How to Sell Themes On Shopify: A Quick and Easy Guide

Shopify presents a lot of profitable opportunities for developers. There’s the Shopify App Store, where you can create and upload apps for Shopify merchants. There’s also the Shopify Theme Store. If you’re savvy with design software, you can make money by creating themes for online stores. Creating a custom Shopify theme is also a fantastic idea to make your brand stick out from the others. However, for this article, we will focus on how to sell themes on Shopify. Still, you can follow the advice here to create an original theme for your existing store. Let’s dive in and see what it takes to start creating and selling Shopify themes. 

Plan Out Your Theme First 

If you want to learn how to sell themes on Shopify, you need to start by planning out your idea. After all, any successful design includes a thought-out planning phase. Before you even get started using design software, you should map out your idea for a theme. A helpful trick to get your juices flowing is to review current Shopify themes. That will give you a feel for what works on Shopify and what doesn’t. You’ll also get familiar with the design elements at play for e-commerce stores. Just remember that your final theme should stand out and be different than the others. 

A good thing to consider when viewing other themes is to ask yourself:

  • What’s lacking in this theme? What can I add that would make this theme ten times better?

That will start to give you ideas for improvement rather than just copying what you see. Try to determine some design features you can add that will take the theme to the next level. Also, consider the needs of your niche market if you have one, as that can have an impact on design. 

Here are some of the most desired features in a Shopify theme:

  • Contrasting colors that aren’t too bright as to tire your eyes
  • Descriptions that are detailed yet concise
  • Prices that are readily visible
  • Content that is well-organized 
  • Simple navigation features
  • Intuitive control that’s easy to figure out 

Remember that if you’re developing a theme for a specific client that you need to consider their requirements. If you’re creating a theme for a broad audience via the theme store, stick to the features listed above. They will help you create a Shopify theme that stands out and sells well. 

Download a Good Design Software

The next part of learning how to sell themes on Shopify is to arm yourself with excellent design software. There are many options out there that you can use, but we recommend using the Adobe Creative Cloud. In particular, Photoshop and Adobe XD from the Cloud are the programs that you will use the most for developing your theme on Shopify. 

You can easily design all the images, color themes, and buttons in Photoshop. The program gives you full reign over every aspect of creating content. It’s also a very intuitive program to use. If you have even a little Photoshop training, you can design assets for your Shopify theme. 

From there, you’ll use Adobe XD to tie it all together. Adobe XD is a UI/UX designing tool. It’s what you’ll use to make your Shopify theme a functional store. You can add all sorts of features to the program, including useful links and more. With the combination of both of these programs, you can create a fantastic Shopify theme that’s 100% unique. The file types are also compatible with Shopify’s interface, making things even more accessible. If you want to check out Adobe’s tools for UI UX design follow this link.

Once you’ve got your software of choice, it’s time to start the nitty-gritty of the design phase. That is where you’ll need to make a lot of critical decisions for the look and feel of your theme. It would be best if you decided on:

  • Your color scheme
  • Font size and type 
  • Product layout 
  • Pricing visibility and font size
  • Site functionality and user experience features

Once you’ve got it all done and looking the way you want, it’s time to start importing it into Shopify. You should check out our tips on UI UX here at this link.

Learn the Liquid Language 


Shopify uses its design language called Liquid. If you’re going to create your template or tweak an existing one, you need to know how it works. The good news is that it’s a straightforward language that you can learn quickly. You’ll be able to master it in no time as long as you study it for a short time. 

It’s an expressive language that’s based on Ruby. The Liquid language is what powers all the themes on Shopify and in the Shopify theme store. It works by accessing a store’s data and then outputting it into a corresponding directory. It serves as a middle man between the merchant data and the code in your browser. Mastering Liquid is essential for creating themes without running into time-consuming issues. 

With the help of Liquid, you won’t have to worry about the data. You simply need to create an agnostic template that stores can use for all sorts of products. That will help you find success when you put it up for sale on the Shopify Theme Store. Ideally, you want a theme that can work for a myriad of different businesses. For this reason, we recommend designing themes with a particular niche market in mind. 

Consider stores selling tech-related products as an example. Designing a theme with dark colors and a sleek presentation will work perfectly. That way, lots of stores that sell tech-related items can use your theme and find success. It would be best always to try to design themes that can work for more than one business. 

If you’re brand-new to Liquid and don’t want to spend too much time learning it, check out this cheat sheet. It will help you get the basics down for using Liquid to create your theme within Shopify. The cheat sheet also outlines all the different elements and defines them. You can start designing an intuitive theme by simply using this cheat sheet alone. It’s a great resource to use if you aren’t familiar with how programming languages work. 


If you are interested in a great course to learn liquid try out Shopify Theme Development by CodingPhase. Codingphase by Joe Santos teaches you all about the liquid programming language as you code alongside him to create a theme. I highly recommend this course as it’s easy to follow and has tons of useful information. We recommend subscribing to the diamond plan so you can have access to both the Shopify theme development courses and Shopify app development courses, while also getting access to a huge collection of programming courses you can take. You can also buy courses individually but you will end up spending more money than if you boughtt the diamond plan and got access to all of the Codingphase courses. If you want to get access to the Shopify theme development course and a huge collection of courses check out Codingphase at this link.

Passing The Shopify Theme Review

Next up for learning how to sell themes on Shopify is to undergo and pass the review process. Like developing apps for the platform, themes have to pass a review process from the team and Shopify. Why is this necessary? Well, literally thousands of themes and apps get uploaded every day to Shopify. To maintain the excellence that they’re known for, they need quality control measures in place. That’s why there’s an extensive review process for all new themes and apps on Shopify. It’s important not to panic about knowing that your theme will get reviewed. Instead, there are a few critical factors to include in your theme to ensure that you pass. 

Here are the theme requirements you need to pass in order for you to upload your theme on the theme store.

So long as you include all this information and that your design is functional, you will pass. The review process usually takes no longer than 24 hours, so you won’t have to wait very long. Once you receive your approval, you can publish your theme to the Shopify store. That means you can finally sell the creation that you’ve worked so hard on. 

Before you do that, though, you should take some time to polish your creation. If you want your theme to become successful in the store, it can contain no bugs or errors. Do one last sweeping check to ensure that all your files are named appropriately and that the theme is functional. 

Publish Your Theme to the Shopify Theme Store

So we’re finally here. The last step in learning how to sell themes on Shopify is to publish them. By now, you’ve created a fully functional theme that’s been approved by the team at Shopify. You’ve also done the testing necessary to verify that your theme works and has no active bugs. Now you can finally publish your work to the store so that merchants can start downloading it. 

Publishing your theme is the easiest step so far. Here’s how to get the job done:

  • Head to the Shopify admin page 
  • Go to Online Store > Themes
  • Under Theme Library, select your theme, and then Actions > Publish
  • In the Publish window, click on Publish

And just like that, your Shopify theme is now published and available through the store. Of course, you’ll receive commissions for every theme that you sell. It’s a great way to make some extra money as a developer. If you find success with the theme that you create, why not make another? By developing Shopify apps and themes, you can make quite a nice living as a developer. 

How to Sell Themes On Shopify ( quick video )

In Conclusion 

So now you know how to sell themes on Shopify. We hope this guide has inspired you to take the leap and design your first Shopify theme. As long as you follow the advice we gave you here, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting your app published. We hope that you find great success in your development efforts. To get more Shopify developer tips see our developer posts here.

Davon Wilson

I'm a certified Shopify expert, you can usually find me on my computer coding, or thinking about business ideas. I'm an avid Ravens fan and an overall nice guy.

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