how to change your theme
May 16, 2023

How to Change Your Theme on BigCommerce

Introducing our latest video article on Epic Design Labs! Are you ready to revamp your Bigcommerce theme? Look no further! In this informative video, Kal, a developer and fellow store owner, shares step-by-step instructions on how to change your Bigcommerce theme effortlessly. Whether you're a newbie or an experienced e-commerce enthusiast, this video is a must-watch.

Kal begins by highlighting that upgrading from an old Bigcommerce blueprint store to a stencil theme is a one-way transition. However, for stores launched since 2016, moving between stencil themes is a breeze. He takes you through the process, starting with accessing the storefront themes and exploring the marketplace for a wide selection of themes.

Kal demonstrates how to install both free and paid themes, emphasizing that paid themes require a purchase before applying. He also introduces the invaluable preview feature, which allows you to see how different themes would look on your store before making them active.

Additionally, Kal shares insights on theme customization, explaining how you can modify settings, styles, and widgets using the customizer. He even touches on the topic of performance, recommending testing the speed and comparing it with Bigcommerce's flagship theme, Cornerstone.

If you're ready to give your online store a fresh, new look, join Kal in this engaging video. Remember to leave comments and let him know what challenges you're facing so he can continue to create helpful content. Watch the video now and unlock the potential of your Bigcommerce store!

Video Transcript:
(How to Change Your Theme on BigCommerce)

Hey there are you looking to change your theme and big commerce, you're in luck. In this video, I'm going to show you how to do that before we get started. My name is Kal, I'm a developer, a store owner just like you and I run the E commerce growth community, a free community for store owners.

And I'll leave a link in the description right under this video. If you're interested in joining, let me share my screen, I'll show you how easy this is. Now, first of all, if you are on a super old big commerce store, like prior to 2016, and you're on blueprint, you should know that changing to a big commerce tensile theme is no go back sees right.

But assuming that you are, that just means that if you're upgrading from Bigcommerce essential, they're not going to let you downgrade back to your stencil theme. So you got to be sure when you do it for everybody else, which is every store that's launched since 2016, you're already on stencil.

And so moving between stencil themes is super, super easy. And I'm going to show you guys how to do so in the backend of your store. If you go to storefront themes, you'll see your current active theme here, you'll see a bunch of inactive themes, which you can easily turn on at any point.

And you'll see a button here to go to the marketplace. And so if you go to the marketplace, you can view a bunch more themes that you can install, you can click into free and see a bunch of the free themes.

You can click into paid see a bunch of the paid themes. Now if you want to apply a paid theme to your store, you got to click into it and buy it. And once you buy it is going to be available in your store to apply. You can install a free theme exactly the same way except you just don't have to buy it. So like if I want to install this lifestyle default, I can just come in here, click Add theme, it's going to say do you want to apply it later or apply it now.

So if you if you click and now, that's going to be your current theme as of right when you click that, so I want to click a button apply later, because I want to add it to my store but not have it go live yet. And if I go back to my themes, you can see that it should show up here. Here it is lifestyle Theme right here.

And any of these inactive themes. This is one of the cool features of big commerce and big commerce stencil is you can preview it. So if I click to see my current store, this is this is what I got going on. This is a demo store. So I don't have anything loaded here. But you can kind of see this is how it looks. It's on the roots right now. And if I want to see how it would look on Cornerstone, for example, I can click into my Cornerstone theme here, which is not active.

And instead of clicking Apply, I can click Customize. And that takes me into the customizer where I can do things to it using the customizer to get it ready for launch. Or I can just click preview and see kind of how it looks. Now this is going to marry up this inactive theme with your actual data. So you can see the fake products that I have in the store are showing up here.

And it's showing me if I turn it on right now, this is how it would look. Let me go back to look at the lifestyle theme that we downloaded and see what that's got going. So if I click into that, and click again, customize it that I can see that theme. And like I said, I can come in here and make changes.

So if you're gonna want this to go live on your store, you can come in here and start dragging widgets in as needed, you can click into the layers, you can click into the theme styles, you can change some of the theme styles like maybe I don't want this primary color to be black, maybe I want it to be something else, you can configure and customize it and get getting ready for you know, for it to go live.

Now, if somebody is building you a theme, like if you contracted my company to build you a theme, something custom, we can build it out and upload it into your store and not have it go live. And that just gives it it'll basically have it show up here in one of the inactive themes where you can click to preview it.

So turning on a different theme is as easy as saying I want to apply this cornerstone template that's it so now it says Cornerstone light is the active theme. And if I come back to the front end and refresh it, this can take you know 30 seconds ish give or take but you can see now my whole front end looks like base cornerstone, right?

And if I if I do that, you know on purpose or accidentally and go Oh no, what have I done. I can easily go back to the prior theme which now is showing up right here and just reactivate it no big deal. Just like that. Now I'm back to seeing routes and if I go back to the front end Here I am, back where I was. So, you know, it's not very dangerous to change themes. Again, unless you are currently on blueprint and going to stencil, then you probably want someone to help you.

But as long as you're on a stencil framework, as long as your store is newer than 2016, I think that's when the switchover was, then it's really not that much drama to go from one theme to another.

Now, here's something I will suggest is, you know, premade themes are good or bad, it's up to you to decide, you know what that is. But I would suggest when you are thinking about a premade theme, click to view their demo. And that's going to give you a URL here of their demo store, right, a sample store with their theme running on it. And then you can take that URL to a site like Page Speed dot web dev, which is PageSpeed Insights. This is a test or tool that Google puts out so that you can measure the performance of a website.

And I would suggest running their demo URL through PageSpeed Insights, maybe look at you know, Pingdom, speed test, maybe look at GT metrics, and test the theme out what you're thinking about, you know, starting with, and I would also suggest comparing the performance of it to the performance of big commerce, this flagship theme, cornerstone.

And the reason is, you're going to find out Cornerstone is faster. And what I want you guys to know is, how much slower is the theme that you want to go with when you go with it, because if it starts out slow, it's not going to get faster, you know, and there's a lot of third party themes out there that aren't very minimalist, and so they have a lot of extra, you know, baggage and overhead. And you should just know that upfront, and if that's okay, that's okay. If you guys are just getting started, you just need a theme.

And if it's got to be slower to save money, that's okay. But you should just check it and know what you're getting yourself into. So you guys should know how to get a new theme for the marketplace, you should know how to change themes. At this point, you should know how to preview themes before they're active.

And you should be able to go into the customizer and tweak some of the settings on the themes. If you guys are just getting started Be sure to check out my course up there and leave me a comment below let me know what you guys are stuck on. You know I make these videos to help you guys out so the more you guys tell me the more I can help you. Alright, thanks so much.