Desktop product view

When you’re setting up your eCommerce store, choosing a theme or skin for it can seem daunting. There are so many to choose from with so many different styles. Should you have a custom one made? Maybe buy a third-party one? Do the standard ones just seem too plain?

Where do you even begin to try to narrow down the options? To help you do a more targeted search, we’ve selected a few key points and features to focus on when making your selection.

What are you building?

First off, let’s baseline on what you’re trying to do. We assume you’re reading this blog because you are interested in building an eCommerce store for performance or automotive parts. If you’re looking to sell OEM replacement parts, there are a few complexities around fitment data and year/make/model selections, which we’ll touch upon in part 2 of this article series. But for pretty much any store that’s not in fashion or doing anything mainstream or trendy, this general advice applies.

Eye on the prize

Alright, so what’s the point of your store? It’s to sell products (obviously!), meaning you want users who come to the site to make a purchase. These visitors who come and do a transaction are called “conversions” and you want all your pages, or at a minimum your product pages, to drive the best possible conversion rate. In broad terms, a conversion rate (buyers of site visitors) of around 1% is decent, over 1% is good, getting above 1.5% is amazing.

Particularly when you’re spending money to acquire your users directly via ads or using your hustle (and maybe some money) on social to drive visitors, your store needs to convert as best as possible. You definitely don’t want to over-rotate on lots of popups, sales, flashy stuff – that’s icing on solid cake foundation and something for a later blog. You want to build a good foundation focused on conversion first and that will mostly happen on your product pages.

Key information

One of the first things to think about is called “the fold” and whether the most important information is above it. The fold is the bottom of the page in a standard browser window. This is what visitors will first see when they open your product page. Here are the key things which we believe need to be above the fold:

  1. Picture of the product, optionally with a gallery view for more pictures
  2. Name including the brand of the product
  3. SKU and/or manufacturer part number
  4. Price, optionally including a sale price if applicable
  5. Availability, either as “in stock” or a number
  6. A short description of a few bullets or some key attributes
  7. An “add to cart” button

Take a look at this product listing for example.Desktop product view

This is a pretty good page and it was actually created with a standard Shopify theme, so it’s not too surprising that it has all the key fields above fold. Arguably the store owner could have created a slightly more condensed short description, but it’s all very relevant information, so we would still consider it to be pretty good.

Mobile product page

Mobile too!

Yea, definitely check the mobile browser view too. For car parts, you will see more than 60%, if not closer to 80% of your users browse via a mobile browser.

With a smaller screen, this can make things trickier and our example actually highlights this: the rather long short description pushes the add to cart button further down, likely below the fold on many phones. It’s not the worst thing, because swiping up an down is so easy and a common behavior on mobile phones, but it’s not ideal.

Overall, this theme is again pretty good though.

Deep down

And then there’s the purgatory of below the fold. That’s actually an unfair characterization – it’s still important stuff – but it’s the details and extras for people who are looking for deeper information. Besides the standard long description, store themes tend to be very configurable in letting you add reviews, other suggested products or any number of other “widgets” to you store.

This is mostly a matter of taste and we tend to advise doing something that looks good, but also doesn’t increase the weight of the page too much. Google doesn’t like slow-loading pages, so weighing down the bottom of the page with stuff user doesn’t really see will be a net-negative for your site.

So where do I get such a theme?

Yup, yup, that’s next step and we’ll cover that as part 2 in a future post. Stay tuned for that and more theme selection advice.