Most Shopify theme developers offer multiple demo stores that show their themes in action — and using these can be a crucial part of deciding which Shopify theme to buy.
In the world of Shopify there are two types of demos — standalone demo stores and the ability to preview the theme in use on your own shop.
Most Shopify theme developers, whether they are listed in the Shopify theme store or not, offer standalone demos of themes. These are typically set up as faux stores under the “myshopify.com” domain and contain sample products and content to help you get a feel of how the theme looks and works.
Shopify themes that are available in the official theme store, meanwhile, also have the ability to be seamlessly previewed in your store.
This means you’ll see the theme applied to your products and other content — but it’s not live and visible to your customers until you make the purchase and publish your newly purchased theme.
If the Shopify theme you’re considering is listed in the Shopify theme store, trying out either type of demo is very easy.
Simply locate the theme you’re interested in trying out and either click the “View Demo” button or the “Preview in your store” button.
Clicking the latter button adds the theme in demo-only mode on your store and lets you integrate your content and products with the theme.
This is an ideal way to visualize exactly how the theme will look in your store with your actual offerings and is typically the most comprehensive way to preview a Shopify theme.
If you’re just browsing or don’t have any products or content in your own shop yet, you can instead click the “View demo” link below the “Preview” button or by hovering over the device images to see the standalone demo site the theme designer has created.
For themes not available in the theme store, such as Turbo, typically the only option is to use standalone demos, which will usually be indicated by a preview button.
Note that most Shopify themes have at least two styles (formerly known as “presets”). You can select the various presets using the colored dot icons above the buttons and then click the preview or view demo links to see that particular style.
When purchasing a theme, you generally get access to all styles indicated.
Previewing each theme style is a good way to not only see the different looks each theme comes with but also variations in settings and options that the theme might include:
It’s important to note that some features and elements may not be available in all themes — so if a particular option is vital for your store, and you haven’t seen it appear in any of the demo shops for that theme, you should double check with the theme designer.
However if you see that element (for example homepage contact form) in only one of the theme’s styles, not to worry; it is still available within the theme itself, it simply wasn’t enabled in the other demo shops or styles.
When previewing a theme on your store, there are a few limitations to be aware of:
Because Shopify only allows one set of products, collection, pages and blogs to be live on any one store at a time, you will need to preview the theme using whatever data is live on your site.
In some cases, if you’re using advanced layouts, custom styles or column-based layouts on your current theme, they will not be applied to the preview mode. This is because the theme you’re testing may not support these features or may use slightly different coding techniques.
When reviewing demo stores there are a variety of things to consider. Here’s a quick checklist of things to be on the lookout for: