Shopify has emerged as a clear frontrunner when it comes to online marketing platforms.

It is true that WooCommerce still manages to lead, but that success is built on the back of WordPress CMS. 1.7 million merchants use Shopify across 175 countries. 

Total sales generated on these sites amounted to $356 billion and store owners are hiring Shopify developers to get a slice of the pie. 

In the USA, the second-largest e-commerce market (Alibaba makes China numero uno), Shopify has a market share of 26% compared to 27% of WooCommerce. Those are impressive numbers for a platform that is barely 15 years old.

Why Is Designing A Custom Shopify Theme Crucial? 

The exponential growth of online shopping in the past few years has surpassed the expectations of the most optimistic forecasters.

Statista has estimated that over 2 billion people will shop online in 2021. The number of ecommerce stores is also growing fast since a platform such as Shopify makes it quite easy to launch an online store.

With the growing number of participants, there is a compelling need to make every store as distinctive as possible.

Most online store owners launch their business with one of the 70 themes available on the Shopify website. The default Shopify themes can be customized but to a small degree.

Sooner or later, every store owner would prefer a unique look that draws customers.

We provide a list of resources that would assist you in developing Shopify themes.

5 Essential Shopify Theme Development Resources 

If you are going to be a part of the growing Shopify community, make this your first stop.

The Shopify Partner Program provides you with a developer zone to upload the prototype of your theme and test it.

Not only can you actually see what the theme is going to look like in real life, but can also troubleshoot problems with fellow developers.

In the beginning, you are likely to have a lot of questions. Unlike WordPress themes that are written in PHP, Shopify themes are built using Liquid. It is an open-source language based on Ruby with a repository on GitHub.

HTML is used for developing the static aspects while Liquid is the dynamic element that fetches data from Shopify servers.

It’s quite impossible to become an accomplished Liquid coder without being part of the Shopify Partner Program. As with all programming languages, expertise in Shopify theme creation comes through trial and error and the collective wisdom of the group is essential.

CLI stands for command-line interface. It takes the place of IDEs such as VSCode and Sublime Text that are routinely used for developing PHP-based themes.

Shopify App CLI not only allows you to code using Liquid but also HTML and JSON. By automating a lot of the work, it makes code writing less of a chore.

Source Shopify 

With the Create command, you can add the basic directory structure that Shopify uses.

  • Layout
  • Templates
  • Sections
  • Snippets
  • Assets
  • Configs
  • Locales

Besides, the CLI also lets you add dummy data, create multiple product pages, build a catalog, and set up mega menus which give the theme a more realistic feel while you are refining it for publication.

  • Utilize Dawn

You could build a brand new theme line by line or by modifying Dawn, a basic Shopify theme that many developers repurpose.  

Dawn is lightweight and has been created as a theme for use with desktop as well as smart devices. You can access the Dawn repository on GitHub and make changes.

Key Features of Dawn Template:

  1. High Performance

Dawn was created by Shopify’s in-house team for bringing maximum performance to the table while using minimum bandwidth and CPU. That is why the use of JavaScript is minimal and the theme takes advantage of the browser’s native capabilities. The innovative use of CSS also plays a large role in making Dawn an exemplary theme.

  1. Ease Of Use

Designed to be customer-centric. The maximum number of features has been packed into minimum layers of navigation. Through the use of a highly intuitive UI, Shopify has successfully made its stores more accessible than ever before. 

  1. Use Of Blocks

Dawn makes extensive use of sections and blocks in its design. The feature increases functionality by allowing users to introduce apps in any section of the page. In the real world, this means no two themes built using Dawn will share the same look. The same scaffolding yet completely bespoke results. 

Building a theme is a distinct subset of programming skills. It’s not the same as creating an app. 

What does a Shopify theme represent?

It represents the brand–the owner must have the freedom to control and forge their brand identity using the theme. 

At the same time, the theme is the building blocks of a storefront whose purpose is to attract customers and encourage them to browse through the pages.


Thus, unlike an app that automatically sends invoice emails or tracks the location of buyers, a theme has a distinct and overt marketing purpose. It is, after all, the point of first contact with a potential buyer and has an important psychological component. 

Another key aspect to understand is that themes are multipurpose and should be able to serve as many types of online stores as possible.

Online Store 2.0 from Shopify, launched on June 29th, 2021, has brought myriad changes to theme development. 

The Shopify Partner Blog has useful content that discusses important advancements in the ecosystem and guides readers through the world of theme development. It is vital to keep up to date with the articles before you start your project.

If you are going to code in any language, a cheat sheet that contains all the syntax is invaluable. A quick reference guide would allow you to write the correct attribute and keep bugs to a minimum. Shopify provides its own cheat sheet and updates it from time to time.

Remember that not every theme gets approval. Your work has to meet the expectations of Shopify before it gets featured on the store. That is why it is necessary for you to understand Polaris. Polaris is a set of guidelines that make themes and apps consistent with Shopify’s design philosophy.

Polaris contains a UI kit and offers advice on how to build apps and themes for the best user experience.

Why is this so important? Shopify does not want to become the wild west that is WordPress. They want to maintain high standards and work in a closed environment (like iOS) to provide customers with an unforgettable shopping experience.

Source Shopify 

In a nutshell,

The resources above would help you develop a stunning Shopify theme.

You should locate a niche and create a theme for that purpose. It is hardly possible for a theme to work for a restaurant as well as a boutique. In theory, it is possible but the end result might be a tad embarrassing. 

If you are a website owner looking for personalized Shopify themes, get an expert on your side. 


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