Whether you’re selling physical products, digital goods, or even subscription services, Woocommerce makes it easy to turn your WordPress website into a fully functioning online storefront, complete with a range of secure payment options for conducting transactions all over the world. Woocommerce is one of the most popular WordPress plugins, and it can be set up and configured quickly and easily by any user, no website development experience required.
How Does Woocommerce Work?
Online shopping is more popular than ever – and it has never been easier for anyone to start and run a profitable online business, even on a shoestring budget, thanks to the long and growing list of ecommerce platforms offering online store space to retailers and service providers of all kinds. But although platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce will host your store and take care of most of the technical details for a monthly fee, they limit many of your options for customizing your store and taking payments – and if the site encounters problems or goes down, so does your store.
Woocommerce makes it easy to avoid all those issues, though, by integrating a complete online store into an existing WordPress site – entirely for free, and with all the options for customizing a storefront that just about any user might want. Woocommerce is a plugin – one of many “add on” elements that give a basic WordPress installation its virtually endless versatility. Combined with plugins of its own for payment gateways and other features, Woocommerce offers all the features you’ll need to customize your storefront to fit your brand, add products and manage payments, all on your own self-hosted WordPress site.
Experienced web developers can work directly with the Woocommerce source code to create custom storefronts and add specific functions, but you don’t need that level of expertise to configure your Woocommerce store to work just the way you want it. Here’s a rundown of how to do it.
To use Woocommerce, you’ll need to own your own domain and have WordPress installed with a reliable hosting provider. From your WordPress admin dashboard, navigate to Plugins and select Add New. Search for Woocommerce – it is most likely the first ecommerce plugin to appear. Install and activate it.
Once Woocommerce is activated, all the tools for creating the parts of your store will appear, with setup wizards for many of the more complex parts of the store. Woocommerce works with any WordPress theme so that your store can reflect your site’s brand identity, and its appearance can be customized further with color and layout choices. All options for customizing Woocommerce are available from your site’s Admin dashboard.
Now that you have installed Woocommerce, you are ready to customize your online store. Here are our five quick wins to get started today.
1. Build Essential Store Pages
The Woocommerce plugin includes all the code files needed to create the essential pages that an online store needs to function, including Shop pages, a Shopping Cart for filling orders and Checkout, where customers enter payment information for processing through a payment gateway, such as PayPal or Stripe. Depending on the kind of store you are creating, your store pages could also include things like Account and Profile pages for customers, or special sale and bargain pages.
If you aren’t configuring these pages directly through code, the setup wizard will create them for you, ready to populate with your store’s products and other information.
2. Set Up Your Location and Payment Gateways
Setting up your store’s physical location is
3. Add Products
From your site’s Admin dashboard, select the Products tab. You’ll be taken to a screen that resembles the standard WordPress content editor, but it also includes prompts for entering all the information specific to your product, including product name, description, and other information, such as whether the product is a physical product or a digital download. The Products editor also allows you to add a product image, manage shipping information and set parameters for other variables such as size, color, and links to related products. Once these fields are completed, click Publish and the product is available to purchase in your store. Repeat the process for each new product you want to add to the store.
4. Configure Your Store’s Appearance
Woocommerce is designed to work with any WordPress theme, so you may not want to make other changes. If not, your Woocommerce store will display in the colors, fonts, and layout of your site’s overall theme, but Woocommerce also has its own themes, designed specifically to optimize Woocommerce features. Users can select the default Woocommerce theme, called Storefront, which allows for customizing colors, styles and layouts, or purchase premium Woocommerce themes with more options from third party developers.
5. Make Sure Your Store is Mobile Responsive
More people now shop from their smartphones and tablets than from desktops and laptops, so it is important to make sure that your main WordPress site is mobile responsive. Choose an updated, mobile responsive theme that displays your content on screens of all sizes, or add responsiveness to an existing theme with plugins designed to make your content mobile friendly. That way, your store content will display properly everywhere potential customers might find it.
Like WordPress itself, Woocommerce is a free and open source plugin backed by a community of developers and users ready to offer support and advice. Designed with all users in mind, Woocommerce makes it easy to set up an online store on your WordPress site and start selling products right away.