WooCommerce offers one of the finest eCommerce WordPress plugins. This simple plugin can easily transform your WordPress site into an amazing eCommerce store. But not all WooCommerce themes created are equal. However, simply installing the WooCommerce plugin on another previous WordPress theme will not offer you an amazing online store experience.
A free WordPress theme can help you to stay on budget when you launch your new website. Moreover, if it is compatible with WooCommerce themes, you will have access to the basic features your online store needs to succeed.
Actual online stores provide a shopping cart icon in the header, a well-connected checkout process, a gallery of pre-made products, and many other special e-commerce tools.
If your goal is to create a well-designed online store, then WooCommerce exclusive themes are the best choice.
- What is WooCommerce?
- Why Use WooCommerce?
- History of WooCommerce
- How does WooCommerce work?
- How to choose a WooCommerce theme?
- Top 10/Leading free WooCommerce themes
What is WooCommerce?
Woocommerce is a powerful open-source platform used by businesses for building, designing, and managing their eCommerce websites managed on Github, one of the largest development platforms in the world.
This plugin is very powerful and contains effective tools, layouts, and extensions required for building an online store.
WooCommerce is one of the most popular and best eCommerce plugins available for WordPress. Their integration allows you to include both higher SEO value and eCommerce ability. In addition, it helps to create and manage an online store easily, with flexibility and important features such as stock management, taxation, payment security, and shipping integration.
Why Use WooCommerce?
WooCommerce provides many useful features, like tracking orders, customer engagement, updates on delivery, stock management, and more. With more than 27 million downloads to date, WooCommerce supports around 99% of all WordPress stores. Even for beginner site owners, WooCommerce is very easy to use to build their online store.
WooCommerce is the best way to develop your eCommerce website using WordPress. It will provide a complete eCommerce solution that is fast, simple to use, and modular as per your requirements.
History of WooCommerce
In 2011, Mike Jolley and James Koster, two developers, worked on a replica of the eCommerce plugin Jigoshop and released WooCommerce. In 2015, Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, acquired WooCommerce and its plugin WooThemes. When WordPress and WooCommerce together further drove WooCommerce's growth. Automattic is an active developer for WooCommerce.
How does WooCommerce work?
WooCommerce is a free-to-use plugin. It helps you to develop your WordPress website into an online or eCommerce store. It will be fully compatible with the functions of the WordPress site. It allows you to list your products, building a shopping cart, billing, and checkout options.
How to choose a WooCommerce theme?
While designing some of the desired features achievable with plugins and WooCommerce extensions, you aim to find a WooCommerce theme that will help you minimize the use of plugins. Following are some of the specific features that you should look for.
There are some features commonly present in most of the WooCommerce themes you will come across. They are not all that difficult to find but are necessary. For example, mobile responsiveness has become the must-have feature in most WordPress themes.
There is no need to test the responsiveness of some features like compatibility with all browsers, design support using the WordPress Customizer and Blogging.
Features like compatibility with all browsers, excellent layout support, a beautiful blog, etc., are important features, but their execution matters more. By not testing the responsiveness of the function you are using, you are preparing for errors.
So, it is very important to test all WooCommerce themes for responsiveness, compatibility with browsers, blogging flexibility, and how smooth it works on quick design changes.
Interactive shopping cart icon
One of the biggest differences between a theme made for a regular WordPress theme and the WooCommerce theme is a standard WordPress theme without interactive shopping cart tools.
When you log in to a popular online store, they have an interactive shopping cart icon in the header, where you can see a list of your selected products in the cart along with their respective quantities and prices.
Some themes have animated "Add to Shopping Cart" buttons popping up while scrolling over a featured product image; these WooCommerce themes take it to a new level of shopping experience. Shopping cart areas like these act as a motivation to customers and a quick way to finish their shopping and payment process.
A branded and customized shopping cart and checkout
In the WooCommerce plugin, by default, a basic shopping cart building and checkout process are already provided, but you have to do proper coding to customize it. However, when you use the WooCommerce theme, you will get pre-made checkout and shopping cart templates specially designed for you.
A strategically designed checkout experience consists of sending timely cart abandonment emails to customers, which can help you reduce the cart abandonment issues that affect all online stores.
Premade page templates
Other than category and product pages, every online store requires some other pages too. To save time and maintain a uniform design style, you can choose a WooCommerce theme with predefined standard pages. For example, about Us pages, Contact Us pages, and category page formats, etc.
Beautiful product pages
The page where customers make decisions to buy a selected product is called the product page. Therefore, it's very important to describe all items in detail.
Good product pages have amazing images, video clips, and even downloadable documents to showcase their products. You start to see the importance of zoom, navigation, fullscreen effects, etc., when you learn about the best practices behind a product image gallery.
These pages should also have proper details of formatted product variants, available reviews, product descriptions, related products, and social media buttons.
Product reviews are an inbuilt feature of WooCommerce themes. Hence you should work on searching and selecting a suitable theme with a quality product review design.
This ties into the product page area, but the product ratings can be seen in galleries and thumbnails.
All WooCommerce themes should have breadcrumbs, which generally they don't have. Breadcrumbs serve as step-by-step navigation. Using breadcrumbs, users can jump back and forth between categories and products again and again.
Social sharing tools
Two main elements involved in social features are social sharing buttons, and social follow buttons.
The WooCommerce themes already include built-in social share buttons, so you will usually get a better design integration while using them. This will help you to create buzz on the product page of your online store.
The most important thing is the share buttons because they can be added to all categories and product pages. When a customer buys products, they share their reviews and experiences on Facebook or Twitter. Adding a social media subscription button to your WooCommerce theme is an optional feature. Using these subscription buttons, your customers can easily follow you on your social platforms.
Email opt-in forms
By using the email list of your customers, you can connect with them. It will be very helpful to add a form in your blog posts, widgets, and homepage.
Among other email opt-in plugins, you need not draft your form design by using a theme having an in-built form template.
Where to find the perfect WooCommerce theme
Although you can find many free themes, getting premium support and updates from the developer using a paid premium theme is usually helpful.
Following are some best free WooCommerce themes
- Ocean WP
- Neve shop
Some good paid WooCommerce themes
- Elegant Themes
Some specific basic themes to start you off are
- Azera Shop
- Shop Isle
- Authority Pro
Top 10/Leading free WooCommerce themes
Neve shop is a classical multipurpose free shop starter site that provides page layouts you need for a top-notch WooCommerce store. It's one of the fastest themes on the market, which is fast-loading and feature-rich. In addition, its themes can integrate with most of the page builders.
OceanWP is a free well known multipurpose theme that pairs extremely well with WooCommerce. Its premium feature is a free companion plugin. Other powerful special native eCommerce features include a live customizer to choose header styles, backgrounds, colors, cart pop-up, floating add-to-cart bar, and product quick view displays. In addition, it integrates well with all major page builders, e.g., Elementor and Beaver Builder.
Well, most of OceanWP's demos ask for a premium license, but 13 are freely available.
Storefront is best-known for free WooCommerce themes, which were developed by the WooCommerce team.
It offers deep integration with third-party plugins. This theme fully supports popular WooCommerce extensions, layouts, and color choices to customize your eCommerce store. You can't find a better theme than this in terms of compatibility as it has ready areas like demo data importer, live theme customizer, etc.
Although it lacks customization options compared to the other multipurpose themes, it is one of the best performance-wise.
Astra is one of the multipurpose WordPress themes with full WooCommerce support. It is popular for its minimalist style, flexible customization options, and impressive performance. It has a modern homepage layout with multiple widget areas where you can drag and drop content widgets. The theme setup is beginner-friendly, very simple, and customizable.
Astra provides you a blank slate for you to personalize. It merges well with major page builders.
Additionally, it integrates many starter templates, which are built with an eCommerce mindset. Finally, Astra is designed for great SEO (search engine optimization) to help your site rank well on Google and other search engines.
Hestia Lite theme is another easy-to-use quality option in free WordPress themes suitable for WooCommerce shops and online stores. Thus, you can create a starter eCommerce site for online retailers. It's a premium WordPress theme, including many customization options like social media icons, unlimited colors, multiple layout options, a highly customizable header, multiple navigation menus, and much more.
Hestia Lite also integrates easily with multiple page builders and gives your store a unique look.
Zakra is another multipurpose theme that adapts well in building online stores. To help you get started with your website's design, it contains multiple eCommerce demos.
For easy customization, it integrates well with Elementor. Although it doesn't include many WooCommerce related features still is well-optimized for fast loading.
Rife Free is designed for portfolio and photography websites. It includes WooCommerce integration features. When you apply its WooCommerce shop demo, its image gallery transit smoothly to featured product listings.
This theme is compatible with Elementor and includes several Customization options. In addition, you can personalize its demos easily to reflect your online shop's unique brand identity.
We know that multipurpose themes are excellent for WooCommerce sites, but there is something to say about selecting a theme built specifically for eCommerce stores.
ShoppingCart theme includes several eCommerce widgets and front page options, which you can personalize via the Customizer. However, it uses its system of 'components' for easy customization, and page builder integration is not among its features.
This WooCommerce WordPress theme is full of eCommerce features that offer good integration with all of WooCommerce's settings and offer multiple shop page layouts.
Also, there are three ready demos to get you started.
Leto is a fantastic free WooCommerce WordPress theme featuring an elegant homepage layout and storefront, a soothing minimalist design, a featured product slider on top, and deep integration with WooCommerce.
Leto contains various shortcodes and custom widgets. Support uploading custom logos, unlimited color options, custom social media widgets, etc. This theme is Customizer-based for personalization. Unfortunately, Leto doesn't provide any demos or starter templates. However, Leto's design is pretty universally appealing.
All WordPress themes do not offer complete WooCommerce support and pre-built templates. If some theme doesn't support WooCommerce, all the available add ons and extensions will not work. WooCommerce themes let you create an eCommerce or online shop and sell your products. Using these themes, you can easily work on WooCommerce extensions to make a powerful online business store.
It is most easy, flexible, secure, and trusted. Moreover, it is compatible with different businesses like selling digital arts, ebooks, physical products, services like teaching online courses, etc.
About the author
Dennis Hoinkis has been working as a web developer and in online marketing since 1998. After building up a marketing agency and the exit in 2013, he consulted international groups as a freelance consultant. Since 2022, he and his team now offer staffing services in this field.
Dennis Hoinkis CEO, GLOMASTCO Ltd.