This post was originally published at learnwoo.
As a content management system, WordPress is hugely popular. This popularity reflects in the large number of eCommerce stores that run on WordPress-WooCommerce too. One of the most important aspects that play a role in the success of an online business might be the look and feel of the site. The theme that you choose for your site determines how well you are presenting your products to your potential customers.
How to choose a theme?
Choosing a theme can be a simple and complicated process at the same time. There are quite a large number of themes available in the WordPress repository. Finding the right one for your store, however, is a challenging matter. You need to make sure you are carefully considering a lot of factors related to your store before finalizing on a theme.
Let’s first look at some awesome free WordPress WooCommerce themes.
When you think about compatibility with WooCommerce, nothing is better than Storefront. Developed by the same people who created WooCommerce, this one offers seamless compatibility with WooCommerce and its extensions, along with superior features. You may never have to worry about conflicts between your theme and a plugin (you are already using). This way you avoid a considerable slowing down of your site and business.
Storefront is intuitive and flexible, and has a mobile friendly layout. It uses nestable grid system and schema markup for better SEO outcomes for your store. If you want to add some uniqueness to your store, Storefront has numerous child themes that you can make use to customize. Here is an article that you can refer to understand more about child themes.
The basic structure of Storefront is simple and clutter-free. However if you want added features and functionalities, you can manage those with several extensions. You can find a variety of individual extensions and a Storefront Bundle that packs a lot of features together. The below screenshot shows how the Shop page looks like with Storefront:
Hestia is one of the popular themes that is available in the WordPress theme directory. With over 30,000 active installs, it has a solid reputation among the WordPress community. With sharp design and sensible features, this one captures the hearts of its users quite easily. WooCommerce integration happens quite effortlessly and you don’t require extensive coding skills to set this up.
You can customize your website according to your liking with the help of Hestia. Adjust the color tone, design detail and layout real time and instantly see the changes. Custom background is available with Hestia without the help of any additional plugin — choose from video, image or media slider. Mega Menus is another feature that would help you rearrange and organize your sub-menus. Hestia assures fast loading times and it can be set up and configured in a matter of seconds. Along with an SEO-friendly structure, it also comes as translation-ready and offers RTL language support.
Here is a screenshot of the Shop page with Hestia:
You will get future theme updates on a single click and if you need help with anything, there is excellent support to rely on. Moreover, they have extensive documentation, forums and video tutorials.
With over 100,000 active installs, Zerif Lite is highly popular in the WordPress Theme directory. A simple and user-centered design is what sets this theme apart from other themes according to those who have used the theme. Fast WooCommerce integration is an obvious advantage of this theme.
Similar to Hestia, this one too has a live customizer, quick set up and custom backgrounds. It is SEO-friendly and translation ready. It also ensures fast loading time for your store. As expected, you get instant updates and quick support with this theme. Documentation and video tutorials will surely be of help while setting up the theme. Please see below how the Shop Page looks like with WooCommerce dummy products:
Defined as powerful and versatile, Shapely is quite loved in the WordPress community with more than 20,000 active installs. With a great range of customization options, this one stands tall with superior design as well. The premium feel and sharp use of graphics definitely adds a certain charm to Shapely.
Here is a screenshot of the shop page:
You’ll find a lot of widgets that would provide awesome flexibility to organize the content. This theme with its responsive, mobile-friendly design is compatible to a range of commonly-used plugins such as Jetpack, Yoast SEO, Gravity Forms, etc. The one page layout would be particularly useful for business websites. Informative documentation and dependable support definitely add value to this theme.
In the list of top free WordPress WooCommerce themes, ShopIsle finds its place quite easily. A minimalist elegance is the signature trait of this theme that would suit a range of WooCommerce stores from electronics to designer clothing. Flexibility, responsive design based on bootstrap, and compatibility with a range of WordPress plugins are also sought after features of this theme.
The configuration takes into account all types of users from basic computer literates to developers. Easily editable codes and a straightforward Theme options layout help make this possible with minimum effort. ShopIsle is compatible to all the popular browsers and it supports translation with WPML.
Easy integration with Contact Form 7 ensures seamless communication with your targeted audience and the flawless About us section also adds character to your site.
Awesome customization options help this plugin to be among one of the best available free WordPress WooCommerce plugins in the market. The powerful drag and drop features allow even people with minimal computer knowledge to customize their site brilliantly. You can control aspects such as page layout options and sidebar display on all pages. Responsive design makes your store mobile and tablet friendly. Integration with WooCommerce is smooth as well. Here is a screenshot of the Shop page:
If you want to make your WooCommerce store standout and the same time reflect your signature style, then ‘Make’ is the way to go.
Flash is really flexible and versatile, so that you can install it to create any kind of websites. With amazingly fast WooCommerce integration, this theme would really support your store like no other. It maintains a highly user-centric design and structure with Flash Toolkit and SiteOrigin’s Page Builder Plugin. Empowering over 10000 sites, the popularity of this theme is ever increasing.
Once activated, shop page was ready instantly with a product line up ready to sell, demo products screenshot below:
More than six widget areas add to the potential to customize your site using this theme. The theme is translation ready and is optimized for great speed and performance. Compatible with major browsers, this one follows all the best practices for an SEO-friendly structure. The theme is obviously mobile and social media friendly. Reliable support and good documentation places this theme among the best ones available in the WordPress theme directory.
Hugely popular in the WordPress-WooCommerce community, Spacious has multiple page layouts, templates, blog display types, widgets areas, and custom widgets focusing on a superlative WordPress experience.
The theme boasts a responsive design and it is translation ready. Business template is a unique feature that focuses firmly on getting a professional appeal to your store. There is an option to choose the boxed or wide layout according to your design choice. Amazing support and well-structured documentation completes the wholesome nature of this versatile theme that has over 70000 active installs.
The shop page was quickly ready when dummy products were added for a demo.
Varied types of businesses can use Illdy for setting up their websites. Real time customizer offers everyone, including design novices to try a hand in website building using this theme. There are even additional options for customization. A full screen hero image that helps to highlight the most important point of your business is a unique aspect of this theme.
As most other popular WordPress theme, Illdy too provides flawless support to a lot of WordPress plugins such as Jetpack, iThemes, Contact Form 7 etc. Unlimited color options and vector-based icons offer great creative scope while setting up your site using this theme.
The bootstrap framework provides a responsive design and improved mobile friendliness. As expected, good customer support and quality documentation contributes to the overall feel good factor of this theme. More than 20000 active installs surely reflects the rising popularity of this theme.
Design-wise Illdy does provide some pleasant surprises with its sleek and stylish visual quality. Here is a screenshot with dummy products:
When it comes to popularity, Responsive stays right on top in WordPress theme directory. With more than 80000 active installs, there are only very few themes that beat this one. With fluid grid system, this one transforms into any display quite effortlessly. Whether it’s on desktop, mobile or tablet, your customers can expect an efficient user experience with this theme.
The features list ticks all the right boxes — smooth WooCommerce integration, SEO friendly, Translation ready, browser compatibility, RTL language support, and more. The clean framework and the neat layout makes it child theme friendly too. As is the case of most plugins in this list, Responsive too offers reliable support and quality documentation.
It didn’t take much time to line up products on the Shop page, screenshot below:
What are the factors to consider before choosing a theme?
When it comes to an eCommerce website, the concerns of the site owner would be slightly different than an informational website or a blog. Let’s see a few:
Free or premium?
A notable advantage in buying a premium theme is the post-sale support. As a premium customer, you would get timely updates from the developers. This is an essential aspect as WordPress and WooCommerce keep getting consistent updates. Another important thing is support; you face an issue with the theme and premium developers will be always ready to help you. This is an assurance that you get when you pay the premium to purchase a theme. Moreover, premium themes do offer superior quality and originality to your site; and that would definitely help your site to stand out in the market. Another thing is site safety, and a dependable theme developer would definitely consider safety as a top priority.
Clearly, choosing a premium plugin has a lot of positive points. But WordPress theme directory has an abundant choice of free plugins too. If you are at a stage in your business where you don’t want an additional financial commitment in the form of a theme, you can definitely opt for a free theme. Many free themes available in the WordPress repository demonstrate top quality and beautiful features. Choosing a free or premium theme is a matter you need to decide based on your business stand point. However any theme should meet the following basic aspects.
For a WooCommerce website, the primary concern in most cases would be to present the products effectively to potential customers. The right WordPress WooCommerce theme should clearly focus on this aspect more than anything else. From a list of WordPress themes, you should shortlist the ones that fulfills this criteria. Once that is done, depending on the type of products you are selling, you can further shorten the list to get to the right one.
The right design is much more about practicality than it is about beauty. This is especially true for eCommerce websites. Even if your theme ticks all the right boxes in terms of visual beauty, the whole point is missed if the customer gets confused on your site. Simple, straightforward navigation and predictable user interface is an absolute must in an eCommerce site.
Though visual appeal isn’t the most important aspect of a WooCommerce site, you can’t completely ignore it. The theme you choose should have the right aesthetic control to present a site that is pleasing to the eye. A neat, clutter-free layout should inspire potential customers to spend more time on your site and eventually go ahead with a purchase. The theme you choose plays a very important role in ensuring the visual quality of your store.
Your potential customers access your site from a large number of devices. Studies continuously point to a rapid growth in mobile eCommerce in the coming days. You obviously need to take this into account while choosing a theme. However, a relieving fact is that, most WordPress theme developers give primary importance to responsive design. Still, ‘mobile-friendly’ should be in your checklist as an important criteria.
The primary focus clearly goes to the product in an eCommerce website. However, there is lot of marketing potential available on each page. A good theme should offer the necessary flexibility so that you can strategically place sidebars, banners, etc. For example, you can innovatively position your upsells and cross-sells based on the analytics inputs on user behavior. The theme should be able to handle the need to highlight seasonal promotional offers and featured products on your site.
Compatibility with other plugins
A WordPress WooCommerce store, as you know, often employs a large number of third party plugins. Some of the basic functionalities of your store might be dependent on some of these plugins. Your theme should be able to support atleast the vital plugins that you use on your site. Most theme developers test their themes for compatibility with the leading WordPress plugins in the community. However, it is a good idea to ensure this by communicating with a support person of the theme developer.
As WooCommerce became more popular, people found it much easier to do business internationally. You have to consider your customers from varied languages. The right theme should offer seamless support to multiple languages.
Social media integration
Another inevitable aspect of today’s business strategies is social media integration. As an eCommerce store owner, you should be able to share your latest product on facebook easily. Or you may want to offer a reward to customers who share your products in their circle. Your theme should offer good social media integration for all this to happen.
Choosing the right WordPress WooCommerce theme is not just a matter of visual perception and apparent aesthetics. It is more about how the theme contributes to the intended functionality of your website. When your website is a WooCommerce store, it is about user-centered design and the capability to instill trust among potential customers are vital. We believe the above listed themes are some of the top rated ones you can get hold of at the moment. If you have something to add to this list, feel free to comment or contact us.