Shop Isle is a free WordPress theme from Themeisle that was developed with eCommerce in mind. It has a modern and clean layout that includes more features than I ever expected to see with a free theme. It has sections with parallax scroll, a full screen slider, a home page, page templates, animation, icons, back to top button, a curtain style menu with animation, and more. It’s fully responsive so it will look and work perfectly on any screen size and device including desktop, mobile, and tablets. It’s localization ready so you can use it with any language.
In this review I installed the theme on my test site and took it for a spin. Here are my thoughts about its features and using it for eCommerce.
I installed Shop Isle on my online test site and went through all of the settings to get the feel of how it works and what it can do. It doesn’t require a lot of setup but you can make lots of adjustments if you want to customize it to fit your brand.
After uploading the theme it recommends installing WooCommerce Compare List (also from Themeisle) from the WordPress repository. I allowed it to install the plugin and activated it. As its name implies, it gives your website the ability to compare products in a table.
All adjustments are done through the Customize menu. There are a lot of customization options – enough customizations to make the theme fit with your branding and customize it to your liking.
Your homepage is made up of sections that includes a slider, banners, products, video, and a products slider. Each of the sections are enabled by default but you can turn the various sections off it you want. You can also customize them from the Customization menu. Some of the elements within each section can be rearranged by drag and drop. This is a good feature if you want to change their order.
If you’re serious about creating an online store then WooCommerce is the top choice. The theme you choose can be just as important as the eCommerce platform. You need a theme that is modern, clean, elegant, and loads fast and has clean and secure code.
Shop Isle was specifically designed to work with WooCommerce and has two sections for the homepage that are dedicated to eCommerce:
Products Section – here you can add a section title, and either place a WooCommerce shortcode or choose a product category to display. If you don’t use a shortcode or category then it will display the latest WooCommerce products. You can hide this section from the homepage if you want.
Products Slider Section – you can give this section a title and a subtitle and then choose a product category to display. You can hide this section on the frontpage and on single products pages.
These sections give the theme an elegant and modern look and help highlight your products, which in turn will help improve sales.
It includes four page templates. The pages are customizable through the Customize menu where you can modify the page elements.
Here’s a quick look at each of the pages.
An About Us page is a great way of making your business feel more personable and makes it easier for your visitors to connect with you. Shop Isle’s About Us page template looks modern and shows images of your team and includes mouse-over animations. Once you create an About Us page you can select Customize from the page and change the text, team members, images, etc. Options include an image, title, subtitle, and description. You can add as many team members as you want. The page come pre-loaded with sample content and is easy to modify.
The blog template serves as your website’s blog page. It has a 2-column design with a sidebar on the right with several widget areas including sidebar, four footer areas, and a sidebar shop page. One thing I found interesting is the title for the page template is used as the label in the header image (I added the title in the photo. You can name it anything you want). This is a great way to help your visitors understand what to expect as they click through your site. It kind of acts like a road map.
A clean contact page is important for business communication and for providing information about the business. It tells your visitors that you’re reputable and helps build trust. Shop Isle includes a Contact page template that creates a page where you can place shortcodes from any contact form and map plugin. It works with both Contact Form 7 and Intergeo Maps. Intergeo Maps is also from Themeisle so it integrates perfectly. Without using a 3rd party plugin this page will just be blank. Contact Form 7 is easy to set up and use and is a great choice for this theme. I just used the default settings. Intergeo Maps requires a Google API, so it will take a little longer to set up but as you can see in my picture you don’t have to use it.
The Full Width template lets you create pages without a sidebar. I like that this was added because you don’t always want sidebars on every page. This makes it easy to create a page without going through extra steps to remove the sidebar.
The build-in 404 page can be customized or used as default. The default page looks great but if you want to customize it you can change the background image, title, text, button link, and button label. The textbox accepts HTML so you can add your own customizations. The fonts and styles can be modified within the typography customizations.
You can change the header image in the Customizer. One think I found interesting is you can add text under the page’s title using the header description editor that’s added to the page and post editor.
The Header Description is a complete TinyMCE visual and text editor just like your standard WordPress editor. The only difference is the content appears in the header. Anything you can do with the visual editor you can do with the header description. I like this as it gives your website some customization that’s not normally found in WordPress themes and can help make your online store stand out from the crowd.
The Customizer options for the footer allow you to easily add your own copyright info and remove the site info. It contains social media icons so your visitors can follow you on social media. There are also four widget areas in the footer if you want to add more content.
Themeisle’s live demo shows off the homepage with its various sections. One section that stands out to me is video backgrounds. It’s a full-width section that doesn’t take a lot of vertical space and isn’t heavy on resources. This isn’t as distracting or as taxing on your browser and bandwidth, and helps set the mood for the store. It’s video done right.
Shop Isle is free. To get it simply create a free account and download it – no strings attached. For the quality of features and ease of use Shop Isle is an easy choice. With the level of features and elegance it has it’s hard to believe this is a free theme.
Themeisle is planning to add premium add-ons to expand your online store’s features even further. The add-ons will be based on user’s requests.
eCommerce is big business and in order to stand out from the crowd it’s important to choose the right theme. It’s important for an online store to look clean and modern and to operate fast and smoothly. For this reason alone I usually don’t recommend using a free theme. Shop Isle is the exception. Even though Shop Isle is free it delivers on all accounts.
Shop Isle is a beautifully designed WordPress theme. Even though it was designed specifically for eCommerce, I think it would be a great choice for virtually any purpose. It integrates with WooCommerce perfectly to create a sharp and modern online store that looks and feels high quality despite the theme being free.
I recommend Shop Isle without hesitation for any website that would use WooCommerce.