Shopify is one of the cheapest and most effective platforms for starting and growing an online business.
There are a slew of add-ons that are available for you to download to try and take your store to the next level - however when you're first starting out these definitely aren't necessary.
I highly recommend you do everything as cost-effectively as possible (including the vital business activities such as traffic generation). Being mindful of your startup costs is essential for any business, but with Shopify you can definitely cut some serious fat that just isn't necessary.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to choose a free, premium theme from Shopify's warehouse. There are a slew of free templates to choose from that'll springboard your store off the ground, and the Brooklyn theme is one of my favorites for sure!
Throughout this article I'll be dissecting the theme and reviewing it honestly so that you can decide on whether or not this is the theme you should be using for your new Shopify store!
Many startup Shopify users will be attempting to do Print on Demand (selling things such as T-shirts and hoodies on demand, a great way to get started and get some profits rolling in).
Brooklyn is the perfect theme for this method - it's a free apparel based theme that mirrors some of the top clothing brands in the world. It's specifically designed to get fashion and apparel based sales - which is a huge niche that anyone can make money from when getting started with Shopify.
What I really love about free Shopify themes, and this theme in particular, is the amount of knowledgeable support staff there are inside the Shopify help center. They edit and transform these themes on a daily basis much more than the other themes, and due to its popularity you're going to have the best support available on the platform to customize the theme to your liking (and get higher conversion rates in the process)!
Brooklyn is highly image-centric - giving users the chance to showcase their products in style with grand, large-sale images.
I recommend you do pay a graphic designer to help you create stunning images for things such as the Hero image slider (massive graphic on the front page of the store showcasing the main products). This can be done cost effectively, so don't fret! It's more essential for just increasing conversions, but you can also find free stock images that fit the overall theme of your brand to help you establish a great looking website regardless.
The theme's two built in styles, classic & playful, give each user the ability to morph their store the way they want (and establish a certain feel and character that can't be attained with other themes). This is a really great customization option for a free Shopify theme!
Brooklyn comes with all the bells and whistles, such as responsive, targeted designs, mobile-friendliness, SEO capabilities (well-placed code allows for easier access to search engines, resulting in a steady stream of traffic - this mirrors some of the top blog templates available on the platform), EXTREMELY knowledgeable support staff (as I mentioned previously, it's one of the platforms most popular themes, resulting in staff that know how to customize it perfectly based on your requests), and customizable feature options for increased revenue for the home page, product page, checkout page, other resource page(s), etc.
As I mentioned previously, Brooklyn is quite a popular theme and many online Shopify stores are implementing it to grow their business. Here are just a few notable ones using the theme right now!
As of Latte is primarily a coffee based brand but they also offer clothing too!
What I love is the simplicity of their product(s) as well as the overall brand image that they're representing with the theme.
It's simple and effective branding - and you should definitely look into this store to get ideas for your own (especially the homepage Hero sliding image used on the Brooklyn theme).
See, you don't even have to be a primary clothing retailer to still use the theme successfully!
This UK based clothing retailer utilizes the Brooklyn theme for their store.
The homepage uses that Hero sliding image that is a staple for every successful Brooklyn store owner.
Furthermore, their product pages are constantly sold out - indicating that this is a real winner of an online store. Definitely something you might want to take into consideration as you flesh out your store!
Brooklyn looks great on all mobile devices (including tablets).
It's responsive to the device that's viewing it and will edit it's sizing(s) to fit the screen of the user.
This is essential for your online store and not having mobile-friendliness in the theme you choose can practically cost your business (your conversions for mobile traffic will be drastically too low)!
Let's dive deeper into some of the key features that you can expect to get from the theme!
It models some of the top clothing retailer stores on the web - and is designed specifically for modern clothing sales. This means you're not only going to be able to flesh out a current, modern looking brand, but you'll also experience a bump in conversion rates due to users trust increasing as they roam the store and view your collections. It's built to look professional and polished, and that's going to make a statement on the product(s) that you sell and the overall image that you're trying to present to your potential customers!
It's minimal and clean, with fully responsive sliders and images to get people to buy. These images have been placed in such a way by the developers to increase conversions by drawing your users' eyes. It's your job to find great images that will fit the screen and get people interested in the brand, but it's great that Brooklyn sets you up to be able to execute on this and create a stunning brand image from the get-go.
So a big thing that's going to decrease conversions on other themes is the amount of pages between the customer adding the product to their cart and completing the purchase.
With the Brooklyn theme, you can go the standard route for e-commerce conversions which is customer lands on product page, customer adds to cart, customer confirms cart, customer puts in personal and payment details, customer confirms order and sale is complete.
Do you see how many steps that is? This is where optimizing this checkout funnel comes into play in a massive way. If you can eliminate a step or two in a way that's professional, then you have a big advantage against competitors in your niche.
NOTE: While working on this you should definitely do test checkouts with multiple payment methods. Huge step that most stores overlook but can be very painful to get wrong.
With Brooklyn, you can go the more sensible route and have customers add items to their cart and be able to view their cart from the product page, which then allows them to go directly into "checkout mode" where they enter their payment and personal details and you complete the sale.
This eliminates unnecessary steps, and makes you more money per visitor!
Want to get a really effective traffic strategy? Check out this article now.
The Hero Image is a staple for the Brooklyn theme - which is great for clothing brands!
This feature displays a large image (or multiple, with a slider option), on the front page of the site. If you have great images, this can really separate you and your brand from the competition.
You can also remove the Hero image which I like too! The Shopify help center support staff can get this removed. However, I do recommend you put in an effort to get some high quality pictures for your brand (it'll help in the long run!).
You can display your products on the homepage and category pages in a unique way for your brand.
I also recommend you look into some plugins that allow you to show your store's most popular products, so that you can funnel traffic directly to the products that'll actually push the needle for you!
While this is a great theme overall, there are some drawbacks that come with it. You'll want to keep these in mind as you get started with the platform - and it may detract you from using this theme at all!
However, I do think it's one of the best Shopify themes that you can use for your store - so despite these recommendations/drawbacks, I still think it's a great option for you!
Listed below is what I absolutely love about the platform, and why it can be the best option for your business.
The design is definitely top notch, I wanted to start with this section because I want to highlight just how great the design is overall.
You don't have to have any experience with website creation to be able to figure out how to create a stunning and effective looking Shopify store with the Brooklyn theme.
It's extremely well organized, and the editable elements can give your store it's own unique character, whilst not becoming too complex and extensible (which can prevent newer users from really taking advantage of the platform's customizability functionality).
Brooklyn is also intelligently created to optimize for conversions. I really like the options that you have for product layout on home/category pages, and the dynamic checkout options that you have really make it a cut above the rest when it comes to funneling traffic towards sales.
You're also able to have access to over 1000 stock photos - while I think it can be great to utilize these, I do recommend that you get your own images created for your brand so that you can establish your value and uniqueness in the marketplace down the line.
What can't be emphasized enough is that you get this easy to use and stunning looking Shopify theme for free with your Shopify store subscription.
It's really an amazing theme that can provide tons of value to your brand. There are stores doing big, big numbers in sales that utilize the Brooklyn theme for their business, and they're paying absolutely nothing to use it!
As stated previously, you can easily customize the theme to your liking with the basic Shopify theme editing functionality.
However, if you're a savvy web developer, you can also do high-end edits to the theme which prevents restriction and allows for mobility for your brand.
If you hire a Shopify expert, they'll be able to help you flesh out unique code for you and your brand, and customize your website to make it stand out amongst the competition. This is useful for things like setting up custom lead widgets for backend email marketing.
So as I mentioned previously, there are SOME drawbacks to the platform.
For one, you may have to do edits over again down the line as the Brooklyn theme updates can kick you out of your theme's customization, which requires doing work over again.
I do believe this is something that the developers of the theme are working on fixing, but it may cause extra work and headaches down the line for you.
Restrictions on customization will also be present if you're not a web developer. This is to be expected with all themes, but it's also very noticeable on the Brooklyn theme. Due to it being a free theme, it's designed for beginner friendly interfaces and edits, which may not be ideal for users who are highly design oriented or need to implement lead geneartion platforms in a unique way but don't want to have to code their website themselves.