Is this free theme a good fit for your Shopify store and can it really help your brand, or should you consider another alternative?
After reviewing tens of other Shopify themes, free and paid, I’m writing this honest Shopify Narrative theme review in order to help you know when to use, or not use, this theme that was created by Shopify itself, and if you can find better alternatives based on your brand and budget.
Without further ado, let’s begin!
Narrative Theme Review Summary
- Name: Shopify Narrative Theme
- Website: www.themes.shopify.com/themes/narrative/styles/earthy
- Founders: Shopify
- Quality & Support: 8.5 of 10
- Features & Ease of Use: 9 of 10
- Design & Flexibility: 8.5 of 10
- Value for Money: 10 of 10
- Testimonials: 8 of 10
- Price: $0.
- Recommended? Yes
Overall EcomCents.com Rating: 8.8 of 10
Summary: Narrative is a good Shopify theme that can be used for brands that sell one product or a small catalog of products, and they want to use a theme with good visuals and wide images and videos.
The theme comes with few good features that can help the overall customer experience on your Shopify store.
3 Things Make Narrative a Special Free Shopify Theme
Created by Shopify itself
Most Shopify themes are created by independent developers, but Narrative was created by Shopify itself.
Why is this good?
Because it means that despite being free, it would be compatible with the technical requirements of Shopify, in order to keep your store function smoothly and secretly.
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A free Shopify theme that gets updates when necessary. Why wouldn’t that be a great thing about Narrative!
Great for Small Catalogs & 1-Product Brands
Most themes out there focus on stores and brands that sell medium to large catalogs of products, whether niche stores or general stores.
But narrative is designed for brands that sell few items or even one item, and it is visually customized to allow you to use visual story-telling that works better for this kind of brands.
Narrative Features That Can Help Your Store
As I mentioned earlier, Narrative is designed for stores that sell few items, and this hero video feature allows you to share videos that tell a story, which is great for this kind of brands and for medium-ticket to high-ticket products.
Vertical Image Slideshow
Another very cool and unique feature of Narrative theme that can help story telling is the vertical slideshow of images that can tell a story while your customer is scrolling down on your Shopify store.
This is also good for one-product stores as it allows you to show big images that help the shopper see the fine details of the products you sell, so that you show them the quality of what you sell.
This feature allows you to show the header components, such as the top bar, the cart, and the logo, and keep them sticky on the screen when the shopper starts scrolling up from wherever they were on the page, which helps them reach faster to the top menu or the cart page in order to take action.
This Narrative theme feature allows your store’s visitor to open the cart and edit it without visiting the cart page itself, by clicking on the cart icon in the top bar, where the cart appears on the right section of the screen.
This helps in creating a faster shopping experience that helps the shopper in buying with fewer steps, instead of getting tired and leaving your store.
Special Instructions at Cart Page
This box on the cart page allows your customer to give you specific instructions about their order instead of sending a separate email, which saves you a lot of time and hustle.
This could be something like asking you not to attach a receipt with the item as they will gift it to someone else for example.
Another sales-boosting feature from Narrative theme is this button that allows the customer to add the product to the cart and get redirected to the checkout page all in one click.
This feature was inspired by Amazon’s 1-click buy button, which they patented because they found that the shorter the purchase experience is, the higher the conversion rate could go.
It is becoming widely available now among paid Shopify themes like the Warehouse theme, and it is nice that Narrative provides it.
Email Signup Field
This field helps you collect your store’s visitors’ email addresses, so that you send them promotions at a lower cost later, especially that email marketing is more effective than most of the other marketing methods.
Social Media Buttons
These buttons can help you achieve two things:
- Let your customers share your products that they liked on their social media profiles, which provides free advertising for you.
- Invite your customers to follow you on your social accounts so that you build a loyal following and promote to them at lower cost later.
Narrative Theme Styles & Demo Stores
Narrative theme comes with four built-in styles that you can choose to start with, and you can further customize based on your brand and products.
These for styles are:
- Earthly: Designed for stores selling strollers.
- Warm: Designed for stores selling coffee-making accessories.
- Light: Designed for stores selling belts.
- Cold: Designed for stores selling bicycles.
You can choose any style and customize it, and you can switch from one to another later.
If you want to see Narrative theme demo Shopify stores, then from the sales page of the theme itself, choose the style you want to see, and then click the “View Demo Store” button, and a new tab will open with a demo store of that style.
Narrative Theme Example Stores
On the same page of the Narrative theme on the Shopify theme store, you can see a list of some of the real Shopify stores that use the Narrative theme, such as: Crazy Horse Craft, Wacaco, Drizzle Honey, and Tania Larsson, and you can click on any of them in order to visit the actual store and explore it.
Narrative Theme User Reviews
The reviews on Narrative theme by real Shopify store owners are available on the Shopify theme store itself, and there are around fifty reviews with a pretty low overall rating.
Many are complaining about the functionality of the hero video, scrolling, and the large images, especially from mobile devices.
However, most of these are old and you can check the demo stores and even the example stores by yourself to see if they function properly.
Remember that the theme is a free one, and you don’t expect to find a nice and clean Shopify theme for free, and it is unique as it is designed for one-product and small catalog stores.
Narrative Shopify Theme Price & Free Download
Narrative is a free theme from Shopify, and you can download it for free from the Shopify theme store anytime.
If you want a theme with more customizability options and features, then the following section of this Narrative theme review will help you.
3 Top Alternatives to Narrative Shopify Theme
If you think that Narrative is not for you because your store has a medium-large catalog, or because of the lack of certain features, then here are some alternatives:
1 – Debutify – Premium with a Free Plan
This alternative to Narrative theme is an expensive one as it costs a monthly fee to get all the sales-boosting features, but it also has a free plan with some good features, and it is suitable for medium-large catalog stores.
Checkout my review of Debutify to learn more and see where to download it for free.
2 – eCom Turbo – Premium at a Good Price
This Narrative alternative costs some money, but it is great as it comes with free lifetime updates, and it has some useful features that can help you increase the sales and profit on your store.
The price is good, but the main thing I don’t like is that it doesn’t come with built-in styles.
You can learn more about it in my eCom Turbo review.
3 – Flex – #1 Shopify Theme
A pricey theme, but worth every penny, because:
- It is created and developed by a Shopify-owned company.
- Costs a one-time payment for lifetime free updates.
- Comes with lots of features that can help your stores sales and profit.
- Has more than twelve built-in styles to choose from.
- Comes with a 14-day money back guarantee.
- Allows for some advanced customization.
You can check out my review of Flex theme if you want to learn more and see if the exclusive discount code is still there.
Pro’s & Con’s of Narrative Theme
- Created by Shopify itself, and comes with free updates.
- Unique when it comes to selling a small catalog or one product.
- Very clean and good for medium-ticket to high-ticket products.
- Many useful features that can help boost conversions.
- Four different built-in styles come with it, which could save you lots of time and effort.
- Not a high rating from users.
- Limited when it comes to customizability and features, but that’s fine as it is a free theme.
Who Is Narrative Theme for?
Narrative theme could be great for Shopify stores that sell few items or one product, and for brands that can sell on storytelling, thanks to the hero video, wide layout, and vertical slideshow feature.
Narrative Theme Support
Narrative support is a free theme by Shopify, but you can find some really good documentation on the theme store on how to set it up and how to use it.
You may also contact the support team for troubleshooting, but in general, don’t expect a very fast support for a free theme.
But the fact that Narrative was created by Shopify itself, it means that it will be a high quality theme with updates when necessary.
Conclusion – Is Narrative Theme Good?
Narrative is a really nice Shopify theme when it comes to using it on stores that sell few items and for one-product brands.
The theme is very clean and product focused, and the few features it has can be really helpful for boosting conversions.
If you want a theme with more features and customizability, or one for selling more products on your store, then the alternatives I mentioned earlier are for you.
I hope that my Narrative Shopify theme review was insightful and helpful for you.
If you still have any questions, please, feel free to ask me in the comments’ section below, and I will do my best to help you out 🙂
Shopify Narrative Theme$0
Quality & Support8.5/10
Features & Ease of Use9.0/10
Design & Flexibility8.5/10
Value for Money10.0/10
- Created by Shopify
- Great for Small Catalog Brands
- Clean Design
- Good Features That Can Help Your Store
- Built-in Styles
- Overall User Rating Is Not High
- Limited in Customizability and Features