Ready-made Magento 2 themes deliver a complete website design in a fast, convenient format. Before investing, however, businesses must consider its limitations.
Merchants begin their e-commerce journeys by making decisions critical to future business development. For example, they will consider customer experience and the web store’s visual presentation. At this juncture, they will choose a website theme that fits the project budget.
To save money on custom development, many merchants opt for low-budget and ready-made solutions.
You can use this article to learn the advantages and disadvantages of using ready-made Magento themes for web design, plus learn key mistakes to avoid.
Ready-Made Magento 2 Themes Are Convenient
The primary benefit of ready-made Magento 2 themes is that they are convenient.
There are free themes available on the Marketplace (like this one from Templates Master), which is an alternative for merchants with limited resources.
Merchants can also choose a theme based on their industry. Magento theme developers consider industry specifics to provide viable offerings for a range of industries.
For example, a clothing retailer might choose a theme optimized to showcase apparel for its e-commerce store.
Other e-commerce retailers can also browse themes that suit their needs.
For example, an e-commerce retailer that specializes in auto parts might choose a less visual theme.
Themes can be customized to suit a number of different industries and needs.
As a rule, ready-made themes come with a live demo, which gives merchants an opportunity to make well-informed purchases. Customers can get a feel for the store, ask theme sellers questions, and clarify the details before buying the product.
Purchasing a theme is time-effective comparing to developing a custom one. Merchants aren’t beholden to a developer’s timeline—about two-to-three weeks without advanced customizations. Instead, they can buy and implement a pre-made theme in one day.
Likewise, installing a purchased theme doesn’t require programming skills. As a benefit, merchants don’t need to engage Magento developers and spend more at this stage.
However, merchants can still get support from theme developers. They can also request a refund in some instances. We don’t encourage you to think the worst, but having a backup plan is always great.
Ready-made Magento 2 themes offer a convenient and cost-effective solution to web design.
Ready-Made Magento 2 Themes Have Limitations
Despite the benefits ready-made Magento 2 themes provide, there are also limitations.
For merchants who value unique designs, however, pre-made themes are not ideal. They’ll never know how many other businesses chose the same template.
When using pre-made themes, merchants may also need to adapt their requirements to functionalities built into the ready-made design. They may have to give up some ideas if the chosen theme doesn’t support those features.
In these cases, custom solutions are preferable. For example, merchants are planning to run a blog on their web store to generate more traffic and be valuable for customers. If a theme doesn’t support the blog feature, the merchants will have to purchase an additional plugin or run a blog “outside” the store on a third-party platform.
4 Magento Mistakes to Avoid
If the advantages have outweighed the disadvantages and you are determined to purchase a Magento 2 theme, let’s go further in its specifics.
It is natural that the abundance of ready-made solutions can leave merchants at a loss: are all the available options equally good for an e-commerce business? Or are there any critical aspects to be aware of?
There are 4 key pitfalls in the decision-making process that you'll want to avoid.
1. The Theme Has Limited Customization Capabilities
Given the opportunity to change layouts or colors, sellers can differentiate their e-commerce website from businesses with the same Magento theme. But, merchants need to keep the roadmap in mind.
As the business grows, so do the website’s requirements. Improvements and added features are inevitable. Here is when the initial choice of a Magento 2 theme with poor customization capabilities can backfire.
Having neglected this aspect at the launch, sellers may be forced to buy a new theme later.
2. The Theme Features Poor Coding
It is more than likely that merchants choose to purchase a theme if they want to save on development. But moderate prices should not lull them into complacency.
In fact, a poorly coded theme can turn the purchase into a complete money pit. It will jeopardize both performance and security, and merchants will need to invest even more to make things right.
Though impossible before the purchase, checking the code is obligatory right after after the fact. Traditionally, a money-back guarantee is valid for 15–45 days. If the buyer detects bugs, they either fix them for a cost or request a refund from the support team.
Either way, poorly coded Magento 2 themes guarantee a frustrating experience.
3. The Theme is Not Optimized for Different Browsers and Screen Sizes
To keep up with the competition, online stores must also adapt to the viewing environment without sacrificing the website performance.
Although the majority of Magento 2 themes have been created with due attention to these e-commerce requirements, merchants still need to check browser compatibility and mobile responsiveness.
There is one fundamental idea behind this issue—people expect a seamless shopping experience across various browsers and devices. They shouldn’t put up with annoying resizing, zooming, or scrolling while shopping via cell phone or in a different browser.
Given the abundance of e-commerce competing with one another, it’s unreasonable to expect customers to tolerate poor shopping experiences.
4. The Theme Isn't Compatible with Magento 2
As the Magento aims to improve the platform and release new versions regularly, merchants need to choose a theme compatible with the version they use.
Before installing a theme, businesses must carefully read the theme description and check the software version.
The software version is particularly relevant to those who haven’t upgraded to the latest version of Magento 2 or even haven’t migrated to Magento 2 yet. Since most theme developers have shifted their focus to the second version, Magento 1 store owners should consider migrating to Magento 2.
If you are planning to make this step in the near future, buy a theme compatible with an upgraded web store to unnecessary expenses.
Purchase the Right Theme for Your Business
In the choice between a tailor-made or pre-made theme, many merchants opt for the latter. Though ready-made themes don’t offer unique design or functionality, they are cost-effective and easy-to-use.
However, merchants always run the risk of making the wrong choice. The storefront’s look may not meet expectations, or performance issues arise due to incompatible software or misaligned development needs.
Merchants should be aware of the possible drawbacks, even when they’re comfortable with their choice between custom and pre-made designs.
About the Author
Igor Goltsov is a certified Magento developer. With 8+ years in Magento development and 13+ years in PHP development, Igor now applies his deep insights in ecommerce and expert skills at ScienceSoft. As a senior Magento developer, he contributes to complex projects involving implementation of non-trivial platform’s features.