While there are some things you can pay attention to in a theme demo, there are lots of things in a theme that you don’t know about until after purchasing. Sometimes a demo can look great, but then you buy the theme and realize that it’s not what you’d hoped for in terms of usability and quality.
To help with this, we have a post category for eCommerce theme reviews, as well as a series on just WooCommerce themes, to give you some information on the best WooCommerce themes we’ve tried, some pros and cons to using these themes, as well as a peek under the hood at the theme code.
Hub is a fairly new theme from WooThemes that fully supports WooCommerce and WooThemes’s Sensei plugin, as well as the other free plugins from WooThemes (such as Features and Testimonials). For $79 (unlimited sites), Hub ensures that you have a complete and unified design, from you blog template all the way through WooCommerce shop pages.
With the WooThemes Homepage Control plugin, you can add and move homepage sections, such as an intro section, an “Our Team” section (using the Our Team plugin), recent posts, and others. You can also use a “Business template” as your homepage to leverage a slider (a “lite” slider is built-in) and other components.
Hub has a bold, flat layout that can be easily customized to reflect your brand. It’s pretty easy to install and set up, as it uses the WooFramework for all settings:
Your homepage can be set up using the business template, or with the Homepage Control plugin. Using Homepage Control, you can enable or disable sections and re-order them, then customize messages and button text under the theme settings:
The blog, standard page, and WooCommerce stylings are all consistent so that your shop is seamlessly integrated into your site. One thing to note is that your single posts will not have a sidebar, which has pros / cons. The good news is that focus will be entirely on your post content, but you lose the ability to display categories, etc, in your sidebar for increased engagement:
I liked that the shop pages do a good job of showcasing images and blending in with the rest of the theme. Shop pages can contain a sidebar with your site and WooCommerce-specific widgets:
Or you can enable a full-width template on the shop page, which will make your product images even bigger and more noticeable. You can do the same thing with single product pages to determine whether or not you’d like a sidebar. Product pages also do a good job showcasing images, and I liked that product tabs fit in with the rest of the theme (it seems like a lot of themes ignore these):
Another thing I like about Hub is the checkout page and the great big call to action for the “Place Order” button:
While Hub has a lot of upsides, there are a couple of things I dislike. First, Hub doesn’t automatically adjust number of products per page for the shop archive: products are displayed in 3 columns, but 10 products are shows per page. This always leaves just one product in your last row. There’s no setting to change this, so you need something like the WooCommerce Customizer to adjust this to something more appropriate, such as 12 or 15 products per page.
I also would have liked a notice that the Homepage Control plugin should be used (or possibly a link under the “Homepage” settings) for users that aren’t familiar with WooThemes themes. This is noted in the documentation, but may be confusing for new users.
There are also a couple of small styling changes to note. First, WooThemes themes have a “WooThemes” link in the footer of each theme. You can remove this by enabling the option under Layout that says, “Enable Custom Footer (Bottom)”.
You’ll also want to pay attention to your cart page. If you use a sidebar on the cart page, you’ll probably end up with typography that’s too big for the cart table, and looks a bit weird.
However, enabling a full-width template on the cart page fixes this and the cart looks great:
As WooThemes is the company behind WooCommerce, you can be assured that WooCommerce themes are done correctly and will appropriately style WooCommerce without overriding tons of templates (which will cause issues as you update).
Hub is no different than the other WooCommerce themes from WooCommerce – it’s done well and there are no issues in terms of styling WooCommerce pages or notices.
Sensei support may not be needed by many WooCommerce shops, but this doesn’t add very much to the codebase and isn’t a source for concern.
Hub is a solid choice for WooCommerce shops that want bold images and colors. Setup is fairly straight forward (despite not knowing about Homepage control at first, which added a bit of time for my setup), and I was pretty happy with the final result in my test shop.
Pop Up Shop is a new WooCommerce theme from RichWP, who develops several types of WordPress themes. It’s a minimal, sidebar-less theme that puts the focus on two things: your shop and your content. You won’t get tons of different options and homepage templates here – the goal is to keep the theme simple and focused.
Pop Up Shop is available for $69.95 for an unlimited license. You’ll probably also want a slider plugin, such as Soliloquy (starts at $19), as you can use the slider widget to add an image slider to your homepage.
There’s not really a learning curve to using Pop Up Shop, as it doesn’t have tons of options, templates, and page builders to worry about. You can customize basic theme settings, such as the logo, colors, and menus.
From there, you’ll probably want to check out the theme documentation, which does a good job of walking you through theme setup. After I customized my colors, I set the shop as my front page under Settings > Reading. Whatever page you set as your homepage will be displayed, and using the slider frontpage widget area will simply bump this content down to add the slider area.
This way, you can set up your own homepage or use something like your shop, then easily add the slider area above this if desired.
There are also some cool menu options with Pop Up Shop. I liked that I could create an icon menu, but make sure you have CSS classes turned on under the menus “Screen Options”.
This icon menu will be displayed as part of the “Fly Out Menu” that can be accessed from the left side of the screen.
You can also set menus for a main navigation menu at the top-right of the page, a footer menu, and a shop sorting menu. Filtering menus for the blog template are included as well (to show posts in a category / tag), but these are not customizable.
The sorting menu is very handy, and is added next to the product search bar. You can add custom links to sort your products instead of using the default WooCommerce sorting options. These can be links to product categories, tags, or orderby links.
Want to add some of the default sorting options back into this menu (i.e., “Sort by popularity”)? You can do that by manually adding links to the menu with this structure:
/shop/?orderby=option. If your “Shop” page isn’t using
/shop/, make sure you change that. Here are the acceptable values you can use for the orderby option value:
||default / custom sorting|
||average rating (highest first)|
||newness (newest products first)|
||price lowest to highest|
||price highest to lowest|
For example, sorting based on popularity would require a link to be added to the menu that looks like this:
Once you’ve got your sorting menu set up, you’ll want to check out your shop page to confirm that everything works as expected. I liked that the images on the shop page stand out, and that there are no distractions in the middle of the shopping process. However, in order to gain this streamlined process, you do lose the ability to add price filtering and category widgets to your shop, which may not make this a great option for shops with hundreds of products.
Product pages are clean and minimal, as are Cart and Checkout pages.
Overall, I liked that the theme was distraction-free, and that the focus is placed entirely on the shopping experience.
There are a few drawbacks and quirks to using Pop Up shop just as there are with any theme. There are no widget areas for customization nor are there homepage templates, so you’ll have to create your own homepage (or use your shop). However, simplicity is the goal when using this theme, so this shouldn’t be unexpected.
One thing I disliked is that the shop page button reads “Load More Articles” to load another page of products. I changed this to “Load More Products” using the Say What plugin (the text domain is
richwp), though you can change this to whatever you like.
You also may want to change the number of products on shop pages, as this defaults to 10, which leads to rows that are half-filled with products (as there are four columns). I used the WooCommerce Customizer to change this to 12 products instead. Update: While this is tied into the WordPress number of posts per page, you still may want to change the number of products independent of the number of blog posts per page.
I also changed the number of related products displayed on product pages using this snippet – 3 related products seems to be the ideal output.
Finally, while the docs were useful, there were a couple of issues. When I created my icon menu, I realized that the CSS class for the email icon was not
icon-email, but should be
icon-mail instead. The same thing can be said for the My Account page:
icon-account should be
However, I did see that these icons can be used in the main navigation (top right) as well, which was pretty cool.
Pop Up Shop has good structure and is pretty lightweight for the most part. I didn’t like that there’s some in-line CSS on every page, which should be enqueued in a stylesheet rather than in-line for maximized performance. However, the fact that it leverages the theme customizer to remain lightweight and easy to set up was a bonus that balances this out.
(This paragraph edited from original for clarity.)
functions.php is a bit messy as well, as there’s some code there that could be placed elsewhere (such as customizer styling, which could be in a separate file). The functions.php should be more of a spinal cord – loading pieces of the rest of the theme – while the other options are like muscles and skin rather than vertebrae 😉 . The CSS styling can also be organized a bit better within a new file, as it’s tough to follow.
However, there are no big structural issues, and the theme hooks into WooCommerce actions / filters to customize the shop layout rather than overriding templates, which is a good sign for compatibility and upgrades.
I liked that Pop Up Shop is a minimal theme that really puts the focus on a distraction-free shopping experience and on the site’s product catalog. If you don’t have a lot of other content to worry about, such as portfolio or informative pages, then this can be a contender for you.
We’re also giving away 3 unlimited copies of the theme this week if you’d like to enter for a chance to win it for free 🙂 .
Uno is the first child theme for Canvas released by WooThemes. You’ll need Canvas ($99) to use this theme, as well as Uno ($39). This makes the total package more expensive than most WooCommerce themes at $138. You benefit from a flexible structure that supports WooThemes plugins (such as Features), fully supports WooCommerce, and provides a few different layout options for your site.
Canvas has several templates and layouts available for use, and these are inherited by Uno. However, Uno adds its own styles and a homepage template that makes setup very easy and far more user-friendly than its parent theme.
You’ll be using the WooFramework to set up Canvas / Uno options, which is straight-forward and just like any other WooThemes product (if you’ve used them before). Canvas creates a solid structure for your site, but is basically a blank slate. Uno fills that in with its styling, and comes with a pre-built homepage template that’s meant to focus on your shop. You won’t have to worry about adding widgets to a homepage widget area or creating a homepage from scratch.
The Uno homepage setup is under the “Uno” menu within the theme settings. You can upload a hero image, which will be displayed right below your navigation bar, and add a title, message, and call to action button.
The homepage will also automatically include sections for featured products, recent products, and recent posts / comments. You simply decide which page will be your homepage and use the “Homepage” template for this page. Make sure you set this static page as your homepage under Settings > Reading.
You can also use the “Widgets” template for your homepage if you don’t want to use the pre-built homepage, and can instead use content widgets and widgets for plugins such as Features or Testimonials.
Once the homepage is built, there are a couple of Canvas/Uno options I’d adjust before you’re ready to go (under Uno > Settings). There’s also some documentation to help with this.
I’d definitely change the “WooCommerce” part of the settings. I recommend that your WooCommerce pages use a full-width template, as they won’t pull in your primary sidebar anyway. They look far better with a full width template (for shop and product pages), as product images are larger and clearer.
For optional changes, I adjusted my site width under “Styling & Layout”, and enabled full-width headers and footers. I also enable custom footers to remove unwanted credits.
That’s about it for settings! Now you can check your shop out. Shop pages will contain 12 product per page in a 4-column layout, which means that you won’t have to fool with the number of products per page.
Product pages feature large product images, as well as buttons and product tabs that look consistent with the rest of the site.
All shop pages and notices look great with the rest of your shop, and Uno provides a great pre-made theme.
The biggest con to using Uno at the moment is that it’s a child theme. This means that you can’t create a child theme (or “grandchild” theme) for it, so any code customizations you make will be overridden when you update the theme. WooThemes is close to releasing a plugin that lets you make these changes in an upgrade-safe way, but it’s something to keep in mind for now.
Even though most options are easy to use, Canvas adds a lot of options (which are included with Uno), and can be overwhelming for users. For example, there are tons of Styling & Layout options that most users won’t need to change. While Uno makes a lot of these options unnecessary, they may still confuse some users.
You’ll also want to make sure that you set full-width templates for cart and checkout pages, as they’ll otherwise include your default sidebar layout. You can do so while editing cart and checkout pages in the Uno meta box:
There are very few other downsides to Uno, as it’s a theme that you can use with only a few customization options, but that you can change as needed because of the flexibility of Canvas.
As Uno is a child theme for Canvas, there’s not a lot of code being added to your site. Most of the functionality is housed in the Canvas parent theme, as Uno is pretty much purely for styling.
However, Canvas is a great theme to work from, and has been the flagship theme for WooThemes for over five years (which means a mature, stable code base). The bloat that was previously in the codebase has mostly moved to external plugins (such as Projects for portfolios) for even better performance.
Canvas isn’t a theme I recommend for users, but lots of theme developers are familiar with it and customize it for client sites. It’s a good starting point as a theme, and provides the necessary theme structure without styling.
However, Uno is designed to circumvent the need to style Canvas, and makes it a far realistic option for users. Using both Canvas and Uno, the Canvas “framework” becomes a theme that end-users can install and use themselves with minimal setup.
All three of the themes we’ve looked at in this edition of our best WooCommerce themes series are solid choices for your WooCommerce site. They add great styling options that provide a shopping experience consistent with the rest of your theme while maintaining good structure and usability.
Want to check out more themes? We’ve got a category for all eCommerce theme reviews so it’s easy to find them!
Did you like the Pop Up Shop theme? Don’t forget that you can win 1 of 3 free copies this week by entering our giveaway 😉 .