Welcome to our last overview of the best WooCommerce themes for 2014! We’ve got three new quality-tested themes specifically designed for WooCommerce to take a look at today.
In this series, we bring you the best WooCommerce themes because we actually test and review them. Several articles like this will simply lists themes that they’ve found and link to the page or demo for you to check out. We install each theme, test the setup, and take a peek under the hood at the code that powers it so that you have real recommendations, not just a list of premium themes to look at that you can’t try out yourself without purchasing.
The themes we’ll cover in this part of the series are:
The Crux theme from Codestag is devoted to showcasing your store, and even won an award for best new WooCommerce theme as a result. Product photography is put at the center of your theme, and there are several WooCommerce-specific widgets included so that you can create a homepage and custom pages that will show off your products.
I’ve used several themes from Codestag, and been very satisfied with each one. They make great themes and provide quality support along with each theme purchase.
A good WooCommerce theme should ensure that all shop elements are styled properly, and Crux takes this to heart. Shop and product pages feature the same color scheme and design as the rest of your site, rather than simply adding color to the default WooCommerce elements.
Shop pages will show off products with an overlay on hover so that you can view more details or simply add a product to the cart. WooCommerce widgets also look great, and you can set the products per page in the theme settings.
Single product pages show off bold product images, as they theme will set the correct dimensions for your images when installed. I adjusted my product thumbnail sizes to be smaller so that I could fit 2-3 per row under the featured image, but I didn’t have to mess around with any other shop styling.
Your cart is always visible in the header so that customers are reminded to complete purchase, and the mini-cart here will show cart contents and lead customers to checkout.
The cart and checkout pages feature prominent calls to action and automatically are set in a full-width layout so you don’t have to worry about adjusting page templates.
The theme is designed to integrate with the Stag Custom Sidebars plugin so that you can create sidebars and other custom widget areas to craft your theme setup.
For example, I used a custom widget area to create my homepage, and used the several WooCommerce-specific widgets that are built into the theme. These allowed me to create homepage sections that showcased my products, such as featured or new products, along with any content I chose to include.
You can also adjust the sidebars used for a particular page while editing it if you’d like to create sidebars for different types of pages.
Finally, the other pages and blog layout weren’t ignored. The blog archives feature a custom header background, and each post will display a wide featured image that will adjust height as needed to display both in the archive page and on the single-post page.
Crux bundles the LayerSlider plugin, which can be used to create slider sections within your theme (they can be added via widget or shortcode). This is a practice I’m not a big fan of, as support for the plugin then has to go through the theme author, then to the plugin author. However, the changelog does indicate that this bundled plugin is kept up-to-date so that users aren’t affected by issues that can arise from releases being outdated, such as security issues.
A few WooCommerce templates are overridden in the theme, which is typically something to avoid, as updates to the WooCommerce core templates could then affect your theme. This isn’t a pervasive issue as there are only a few templates overridden, but it’s something to be aware of with WooCommerce 2.3 template changes around the corner.
While the documentation and support around the theme is great, I did have to reference the docs to setup my homepage, as I wanted to create a widgetized layout to feature the WooCommerce sections. I didn’t realize that I’d have to create a widget area, then embed it via shortcode onto my static homepage, so setting up your homepage and playing with the widgets may take you a bit of time. However, I did like that this allowed me to create a unique setup rather than a homepage that will look the same as everyone else that uses the theme.
Other than the aforementioned template overrides, the code behind Crux is a solid base for your WooCommerce site. The template overrides do appear to keep all the needed WooCommerce hooks so that there are no plugin incompatibilities.
Best WooCommerce Themes: Crux Overall
Crux is a great WooCommerce theme that focuses on showcasing product photography throughout your shop and the available WooCommerce widgets, which can be used on your homepage or any widgetized landing page. At $58, it’s a great value for a quality WooCommerce theme from a good author. I like that the homepage setup can be unique depending on which widgets and setup you choose to use, and that you can create customized sidebars for different areas of your site (such as your shop, blog, and pages).
Upstart is a flat theme with a full-width, sidebar-less layout. Your blog and shop archives will features a responsive grid layout, and content will be at the focus of your site display. While this means that you can’t take advantage of WooCommerce widgets (and others), the grid layout provides a very neat display for your blog posts and products.
Upstart also integrates with the free plugins from WooThemes so that you can create a team section, testimonials, features, and more for complete site creation.
Upstart puts your product images front and center, though you can’t filter them as there’s no sidebar available for your shop page. Products will be displayed in a grid that will adjust the products per row depending on the screensize. Images and sales flashes will be displayed with the option to view more details on hover.
Product pages won’t showcase featured images as large as possible, but they will put all product and purchasing information immediately in view for the customer to take action. Notices, color scheme, and style are consistent with the rest of your site.
Upstart also focuses on conversions in your shopping funnel. The cart total and number of items is kept in view within the menu, and cart pages make upsells and proceeding to checkout easy to see.
Upstart also features a distraction free checkout: footer widgets and header / navigation links are removed so that the entire focus is on helping the customer to complete checkout rather than distracting them with new widgets, featured products, etc.
Upstart also ensures that you have a complete website to show off your company and brand. Blog archives feature a responsive grid layout similar to the shop archives — the number of posts per row will adjust with screen size and display more information on mouse-over.
Single posts can also display the featured image, and will prominently feature author information and put your content front and center.
While Upstart supports all of the free plugins from WooThemes, you may need to get all of these set up to launch a great website using this theme, as these plugin integrations tend to provide all of your homepage content. While this can make it easy to create the homepage, as it just uses the “most recent posts” setting and adds the relevant content sections if enabled, it means that your setup will probably involve these plugins as described in the documentation.
You may also need some CSS to adjust some of the theme colors, such as the navigation background and accent color (the orange seen in my screenshots), as these aren’t included in the theme settings.
As with most themes from WooThemes, code quality isn’t a concern. Upstart is powered by the WooFramework, which means that settings will be consistent if you’ve previously used a WooThemes theme.
All WooCommerce integration is properly themed without overriding templates, and best practices are generally used.
Best WooCommerce Themes: Upstart Overall
Upstart is fairly easy to set up if you’re already using WooThemes plugins, but will require some setup if you don’t use plugins such as WooThemes Features or Testimonials. While the integration with these is tight and provides a really seamless setup and they look great, this means that you may have to switch from another plugin.
If you want to focus on your shop and content without sidebars or distractions at checkout, and you’re okay with the need to change main colors manually (if desired), then Upstart can be a good choice for your WooCommerce store.
Astoundify is known for developing niche themes that address every need of a particular kind of website, and Listify is no different. It’s designed to integrate with WooCommerce and WP Job Manager to provide a site that displays and adds specific styles for both directory listings and products.
If you use listings, such as jobs, classes, or businesses on your site, you can use Listify to display them beautifully and WooCommerce to sell them (if needed – the two don’t have to be working together!).
Listify offers tight integration with lots of software, including WooCommerce, WP Job Manager, and Booking services. It also includes specific styling for other plugins, such as WooCommerce Social Login, to ensure that your site has a polished feel from top to bottom.
As there’s a lot to set up, you’ll be greeted with a setup guide. I’d recommend installing the demo content so that you can get a feel for what each part of the theme does, which will make it easier and faster for you to adjust this content yourself.
You’ll be able to do a lot of setup from the theme customizer, such as selecting a color scheme and determining how your WooCommerce and Job Manager content should be displayed.
Once you have basic theme options set up, you’ll want to complete your WooCommerce and WP Job Manager setup so that you’re sure of how you want to assign the theme widgets. These will give you fine-grained control over the display of your WP Job Manager components on listing pages. The widgets are labeled to help make setup easy, and you can add widgets for regular sidebars, product sidebars, shop sidebars, listings and listing sidebars, and your homepage.
Once your widget and customizer changes are complete, you’ll have a complete site with an integrated shop and directory. Shop pages will show products in a two-column, boxed layout, and more product details are displayed on mouse-over.
Product pages are fairly standard as far as WooCommerce product pages go, but will blend in completely with your site.
WP Job Manager pages will look entirely consist with your site and shop pages, and this is where a lot of Listify’s strengths lie. Your listing layout is entirely dependent on you, as you’ll add widgets to determine what’s displayed in the main content section vs the sidebar.
Listing archives also feature the same clean layout, and
Since Listify styles and supports several plugins, you’ll probably want to read up on the theme documentation, as there can be a lot of setup involved. For example, you can add icons, tertiary menus, and lots of other site features and styles that I didn’t go very far in depth with.
As a warning, you’ll have to set the WooCommerce checkout and cart pages to the “No sidebar” template manually, as these do not default to a full-width layout.
I also wasn’t crazy about the buttons on the cart page, as the “Apply Coupon” draws all of the attention rather than the “Checkout” button:
Overall, the biggest con is the setup time involved with the theme and reading documentation, but I don’t think it can necessarily be avoided if you want to take full advantage of the theme’s capabilities. With that being said, the demo content install expedites this process a lot, and I’d recommend taking this route if you’re okay with adding this content then changing it around to suit your needs.
Listify is another well-built theme from Astoundify. It does override a few WooCommerce templates, but they’re templates that are less likely to change than others, such as the
/woocommerce/loop/loop-end.php template, so it wasn’t a huge cause of concern.
The rest of the theme is rock-solid and provides a great foundation for your site.
Best WooCommerce Themes: Listify Overall
If your site contains both a shop and directory component, whether for paid listings, internal job listings, classifieds, or any of the other tons of possible uses for WP Job Manager, Listify is a theme you should seriously consider. It makes it easy to integrate your shop and directly completely, and will also include styling for a number of plugins and bookings systems.
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