Over the last decade, E-Commerce has established firm roots in most of the major global retail markets. It offers a great alternative to the brick and mortar shops, by letting your setup an online business with a wider reach to the target audience and a chance to make better market-competitive deals. Anybody can establish an online business nowadays – it has come that easy.
Around 30% of businesses are using WooCommerce to run it online stores since it offers great flexibility, simplicity and lets you maintain full control of your site. WooCommerce is the most popular E-Commerce Platform among big and small online businesses alike. It is Word Press plugin that allows you to sell products as well as services, do inventory, offer shipping, and more.
Make secure transactions and manage a lot more on your site. With its multiple configurations, you can offer clients:
- Simple products, which is the most commonly used product type with no multiple options,
- variation of certain products such as of different colors, sizes, etc.,
- digital products or instant downloads such as e-books and applications,
- grouped products, which is a collection of similarly categorized products that can be purchased individually
- and external or affiliate products, which are you can describe on your site and list within your shopping menu but are in reality sold by other online marketplaces.
Moreover, by installing premium extensions, you can have access to a variety of other product types such as subscriptions, etc. So if you’ve been thinking about setting up an online shop, there’s never been a better time and WooCommerce in an affordable as well as accessible manner – while keeping the technical stuff to a minimum.
By following the steps listed below you can start integrating WooCommerce with your WordPress powered site.
To get started, head over to your WordPress plugin directory or follow the steps below to download it from the dashboard.
You’ll need to do the following:
- From the WordPress Admin Area in your dashboard, navigate to Plugins > AddNew.
- Enter “WooCommerce” in the search bar and hit the “Install Now”
- After the installation completes, you can click on the “Activate”
This will launch the WooCommerce Setup Wizard. You can skip this part, but it is recommended that you let the Setup Wizard run through by clicking “Let’s Go” – and just follow the steps.
- Page Setup – this screen notifies you that WooCommerce will automatically create the essential main pages for your online shop, such as shop, cart, checkout and my account).
- Store locale – this screen allows you to set your store location, currency as well as the units for your product dimensions and weight.
- Shipping & Tax – If you are selling physical goods to customers, enable the shipping physical products option. You can leave it unchecked in case you are selling digital products. This screen also allows you to configure whether product prices should be inclusive of sales tax, or not.
- Payments – You can select any suitable 3rd party payment processor (e.g. Paypal) as an acceptable payment method for your Online Store. Later on from the setting menu, you can explore further option or manually add more extensions.
- You’re done with the initial installation process once you hit the “Continue” Button. The link at the bottom of the screen will take you to the WordPress Dashboard, where in the side menu you’ll see that two options have been added, i.e. WooCommerce(for your general store settings) and Products (for adding, editing and managing products).
Your WooCommerce Store is now ready to use and you can start adding products.
How to Set Up WooCommerce Shop Page?
1. Adding Products
Access your products page from side menu in your WordPress admin area, and click on “Add New” to create the first product for your WooCommerce Store.
Add a relevant title for your product and a description for the “Main Content Section”. You can also configure the features of the product on the right side of the page, which include:
- Product Categories – this option is pretty straightforward. You can add to which category your product belongs, from this widget on the Products page.
- Product Tags – you can use this feature to further relate your product by assigning them a descriptive label. For example, if you’re selling clothing and a number of those items include floral patterns, you can tag them floral. This not only helps organize your store, but it can also drastically improve your SEO. Take note that unlike product category, tags have no hierarchy.
- Product Image – this will be the main feature image that appears on your product details pages.
- Product Gallery – this includes all other pictures of your product that initially appear as thumbnails on the product details page but can be enlarged by clicking on them.
However, the most important feature of the products page is the Product Data widget.
This is where most of the product customization takes place. Use the drop down menu to set a product type, i.e. simple, grouped, variable or external/affiliate product. For digital products, select the “virtual” checkbox and set the” download limit “, or leave checkbox unmarked if it’s unlimited. You can also add an expiry date and the file type – such as standard, application or music – for your digital product.
2. Add New Product Page Options
From the left side menu, the General tab will grant you access to product pricing options (i.e. regular price and sales price). To further enhance product customization you can add different plugins to improve the shopping experience of your customers. You can add customization plugins such as WooCommerce product add-ons, which allows the customer to personalize the products before adding it to the cart.
The Inventory tab provides stock customization and management options, which include the SKU (Stock Keep Unit), stock status (in/out) and the sold individually option (for setting single stock item sales limit per order). Enabling the Stock Management check box, reveals further stock customization options, such as notifications, stock status thresholds, and the display format, etc.
Head over to the Shipping tab set to package parameters (dimensions/weight) and the shipping method.
Use the Linked Products tab to manage related products options and promote similar or same category items to the users. Select a particular product from the drop down list to set it against the upsells, cross-sells, and grouping options.
The Attributes tab allows you add specific or custom product attributes (e.g. color, durability, etc.), which will be displayed to customers in the Additional Information section for your product. Hit the save attribute button, once you’re done making additions.
You can find more features under the Advanced tab, which provide an option for enabling/disabling reviews, choosing a custom ordering menu for your product and creating purchase notes for customer’s convenience.
Now, scroll further down the screen to the product short description section, where you can design a suitable tagline – that will be displayed right underneath your product title. Before publishing, make sure you’ve chosen the right category visibility option (e.g. search, hidden, catalog and search, etc.) from the Publish screen widget, on top-right.
3. Managing Products
You can play around with the various tabs under WordPress Admin > Products, to better manage your products. From the Products page, you can easily view, feature, edit, delete or even duplicate your products. You can also perform bulk actions on your products from the Products page, by selecting multiple items at time before executing the task.
You can access your store’s Orders, Coupons, Reports, Settings and Extensions pages via the collapsible WooCommerce menu in the WordPress Admin area.
- Orders: View purchases and manage/modify orders on this page. From here, you can easily assign products to be shipped, and orders that are to be processed or temporarily suspended. You can also edit orders, or change their rates, taxes. etc.
- Coupons: his page can be used to view, edit and add customizable store coupons.
- Reports: In this screen, you can analyze your store’s progress based on the number of items sold, gross sales, etc. You can also generate a more detailed statistical report for each product or category according to specific time periods.
You can download native as well as third-party plugins, themes and various add-ons from the WooCommerce extensions store to add more customizability and flexibility to your WooCommerce features.
With proper command of the settings page, you can change virtually every aspect of your store.
Check out the brief description of the following tabs:
- General – to define your store’s most basic as well as core information, including currency, your base location and countries where you are willing to sell.
- Products – where you can manage product data, default displays, measurement units, images dimension, custom sorting, inventory management review options, etc.
- Tax – provides access to numerous taxation methods and their calculation. Or leave out taxes from your product rates for the entire site.
- Shipping – add geographic zones where you can ship, determine pricing models and manage various display options – including which countries can access store.
- Checkout – customize your checkout experience with guest checkouts and allowing customers to apply coupons. Choose between the 5 default payment gateways (or add more via extensions), set appropriate pages for the checkout pages (cart, checkout, Terms and Conditions) or force HTTPS for your store (if you have an SSL certificate) or change URL endpoints assigned to checkout pages.
- Accounts – to configure front-end display options, account pages related endpoints and customer registrations.
- Emails – this is like a customer support powerhouse for your online store. You can design custom email templates and change sender details for email being sent from your site.
- API – from this tab you can enable API for WooCommerce, configure app permissions and setup Webhooks.
Without a doubt, WooCommerce is the best-designed eCommerce solution for WordPress sites out there in the market at the moment. The best part is that it is free, open source and highly customizable. Furthermore, there are thousands of WooCommerce themes on the web which enable you to start a professional WP eCommerce site instantly. There are opportunities for the beginners and small-budget projects as well – free themes for WooCommerce.
Above all, simplicity is the most amazing thing with WordPress as a platform. You don’t require a lot of technical know-how and can immediately get started setting up your online store with a simple tutorial. Quite simply put…What more do you need?
Paul Simmons is an eCommerce expert. With an industry rich experience of more than 7 years, he is helping small to medium size enterprises to go live and expand their online reach. Currently, he is associated with FME Extensions – a prominent Web design and development company in UAE.
(This is a guest post. View guest posting guidelines.)