Shopify Theme Review — Expanse (2021)

Choosing a theme from the Shopify Theme Store can seem like a daunting process for merchants — it just may be the most overwhelming purchase for your new online business. Choosing the perfect theme is more complicated than just falling in love with the demo. With the wide array of choices, through careful research and determination, the keys to a tailored theme that will help launch your online store and reflect your brand identity can be yours. We’ll help you along your path towards choosing the right Shopify theme.

Today, we want to provide a detailed understanding of the newest theme from our favorite Shopify theme developers, Archetype Themes, called Expanse. One of the main reasons why we rely and trust Archetype Themes is their commitment to light page weight and performance. Page weight & performance is one of the most important components of any optimization strategy. Better performance provides better experiences, higher customer satisfaction, and increased profit. Performance plays a major role in the success of any online venture. High-performing sites engage and retain users better than low-performing ones. Carson Shold, the founder of Archetypes Themes, states to Smashing Magazine: "Performance will continue to be a dominant part of our builds and we won’t stop looking for more ways to simplify code."
Let's dig a bit deeper into the newest theme offering from Archetype Themes, Expanse.

shopify expanse theme review

Expanse Theme Review

Expanse describes itself as a theme that is clean and versatile, tailored for large inventories. It's features include: 

  • Collection sub-listing: Display custom collection tiles within another collection.
  • Quick buy: Allow customers to quickly add items to their cart without leaving their current page.
  • Display menu lists on your store’s home page to allow customers to easily navigate large catalogs.
  • Allow customers to quickly browse and filter products using custom filters and tags.
  • Custom featured products in the mega search field (such a great feature)
  • Slick yet subtle animations (movement of content)
  • + Fast performance and loading

There are so many cutting-edge, useful and fast-loading content components, just on the homepage. They offer a rotating announcement bar above the header, great for highlighting different promotions to the customer. A split sideshow, so that you can clearly display text near a full-bleed image while maintaining legibility. The images load fast and there's subtle animations that engages the user, but is not distracting or disturbing. Moving on to the product page, they offer a sticky product image portion, so that if you have a longer description, the product images are still in view for the customer. Icons are built in near the add to cart button, so that you can display objection-busting messages like "secure payments" or "sustainably produced". There is also a section that displays additional products from the vendor, a recently viewed section, product reviews section. We particularly like that product images can be uploaded at varying dimensions, and the theme will resize them for you so that they are in alignment with the other product photos.

There is also a slick drawer cart, so that when the customer adds an item, they can continue shopping without leaving the product page. Another incredibly useful feature is native, mobile-friendly upsell options in the cart. There is a section where you can upload and suggest specific products to offer to customers right on the cart, drop-down or page. Score! No need for an app - this will not only save merchant's costly monthly fees, but keep performance intact because a lot of upsell apps slow down site speed.

One of our favorite features of Archetype's Themes are their "Page Sections". To us, this is monumental and sets their theme apart from all the other offerings. It's useful because you can easily create non-commerce pages with content, imagery and information without having to rely on a developer to custom code these sections for you. Shopify merchants using Shopify's expanse theme include: 1) Lucy's Living (home goods), 2) Chloe + Luis (beauty) 3) GS Equestrian. A review from a merchant using the theme states: 

"What a great theme, the design looks so slick and modern! I love the filtering options on the collection pages in the sidebar - if you have a large catalogue of products, this is an extremely useful feature. There are so many other great features that come with this theme, like multiple header messages, a customised pop-up, multiple buttons on slideshows. Can't recommend this theme enough!"

In conclusion, Expanse is a well-crafted, beautifully functional shopping theme for customers, and if it's customized and configured correctly, it can lead to stronger engagement, higher repeat visits and conversion rates for your store. It's perfect for merchants who value good design. We are excited to offer our clients the option of a new theme tailored for larger inventories, and Expanse was worth the wait.

Preview Expanse here.

Tip: When testing Expanse, have your mobile phone handy to test the mobile version of the theme. Use your desktop as the starting off point, but don’t waste too much time before picking up your mobile device and testing the theme’s mobile layout.

Feeling inspired? Looking for help in customizing your online store, using the Expanse theme? Let's chat about how we can make you a beautiful eCommerce website. Contact us here.


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