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by Michael P. Hill October 13, 2017

The Turbo premium Shopify theme is not only engineered for speed, it also comes preloaded with built in features that would normally require the addition of multiple apps to your Shopify store. These are often paid apps, some of them with monthly subscription fees but with Turbo, you get all that functionality and more for a one time purchase price.

Turbo Shopify theme features

By adding these features directly into the theme code, not only does this allow store owners to eliminate the extra fees for Shopify apps, but it also decreases the chances of conflicts with third party apps that are common when integrating with any Shopify theme.

Many Shopify apps charge a recurring monthly fee — meaning that in order to keep using the feature they add to your store, you have to keep paying the fee for the lifetime of your store.

The alternative, using the Turbo Shopify theme with baked in advanced features, is a one time license — and even gives you access to new features as they are added in the future at no additional cost. You can even update your theme easily using Out of the Sandbox’s exclusive Shopify Theme Updater App.

Here’s a quick look at just some of the features that come with your Turbo license, as well as some alternative apps that can add similar or expanded functionality.

Quick shop

Turbo, as well as all of the other Out of the Sandbox Shopify themes, comes preloaded with a “Quick Shop” feature that lets users get a quick glance at product details and add an item to the cart right from the collection page — without having to open the product page.

Turbo quick view quick shop

Turbo’s quick shop modal windows feature advanced coding that also only loads the content when it’s requested, which can shave valuable microseconds off your page loading time.

Alternative: Quick View by Secomapp, $16.99 per month (limited free version available)

Multitag filter

Turbo also features a built in advanced filtering option for collection pages called multitag filtering. This feature, which is especially valuable for stores with large inventories, lets shoppers filter products based on attributes such as color, size, material or vendor.

Turbo swatch filter

The Turbo multitag filter feature even allows you to use custom color swatches for color properties.

Alternative: Product Filter & Search, starting at $19 per month

Advanced mega menu

The Turbo Shopify theme includes a flexible mega menu navigation system built in that allows you to combine multiple menus, images and text elements into a nearly endless combination of layouts.

Shopify mega menu

Mega menus are great for stores with larger inventories or many collections because they give users access to multiple levels of your site without clicking. The approach can also make navigation more visually oriented, letting users locate products by sight rather than by reading text.

Mega menus also give you another way to promote sales, products or featured items and collections right next to your site’s navigation menus — a particularly valuable piece of real estate.

Alternatives: Bacon Mega Menu, $9.99 per month; Globo Mega Menu, $8.99 per month; Mega Menu: $9.95 per month (limited free version available)

Advanced page layouts

Turbo and select other Out of the Sandbox themes come with additional templates that give you the ability to use a simple drag and drop interface to create an advanced product page layout as well as a content page such as an “about us” or “our story” area. Another feature also lets you create a photo gallery page to showcase your products or other imagery.

Shopify page layouts

These layouts can include multiple sections in any order you’d like and in essentially limitless combinations, giving you the ability to create an eye-catching page with little to no coding.

Alternatives: Shogun Drag & Drop Page Builder, $15 to $69 per month; GemPages, $9 to $49 per month;  Zipify Pages, $67 per month

Recently viewed products

Shopify recently viewed products

The Turbo Shopify theme comes with a dynamically updating recently viewed products module that can be placed on collection and product pages in one of two locations, which is a great way to remind shoppers of other items they might be interested in, resulting in potential higher sales.

Alternatives: Recently Viewed Products, $2.99 per month (limited free version available); Recentt, $3 per month; Recently Viewed Products, $9.95 per month (limited free version available)

Minicart

Shopify mini cart

Turbo also introduced a new cart type: The mini cart. This cart automatically updates and opens whenever a customer adds an item to the cart, making it easy for them to see how to check out, while still giving them the chance to explore more of your store.

The collapsible design also lets users take a quick glance at what items are in the cart without leaving the page they are on — and without cluttering up your site’s design.

Alternative: My Mini Cart, $2.99 per month

Infinite scrolling or ‘load more’ button

Turbo adds a frequently requested feature — infinite scrolling or the ability for customers to continue browsing options without reloading a collection page.

Shopify theme load more button infinite scrolling

Both of these options are great ways to encourage customers to continue exploring all of the products you have to offer and create a dynamic, animated look for your store — and it’s all built in.

Alternative: Infinite Scrolling: Endless Scrolling, $4.99 per month

Gallery page or lookbook

Shopify theme gallery

Selling online typically relies heavily on quality imagery, so it’s important to be able to showcase your imagery in as many ways possible. Turbo comes with a gallery page that leverages the Shopify sections drag and drop interface to let you create a dynamic gallery or lookbook page.

Alternative: Lookbook, $29 per month

More features

Turbo’s value as an investment for your business doesn’t stop with these more advanced features — or with just Turbo.

All of Out of the Sandbox’s Shopify themes come with the following features built in and ready to go without any installation or code changes:

Out of the Sandbox themes also include a variety of features that many apps, both free and paid, can add to your store, but without the hassle of installing a separate app and potentially introducing code conflicts, including:

In total, adding these additional “smaller” features using third party apps can quickly add up to $10, $20 or more per month or, if you opt to have custom code modifications done a higher one time fee.

A look at the numbers

When considering the add-on features that come with Turbo at no extra cost and the cost of adding those to your store using apps, it’s easy to quickly approach the one time cost of $350 for Turbo in recurring app fees.

Turbo cost

For stores using all or most of Turbo’s advanced features, this means you can recoup your one-time investment in Turbo within a few months of using the theme.

These estimates also don’t include any of the additional, “smaller” features that could also add $10 or $20 or more per month to your expenses.

Also, keep in mind that you’ll have to continue paying the monthly app features for as long as you want the features — plus any additional fees for new apps you install later.

With an Out of the Sandbox theme, you are not only paying a single fee one time, you also get access to all new features added to Turbo in the future. The Out of the Sandbox development team is always creating new features, so the value of the theme will always be increasing — but you’ve “locked in” the original price you paid for the theme.

Finally, these estimates also don’t include any of the costs involved in installing apps and troubleshooting issues that will inevitably arise. The figures also don’t account for the cost of your time to install and resolve issues with third party apps that are not supported by Out of the Sandbox support.

A few notes

It is important to keep in mind that, since the code used to create Shopify themes cannot access the Shopify API or more advanced programming features, there will be cases where some of the built in features may not include some of the fancier features that a third party app can provide.

For example, because Shopify themes can’t get real time access to your store’s product, inventory or customer databases, the built in features offered as part of a theme purchase cannot perform tasks such as manipulating customer information, adding advanced logic or storing custom data.

In these cases, we’ve given you some suggested apps in the lists above that might be a better fit.

In cases where a Shopify theme can’t deliver the same functionality as a full featured app, it’s always worth considering, especially if you’re a new business, if you can “make do” with the included feature set rather than adding additional expense at this early stage.

Even more established store owners should weigh the options available to them and carefully consider ways to avoid app overload.

Finally, please note that the calculations above are based on comparable apps available in the Shopify App Store as of Oct. 13, 2017 and reflect the ranges of advertised prices as of that date.

Michael P. Hill
Michael P. Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn.

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