WordPress is undoubtedly the most popular platform to build websites. Due to its highly customizable nature and the seemingly endless number of plugins, it’s the ultimate go-to content management system. What many don’t know, however, is that it also offers fantastic eCommerce solutions for all kinds of business, through the WooCommerce plugin. On this complete WooCommerce tutorial, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to kickstart your WordPress e-Store!
If you’re looking to advance your company website to include an eShop, this complete WooCommerce tutorial will put you on the right path. But, first, let’s dig a little into the actual plugin.
What Is WooCommerce & Why Should I Use it?
WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress websites. Directed at merchants, whether small or large, through WooCommerce it’s possible to build and manage eStores.
There are many eCommerce plugins available on WordPress, but WooCommerce is by far the most popular. Over 30% of all WordPress stores use the plugin, and it’s easy to see why:
- It’s simple to use.
- WooCommerce is open-source, which means it’s free.
- It’s highly customizable. Merchants can choose every little detail they want customers to see when entering their eShops. Choosing variations of products and services is easy.
- The fact that WooCommerce is so popular means it’s easier to manage. There are many developers and experts specializing on the plugin. Plus, all payment methods have integrated well with WooCommerce. It can ultimately make a merchant’s life much more comfortable.
- WooCommerce allows all types of eCommerce. Whether a company sells physical products, subscriptions or even downloadables, WooCommerce supports it. It’s an excellent tool for anyone selling online.
- WooCommerce connects well with content creation. You’ll need to post a lot of good content to run a successful eCommerce site. And WooCommerce combines perfectly with those needs.
- WooCommerce makes it easier for online shops to grow.
- There’s a huge number of extensions for the plugin, including some allowing merchants to integrate with Google Analytics.
Why Should I Use WooCommerce for My eShop?
Are you still on the fence on whether this is the platform for you? Here are some of the ways to know WooCommerce is for you:
- You want to customize without having to deal with beta testing. WooCommerce is a very popular platform and it has been on the market for years. That means there are plenty of themes and extensions – and all of them have gone through heavy testing. You won’t be a guinea pig.
- You’re working on a tight budget. While everyone would love to have all the money in the world to start an eShop, it’s usually not the case. Smaller businesses are usually working from a limited budget, and cost saving is a huge plus. While there are many paid premium extensions, the basic WooCommerce plugin is free.
- You’re most comfortable setting things up yourself. As you’ll see on our complete WooCommerce tutorial below, this plugin allows you to customize everything. If you’re picky about your eCommerce solution (and why wouldn’t you be?), WooCommerce should do wonders for you. From here, you can control all areas of the eShop, configuring every setting, and even setting up the tiniest details of your hosting.
- You want a plethora of extension options. You can manage just about every aspect of your eShop directly from WooCommerce. Some of the most popular extensions include Google Analytics Integration, EU VAT Compliance, and Genesis Framework integration. There are also multilingual options.
- You have very specific needs. If you want to set up an eShop that’s a little different from the standard t-shirt store, WooCommerce is an excellent choice. If you’re looking to sell downloadable content, a subscription or other types of services, it’s easy to set up from the plugin. Not all eCommerce services will give you this level of freedom.
- You want to set up different layers of customer experience in a single platform. Maybe you sell products but you also offer services or even an online course. In any case, you offer different things for customers and don’t want to only have one single thing. Maybe you won’t start out this way, but it’s where you want your eStore to head. If you’re looking to offer different types of products and services, you’ll need a platform that allows you to extend – and that’s what WooCommerce is all about.
Naturally, the plugin integrates well with WordPress and you can customize it to fit your theme. Optionally, you can also use the official WooCommerce starter theme Storefront or one if its many child themes. The plugin was also built with developers in mind and is therefore extendable, scalable and robust. WooCommerce even comes with its own REST API for easy third-party service integration. Apart from that, WooCommerce’s security gets regular updates and audits.
Complete WooCommerce Tutorial
Now that you’ve decided that WooCommerce is the best choice for you, it’s time to configure it. That’s where the magic of this complete WooCommerce tutorial begins!
- Go to the WordPress plugins menu
- Search for WooCommerce
- Hit Install Now
- Activate the plugin
From here, it’s time to get to the specifics of this complete WooCommerce tutorial. At this point, you can:
- Create pages on Page Setup. This is where you can create the basic pages you’ll need to organize your eStore. Some of these include the Shopping Cart and the Checkout. WooCommerce will do this by itself, so you won’t have to do much here other than clicking Continue.
- Configure the location of your eStore on Store Locale Setup. Here, you can choose the location of the store, where you’re sending to, measure units, and which currency WooCommerce will display.
- Specify the kind of taxes that will apply to your products on Shipping & Tax Setup. If you’re already familiar with the shipping costs and taxes, this is where you can include those prices. If you’re not too sure what those costs are, skip ahead to set this up later.
- Decide how your customers will pay you on Payments. You can use add-ons to work with a myriad of payment options, including PayPal, credit and debit cards, cheques, cash, bank transfers and Amazon Pay.
- Complete your basic setup!
At this point, you can allow WooCommerce to collect diagnostic data and create the first product on the eSotore. However, this complete WooCommerce tutorial recommends using the Return to the WordPress Dashboard link you can find at the bottom. There, you’ll have two new metaboxes: WooCommerce Recent Reviews and WooCommerce Status. These will give you a bird’s eye view of your eStore.
Looking at the main WordPress menu on the left, you’ll also find two items: WooCommerce and Products. The rest of this complete WooCommerce tutorial will transpire in those two sections.
Complete WooCommerce Tutorial: How to Add Products
- On the main WordPress menu, click on Products. You’ll reach a page listing all the items on your shop. Of course, at this point, it’s empty.
- Click on Add Product in the menu on the left. You’ll reach a screen that looks just like the WordPress editor.
- At the top of the screen, you’ll be able to add a product title and description, including images and media. Everything you add here will appear on the main product page.
Other options you can find in this section:
- Product Categories. It allows you to create categories and subcategories for your products and services, making them easier to browse.
- Product Tags. This option allows you to be even more specific with the items on your store, distinguishing the with tags.
- Product Image. Much like the featured image in a regular post, the photos you upload here will show up on the product and shop page.
- Product Gallery. Here, you can add an image gallery, which is particularly useful to showcase different colors or angles of a product.
Additional Product Data
Seeing as WooCommerce is such an all-encompassing platform, you can imagine the product creation screen is pretty complex. The first thing you need to do is decide on the type of product you’ll sell:
You’ll get different configurations from the different options. Still, at this point you’ll be able to choose specifics on what you’ll offer:
- Virtual or Physical. You’ll need to check this option if you’re selling software or any other non-physical product. Also, doing this will remove the shipping options.
- Downloadable. Here, you can determine if customers can download your product, and also upload the file and add any information you deem necessary, such as the terms and conditions.
- General. Here, you can give products a unique ID (Stock Keeping Unit), add price and sales prices, a date range for upcoming promos, among other things. You can also find taxing specifics here, such as whether the product is subject to taxing, and its tax class.
- Inventory. If it’s a physical product, here you can determine whether the product is in stock. You can also note how many unities you have left and whether you accept backorders.
- Shipping. Although self-explanatory, this menu allows you to set the weight, dimensions and shipping categories.
- Linked Products. It’s the place to include which products WooCommerce will recommend to your customers.
- Attributes. Here, you can specify the variables of each product, including color and size.
- Variations. Once you’ve specified product attributes, the Variations menu can help you add different versions.
- Advanced. This menu item allows you to further customize, by specifying whether you’ll allow reviews, change the product order in the menu or even add custom purchase notes upon checkout.
At the end of the Product screen, you can fill out the Product Short Description, which will show up under the Product Title. Once you’ve filled that out, you’ll have the first product on your WooCommerce eShop! From now on, you’ll be able to access this item from the Products menu.
There are more options on this menu, but they’re fairly similar to the ones from regular posts. The categories and tags work the same way as they do on WordPress blogs, with one sole difference: on WooCommerce, you can add thumbnail images to product categories.
How to Manage WooCommerce
Now that you’ve uploaded your products with all the specifics you might require, you’ll need to know the day-to-day WooCommerce work. You’ll find several menus here:
- System status
Let’s go over these settings one by one for a truly complete WooCommerce tutorial!
This screen lets you see the status of each of your orders. If you only sell digital products, you won’t have a lot of use for this section, as it’ll only show who bought each thing and what you’re offering. However, if you’re selling physical items, these are some of the things you’ll be able to do:
Change the status of each order.
- Modify billing or shipping addresses
- Resend order emails
- Add pertinent notes
- Change the order
This part is pretty straightforward: from here, you can create and manage codes for discounts and other promos. This screen allows you to:
- Determine the type of coupon you’ll use.
- Establish a discount percentage.
- Set up expiration dates.
- Restrict when customers can use their coupons. The most common restriction is keeping users from using more than one coupon at the same time.
- Define the amount of coupons available.
- Delimit a maximum amount of coupons per user.
The Reports screen is probably the best tool on the WooCommerce arsenal. Here, you can see the automatically generated details of your eShop, with very complete summaries. The plugin measures just about everything going on the site, so here you can:
- Check gross and net sales. WooCommerce will automatically show you the numbers for the last seven days, but you can choose different time frames.
- View placed orders, items purchased, issued refunds, shipping costs taken in, used coupons, customer sales, product stock, and taxes.
- Export all the info to CSV to add it to your books, wherever you’re managing them.
Whether you’re using the free plugin version or the more complete paid one, this is where you can manage every bit of your eShop. These are the submenus on the Settings screen: General, Products, Tax, Checkout, Shipping, Accounts, Emails, API, System Status, and Add-ons.
Let’s go through each tab, starting with General:
- Location. Here, you can choose the actual location of the store and in which states (or countries) you’ll sell. You can also create example address details for customers.
- Store notice. It allows you to showcase a notice text for all the customers entering any area of your site.
- Currency. This allows you to set up which currency you’ll work with and choose the format, including the thousand separators, decimal separator and the number of decimals displayed.
These are the settings you can find on the Products tab:
- General. Set up your preferred weight and dimension units and choose settings for product reviews and ratings.
- Display. Choose whether you want to display categories and then the archive design, product order, shopping cart setup and the images’ dimensions. You can also build your shop page from here.
- Inventory. Enable and disable stock management and notifications for low-running stock, configure stock thresholds, how long to hold unpaid orders and whether you want to display current stock.
- Downloadable Products. Pick a download delivery method and a way to restrict this content.
Under Tax, you’ll find:
- Tax Options. Here, you can enable and disable taxes, configure how to calculate them, include shipping taxes, add different classes, set up how to round up the numbers, choose how to display taxes and pick how you want customers to see the total after taxes.
- Standard Rates. Set up which tax rates you’ll use.
- Reduced Rate Rates. Configure items with reduced tax rates.
- Zero Rate Rates. Let WooCommerce know which products are exempt from taxes.
On Checkout, you’ll find:
- Checkout Options. Here, you can enable and disable coupons, guest checkouts and SSL; you can set up how you want checkout pages to look; you can choose whether to include terms and conditions during checkout; you can configure checkout endpoints and which payment methods are available.
- BACS. Choose whether you’ll accept wire transfers, bank connections, and what you’ll message customers.
- Cheque. Set up if and how you’ll take checks, including how-to instructions and description.
- Cash on Delivery. Opt whether you want to accept cash on delivery, and the specific conditions for it, like shipping methods and further instructions.
- PayPal. Credentials, payment options, testing for errors, API settings and other advanced options.
- Simplify Commerce. Same as PayPal, but with Simplify.
The Shipping tab includes:
- Shipping Options. Set shipping and billing address, locations and methods. Configure the way to calculate shipping costs.
- Flat Rate. Set up fixed rate shipping.
- Free Shipping. Determine what do customers need to opt for free shipping.
- International Flat Rate. If you’re offering fixed rate shipping for overseas sales, this is where you can configure it.
- Local Delivery. Specify if you’ll offer local delivery and in what location.
- Local Pickup. Determine whether you’ll offer local pickup and which customers are available for it.
Under the Accounts tab, you’ll find only one screen: Accounts Options. Here, you can define where your customers can change their account info, enable registration, whether you want the site to automatically generate usernames, etc.
The API Settings can allow you to enable and disable the WooCommerce REST API and set up permissions for outside apps to access data and integrate with your eShop.
On the System Status tab, you’ll be able to see the overall well-being and performance of your eShop. It also gives you a set of tools and texts to check how your site is working out, enabling you to debug and also resetting cached data. Also, from here you can download a system report, which you’ll need to get WooCommerce support to fix any details.
The last Settings tab, Add-ons, is where you can easily access the available extensions, whether you’ve already installed them or not.
We hope our complete WooCommerce tutorial can help you set up the eShop of your dreams. At Bright Vessel, we specialize in bringing custom eCommerce solutions to our clients, particularly on the WooCommerce platform. Find out more about our WooCommerce Management Services.