Selling or buying products and services online has become more than a trend. Why pay for a storefront when you can simply start an online store? Building an ecommerce store has never been easier, especially if you have a WordPress site. You just need to integrate WooCommerce — a freemium plugin optimized for ecommerce into your site. Powering up to 21% of the top 1 million ecommerce sites, WooCommerce is a great tool to sell products online.
In this article, I’ll guide you through a WooCommerce tutorial, so help you get your store up and running.
Why Ecommerce Now?
It is projected that by 2040, 95% of all purchases will be made online. That being said, ecommerce is the definitive way of doing business.
WooCommerce Is The Number One Choice for WordPress
WooCommerce is built with store owners in mind, meaning that you can manage any aspect of your online store. From product descriptions and shipping to payment options.
Seamlessly integrated with WordPress, WooCommerce allows you to focus on your products rather than being stuck in the settings and options.
If you already have a fully functional website, simply adding WooCommerce does not require any special configurations. You can even add more functionality by installing WooCommerce extensions.
Here are several notable features of WooCommerce:
- Authority. With more than 4 million active installations, 4.6 out of 5.0 star-rating and regular updates, no wonder big names such as Clickbank and Bookriot use WooCommerce for their ecommerce business.
- Compatibility. You can easily integrate WooCommerce with most themes. There’s also a huge collection of themes and extensions available specifically for the plugin. WooCommerce is also open-source, meaning you can modify the core plugin code if you want to.
Since WooCommerce and WordPress is a perfect blend for an ecommerce site, let’s take a look at how to actually set it up.
Setting Up WooCommerce on Your WordPress Site
WooCommerce comes with great options for customization. While this is great for advanced users, for new users, it may lead to a little bit of confusion.
I provided a thorough, easy-to-follow WooCommerce tutorial targeted for a beginner audience.
The first thing you need to do is activate WooCommerce on your WordPress site.
You need to log in to your WordPress dashboard, and then follow these steps:
- Go to the plugin menu, and click Add New.
- Type WooCommerce in the search bar.
- Click Install Now and Activate.
- Once installed, you are ready for the initial settings.
You will get a welcome message that directs you to a Setup Wizard after installing the plugin.
However, if you had installed a WooCommerce-ready theme before that is pre-bundled with the plugin, or if you mistakenly clicked the Skip Setup, it might not show up. To solve this, you can simply go to the WooCommerce menu -> Help -> SetupWizard.
Using the Setup Wizard, you need to fill out the information about your store on each different section as follows:
1. Store Setup
In this section, you can give information about:
- The location which your store is based on.
- What currency you will use for payments.
- Select either physical, digital or both as products you will sell.
After that, simply click Let’s Go.
The next section is the payment. As WooCommerce can use both online and offline payment methods, you need to enter your preferred option here.
For online payments, you can choose Stripe, Paypal or both. Make sure you enter the right email address. For offline payments, you will have three methods to choose from: cheques, bank transfer, or cash on delivery.
On the shipping section, you can provide information about everything related to sending out your goods to your clients.
WooCommerce divides its shipping section into US-based and worldwide locations. For the shipping price, you can either choose free shipping or flat rate shipping.
Not only that, you should determine what unit of measurement you will use for your product weight (ounces, pounds, grams) and dimensions (yards, inches, meters).
This section provides you recommended features that can enhance your online store. You can toggle them on if you want to have a nice WooCommerce theme, social media integration with Facebook, or mail integration with MailChimp.
You can completely skip this step.
This section indicates that you are almost ready with the setup, offering you additional enhancement plugins. You can skip this step if you want to add additional plugins later.
Once you set everything up, you can subscribe to their email newsletter.
To manage your products, go to your WordPress dashboard, and click on the Products menu.
In the Products menu, you will see options for product categories, tags, and attributes that you should set before starting to add items to the list. While you can always edit those settings later, doing so now, prior to the store launch is highly recommended.
One more thing is that it’s important for you to understand the different product types which are as follows:
- Simple — refers to any products you sell online that are shipped by default (no options). Let’s say, a book.
- Grouped — refers to several similar items that are related (in design, dimensions or description). For example, a furniture set.
- External/Affiliates — refers to any products on your store which are sold somewhere else. An affiliate program would be the most obvious example.
- Variable — refers to any products that have variables like different sizes or colors and have their own stock control. Clothing would fit this category.
Alas, you will also have virtual and downloadable products types which are for non-physical items.
- Virtual is for any non-physical products and hence no need to ship it out.
- Downloadable is for any products that are sold through downloading a specific file like a PDF magazine.
Adding New Products
To add a new product you can follow these steps:
- From the WooCommerce menu, click Add New under the Products menu. You will notice that it looks similar to preparing a new post.
- Add the product title and description.
- Go to the Product Data tab and fill out the information on the six menu sections available: General, Inventory, Shipping, Linked Products, Attributes, and Advanced.
In this example, I’ll try to sell a coffee mug.
In the General section, you can add the regular price and the sale price of your products. You can also add specific dates for when the sale price should end.
In the Inventory section, you can fill out the stock keep unit (SKU) of the products, a unique number for product tracking. If you want to enable the automatic stock status, you can check the Manage stock box so that you can fill out the stock quantity and the stock threshold. Otherwise, you need to manually set your stock status (in stock, out of stock, or backorder).
The next section is Shipping, where you can add the weight and dimensions of your product. Keep in mind that the dimension and weight units are based on what you chose in the Setup Wizard. If you want to change out the units, simply go to the WooCommerce Settings menu -> Products, on the Measurements section.
Moving on to the Linked Products. You can promote other related products for cross-selling. For example, you can upsell the same mug with bigger dimensions as the best seller and you can cross-sell a kitchen set of the same design.
In the Attributes section, you can add details to a product, mainly used if it has variations. For example, if you sell a mug in three different sizes, you can add size as the attribute and large, medium, small as the values.
The last section is the Advanced section where you can add purchase notes, menu orders, and set review options. Purchase note is sent to customers once they make purchases, menu orders are for setting custom orders. Lastly, you can enable/disable the reviews.
If you want to see all the products you have added, you can click the Products menu.
For each product, you will have options to edit, delete, and duplicate. To make a specific change, you can choose the Edit menu and make any modifications to the existing product. For similar product additions, you can use duplicate as it allows you to save time writing the same description. You can also feature a product by clicking on the star icon.
However, if you want to do it all at once, simply use the bulk action.
Managing thousands of products individually is cumbersome. Luckily, you can utilize the filter options to handle certain products by a specific product type or the stock status.
Other than that, managing products on WooCommerce is similar to managing posts via the WordPress dashboard.
When you click on the WooCommerce menu on the WordPress dashboard, you will also find the WooCommerce tab. It consists of six sections, namely orders, coupon, reports settings, status, and extensions.
When a customer completes the checkout process, you will receive a new order. You can check it out from the order menu on the left-hand side.
As you can see from the image below, there is a new order created consists of an order number, time of order, payment status, and total payments.
There are seven types of payment status in WooCommerce:
- Pending payment — no payment initiated.
- Failed — if a payment is declined.
- Processing — a payment received, awaiting order fulfillment.
- Completed — no order issues.
- On Hold — no payment confirmation made, for example, the bank transfer is unconfirmed yet.
- Canceled — an order canceled by customer or admin.
- Refunded — order refunded.
You can click on the order to see more details such as the billing and shipping address, customer email address, the products selected and the total payments.
You can always edit the order by clicking the tiny pencil icon as found in the billing and shipping address. For the payment status or order actions, you can make changes using the drop-down menu.
Coupons are a great way to increase traffic and sales for your ecommerce site, let’s explore this option further down below.
From the WordPress dashboard, go to WooCommerce -> Coupons -> Add Coupon.
You need to define your unique coupon code for your customers to use and add a little description of the effective dates or set a custom discount for internal use.
After that, there are three coupon data fields you need to define.
In the general tab, you need to choose the discount type (percentage discount, fixed cart, fixed product discount). Then, you need to specify the total amount of coupons that you offer. If free shipping is enabled, a purchase made using the coupon would grant free shipping. Finally, do not forget to define the expiration date.
On the usage restriction tab, you’re defining and/or imposing any restrictions you want to take effect.
- Minimum spend — the minimum subtotal amount that needs to be spent in order to use the coupon.
- Maximum spend — the maximum subtotal to use the coupon.
- Individual use only — enable this option to prevent multiple coupon usage.
- Exclude sale items — enabling this option means the coupon is invalid for any items that are on sale.
- Products — define a list of products that can be used with the coupon.
- Exclude products — which products can’t be used with the coupon.
- Product categories — the product categories that can apply the coupon.
- Exclude categories — the product categories that can’t apply the coupon.
- Allowed emails — emails that can use the coupon.
On the usage limit section, you can set the usage limit per coupon, per user, and per certain item before it becomes invalid.
To monitor your sales, WooCommerce provides you with a reports dashboard.
From the WordPress dashboard, go to the WooCommerce menu and choose Reports. There are three sections: orders, customers, and stock.
The order section informs you of all the ordered products including completed, on hold, and processing orders. The customer section provides a list of the customers that have made purchases. The stock section shows you low stock, including the amount of stock left, and out of stock items.
A Setup Wizard is a simplified setup for your WooCommerce. All of your previous setups will be saved in the settings menu. However, if you want to do a more detailed setup, go to your WooCommerce settings menu. From the WordPress dashboard, go to WooCommerce -> Settings.
There are several sections in the WooCommerce settings page: general, products, shipping, payments, account and privacy, emails, integration, and advanced.
On this section, you will find settings for store address, general and currency options. You can check if the address you fill out in the setup wizard process is correct. You can also set tax rates and how the price will be displayed.
You can re-specify anything about your products on the three different products section: general, inventory, downloadable products.
On the general section, you can set shop pages, measurements, and reviews including product ratings. The inventory section is to manage the stock threshold and notifications. The downloadable product settings provide you the options to manage a file download method (force downloads, redirect only or X-Accel-Redirect/X-Sendfile and access restriction.
Basically, you can choose either free shipping or a flat rate in the Setup Wizard and are ready to go.
But, in the shipping settings, you can manage more shipping options like calculations, shipping destination, and debug mode to show matching shipping zones. Also, you can add shipping class names.
You can manage your payment further from the payment settings page. Enabling/disabling a certain payment method is a simple toggling on/off. You can also drag and drop a certain payment method to make it displayed upfront.
If you want to set an individual setting for each payment method, for example, direct bank transfer, click the Manage button and fill out details.
Accounts and Privacy
In this section, you can set any details about customers’ accounts. You can set whether to allow customers without an account buy goods and let the customer create an account during the checkout process. You can also set the erasure request and personal data removal and how long you will remain customer personal data.
You can go to the emails settings to configure the emails you will send to the buyers.
You can modify the email notifications, sender options, and templates. To manage each notification individually, simply click the Manage button and fill out the details. Once you finish, save the changes.
WooCommerce is powerful for ecommerce because it supports integration with other platforms. If you add integrations on the Setup Wizard process but skip the setup, you can continue it here.
Previously an API tab, the latest WooCommerce version has an advanced tab where you can set REST API, Webhooks, and Legacy API. Not only that, but you can also set the page setup to define where to send users to check out and enable usage tracking to let WooCommerce evaluate new features in the future.
You need to make sure that your ecommerce store runs well by monitoring the health of the system.
From the WordPress dashboard, choose WooCommerce -> Status. On the WooCommerce status page, you will see four sections: system status, tools, logs, and scheduled actions.
The system status will show you all information about WooCommerce such as WordPress and server environment, database, security, plugins and themes, and WooCommerce pages. The tools section allows you to do basic tasks such as updating databases, creating default pages, clearing customers sessions, and regenerating thumbnails.
The logs section shows all logs of all events on your store and the scheduled actions inform you if the action set for a specific time is finished.
As I’ve previously mentioned, the WooCommerce extension is helpful to add more functionality to your online store. You can go to WordPress dashboard -> WooCommerce -> Extensions.
Similar to the WordPress dashboard, you can type in the search bar to get your favorite extension, or you can browse all extensions available — either free or paid ones. There are different types of WooCommerce extensions: enhancements, marketing, payments, product type, shipping and store management.
For example, if you want to add FedEx shipping to easily calculate domestic and international shipping rates, simply get the extension for $79 (a single site).
Make Your Site Visually Pleasing with Themes
WooCommerce recommends the Storefront theme in the Setup Wizard. If you choose, it will become your default WooCommerce theme.
Fully integrated with WordPress, WooCommerce allows you to customize your online store using a huge collection of WordPress themes. However, to get better WooCommerce support, you can narrow down your choice to WooCommerce-ready themes only.
To install WooCommerce themes, you can follow these steps:
- Login to enter your WordPress dashboard.
- Go to Appearance -> Themes -> Add New.
- Type your favorite theme on the search bar or simply use WooCommerce. You will get a list of themes with WooCommerce compatibility.
- Click Install and Activate.
The above method is the easiest way to install a theme. For another method, you can see this complete guide.
If the WordPress themes directory can’t provide you a suitable theme for your business, there are many websites that offer nice looking themes such as ThemeForest, TemplateMonster, and aThemes.
This website has more than 3,000 themes which are WooCommerce compatible. You can filter the themes based on the rating, price, and niche like digital, clothes and accessories.
Once you find a theme of your preference, you can go into details of features overview and technical details before continuing to the checkout process.
One of the great themes you can find in ThemeForest is The Hanger that costs $69.
This versatile ecommerce theme is mobile responsive and is built to give the best performance. Being easy to customize, this theme is great for both beginners and advanced users.
You will find your favorite themes at the Template Monster easily. Most of the themes are fully responsive, meaning they will help you to target mobile users’ buyers. This site allows you to search based on the categories, features, styles, and colors.
Unlike ThemeForest, TemplateMonster offers additional features to buy individually such as additional plugins, spam protection, and installation.
One of the bestseller themes in TemplateMosnter is the Foodz that costs $110.
Made for food delivery websites, this template is perfect for your online food business. Boasting its retina display ready and minimalist design, this template will make you stand out over your competitors.
Athemes is another great website that provides a nice looking collection of WooCommerce themes. Unlike the two sites above, Athemes offers a $99/year plan to get full access to themes or you can get their lifetime access for a $249/one-time payment.
Ready to Make Millions?
Ecommerce is a new way of doing business in the future. Building an ecommerce store is no longer a choice as this type of business proves to be very promising.
WooCommerce is a perfect ecommerce plugin for your WordPress site. Once installed, you can get all the benefits of ecommerce optimized features that focus on the products.
Making your ecommerce site visually attractive is also effortless. You can install WooCommerce themes either from the WordPress themes directory or third party sites like ThemeForest, TemplateMonster, and Athemes.
In this WooCommerce tutorial, I’ve covered everything from activation to customization, and I hope that my insights proved helpful.
Go get your chance to make one of the best ecommerce stores in the world.