The short answer is- yes there is a difference between paid and free themes.
Choosing between a paid and free theme in Shopify is one of those areas which some people are really troubled and others could not care less. The reason for this difference in thought is due to the fact that some people place greater emphasis on either features or purpose. There definitely needs to be a balance in this thinking but from my experience this seems to be the driving force behind this decision making.
Paid themes typically offer more features such as Instagram feeds or better manipulation of pictures. These features are enticing to many people who like having these options or as I say all “the bells and whistles”. This is great and if you want a theme that has features you like, you should definitely get it.
Some people are less focused on the websites look and function. Typically, these are people who are looking to sell and are concerned with making money. These individuals want their sites to look good but are not concerned with many of the features that paid themes offer. There is nothing wrong with this thinking since there are many free themes to choose from on Shopify.
Things to Keep in Mind
The one thing to keep in mind when choosing a theme is that the company you buy it from will be your support for that theme. Most of the theme sellers on Shopify have good support, but not all. You may want to send them an email before purchasing to see how long it takes the company to get back to you.
There is also the issue of theme designers who stop working on Shopify. This is rare but it has occurred with one of my clients. She bought a theme from a designer and then the company went out of business and she had no support from the designer.
You should also keep in mind that Shopify is constantly changing because they are always making upgrades. One of the themes that I purchased became outdated in less than two years because of changes Shopify made.
There are many other reasons that can affect theme choice. For example, some themes are built for large inventories and other themes support small numbers of products. Other considerations might include whether or not your theme is representing your products properly such as fashion or industrial looks. Some themes are specifically designed for certain industries. For these reasons, it is really important to choose a good designer who is keeping current with Shopify policies.
If you need assistance choosing a theme please feel free to contact us.