself. Some licences cover multiple stores whereas others are single use.

While free themes are an option, especially to new Shopify store owners, trust in the fact that the most successful stores utilize a premium theme.

They generally perform better, can be completely customized, and have drastic improvements to customer experience and store functionality.

This will come at cost; but with a bit of research and with effective application, your investment will pay back for itself with increased sales in no time.

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