Shopify & Ecommerce Ramblings

A blog about building and extending awesome Shopify stores

Turbo Theme

Premium Plus (or Premium+) is how we refer to the Turbo theme by Out of the Sandbox.

Not because of Shopify's Plus plan for merchants —although that is who the theme was originally created for— but because if a paid-for theme in the Shopify theme store is referred to as a 'premium' theme, then Turbo needs to have a classification that accurately portrays the tier in which it resides. Currently it is the only theme in this top tier category that we're aware of.

Things have become significantly easier for us these days in choosing a Shopify theme for a store build. Essentially it boils down to the following two options:

  1. Turbo by Out of the Sandbox — for most merchants
  2. Custom designed and built theme — for merchants with very specific requirements

Almost all of our store builds over the last year or so have been one of the two options above.

That's not to say that you can't have a successful store operating on another Shopify theme —even a free one— but when it comes down to it, if you're looking for a theme that is versatile, customizable out of the box and contains features that other themes rely on apps or significant customization for, then Turbo is... well... a no brainer.

Turbo Theme Seoul

By the same token, some merchants who think they need a custom designed theme can actually achieve what they need with Turbo too. Not all of them of course, but a lot of them can have a completely unique looking store with Turbo at the base and tap into all the benefits of this richly featured premium+ theme.

Those for whom Turbo is not a good match would include:

  1. Specific workflow(s) that require a unique layout that Turbo does not lend itself to well.
  2. Very specific branding requirements that Turbo does not cater well for.
  3. Very small budgets where a free theme would make more economic sense and still cater for the merchant's requirements.

Currently a vast majority of merchants opt for Turbo and to explain why and also illustrate why this is not a bad thing (you don't want your store to look like everyone else's) I thought to put together a list of primary reasons why you should consider it as the frontend system for your next Shopify store (re)build.

Speed

As the name suggests, Turbo is a theme built for performance. If serving your products to your customers quickly is important to you (it should be) then Turbo has you covered with it's exceptionally quick browser loading and effective caching.

Header Customization

Very few (if any) other Shopify themes give as many options to customize the header of your store. The placement of the logo, the ability to have navigation left, right, top and bottom and with all the extra bits and pieces it caters for, you won't need to go scouring the app store to add a simple promo bar to your shop.

Mega-Dropdown Navigation

With most themes you'll need to make use of an often buggy or restrictive 3rd party app for a mega-dropdown. With Turbo you get a bunch of versatile, robust and feature rich mega-dropdown options. This has been of massive benefit to us as experts and our merchant clients where we no longer need to diagnose bugs, waste time with slow support nor have to uncomfortably explain styling or functional limitations where an app runs outside of the theme.

Home Page

If you're familiar with Shopify's concept of "sections" you'll know that most themes come with a bunch of pre-sets that you can use on your home page. Turbo comes with almost 20 customizable options including recently viewed products and Google Maps. There are photo galleries, featured promos and logo lists. You'd be hard pressed to need something that the theme doesn't already have as an existing available section.

Product Pages

As the part of your site where the magic happens (purchases) you want to be able to give your customers what they need to make that buying decision. From full width banners to tabbed content and a myriad of other options not found in any other premium theme, the product page in Turbo is unmatched by it's competitors.

Collections

As with the rest of the theme, there are elements to Turbo that you simply won't find in other themes. It comes with fully functional sidebar filters which is normally achieved via an app or significant custom work, product sorting, and even color swatches below the product thumbnails. Full width banners on your collection pages are also a reality with Turbo.

General & Global Features

Areas like the footer which is significantly more versatile than what other themes offer, the ability to integrate your social channels effectively, Mailchimp, image galleries and more, there is really very little reason to purchase another theme.

Summary

As I've attempted to articulate in this article, at the time of writing, chances are very good that you'd be doing yourself and your ecommerce business a disservice if you go with another Shopify theme (other than a custom one if you need it).

I'd even go so far as to say that it stands head and shoulders above the rest of the themes in the Out of the Sandbox stable which are all exceptional themes and we know them all inside and out. In short the reason for this is that while they're (Retina, Parallax, Responsive & Mobilia) awesome themes, they follow Shopify's mandate of simplicity which is fine for beginner merchants except that when your needs become more demanding, redesigning your store will be a must.

Turbo allows any merchant from Basic to Plus to set up a performance oriented storefront with significant room to grow.

If you're interested in having us help you set up or customize your Shopify store whether on Turbo or something else, feel free to check out our services here.

If you're interested in purchasing Turbo, we can give you a 20% discount on the purchase price if you email hello@shopcreatify.com and request the discount code.

Turbo Theme

Premium Plus (or Premium+) is how we refer to the Turbo theme by Out of the Sandbox.

Not because of Shopify's Plus plan for merchants —although that is who the theme was originally created for— but because if a paid-for theme in the Shopify theme store is referred to as a 'premium' theme, then...

read time.

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Recently it came to our attention that some of our best work and by far the majority of our work over the past two years as Shopify experts has been done using themes developed by one particular theme house. 

It's pretty obvious if you look around our site, but that theme house is Out of the Sandbox.

Not only do their themes stand head and shoulders above the rest in pretty much every way, they're also really (really) popular among Shopify merchants... for some very legit reasons.

Why Out of the Sandbox Themes?

To start with, speaking as an "Ecommerce Specialist" turned "Shopify Expert" turned "Shopify Expert + Out of the Sandbox Specialist", I'd list the top 5 factors of declaring this combination ideal in the Shopify ecosystem as follows:

  1. Their themes are visually beautiful
  2. They provide excellent, prompt support
  3. The themes have a solid codebase and great documentation
  4. The themes have comprehensive and intuitive options (theme settings)
  5. They regularly update & improve their themes

Those primary factors aside, there are also other reasons that lead up to them being in the position they are where their offerings are superior and ultimately why we're choosing to specialize in them.

Maturity

Out of the Sandbox are industry veterans with a pedigree in Shopify Theming spanning back to 2011. It's not only their longevity on the platform that matters though, but perhaps more their considerable success and the maturity of their products acquired in that time.

They have earned the right to brag about having developed some of the most popular premium themes on a platform with close to 400,000 merchants at the time of this writing. A feat that undoubtedly came with countless complicated technical and creative considerations and more support tickets than most mortal beings would be able to handle in a lifetime.

Having taken that feedback, refined their themes based on real world merchant successes & failures, frustrations & moments of jubilation, they're now honed selling tools that expertly leverage the Shopify platform for optimal ecommerce performance.

Resonance with Store Owners & Buyers

Since partnering with Out of the Sandbox in 2015, it's been quite apparent that a majority of store owners inquiring about our services had either already chosen one of the Out of the Sandbox themes, or it was on their shortlist. In the instances where the store owner went with another theme for whatever reason, it almost always ended up being a sub-optimal experience for both the merchant and us.

Based on this fact alone, it would likely be a wise decision to only do store builds on their themes, but it actually goes deeper than that. 

Given the past couple of years of exposure to many Shopify themes, including a few bespoke themes that we created, it's a lot clearer now what makes a theme OK, what makes it good, and what makes it great.

We actually made a business call very early on in ShopCreatify to strictly not take any store build project with a theme that was not acquired through the official Shopify theme store. The risk is just too great that the quality of the theme and support thereof would be lacking. In ecommerce, your store is your business' lifeblood and saving a few dollars for a free / non-official theme is not worth the risk. Witnessing issues that others had (and still have) concreted this as a very wise decision and we still strongly advise store owners and other experts against doing this.

Are there other good themes out there? Yes, I'm sure there are but in our experience, even the other big sellers don't offer nearly as much as what the Out of the Sandbox themes offer. This invariably ends up in a frustrated store owner and the developer being forced to fit square pegs into round holes for them. It's not a situation either party wants to be in.

Real World Experience

Given the number of stores we've setup using Parallax, Retina, Mobilia, Responsive and more recently Turbo, it's safe to say that we know our way around the themes by now.

Out of the Sandbox Shopify Themes

The components and elements that can go on the product page template, the collection page, home page, contact page, the abilities and limitations of each template and piece of functionality, the work-arounds and enhancements that we've already done and don't need to "figure out" are all quite clear to us now.

Due to this "focused experience" on this fine selection of extremely versatile themes, we're confident that a store build using one of them can be done far more rapidly and effectively than we could with an unfamiliar and potentially inferior one. Most -if not all- trial and error (depending on use case) has already taken place in our many real-world client store builds... who are currently transaction millions of dollars through their ecommerce storefronts. 

"ShopCreatify is our preferred partner when it comes to setting up a shop with our Shopify themes. They know our themes better than anyone and are an absolute pleasure to work with."
Brad Miller — Founder of Out of the Sandbox
Full disclosure: Yes, those links to Out of the Sandbox are all referrer links since we're partners of theirs. It has no bearing on cost to the store owner, but it allows them to track any sales we send to them. If you click through and buy, it does moderately benefit us, but we'd far prefer to help you build your store so take a look at our solutions page if that is something you need.

Out of the Sandbox Shopify Themes

Recently it came to our attention that some of our best work and by far the majority of our work over the past two years as Shopify experts has been done using themes developed by one particular theme house. 

read time.

Read More