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BigCommerce Stencil Themes | Our Ultimate Beginner Guide

April 03, 2024
Written and researched by experts at AvadaLearn more about our methodology

By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

In this post, we’ll walk you through the essentials of Stencil BigCommerce Themes, providing a comprehensive beginner’s guide to help you elevate your online store.

What Is Bigcommerce Stencil?

What Is Bigcommerce Stencil

BigCommerce Stencil is a powerful theme engine that enables the creation of visually appealing and functional online stores that are optimized for SEO and responsive across all devices. It simplifies storefront customization through the Page Builder tool, allowing for easy adjustments to design elements like colors, typography, and layout without any coding required. 

BigCommerce Stencil themes offer flexibility with up to four variations per theme, accommodating different markets and styles under a unified management system. This makes Stencil an essential asset for merchants aiming to enhance their online presence and shopper engagement.

Bigcommerce Stencil Features

Here are some of the key features of BigCommerce Stencil themes

Real-Time Data Synchronization

BigCommerce Stencil Themes can update in real time across various devices, including laptops, tablets, desktops, and mobile phones. This ensures all users can access the latest data, enhancing the shopping experience and preventing discrepancies between viewing platforms.

Developer-Friendly Environment

BigCommerce Stencil theme allows for seamless code verification and updates without impacting the live, cloud-based environment. This feature is particularly advantageous over the older Blueprint theme, offering developers a more efficient and risk-free way to work on storefronts.

Google AMP Support

Google AMP Support

Recognizing the importance of mobile web browsing, BigCommerce Stencil themes are equipped with Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Support to optimize mobile web browsing and significantly reduce page loading times on mobile devices. This feature improves the shopping experience and potentially increases page visibility and click-through rates, as indicated by a 2017 survey showing a 20% higher click-through rate for AMP-enabled pages on BigCommerce.

Automated Image Optimization

With the inclusion of Akamai Image Manager, Stencil themes BigCommerce automatically resize images based on the device, significantly improving site load times by up to 70%. This is crucial as high-quality product images become a standard expectation among online shoppers.

Enhanced User Experience and SEO

Enhanced User Experience and SEO

Stencil themes score highly on the Lighthouse performance scale, offering an excellent user experience on desktop and mobile devices. They also support rich snippets, helping search engines better understand and index web page content, which is essential for effective SEO.

Ease of Customization

Lastly, Stencil BigCommerce themes are designed to be easily customizable without coding knowledge. Merchants can adjust language settings, fonts, colors, and other elements to cater to their target audience better. This makes it a versatile choice for businesses aiming to provide a localized and personalized shopping experience.

What Can You Do With Bigcommerce Stencil

Here’s what you can do with Stencil BigCommerce:

For non-developers

For non-developers, Stencil provides an array of easy-to-use customization options to enhance your online storefront without touching a line of code. Through the intuitive Page Builder, you can modify your site’s colors, fonts, layout, and even choose the number of featured products to display. This drag-and-drop interface lets you add text blocks, images, banners, carousels, and more to your pages, making your product presentation visually appealing and engaging.

Custom templates further allow you to alter the default layout of your brand, category, product, and web pages to better match your store’s identity. These changes can be made directly within the BigCommerce control panel, offering a seamless way to ensure your storefront accurately reflects your brand’s personality.

For developers

For web developers, BigCommerce Stencil opens up advanced customization possibilities. Stencil themes offer direct browser access to the theme’s underlying code, catering to minor adjustments that aren’t possible within Page Builder or for integrating specific apps through scripts.

Developers can leverage the power of Handlebars, a templating language, to create dynamic content across the storefront, referencing theme-wide variables or customer-specific information for personalized offers. 

Additionally, the Stencil CLI tool provides comprehensive access to all theme files, enabling major design overhauls or the development of entirely custom themes. This requires familiarity with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and the process involves editing theme files, utilizing the capabilities of Handlebars and Front Matter for dynamic content, and packaging these modifications through the Stencil CLI for upload to the store.

While the process for creating custom templates and utilizing advanced features like Handlebars and Stencil CLI involves a deeper technical skillset, the flexibility and control it offers mean businesses can tailor their online presence to exact specifications, enhancing user experience and potentially boosting conversions.

Getting Started With BigCommerce Stencil Themes

Here’s a quick guide to getting started with BigCommerce Stencil Themes.

Where to Get BigCommerce Stencil Themes

For those in search of BigCommerce Stencil themes, you have three primary sources to explore:

  • BigCommerce Theme Store: Directly accessible and offering a variety of themes specifically designed for BigCommerce platforms, ensuring full compatibility and ease of use.
  • 3rd Party Developers: Ideal for bespoke or highly tailored themes, these developers provide unique designs that stand out, available through various online marketplaces or specialized development agencies.
  • ThemeForest: A vast marketplace featuring many BigCommerce themes from global designers, allowing for comparisons through user reviews and ratings to find the perfect match for your store.

BigCommerce’s Stencil framework offers various themes designed to be fast, flexible, and fully responsive. Here are five recommended Stencil themes that can help elevate your BigCommerce store, catering to different types of eCommerce businesses:

Supermarket Modern

Recommended Stencil Themes for Your BigCommerce Store supermarket modern

Supermarket Modern, developed by PAPATHEMES, is a mobile-responsive theme optimized for UI/UX, built using Stencil technology. Designed for larger stores, B2B/B2C wholesale marketplaces, or online shopping centers focusing on electronics, gadgets, high-tech items, and automotive parts, it takes inspiration from Amazon to accommodate a wide array of products. The theme offers a range of customizable options through the Theme Editor, such as different navigation layouts, menu styles, and ways to showcase products and banners on the home page.

Highlighting a mobile-friendly design and extensive customization capabilities, it aims to deliver a seamless shopping experience. Users especially value the theme’s speed improvements, Instant Load feature, and strong support for wholesale operations.

Pricing: $75.00


  • Fully Responsive and mobile-friendly design
  • Variety of menu options: Mega Menu, Accordion, and Flyout
  • Frontpage Slideshow and High-Resolution Product Images
  • Instant Load feature for faster page transitions
  • Customizable Theme Editor for fonts and colors without coding
  • Special features for wholesale merchants (Bulk Order, Search in category, etc.)
  • Advanced product display options (New/Bestselling/Featured with more load)
  • Enhanced eCommerce tools: Quick Add-to-Cart, Product Comparison, Advanced Quick View
  • Security features: Storefront CSRF Protection, Saved Payment Methods with PayPal Support

Elevate Outdoors

Recommended Stencil Themes for Your BigCommerce Store Elevate outdoors

Elevate Outdoors, crafted precisely by ABOVE AND BEYOND, is a testament to flexibility and advanced customization in BigCommerce themes. Engineered to support the latest Page Builder, offering drag-and-drop capabilities that allow store owners to enhance their sales interface without coding. A standout feature of this theme is its ability to showcase swatch colors and cycle through product images right from the category page, providing shoppers with a quick preview of the available choices. 

Retailers across various industries find its versatility a significant advantage, enabling them to effortlessly tailor their online storefronts to their unique needs. Its three distinct styles further ensure a broad appeal, catering to businesses of every size.

Pricing: $150.00


  • Fully Responsive design, ensuring mobile compatibility
  • Drag-and-drop customization with Page Builder support
  • Swatch colors and product photo cycling on the category page
  • Includes three versatile styles: Elevate Fashion, Elevate Autoparts, Elevate Outdoors
  • Features such as Mega Navigation, Masonry Design, and Frontpage Slideshow
  • Advanced eCommerce tools: Quick Add-to-Cart, Product Comparison, and Advanced Quick View
  • Enhanced shopping features: Persistent Cart, One Page Check Out, and Product Videos
  • Security and efficiency enhancements: Google AMP, Storefront CSRF Protection, and PayPal Support

Niche Jewellery

Recommended Stencil Themes for Your BigCommerce Store Niche jewellery

Niche Jewellery, another masterpiece from ABOVE AND BEYOND, is designed to captivate and engage customers by spotlighting your main products and services on the home page. This versatile theme caters to expansive and minimal catalog sizes with equal finesse. Ideal for a broad spectrum of industries like fashion, beauty, jewelry, etc., Niche Jewellery is built for those who wish to emphasize their core offerings, ensuring a seamless and immersive shopping experience. 

Niche Jewellery has earned high praise for its ability to provide a tailored and detailed showcasing of products, making it a favorite among businesses focused on delivering an exceptional online customer experience. 

Pricing: $150.00.


  • Fully Responsive layout for optimal mobile viewing
  • Page Builder compatibility for easy drag-and-drop customization
  • Three distinct styles to align with various brand identities
  • Comprehensive features like Mega Navigation, Masonry Design, and Frontpage Slideshow
  • Enhanced shopping tools: Quick Add-to-Cart, Advanced Quick View, and Persistent Cart
  • E-commerce optimizations: Product Comparison, Complex Search Filtering, and Google AMP
  • High-Resolution Product Images and Product Videos for detailed showcases
  • Security and payment features: Storefront CSRF Protection and PayPal Support

Beautica – Premium Responsive Bigcommerce Template

Recommended Stencil Themes for Your BigCommerce Store Beautica

Beautica is a premier BigCommerce theme for health, beauty, and cosmetic retailers. Its sophisticated and responsive layout ensures a seamless and attractive shopping experience, ideally suited for cosmetics and fashion businesses and those selling jewelry, handbags, and shoes. The theme’s clean, professional appearance and vast customization options put your products in their best light.

As a versatile BigCommerce theme, Beautica excels in usability, visual appeal, and functionality. It has extensive features and add-ons, enabling store owners to craft an engaging and effective shopping space. 

Rating: 4.82/5

Pricing: $139


  • Google AMP support for faster mobile page loading
  • Two unique homepage layouts for design flexibility
  • Mega menu module with the ability to add images, videos, and more
  • Drop-down shopping cart for ease of access
  • Ajax support for smoother page transitions
  • Grid and list view toggle for product listings
  • Lookbook page to showcase products creatively
  • Customizable contact page and a free Instagram Feed Add-on
  • Supported Theme Editor
  • Advanced add-ons like Quick Shop, Quick Edit Cart, Frequently Bought Together, Side Cart, Ask An Expert, and more for an enhanced shopping experience

Brooklynk – Premium Responsive Fashion Bigccommerce Template

Recommended Stencil Themes for Your BigCommerce Store Brokklynk

Brooklynk is a stylish and expertly crafted BigCommerce theme specifically designed to meet the unique demands of fashion retailers seeking to modernize their online presence with a fashionable and sophisticated look. 

It features a responsive layout built on the stencil framework, providing a contemporary shopping experience with functionalities such as grid and list product views and an Instagram module for easy social media integration, guaranteeing a superior shopping experience for store owners and customers.

Rating: 5.0/5

Pricing: $159


  • Dropdown shopping cart 
  • Advanced Mega Menu 
  • Full-width frontpage slideshow
  • Quick Add to Cart and Quick Search Product
  • Product Comparison Table
  • GRID & LIST modes 
  • Custom Popup Size Charts 
  • Variant Colors Options 
  • FAQs Page Layout and Custom Contact Page with Google Maps
  • Free Instagram Feed Add-on for social media integration
  • SEO Optimized 

How To Choose The Right BigComemrce Stencil Theme For Your Business

Choosing the suitable BigCommerce Stencil theme for your business is crucial for setting up an online store that looks great and performs well in terms of user experience and conversion rates. Here are five essential factors to consider when selecting a theme:

Industry Suitability and Design Aesthetics

A theme that aligns with your industry’s aesthetics will resonate more effectively with your target audience. Ensure the theme’s overall design matches your brand’s image and values. This includes considering color schemes, typography, and layout structures that reflect your brand’s personality.

Mobile Responsiveness and Cross-Platform Compatibility

With the increasing use of smartphones and tablets for online shopping, choosing a mobile-responsive theme is non-negotiable. Your chosen theme should offer a seamless shopping experience across all devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Check how the theme adapts to different screen sizes and resolutions and ensure that it maintains functionality and aesthetics across platforms.

Customization Flexibility

While most themes come with a set design, having the ability to customize it according to your specific needs is essential. Look for themes that easily modify fonts, colors, and layout without diving deep into code. The more customizable a theme is, the easier for you to tweak it to match your brand’s unique style and requirements perfectly.

Features and Functionality

Evaluate the features and functionalities that are essential for your online store. This can include product filtering, search capabilities, integration with social media platforms, and support for various payment gateways. Ensure the theme supports, or is compatible with, the functionalities you need to run your store efficiently. 

Additionally, consider the theme’s performance in load times and SEO capabilities, as these factors can significantly impact your store’s success.

Support and Updates

Lastly, consider the level of support and frequency of updates provided for the theme. A good theme should come with reliable support from the developers and regular updates to ensure compatibility with the latest versions of BigCommerce and other integrated tools. This factor is crucial for maintaining the security and functionality of your online store in the long term.

Bottom Line

Now, you’re armed with the knowledge gained from our ultimate beginner guide to BigCommerce Stencil Themes to create a visually stunning, user-friendly online store that stands out. Take advantage of the powerful features and customization options offered by Stencil Themes to drive success and growth for your ecommerce venture.


You may upload a maximum of 20 custom themes at a time to your BigCommerce store's control panel under the Storefront > My Themes section. If you reach this limit and wish to add more, you'll need to delete one or more of the existing custom themes to make room for new uploads.

Stencil functions as BigCommerce's advanced theme engine, designed to empower developers and merchants by incorporating industry best practices in technology, design standards, and SEO. It enables the creation of stunning, responsive storefronts that engage shoppers and facilitate checkouts across various devices. Through its flexible and robust framework, Stencil allows for the crafting of customized, compelling online shopping experiences that can adapt to the evolving needs of consumers and businesses alike.

Using Stencil CLI offers significant advantages for BigCommerce theme development, including:

  • Access to Advanced Features: Utilize exclusive tools like Page Builder for easy customization and Multicurrency and Multi-Storefront capabilities to enhance the customer experience.
  • Improved Performance and SEO: Benefit from mobile optimization and SEO-friendly features such as rich snippets, improving site speed and search rankings.
  • Enhanced Security: Regular updates introduce the latest security measures, ensuring compliance and protecting against cybersecurity threats without extra effort.
  • Cost Efficiency: Stencil CLI streamlines development, reducing time and costs associated with customizations and updates.
Superior Design Flexibility: Access a wide range of modern, responsive themes with easy customization options to create a unique and engaging storefront.

To create a custom template in BigCommerce, follow these steps, which are geared toward theme developers:

  1. Start by creating a custom subdirectory within the templates/pages directory of your theme. You can name this directory something relevant to your custom template for organizational purposes.
  2. Within your newly created templates/pages/custom directory, create four subdirectories to categorize your custom template files based on where they'll be used. These subdirectories should be named:
    • brand
    • category
    • product
    • page
Next, create an HTML template file in the appropriate subdirectory under templates/pages/custom/. The directory you choose depends on the type of custom template you're creating. For instance, if you're making a custom template for a specific product page, place your HTML template file in the product subdirectory.

To customize your BigCommerce theme, you have two main options: Using the Built-in Visual Editor (BigCommerce Page Builder)

  1. Access Page Builder: Sign in to your BigCommerce store, go to "Storefront," and click on "Customize." This opens the Page Builder, a drag-and-drop tool that requires no coding, allowing for easy storefront customizations.
  2. Customize with Widgets: In the Page Builder, use the sidebar to access widgets (images, carousels, videos, products, text, custom HTML, etc.) and drag them to your desired location on the website. Customize these widgets, adjusting aspects like background images, text fonts, and CTA buttons.
Updating Your Theme Files (For Advanced Users)
  1. Backup Your Theme: Navigate to "Advanced" and "Edit Theme Files". Before making changes, create a backup by selecting "Make a Copy" of your store's theme.
  2. Edit Theme Files: After backing up, you can edit your theme's HTML and CSS files for more structural changes. Note that JS files can only be edited through the Stencil CLI.
  • Accessing CSS: Go to the assets folder, then scss > theme.scss to customize CSS.
  • Modifying Templates: Use the templates folder to adjust the layout of your pages or add elements like a size guide to product pages.
For significant customizations or unique functionalities unavailable through BigCommerce or third-party apps, you might need the help of professional BigCommerce design and development services.

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.