When I’d given SellwithWP.com a facelift last year, I had a tough time finding a theme I liked that was lightweight, content-focused, had a great reading experience, and had a “magazine” feel without being too busy. Right in the nick of time, one of my favorite theme developers — Array Themes — released the theme that Sell with WP uses today (albeit a slightly modified version), and I had the new design up and running within a few hours.
I’m always excited to see what Array turns out, and we’ve reviewed some of their eCommerce themes before, such as the Checkout theme for Easy Digital Downloads.
When Array released a new theme that works with WooCommerce, I was really interested in having a look at it, as it’s tough to find both well-designed and well-built themes for WooCommerce (without loads of bloat, overridden templates, or other issues). Today we’re going to look at the Lenscap theme for WooCommerce stores.
There’s one thing you may immediately notice about Lenscap: it’s a theme geared towards content, not just your store. That’s fine, so long as you know that it’s intended purpose may not fit your store’s goals, so you’ll need to determine if it’s the right fit for you.
After giving Lenscap a try, I think it’s a great fit for membership sites or other content-heavy eCommerce stores, as it does a lovely job of featuring your content while also providing a great, simple shop layout. If your marketing strategy focuses on your blog or other content marketing, then Lenscap should be on your radar, as it gives you both a great blog layout and a streamlined shop design that fits in with the rest of the theme’s aesthetic.
Setting up Lenscap will be quick, and is handled primarily through the theme customizer. Here you’ll be able to set up a logo, general theme configuration options, and menus or widget areas.
There are not many options to set up, so once you’ve determined which features you’d like to use and your accent color, you should be off to the races.
One thing I did take note of during set up was that Lenscap gives you multiple WooCommerce widget areas to work with, which is really helpful in enabling different widgets for your shop and blog. You can configure widgets for your regular blog sidebar, different ones for shop or archive pages, and use a new set of widgets on single product pages.
This helps you ensure that your sidebar remains relevant to the content your customers or readers are viewing.
Once you’ve configured your theme options, you probably want to determine what kind of homepage your site should have: a content-focused or product-focused homepage.
As Lenscap does a great job of showcasing your content, you may want to have a homepage geared towards displaying this content. If you want your homepage to highlight your blog, then I’d also recommend using Jetpack, as many of you probably do already. Lenscap can use Jetpack’s “Featured content” module to create a blog homepage with a featured content carousel.
I’m typically not a fan of carousels, but I like the way Lenscap highlights a few featured posts while making navigation easy and obvious.
To set up this featured content, you’ll ensure that module is enabled in Jetpack, and then you can adjust the featured content settings in the theme customizer.
Once you’ve enabled featured content, this content will be shown immediately on your homepage using your featured tag, and then your blog posts will be shown in a list after this featured content.
While you can keep this featured blog content slider up no matter what homepage layout you choose, you can also put the spotlight on your products instead if desired.
WooCommerce can help you create a shop-based homepage via the several shortcodes included in WooCommerce core. This can let you show off your best sellers, sale products, featured products, highest-rated products, or certain categories.
You’ll need to set a static page as your homepage instead of your recent posts, and then you can add your desired shortcodes to this static page.
This can let you show off your products instead of content to your visitors.
If desired, you could still include the featured content carousel on this homepage to showcase some recent content as well, and this will be displayed above the content of your static page.
Once customers get into your store’s browsing experience, they’ll see the shop archive and, if you have widgets added to the shop pages, a sidebar with these widgets to help them find relevant products.
From the shop page, your customers can hover over a product image, and they’ll be able to add items to the cart from the shop page. If a product has been added to the cart, a “View Cart” button will appear so the customer can proceed to the cart if desired.
On single product pages, your product photography is featured, and the product images / short description are displayed in a full-width layout at the top of the product page. As images and your short description tend to be some of the most important information to customers, I liked that these are shown taking up the full width of the page.
The rest of the product information is displayed below this section of the product page in the product tabs, and the product page sidebar will be shown next to these tabs (rather than taking up the entire page height).
Styling of the shop and product pages are pretty minimal, but I was happy to see that they fit in with the rest of the theme design rather than using the default WooCommerce styles.
Once customers get into the purchasing flow of the store, they’ll be directed to the cart page. Your cart and product pages will use the accent color your theme option specifies for call-to-action buttons like “Proceed to Checkout”.
Notices during the purchasing workflow will also blend in with the theme as they’ve had some minor style tweaks done for consistency.
When customers reach checkout, the checkout field display will use the standard two-column layout for the billing and shipping information.
The checkout review will use the standard table and payment form layout, while payment form inputs are large and readable.
After purchasing, customers can also visit the account page, which includes styles for the tabbed layout introduced in WooCommerce 2.6.
The only thing I’d love to see here would be a different style for the “active” item in the account navigation, such as bolding the active “Orders” link my screenshot above.
When customers get into the content side of your site, they can visit your blog or other custom content and see posts in a list layout. Your default sidebar and widgets will be used on these pages, letting you provide tools for site search, blog categories, or other relevant widgets.
Where I really love Lenscap is in the reading experience, as this is lacking for many eCommerce themes. The blog archive and post pages make content and post information easy to see and read.
This makes Lenscap a great candidate for sites using plugins like WooCommerce Memberships to sell content access, as the store design is simple and functional, but content still looks great.
One of the major reasons I like themes from Array is the quality of the theme code and support. Lenscap includes some unique WooCommerce styles without overriding tons of WooCommerce templates or causing issues with popular plugins. Code is readable, clean, and well-structured, and Lenscap includes hooks and pluggable functions where you need them.
The best part, however, is that support is fast and responsive, and updates are frequent and useful — no buying a theme and never getting another update; Lenscap has had several patches and small refinements already, as is typical of themes built by Array.
I’m excited to see Array building more eCommerce-focused themes, and while Lenscap is still more geared towards content sites with a store component rather than the store itself, I think it makes it a great option for certain kinds of WooCommerce merchants.
The WooCommerce-specific widget areas, consistency between WooCommerce pages and the rest of the theme, and small improvements to the product page layout ensure that it’s useful for WooCommerce stores, while providing a great blog focus and reading experience for merchants who want to highlight their content. Membership sites or stores with an active blog should give it a look, and keep an eye out for more eCommerce themes from Array in the future. The inside scoop is that there are more store-focused themes in the works 😉
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You can pickup Lenscap for $49, or get access to all themes for as low as $89, which is a great deal on tons of quality themes.
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