A Beginner's Guide to WooCommerce: Why, How & More

WooCommerce, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is by far the most popular and successful free eCommerce solution for WordPress. Powering over 30% of all online stores on the web, it not only lets site owners easily create, manage, measure, and maintain an online store but also allows developers to build a store that perfectly fits clients’ requirements.
If you’re planning to create a WordPress-based eCommerce store from scratch or add eCommerce functionality to your existing WordPress site, then you have landed to the right place. This must-read guide will not only expose you to the process of setting up a WooCommerce-powered online store but also will give you an overview of what kinds of products you can sell with this amazing plug-in.

So let’s dive in!

Why to Choose WooCommerce?

If we talk about features, WooCommerce comes loaded with a number of powerful options to help you build a perfect eCommerce website. Below I’ve rounded up the five main reasons why WooCommerce is the platform of choice for everyone:

Free and Easy to Use:

Unlike other WordPress eCommerce solutions, which all come at a price and usually impose various commercial restrictions and limitations, WooCommerce is completely free and open source. As well, it’s incredibly easy to install, configure, use and manage. With just a few clicks, you can get your online store up and running in a few hours.

Professional yet Simple:

WooCommerce, despite being free, offers everything you need to setup a professional eCommerce site. For instance, you can choose to use Authorize.net over traditional PayPal to give your customers a more professional look and feel. While WooCommerce has the ability to handle incredibly complex things, it’s still as simple as possible.

Flexible and Secure:

Security and Extendibility are definitely two most crucial things when running an eCommerce store. Since WooCommerce is regularly audited by Sucuri, a globally recognized website security service provider, you can be sure that your eStore would always have bank-vault like security. Also, there are over 350 free and paid extensions offered to let you extend the functionality of your online store.

Vast Customization Options:

Because WooCommerce is open-source software, you’re allowed to modify the source code to fit your business requirements. You can choose from 65+ WooCommerce themes, many of which are free, to take your store to a whole new level of uniqueness. Moreover, you can take advantage of over 40,000 WordPress plug-ins to further customize your eCommerce store.

Order Tracking & Inventory Management:

Best of all, WooCommerce also has a built in analytics system that help you understand how your store is performing. Figures like shipping costs, total sales, individual customer statistics, total orders and more are all neatly presented via pie charts and graphs. On the other hand, the intuitive inventory tracking system lets you manage your store’s inventory with ease.

In addition to these reasons, let’s take a look at some key statistics that better demonstrate why most of the people choose to use WooCommerce:

  • WooCommerce recently crossed 10 million downloads and 1 million active installs, which itself is a really big milestone.
  • WooThemes itself confirmed that its software powers more than 600,000 small to large-sized online storefronts.
  • WooCommerce makes up over 85% of overall sales at WooThemes, says co-founder Magnus Jepson.
  • According to BuiltWith, an Australian based Internet services company, WooCommerce (18%) has completely overtaken Magento (12%) in top million sites.
  • WooCommerce is now being used and trusted by world’s most reputable brands and agencies – like Airstream, Lebara and Small Press Expo – which continuously get a lot of traffic.
  • Last but certainly not least, WooCommerce does show up on the first page in the list of most popular plug-ins in WordPress plug-in directory.
  • What Can You Sell With WooCommerce?
  • Now that you’ve understood why you should choose WooCommerce over other WordPress eCommerce solutions, let’s take a look at what kinds of products you can sell with this powerful plug-in:
  • Simple Products: Simple is the default product type, which you’ll use very often. This type of product contains simple components such as product price, description and images. For instance, a can of drink.
  • Variable Products: This type of product has different variations like size, SKU, price, stock options etc. For example, if you’re selling Trousers, you may consider adding different colors and/or sizes to choose from.
  • Grouped Products: As the name implies, a Grouped product is just a “group” of relevant Simple products that are sold separately. For instance, you may sell a camera, a memory card and camera lens together as a “grouped” product for a discounted price.
  • External/Affiliate Products: An External or Affiliate product is the one which you promote on your site, but is available for sale on a different site.
  • In addition to different types of products mentioned above, below is what else you can sell with WooCommerce:
  • Digital/Downloadable Products: Digital goods like eBooks, software, music files, photography, artwork etc.
  • Services: For example, web design projects.
  • Memberships: You can define membership levels to restrict access to your premium content.
  • Subscriptions: Even, you’re allowed to sell memberships with recurring payments.
  • Bookings/Appointments: Best of all, WooCommerce lets you sell time or date based booking or appointments.

As you can see, WooCommerce allows you to sell almost all kinds of products. That’s the beauty of WooCommerce!

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Getting Started with WooCommerce

Setting up an eCommerce store using WooCommerce is as easy as installing WordPress on your hosting server. All you need to follow four steps – Installation, Configuration, Adding & Managing Products, and Testing – included in adding eCommerce functionality to a WordPress site.
Let’s walk through each step, one by one!

Installation:

Log into your WordPress Dashboard and navigate to Plugins Add New, search for “woocommerce” and install WooCommerce.

Log into your WordPress Dashboard

After installing and activating the latest version of WooCommerce plug-in, you’ll see a notification appearing at the top of your WordPress dashboard that prompts you to install WooCommerce Pages.

activating the latest version of WooCommerce

Hit the button saying “Install WoocCommerce Pages” to let WooCommerce automatically create essential eCommerce pages like Cart and Checkout for you. Once all WooCommerce pages are installed, you’ll see two new tabs – WooCommerce and Products – added to your WordPress dashboards side menu.

Install WoocCommerce Pages

Configuration:

Before adding any product, you would have to set up a few things that decide how your store should function. So go to WooCommerce Settings and you’ll find 7 tabs – General, Products, Tax, Checkout, Shipping, Accounts and Emails – on a single page.

how your store should function

Go through each tab one by one and customize every single aspect of your e-store according to your eCommerce requirements.

Adding & Managing Products:

After configuring all the basic settings, let’s move to the fun stuff: adding and managing products. To add your first product, go to Products  Add Product and you’ll be taken to the WordPress post editor.

adding and managing products

As you do with a simple blog post, add a title, description, categories, images etc. to your new product. Thereafter, scroll down and further configure your product using Product Data and Product Short Description.

add a title, description, categories, images

Moreover, you can easily manage all your products using other tabs – which are tags, attributes, categories and shipping classes – given under Products tab.

easily manage all your products using other tabs

Testing:

Finally, check whether or not your online store is working properly. And if not, then dig deeper into various options available under WooCommerce tab to improve your store.

WooCommerce tab to improve your store

Take advantage of the WooCommerce reports feature to look at what improvements you can make to your store. In case you are not satisfied with the look and functionality of your online store, you may choose from several free and premium themes and add-ons. Furthermore, if you need some inspiration to show you what you can do with WooCommerce, you may consider checking out these 12 great examples of WooCommerce-powered online stores.

Here is my author Bio:-

Ajeet is a senior web developer at WordPressIntegration – offering custom PSD to WordPress services, where he is responsible for writing custom JavaScript code during the conversion process. In his spare time, he writes on different topics related to WordPress, JavaScript and Web Design to share his work experience with others. You can follow WordPressIntegration on Facebook