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?
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.