Extending WooCommerce Storefront

When you are installing the Storefront theme as discussed in our earlier post WooCommerce Storefront Theme Configuration you are given a teaser with options to extend WooCommerce Storefront. A couple of enhancements using plugins as well as possible child themes are mentioned. Let’s go through them in this post.

Storefront Enhancing Plugins

Storefront recommend a couple of plugins you can use to extend it, to make it easier to work with this theme as well enhance it with more features. Here is the list of the plugins for extending WooCommerce Storefront:

  • Powerpack ($59)
  • Mega Menus ($39)
  • Reviews ($19)
  • Pricing Tables ($19)
  • Product Hero ($19)
  • Blog Customizer ($19)
  • Parallax Hero ($19)

NB  Addons only works with Storefront

As you can see these are all commercial plugins that you need to pay for. They are not for free as WordPress is. Well, I would say WordPress is not really for free either as it will require your time and $ to make it work for your business too, but that is another debate. Do I think some of these plugins are useful?

Powerpack

Well the Powerpack is not cheap, but it is an interesting extension. It is an addon that basically allows you to customize way more elements of your theme in the customizer without the need for extra coding in a child theme or plugins. What does it allow you to do more besides what you can in Storefront is:

  • header customization including logo, cart and navigation
  • styling – adjust font families, font size color, margins and padding
  • checkout options – option to go for distraction free checkout or keep two step checkout
  • homepage editor – basic homepage editor to add calls to action and configure general layout
  • product page editor – edit product page layout

Powerpack Features

Mega Menus

Must say I find it a bit expensive for a menu enhancement, but it is a solid mega menu that offers multiple options to create a solid mega menu dropdown to show store items with or without images. And it allows you to drag and drop multiple types of widgets inside the menu from the customizer. And Magento has extensions for similar or more expensive prices.

Example:

Storefront Mega Menu

Reviews

A lot of themes have basic reviews built in when they are catering to the e-commerce crowd and there are universal WordPress review plugins out there so you do not really need this one per se. But this is a solid review plugin with multiple display options. You can

  • display it as a slider or in blocks,
  • use three styling options and there is a
  • review scope you can configure to display certain specific reviews, reviews from certain products, load the most ones recent first

Pricing Table

A lot of themes do have pricing tables built in. Either via a page builder like Visual Composer or simply as a custom post type. So what does this addon have to offer that we may like? Well, nothing much really besides the fact that the customizing can be done in the customizer. So I am not that impressed really.

Pricing Tables

Product Hero

This is more like a slider that integrates well with Storefront and WooCommerce. But frankly as I am using Revolution Slider already that can do that and more I do not see the advantage of using this Product Hero slider.

Product Hero

Blog Customizer

The blog customizer is a useful addon. What it does it that it allows you to pick a certain blog layout. You may like the classical one after another blog article look or the magazine look with several next to each other. It also allows you to move the post meta data around. This means you can decide where the sidebar with additional information goes, if the category and tag details should go to the end of the post or just below the title and so on.

However, most multi purpose themes with or without a builder or even with the builder alone will allow you to do this all. So if you are going for a page builder like Beaver Builder or the Visual Composer you can probably go without this addon.

Parallax Hero

Parallax scroll or the display of content parallax style has been popular since 2012 or s0. Designer Depot mentioned this on it in 2013 in a blog post:

parallax scroll is when content scrolls at different speeds, creating a sense of perspective and therefore depth.

Some clients really love it for blogs, others for the homepage. Well, the parallax hero can enhance your Storefront Hero header with the parallax hero scroll effect. I do (no longer ) like this effect and I think it is a bit outdated now. But it is an easy implementation of it. So if you, or your client, likes it go ahead and purchase this addon.

Child Themes

There are a whole bunch of child themes available and all for just $39 bucks. So if the style of Storefront is not appealing to you and you do not want to code your own child theme to change its looks you should have a look at the child themes available.

Storefront Child Themes

Now, I think the WooCommerce team, nowadays a part of Automattic, does a solid job coding these themes and design wise there are some really nice ones. So do have a look. The advantage here is that these all work with Storefront and saves you the extra coding. It may still be needed that you want further tweaks. In that case it is better to convert a child theme into a new version. The only downside as always is that updates for that child theme can then no longer be applied with ease. But hey if the child theme gets you closer to your goal then go for it!

Child Themes in Detail

I won’t be discussing the child themes in detail now. What I will do is that I will create a new post in the future on adding one of these child themes and my and or my client’s experience with that particular theme. This post took quite some time already and is rather large and insightful already so hope you are happy with the content for this blog post as it is for now.

WooCommerce Storefront Theme Configuration

To set up your site with WooCommerce and for it to look well you need a theme that is built with WooCommerce in mind. WooCommerce works with a specific set of templates to turn WordPress into an ecommerce site and these templates should be styled in the style of your theme.

Storefront

In this tutorial we shall install WooCommerce’s Storefront. It is a great WordPress theme that is free and created by the people running WooCommerce. And therefore this theme will work with the WooCommerce plugin out of the box and work of the bat. Follow the earlier mentioned link, download it and then go to appearance > themes . There you need to click on the button add new:

add new theme

Uploading WooCommerce Storefront

Next step it to click on upload theme and upload the zipped file

upload theme

Uploading of zipped theme file:

upload zipped theme

And then do not forget to activate the theme:

activate storefront theme

WooCommerce Storefront Options

It will then offer you the option to follow a guide to get started with Storefront which can be useful. It will show you a screen with news on Storefront, options to enhance the theme with (paid) extensions such as:

  • menus,
  • product hero
  • Designer
  • Reviews
  • Blog customizer
  • WooCommerce Customizer

Get started with Storefront

Storefront Welcome Screen here below is where they will indicate whether or not WooCommerce has to be installed, how you can enhance Storefront:

Storefront Welcome

 

This as well as what (paid) child themes are available for Storefront like Outlet for $39:

Outlet Storefront Child theme

 

Dummy Content

You can add dummy content to it if you start out from scratch. This will give you the demo look and a start to begin building your site with. Dummy content in my opinion is very useful to start out with. But if you prefer not to you skip this section. Click on link to dummy content and you will see this Github repo file you can then check as raw content and then save that to a file with the same or another same with the extension .xml. This you can then import.

dummy data

To import the dummy xml content you save the xml file and upload it using the WordPress Importer under Tools > Import.

dummy data xml file

 

When you pick WordPress to import WordPress data

Import WordPress Data

you may have to install the WordPress importer plugin and once that is done you can import the dummy data. Choose the xml file from your PC and upload it.

dummy data xml file import

You can then choose to attach all data to an existing user or the user it was created with. It is called assigning authors. And you can also decide whether or not to import the file attachments. As the latter often does not work you could skip and and just deal with the content instead.

assign authors and import attachments

You will probably get warning that there are errors or that importing of this or that failed – a new importer has been in the works for some time – but most if not all dummy data should get imported anyways. Here a screenshots of dummy products:

dummy products

Pretty useful to see what type of products can be added and to see what configurations are possible. You will however have to delete or adjust all imported content at a later stage.

Besides general dummy data you can also import dummy tax rates, product variations and general products. See overview at Github of all dummy data files here.

Well that is it for this post. The next one in this series will be one configuring WooCommerce in general!