The Theme Business

Today Woothemes released a brand new theme called Feature Pitch and Obox released a full preview of their Arcade Theme which will be available on the 7th July.

I’ve been thinking about the WordPress Theme market for a while now, and whilst not getting directly involved I do communicate with Adii from WooThemes and David from Obox when I can. Online businesses and business models have always intrigued me which is one of the biggest reasons we at carrotmedia have started the eCommerce experiment. Overall the WordPress Theme market is a lively one and with more and more “theme businesses” jumping on the bandwagon it has the likelihood of becoming over-saturated.

Saturated Market

I believe it will become saturated in different ways;

  • There will be the companies who want to make a quick buck, the fly by night individuals who will hang around until they’ve made some money.
  • The companies that have been there from the start who continue to provide fantastic support and constant theme releases.
  • The smaller theme companies dedicated to provide new and unique themes for a niche market.

Looking at the bigger picture of the Theme business, from my perspective I would expect a successful business to be able to create themes which the users want and need which can be customised aesthetically and functionally to the users requirements as long as the basics are there. Technically that’s where the mass sales would come from. It amused me somewhat to see a commenter on Adii’s post about “Feature Pitch” dissing the design and how it should have been made one of the free wordpress themes because he didn’t like the design, the guy led a pretty scathing attack without providing constructive criticism which is about as much use as a pocket in a sock.

Surely there wasn’t need for such an attack and the person just misunderstood the whole point of a theme?

On the other hand, Obox’s Arcade Theme is highly detailed and graphical but will not be to everyone’s liking. Even though the guys over at Obox have an incredible eye for all the little things in design and they’re sure to fill a niche market but this will also restrict sales?

What would you do?

So my question to you as a user is, what would you like from a Theme company. Expand this discussion past WordPress and think about it across any platform. Would you like the niche designs or good service and more themes?

From a business point of view which would you like to operate? Niche or mass markets?

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Gavin

Lead Interaction Designer at DigitalDWP. Organiser of Industry, The Practical Web Conference..

2 thoughts on “The Theme Business”

  1. Great post, i have been following Adii and the guys at obox for a while now and i think they both have great potential, I’m not sure as a user that i would prefer one over the other as they both serve a purpose and i probably would use whichever fit my needs or the needs of my clients best.

    From a business standpoint i think that it really depends on what you want to do and what you have a passion for, i personally would probably approach it from a mass market angle, focusing on support and a wide selection but there is also a larger time and resources commitment that i think goes along with that. You’d have to decide where you want to focus i guess. Either way i think Adii and the guys at obox are doing an amazing job and even if the market does get saturated, guys like these will still stand out and have a loyal following in my opinion, especially because they are always trying to include their customers in everything and i think that really makes them stand out.

    Just my 2 cents.

  2. Good post.

    And personally I think there’s enough space for both the “mass-appeal” theme companies (where I think we fit in), as well as the more niche-focused providers. Ultimately it’s about building economies of scale, irrespective of your desired size. So it doesn’t really matter which approach you take, as you long as you can do it in an efficient way (time & money wise) and then provide top-notch themes & support, you should be good.

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