Picking the right theme for your WooCommerce store is something that is often overlooked by many first-time business owners and entrepreneurs. The reason being they think a theme is "just" a matter of aesthetics and of how good their developer/designer is.
Even if those are important elements in the equation, they're just part of the story: you need a theme for your eCommerce that's not just a good-looking theme, but one that's enabling your business reach your goals. One theme that has to be fully compatible with WooCommerce so it won't raise technical issues you could have easily prevented from occurring in the first place.
Choosing a theme is ultimately a business decision, and that means factoring in your long-term goals in your decisions.
So where can you find themes for your eCommerce store that are and will always be compatible with WooCommerce?
Let's expound on this further and answer this key question with tips from WooCommerce specialist and Codeable expert Shadi Manna.
Go to WooCommerce.com
The number one authority on all things WooCommerce is, of course, WooCommerce.com, the official website from the wonderful people who built and maintain the plugin.
What I would suggest at first is to go on WooCommerce.com because you'll be sure to find 100%, future-proof, compatible themes. Many might not know but they started as WooThemes back in the days. Especially, you might want to give a look to Storefront, their flagship theme. If you use this you can always rest assured it will be compatible with WooCommerce.
At first sight, Storefront might look as a "not-that-advanced" WooCommerce theme if you compare it with many others you can find on Themeforest (or other theme marketplaces) that come with lots of bells and whistles. Nevertheless, this theme perfectly merges into WooCommerce's vision for their products. As Shadi explains:
With Storefront it's a different approach to an Avada theme, for example, which is one of the most popular on Themeforest. With themes like Avada, they sort of add a lot within the theme files, and they give you a lot of functionality and files and make it a heavy theme. All is different with Storefront because it gives you a core theme, and then you'd need to add plugins and add-ons to extend that functionality. Think of it this way: Avada is like a Swiss Army knife whereas Storefront is more like a lego set you can choose from.
WooCommerce.com isn't the only choice, of course, to find WooCommerce-compatible themes. Another type of well-known resource for finding quality themes are marketplaces.
Theme marketplaces and third-party websites
There are many places other than WooCommerce.com where you can find different WooCommerce themes. The key is you need to be sure that a theme you're about to buy has to be compatible with your WooCommerce store.
On Themeforest and also on other marketplaces, theme authors usually make it clear whether their theme is compatible with WooCommerce. Specifically, they make it clear which version of WooCommerce it's currently compatible with.
And that's good news because it'll help you filter out incompatible themes faster.
Still, compatibility with WooCommerce doesn't always mean compatibility with all plugins or add-ons you're currently using.
How to quickly check theme compatibility with your plugins and add-ons
Depending on the plugins and add-ons you're using, it could be a bit of a challenge knowing if a WooCommerce theme is fully compatible. You might, therefore, need to look at more things. As Shadi highlights:
I would suggest to look at how long that add-on has been working with WooCommerce, how many comments it’s got, what version it's at. You might want to look at the comments on the add-on page itself, and feedback and reviews on compatibility with WooCommerce. All those things typically give you a good idea of how compatible an add-on is, and how responsive the author is.
What to do if your theme is incompatible with WooCommerce
But what if you already have a theme (or have picked on) that you know isn't compatible with WooCommerce? What if, for example, you have a standard website that you want to turn into an eCommerce?
Well, if that's your scenario, things get a bit trickier and you have 3 routes in front of you to take:
- Option a): reach out to the theme provider and gently request compatibility.
- Option b): hire a WooCommerce expert to make it compatible.
- Option c): toss away your incompatible theme and keep searching for one that might feature most of what you need AND that is also 100% compatible with both WooCommerce and your plugins.
If option a) goes through successfully, bingo! You have the WooCommerce-compliant theme you need, right from the theme provider. But that's not always the case because, as you can easily imagine, a provider will be more inclined to address requests that come from a somewhat big portion of their userbase. Not just from one user. Even though, you never know!
But yeah, having your business dependent on such thing isn't a smart business move. So, let's keep evaluating options...
Hiring a developer to make a theme compatible with WooCommerce (option b) comes with additional responsibilities and future costs you might have no clue about. In short, every time a new version of WooCommerce comes out, it's on you (or the developer you hire) to continuously ensure that WooCommerce is compatible with that theme. And that doesn't stop just with the latest versions of WooCommerce, it's with all updates your install will get that could break your store.
This option puts the onus on you to perpetually maintain the plugin code to ensure compatibility with newer versions of WooCommerce. So it's up to you to decide if you like a theme enough to invest in its long-term maintenance to ensure WooCommerce compatibility. Are you willing to keep this burden on your shoulders looking ahead?
When considering this option, Shadi suggests to question yourself:
Do I like this theme that much that I'm willing to invest in continuously maintaining it to ensure it's compatible with WooCommerce?
So you'll need to have either your in-house developers take care of that each time an update gets released or you'd need to hire someone to do it for you.
I know what you are thinking: mmmhh, there are more efficient and cost-effective options out there...
With the last option left (option c), you'll need to get rid of your theme and look for one that's as close as possible to the one you had but also compatible with WooCommerce. I know, this will require you a bit more time to invest in your research phase but you'll be saving yourself money and future headaches. It might also require a one-time investment in development work of switching over or changing themes, but if it sets you up better looking ahead, again, it could save you time and money in the long run.
If you ask me, this one is the most cost-effective solution of all the three, which is surely a great one and comes only second maybe to having a custom theme built for your specific needs (if your budget allows it).
When it comes to choosing a theme for your new store, compatibility with WooCommerce (and additionally WooCommerce add-ons) should be your foremost concern. You might want to first have a look at the themes on WooCommerce.com, as they're made by the same guys who maintain the plugin. But you could also search for themes on marketplaces, just by keeping in mind to check all the info, comments, and changelogs to be 100% sure on what you're about to buy.
One thing is for sure, though: you'll be spoiled with choices as there's a great deal of beautiful premium WooCommerce themes all around the web. Just make sure you're choosing a theme that's well-maintained and is backed by (mostly) positive reviews. Or simply invest in hiring a WooCommerce specialist to have them help you select or craft a fully-compatible, future-proof custom WooCommerce theme.
This blog post features Shadi Manna who is the founder of Progressus Marketing. He's also a Certified WooCommerce Expert and Consultant with more than 10 years of experience working with WooCommerce Development, Conversation Rate Optimization (CRO) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Shadi is focused on creating an optimized User Experience (UX) for your eCommerce website by considering both CRO and SEO implications, in order to ensure you are getting the most from your store.