I recently set up a website using the MarketPress E-Commerce Plugin for WordPress as the e-commerce portion, you know, for the products, carts and checkout stuff. I’m really liking it so far, it seems like a great value.
E-Commerce Specific WordPress Theme or Not?
However, never having used WordPress for e-commerce before, I was little confused on what route to go with my theme. I didn’t want to do a custom theme, no time for that. I needed to find a third party theme that gave me a 80% jump start on design. Like many WordPress users in my situation I ended up at ThemeForest.
WooCommerce Ready Themes?
I started searching for e-commerce themes there, and found many options. However, they all seemed to be “ready for WooCommerce”. Ok, that’s nice, but I’m not using WooCommerce, I’m using MarketPress. How does this affect me? What features might not work as advertised if not using WooCommerce? Unfortunately, it was really hard to tell without just buying one of the themes and finding out myself.
I plunked down $61 to buy a WooCommerce ready theme that I thought looked pretty slick.
The results were pretty much what I expected. The e-commerce themes on ThemeForest that are WooCommerce-ready seem to be designed to use the WooCommerce page templates and widgets – very specifically. I found out that many of the features I was seeing for e-commerce themes on the theme descriptions page were only going to be available if I used the theme with WooCommerce.
This actually ended up being mildly disappointing. I found a couple nice themes that had some slick looking layouts for category pages and product pages, but couldn’t use those layouts because I was using MarketPress instead of WooCommerce. Oh well. It makes sense. I just needed to try it out to find out.
What’s My Point?
I’ve been rambling for a bit here, but here’s what I’m trying to get to:
After buying some e-commerce specific themes (that were WooCommerce ready) to use along with MarketPress, I found that it didn’t really matter that I had bought those e-commerce themes. The features that made them special for e-commerce were really only available if I used it with WooCommerce, and not any other e-commerce system.
I could have gotten just as good of results with any non e-commerce theme, if not better, because my WordPress theme and admin wouldn’t be junked up with unusable options for WooCommerce.
My MarketPress Theme Recommendation
If you are using MarketPress – don’t feel like you need to buy an e-commerce specific theme – you really don’t. If you don’t believe me, try to set up your first test MarketPress site on one of the default WordPress themes and you will be surprised just how well it does work with any theme.
I don’t have a specific theme that I recommend for MarketPress – yet. Just stay away from themes designed for WooCommerce specifically.