Shopware Theme: Buying or Finding a Developer?
Shopware themes are an important topic. Should you buy one or find someone to develop a custom theme for you? What're the benefits
Themes are very important. They are responsible for the first impression users will have when they visit your online shop. If a theme doesn’t manage to impress a user, it is likely that a visitor will leave your shop immediately. What does a good theme entail and should you develop it yourself, find someone to develop it for you or just buy a theme? Let’s look at some of the options available. One thing is for sure; the answer to the aforementioned questions depends on your needs and time.
What is a theme about?
A theme has to reach 2 goals: 1) Visually impress and 2) be intuitive. If you wonder how intuitive a theme is, just ask yourself. If the theme you are using is easy to navigate, consider it pretty intuitive. In addition, you can also consult your friends to test a theme and ask them for their opinion. Also, a theme can be a dynamic endeavor. Meaning at times, it makes sense to slightly change it, because doing so will help you as well as the user/customer visiting your Shopware store. It is certainly a good idea to reflect your theme and observe theme trends over a longer period of time. After a while, a theme definitely needs an overhaul.
Who will develop my theme?
The answer to that question depends on a few factors. If you got some time and energy, you can always teach yourself theme development. Doing so is a good idea; you will learn a great deal about the nuances of theme development and what good navigation should entail. It will also require a time investment on your side. But good results take some time, so please do not let that scare you. Also, if you decide to program your own theme, make sure to test it properly. Maybe you have more than one store and can test it with a smaller audience. It is a good idea to catch problems and issues when less people are watching/using a shop.
Shall I outsource theme development?
You can also outsource your theme development. This means an agency or freelancer will develop it for you. If you decide to pursue this solution, you should also have a solid idea what your theme ought to entail. In addition, you should look at some of their work samples; doing so will help you to imagine what your final theme will look like. It’s a good idea to find someone you can work with for some time. If your theme requires improvements in the future, those changes happen much faster if they are conducted by the person who actually developed a certain theme and knows your way of thinking a bit. Also, if you get along well, the other person is likely more motivated to deliver fast and good quality work.
Will my theme work with most plugins?
This is a very important question to ponder. Plugins are an essential part of Shopware and can make operating your shop much more pleasurable. Testing can definitely help and should be done.
Should I buy a theme?
Simply buying a theme is also not a bad idea. It requires the least amount of time and you see the finished theme right away. However, if a theme is very popular, many other people will have bought it as well. Thus, a lot of shops might look very similar. This can result in users choosing a more attractive shop. After all, we are visual creatures. Thus, developing your own theme can help you stand out from competitors and show customers an amazing design they will not find elsewhere. However, please don’t buy the first theme you like. There are many themes to choose from. Look at the themes store for a few days and maybe take some notes regarding what you like and dislike about certain themes. You can then also search those themes and see what other users and shop owners think about a specific theme
Think about your budget
When you are thinking about buying a theme or finding someone to develop it for you, money does play an important role. It is thus crucial that you think about your investment and how much you can afford to spend. The art isn’t to just find the cheapest offer. Rather, you should try finding a freelancer or an agency that will provide you with the best cost-benefit ratio. If you buy something too cheap, chances are, you will have to buy again sooner. Of course, this rule isn't set in stone. Not everything that is cheap is of bad quality. Some people might be good with technical matters but don’t know how to price their product accordingly. Thus, it is a good idea to always compare a price to what you will get for the specific amount. Also, make sure to get an offer in writing. That way, both parties can consult the written agreement if you disagree on some points going forward.
Take a look at your competition
If you are pondering buying a ready to use theme or developing one yourself, you can also look at your competitors. What does their shop look like? What are they doing well and what does their shop lack? Can you see which theme they are using? Also, even if they might have some room for improvement, some of them will improve their shops in the future. Just because you might manage to do some things better than them now, does not mean they won’t improve their shops in the future. In terms of observing your competitors, try taking an objective mind. Humans tend to think about their competitors as inferior. However, most of them aren’t exactly stupid and just as hungry for success as you are. It thus makes sense to pay close attention to what they do and what they do well.
Usability is very important
Probably the most important aspect for your customers will be the usability of your shop. Is it easy to navigate? Can a user find the desired goods and sizes without much effort? Does it look appealing? How easy is the checkout process? Those are important questions your theme needs to address in order to work well for you and especially for your customers.
Testing should not be neglected
Testing is of immense importance for a number of reasons. Before going live, you should test your theme properly. Does everything work as intended? Are there any dead links? Does the checkout process work properly. It can also be helpful to involve third parties for testing as they might look at different aspects. It is also important to test your theme and see if it works for customers the way you anticipated it. Sometimes we presume that users will think and act a certain way, when reality shows that they don’t behave as we thought. This also involves cross-browser testing on different operating systems and devices. At times, issues only occur with a certain device or a particular browser. In order to avoid such issues, it is definitely a good idea to test your theme on multiple devices and browsers.
Browse the Shopware theme store
No matter what you decide, it will definitely be a good idea to look at the Shopware theme store. One thing you could do is buy a new theme that does not have a lot of reviews yet. This is one sign that it isn’t as widely used as other themes. At times, there are also certain themes for a particular niche. You could also buy one of those themes and ask the developer to modify it so it does look different from the other shops that your competitors use. Some Shopware themes can even be used free of charge. However, there won’t be any support available by the developer. Overall, it is a good idea to compare prices and what you will get for a certain price. Maybe it will help you if you create a table for comparison. That way you have a great overview about the different products offered.
Look at the demos
The Shopware stores also offers demos of the different themes. It is a good idea to take a look at those. Doing so will help you to learn more about the theme and if it will suit your desires and requirements. In addition, you should also check when the theme was last updated. Regular updates are important, because they show that a developer actually cares about his or her theme. In addition, it might also be interesting to pay attention to the languages supported by a certain theme. If you work with other freelancers, they might be more comfortable working in their native language.
Contact a theme developer
Overall, it is a good idea to contact the developer of a theme you are interested in. This can help you to understand the theme, as well the options it offers for customisation. The Shopware theme store also shows, how fast developers tend to answer customers. Some developers also offer free support for some time if your buy their theme. This can be a good deal. Especially when working with a new theme, it is very likely that you will require some external support. Did you know you can also see what kind of work a developer hast done in the past? This gives you a decent idea about their experience.
By the way: Maybe you want to let your shop completely be developed? Find out here what this will cost!
Why should I develop my own theme?
Developing your own theme (or finding a freelancer/agency to do so for you) can be a good option if you have very specific requirements. If you decide to pursue this option, please also conduct some research beforehand. What should your theme entail? What should your developer bring to the table and how much should development cost? Those are important questions to answer before commencing development.
Please also know that you should find someone who knows how to develop a proper theme. Doing so requires you to also have a basic idea of theme development. No worries; you can definitely get some basic knowledge by reading and playing around with Shopware. It is important that themes are compatible with future Shopware updates.
We hope that our guide was able to help you with some ideas. If you have further questions, feel free to contact us.