Nearly every ecommerce website theme provider offers a choice between free and paid (or premium) templates. Looking at them, you might be left wondering what the differences are and what (if any) are the advantages of choosing a premium web template. The short answer is it depends upon the provider with whom you’re doing business.
Carefully Vetted for Quality
Generally More Attractive
Because independent designers produce them, paid themes have to be very attractive in terms of their appearance. After all, if the look of the finished site isn’t distinct from the free ones, why would anyone pay for it? The bigger players actually review proposed designs before allowing designers to proceed. This way, they can winnow the field to only the most visually appealing designs. What’s more, because the providers have a limited number of spots available to showcase paid themes, slow sellers are frequently discarded in favor of newer, potentially better accepted ones.
In many cases, premium web templates offer additional features and flexibility. These can include accommodations for related products, enhanced navigation integration, image galleries, blogging, social media accommodations and the like. Many free templates require adding modules to get those functionalities. Premium web templates also tend to be better optimized for particular business models.
A lot of vendors leave users to fend for themselves in terms of support when they choose to go with free web templates, reserving their assistance efforts for customers who spring for a premium offering. This can be especially crucial for a merchant with little to no code troubleshooting expertise. Other vendors, if they do provide tech support for free themes, will sometimes prioritize paying customers, leaving those who went the free route to wait in voicemail hell while looking after paying customers first.
Increased Storage, Bandwidth and Custom URLs
Again, this varies by vendor, but most premium web templates come with added storage and wider bandwidth offerings. In other words, the more you’re willing to pay, the more you get to play. Again, this varies by provider, so it’s something about which you’ll want to inquire when you’re shopping. In many instances, if you choose to go with a free site, you’ll also be locked into using the provider’s name as part of your URL, which can make your site look a bit wonky to potential customers.
All in all, if you’re setting up an ecommerce store, you’re much better off going with a company specializing in producing and hosting sites for digital retail stores. They will have foreseen many of your needs and even their free themes will have key features to help make operating your business easier.
With that said, the advantages of choosing a premium web template can often outweigh the rationale for going with a free offering. If you’re in the process of making the decision, whatever you decide to do, make sure you take some time to consider all aspects of your business model to ensure your choice will support everything you need to accomplish.