BigCommerce Theme Development: What You Need to Know 

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What is a BigCommerce Theme?

A BigCommerce theme serves as a framework for the front-end of your website, guiding the organization and the branding of content. When opening an account for BigCommerce, you have different options for how to select your theme. There are paid themes, free themes, or you have a custom theme built. This article will dive more into each of these, but first, it’s important to understand how your theme impacts your brand, user experience, and conversion rate.  

Themes play a crucial role in brand building as they define your brand’s image for all visitors to your website. For example, Pit Vipers' website has a custom-built theme that defines their brand as retro, edgy, and light-hearted. Their website does not look like what many consider a modern website; rather, it’s styled after a 2000s internet experience. Visitors get a clear picture of the brand after a couple of seconds on the website. This immediate brand _ is driven by the website’s theme. It’s a custom theme that probably cost a pretty penny to build, but it really hits the mark with the most important people – their target audience.    

A large part of understanding BigCommerce themes is considering the user experience (UX) of a theme. Simply put, UX refers to the usability and intuitiveness of your website. This includes navigation, process flows, checkout experience, and overall website design. Each customer has a specific reason for clicking on your website. Great websites make it as easy as possible for their customers to find what they’re looking for.  AirBnB is a great example of this. Visitors to this site are looking for something specific, a short-term rental. AirBnB’s website serves visitors that information in a clear, conscious, intuitive way that makes sense to the average visitor. Within a few clicks, customers can find what they’re looking for within a few clicks.  

Nailing both your branding and UX on your BigCommerce theme all leads to one big thing – conversion. In ecommerce, the term conversion rate refers to the percentage of people who visit your website and make a purchase at the end of their customer journey. It’s industry standard for a well-functioning ecommerce website to earn a conversion rate of 2-3%. This percentage can change depending on factors like industry, business structure, and prices, but 2-3% is a good starting point to keep in mind.  

Picking the right theme and getting UX design spot-on can directly contribute to your conversion rate, which ultimately means more cash in your pocket. Take Nike for example, the theme they use is set up very well for eCommerce. Products are clearly displayed, it’s intuitive to navigate, and the theme design work isn’t distracting. Although it’s unclear what Nike’s exact conversion rate is, we can assume it’s in the 2-3% range based on these factors. Overall, choosing the right BigCommerce theme is incredibly important for your business’ ecommerce success.   

BigCommerce Theme Options

There are many options for BigCommerce themes. BigCommerce has paid themes, free themes, and gives you the ability to make a custom theme with the BigCommerce headless approach. It’s important to note that not all paid and free pre-built themes are built for the same type of company. Whether you're an online retailer, wholesale distributor, auction company, or services provider, your BigCommerce website needs will be different. It’s important to pick a theme that’s set up for your style of business. If you choose the wrong theme, your visitors could struggle to find what they’re looking for. Not sure how to start this process? Research other companies with a similar business model that you admire. Take note of how their website is structured and search for pairs or free themes that feature the website structure you are looking for.  

The BigCommerce theme marketplace is located within your BigCommerce account. Within the marketplace you have access to themes paid themes (purchase required), and free themes. If you’re going with a custom stencil theme or a custom headless theme, you will need to work with a BigCommerce Agency partner to complete the project. Each type of theme comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, some of which are highlighted below.  


Functionality is built out to serve specific business functions 

Specific look and feel for the business model  

Unique designs for branded approach  

Customizable from the BigCommerce theme editor  


⚠️ More rigid than free themes  

⚠️ Limited customization options 

⚠️ Too many pre-built features 

Things to consider: 

💭 Upfront cost 

Free BigCommerce Themes 


✅ Basic Functionality  

✅ Easy to access  

✅ Cost effective to get started  

✅ Customizable from the BigCommerce theme editor 


⚠️ Less custom abilities out of the box  

⚠️ Development work will be needed for added functionality  

⚠️ Potentially less support  

Things to consider: 

💭 No cost.  

💭 Free themes can be used as a sales tool to get you in the door with a developer so you go to them for paid services if you need more functionality built into the theme. 

Custom BigCommerce Themes 


✅ One-of-a-kind website  

✅ Specific look and feel 

✅ BigCommerce headless has industry-leading speeds  


⚠️ Long development time 

⚠️ Limited support options 

⚠️ Potential errors  

Things to consider: 

💭 Costly to build 

💭 Ongoing support will be needed as software updates are made to applications used on your website. Be prepared to make necessary updates. 

💭 Really good agency partners make great custom websites. It takes a lot of skill and know-how to accomplish this successfully, and it is hard to pull off without the right knowledge, tools, and resources.  

Our 2¢: If you’re going with a free or paid theme, find out who created the theme prior to selecting it. The online sales ecosystem is ever-changing so sometimes themes become outdated, underperform, or break. Before selecting a theme, be sure the company that owns the theme makes regular updates. The last thing you want is a broken or outdated website.  

Customizing Your Theme  

BigCommerce theme customizations are possible for both paid and free themes. Your theme can be customized using the native theme editor in BigCommerce. It is accessible through your BigCommerce account. Within the theme editor, you can build pages, adjust font and colors, or tweak buttons and icons. Developers can also access theme files for more detailed modifications that need to take place in the website code.

Steps to Access Your Theme Editor 

Step 1: Log into your BigCommerce Account  

Step 2: Click on “Storefront” 

Step 3: View the section titled “Current Theme.” Click on the blue “Customize” button to open the theme editor.  

Step 4: Navigate in the theme editor to make the BigCommerce Theme edits. 

Our 2¢: Periodically make a copy of your theme, so you can revert to the file if something breaks at a critical time for your business. This can be especially helpful during high traffic seasons or new features are added.  

You can create a copy by going to Storefront > Themes, viewing the “Current Theme” section of the page, selecting the “Advanced” button, and clicking “Make a Copy.”

BigCommerce Webstore Branding Tips 

Everyone knows branding is important, but what does “branding” actually mean? Branding means utilizing the tools and resources to shape the perception of your business into an entity your customers recognize, know, and trust. Branding includes many factors, ranging from color schemes and font style to company values and marketing. Being intentional with these factors brings your brand to life. To consumers, exceptional brands often feel more human, resembling a person rather than just a logo on a wall. Top-tier brands truly come to life through their branding, embodying characters in the consumer's mind. Consider some of these familiar brands below. Each brand has a distinct persona in the eyes of an average consumer, thanks to effective branding efforts.  

  • Red Bull 
  • Patagonia 
  • Lululemon 
  • Nike 
  • BMW 
  • Harley Davidson  

Successful web presence has played a large role in each of these companies’ branding. Thankfully, BigCommerce gives you the ability to establish a brand presence that meets your company vision and can remain constant across the platform. Listed below are some tips on how to leverage BigCommerce to establish, build, and maintain your brand.  

Colors: BigCommerce makes it easy to adjust the colors throughout your website in the theme editor.  

Logo: A well-crafted, memorable logo is foundational in establishing your brand. Once your logo is designed, you can easily upload it to your BigCommerce Account.  

Multi-Channel Selling: Reaching customers wherever they shop is crucial, whether on platforms like Google, Facebook, or TikTok. Maintaining a strong, consistent brand image in each space is needed so the customer recognizes you. BigCommerce partners closely with Feedonomics, a best-in-class multi-channel selling solution that helps merchants sell through multiple sales channels. 

BigCommerce Apps: The best companies in the world serve their customers in ways that best fit their customer’s needs. You can add BigCommerce apps, like BigCommerce B2B Edition, to your website that will add functionality to better serve your customers. BigCommerce apps are managed through your BigCommerce account, so you can ensure they are branded correctly.  

BigCommerce website design support  

Managing a website is a big task, and that’s okay! You don’t need to tackle it alone. BigCommerce has many agency partners with teams of skilled professionals who understand ecommerce and the BigCommerce ecosystem. Their sole job is to help merchants like you be as successful as possible! When things feel overwhelming or seem to be getting out of hand, it’s best to consider hiring BigCommerce agency support. This is especially helpful when working with an agency partner to increase profit, fix sticky issues, and reduce your headache.  

BigCommerce Theme FAQs

How do you edit BigCommerce themes?

Themes in BigCommerce are easy to edit.  

  1. First, log into your BigCommerce account.  
  2. Once on the Admin page, select “Storefront”.  
  3. Once in the storefront section, go to the “Themes” section.  
  4. Select “Customize”.  
  5. You will then be brought to the BigCommerce theme editor. From here, you can customize your theme.  
Tip: Remember to save your progress as you edit. Don’t loose your progress!  

How do you upload a theme in BigCommerce? 

Upload your own custom theme into BigCommerce in six simple steps.  

  1. First, log into your BigCommerce account.  
  2. Once on the Admin page, select “Storefront”.  
  3. Once in the storefront section, go to the “Themes” section.  
  4. Next, select “Upload Theme”.  
  5. You can then drag and drop your theme file into the upload box or select it from your computer.  
  6. Finally, select “Upload”. This will upload the theme file to your account.  

Best BigCommerce Theme? 

Cornerstone is a free theme designed by BigCommerce. It is regularly recommended as the best theme to start with when building your website. It’s simple, clean, has helpful support documentation, and is customizable.  

Does BigCommerce have free themes?  

Yes. BigCommerce has 12 free themes. Most free themes give you different style options to choose from within the theme. This simply refers to the theme’s standard layout, font, and colors. 

Does BigCommerce have paid themes?  

Yes. BigCommerce has 50 paid themes. Paid themes range from $100-$400. Most paid themes give you different style options to choose from within the theme. This simply refers to the theme’s standard layout, font, and colors. 

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