Shopify Parallax Theme Review: Can You Build A Visually-Striking Store?
Building a successful Shopify store means having a theme that shows off your brand in the best way possible. The Shopify Parallax theme from Out of the Sandbox allows encourages you to showcase high-resolution photography in a layout that entices visitors to keep scrolling.
The Parallax theme is one of the most popular paid themes on Shopify.
The layout of the Parallax theme makes it easy to optimize eCommerce merchandising ahead of the holidays. What we mean by this is you have plenty of room to highlight promotions, sale categories, and lifestyle photography to boost sales. It features:
- A unique scrolling experience that pulls you further into the website
- A design optimized for visual storytelling
- Drop-down menus for easier navigation
- Unique promotional banners
- Multiple homepage videos
- A slide-out cart
Our full review of the Shopify Parallax theme will go into more detail about these features and how you can use them to boost sales. We’re going to split this review into three parts:
- A breakdown of the pricing
- A full written review of the features
- How to use the Shopify Parallax theme to build your eCommerce store
Note: preview themes before buying
It’s important to note before we get into the full review that you can preview the Shopify Parallax Theme in your own eCommerce store. You can see a demo version provided by the developers, or you can press ‘Try Theme’ to view your own store in it without paying.
I. Shopify Parallax Theme: Pricing
The Shopify Parallax theme currently costs $180 (Nov 2020) and this gives you access to all the features.
This is around the average price of a professional Shopify theme and is certainly worth the investment if you want your store to stand out from the competition.
Four unique styles of the Parallax theme are included in the $180 price tag.
Newcomers to Shopify can be apprehensive about investing in a good theme, especially if they’re on a tight budget. This is understandable, but it also means that thousands of stores opt for the same Debut or Minimalist themes.
Free and cheap themes don’t come with support and they don’t offer any unique features. You’ll need to invest if you want your store to punch above its weight.
How are Shopify themes priced?
A lot of work goes into building and maintaining a Shopify theme. From research to salaries, there are tons of bills to pay and a lot of careful planning to ensure the theme provides value for money.
Some themes are a lot more expensive than others because:
- The developer offers extensive support
- The coding is higher-quality and thus more likely to integrate with apps
- They’re regularly updated to fix bugs and improve security
- They offer unique features
- They can improve the UX of your eCommerce store, leading to more conversions
It’s important to read reviews like this one and to preview a theme extensively to make sure it’s worth the money. Also, read reviews of a theme to make sure the developer provides support after you buy it - this will save you a lot of money in the long run.
II. Shopify Parallax theme: Features review
The Shopify Parallax theme focuses on visual storytelling to help you bridge the gap between your site visitors and your brand. It’s great for showing off products or for using lifestyle photography to show how using your products can improve the lives of your prospective customers.
01. Parallax effect
The feature that gives this theme its name. A parallax effect means seeing an object in a different way from different perspectives. The theme uses this concept to create a feeling of movement as you scroll through each page.
Images aren’t static, but rather they shift position as the user scrolls, which encourages them to carry on looking through the page.
02. Multi-level menus
The multi-level drop-down menus make website navigation a breeze for visitors. It’s essential to have clear website navigation so visitors can easily find the products they want. If you fail to deliver this then people will likely bounce to another store.
03. Promotional banner
The banner on the Parallax theme draws more attention to your promotion, sale, or special offer like free shipping. Having a promotion banner active on your eCommerce store shows visitors they can get good value for money straight away and makes them more likely to stick around.
04. Video content
The Parallax theme allows you to feature videos on your homepage and product pages. Videos are a great way to show your products in use and demonstrate the kind of lifestyle your brand embodies.
05. Slide-out cart
The slide-out cart makes it quick and easy for visitors to review the items they’ve added to their cart. The average cart abandonment rate across all industries is 70% according to Baymard. You can reduce this by making it easy for users to switch between the cart and your store, allowing them to add items without leaving your product or collection pages.
The slide-out cart stops people having to redirect, making them more likely to see more products.
06. Product forms
Popular products flying off the shelves? Use the product form feature to allow visitors to fill out their details when a product is out of stock and receive an email or text when it’s available again.
Sold out? Grad their email address and notify them when it’s back in stock - and retarget them later.
07. Quick shop
Visitors can open a condensed product page without leaving the page they’re on to quickly get more information about a product and add it to their cart without redirecting.
The quick shop feature stops redirects making it quick and easy for shoppers to load up their cart.
III. How to build a store with the Shopify Parallax theme
Setting up your store with the Shopify Parallax theme is easy. Find the Parallax theme on Shopify and preview the four different styles. Once you’ve chosen one, press the ‘Buy theme’ button and complete the payment.
The installation is simple. The real challenge is using the Parallax theme to build a high-converting Shopify store. Here are some tips for starting out.
01. General store settings
First thing first, you want to tweak your store settings so the theme fits your brand’s aesthetic and personality. The Parallax theme lets you change the color, font, and more can be changed site wide, allowing you to create a consistent look and feel throughout your store.
- Match the color scheme with your brand colors - stick to two or three colors throughout and use this consistently across all your pages.
- Take advantage of Google Fonts integration with Parallax and set up custom fonts for text, headings, sub-headings and so on. Again, be consistent throughout your store.
- Choose when a newsletter pop-up appears. You can delay it by 2 to 120 seconds and choose how long it takes to reappear next time they visit (between 2 and 365 days). Keep the sign up basic, just name and email. You can use thiewr name to predict their gender with a third-party email marketing software like Mailchimp.
Newsletter signups let you to build an emai list to retarget customers based on their preferences.
02. Use high-resolution photography
The whole point of the Parallax theme is that it creates a unique scrolling experience as users make their way through your homepage. You need great photos to take advantage of this central feature. There are two main ways you could go about this.
- Highlight photos of products you want to merchandise.
- Show lifestyle photos with your products in them.
You can mix it up and include both styles. Showcasing a product on your homepage, especially in your hero image, is a great way to draw attention to a promotion you want to push.
Showing lifestyle photos is an excellent way to make visitors feel what your brand and products are all about. You can demonstrate how your products will make people’s lives better by showing them a lifestyle photo that they would want their own lives to look like.
High-resolution lifestyle photography is a great way to show your products in a real-life setting.
PRO TIP: Crop the dimensions beforehand
The gallery section in the Parallax theme is a great way to show off an unlimited number of lifestyle and product photos. Make sure you crop them to your desired dimensions before uploading - you won’t be able to crop them in theme editor.
PRO TIP II: Optimize photos for mobile first
The slideshow feature allows you to feature up to 12 images, but it’s not mobile optimized meaning the photos will shrink when visitors see them on their smartphones. We still recommend using this feature, but with images optimized for mobile-first display.
Make sure your photos are optimized for mobile first to avoid beheading your models.
The Parallax theme allows you to showcase up to four promotional items on your homepage. You can use square or circle images in this section to merchandise popular products. You could also get creative and use this section to highlight some social media influencers you work with.
You can reach out to influencers in your space directly or use a third-party to contact them. Partnering with social media influencers, especially on Instagram and YouTube, is a great way to expand your reach and leverage social proof.
Play around and have some fun with the features on Parallax and your audience will thank you in conversions.
04. Use videos on your homepage
Good videos don’t come cheap, but they’re worth every penny. Showing videos of your products in action is a great way to build trust with potential customers. Videos show that you have nothing to hide and that you’re serious about your business.
You can choose to make videos autoplay or have visitors press a CTA button instead.
You could focus on a specific product or get creative and build a scene that includes several of your products. Take inspiration from a famous scene in the movie Fight Club where the protagonist’s apartment is shown with a product description and price tag appearing over each piece of his IKEA furniture.
You don’t have to follow this style, of course. The key is to get creative and find a unique way to show your products that corresponds with the lifestyle your target customers want to live.
Parallax video compatibility
The Parallax theme allows you to embed YouTube and Vimeo videos in either 16:9 or 4:3 full-screen. You can select auto-play and auto-loop and you can show text or a CTA in the event the video doesn’t display.
05. Feature a collection
Want to promote a specific collection of products? The Shopify Parallax theme allows you to feature a collection on your homepage in rows of two to four.
A great way to bring your wares to life is to feature a lifestyle image with several products in it and then have a featured collection with those products listed. Now visitors have built a connection to these items and will be more likely to click on a featured product.
Feature collections of popular products, as well as those shown in photos and videos on your homepage.
06. Leverage collection page navigation
You can use the sidebar in the Parallax collection pages as a navigation filter for users to quickly find the products they’re looking for. This is a neat little feature that improves site navigation and can bump up your conversion rate.
PRO TIP: Input the right amount of data into each product when you upload it to Shopify to ensure that visitors can filter your collection pages effectively.
07. Optimize your product page layout
Your product pages have to be ace. This is the place where people decide whether or not to buy, so make sure you’ve optimized them. The Shopify Parallax theme allows you to tweak your product page design in the following ways.
- Move product descriptions above or below the CTA button. Your CTA must be immediately visible when a visitor lands on your product page and it should stand out from the rest of the page’s content.
- Place product photos on the left or right of the description. People intrinsically look to the left of the page to begin with, so choose what you want them to see first: the writing or the visual.
- Product page sidebar navigation. The product pages feature the same sidebar as the collection pages on the Parallax theme. Use this to show a menu of options like a size list, shipping information, and variants.
Use product page sidebar navigation to show collections and blog posts relevant to visitors.
Conclusion: Is the Shopify Parallax theme worth the money?
Yes. The Shopify Parallax theme is one of the easiest and most intuitive themes out there. It allows you to brilliantly showcase your products and your brand personality in a way that encourages visitors to keep scrolling for more.
Make sure you have high-quality photos of your products and some lifestyle shots to compliment them, as well as some video content to showcase on your homepage.