WooCommerce Tutorial: How to Set Up Ecommerce on WordPress
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WooCommerce Tutorial: How to Set Up Ecommerce on WordPress

Have products or services to sell? Want to earn from your WordPress website, but not sure where to start? Worry no more. In this WooCommerce tutorial, you will learn how to turn a regular WordPress site to an ecommerce store.

What is WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an open-source ecommerce plugin designed for WordPress. It is a quick platform for both small and large size online businesses alike. WooCommerce has a variety of functions, such as different shipping and payment methods, variable products, and much more.

Read on as you will learn everything needed to set up WooCommerce on your WordPress website in this tutorial.

Why Choose WooCommerce?

Among the many ecommerce plugins you can use for free, WooCommerce is considered the top of the list. Here’s why:

  • Built for WordPress. It allows seamless integration with WordPress, and you can also connect with millions of WordPress users.
  • Scalable with your needs. Small or large, few or many, WooCommerce can ride the wave with you.
  • Ensure security. WooCommerce protects your data from falling into the hands of any third-party platform. It also secures the transaction between consumers and you.
  • Audited by Sucuri. This ensures that WooCommerce sticks to the coding standards and best practices of WordPress.
  • A vast and ever-growing global community. There are more than 350 contributors and 1 million WooCommerce installations up to this date.
  • Well-documented. WooCommerce provides comprehensive documentation and guides that cover a broad range of topics like setup, SSL, theming, snippets, and so on.
  • An array of free and paid extensions. The most defining benefit of WooCommerce is a large number of free and paid extensions. They allow you to customize your WooCommerce with a wide range of features and integrations.

With that being said, continue reading our WooCommerce tutorial to know how to start an ecommerce store using WooCommerce.

Step 1 – Installing and Activating WooCommerce

As WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin, it can be installed from the official WordPress plugins directory. So first of all, you will need to login to your WordPress admin area.

Secondly, follow this tutorial to install WooCommerce:

  1. From your WordPress dashboard, select Plugins from the left side menu.
  2. Press Add New and type WooCommerce in the search bar.
  3. Find WooCommerce from the search results and tap Install Now.
  4. Once the installation is complete, click the Activate button.

If you need more detailed instructions on how to install WordPress plugins, see this article.

Step 2 – Setting Up WooCommerce

You will then see a WooCommerce welcome message asking to run the Setup Wizard. Press the purple button to begin. Alternatively, you can also run the wizard from WooCommerce -> Help -> Setup Wizard section.

Follow the WooCommerce tutorial below to set it up:

  1. Set the country, address, currency, and the product types you’re planning to sell. Once you’re done, click Let’s Go!
  2. Choose one or more payment methods for your WooCommerce store. There are a few options – PayPal, Stripe, and various offline payments. Then, tap Continue.
  3. Configure the shipping details for your store for two different zones – local and international. Set the shipping cost (flat rate or free shipping) and the dimension unit of your choice. To set a live rate, you can make use of the available extensions that include popular carrier services such as FedEx, UPS, etc.
    Setting up shipping in WooCommerce.
  4. WooCommerce will then offer you to enable four of the most recommended extensions to enhance the functionality of your store – Facebook integration, MailChimp, Automated Taxes, and WooCommerce Admin. Just leave them checked if you’re planning to use all of them and press Continue.
    Enabling recommended extensions in WooCommerce.
  5. You will next be prompted to connect your store with Jetpack. It’s necessary if you want to enable automated taxes and payment setup. Jetpack also gives additional benefits such as better security, store monitoring, product promotion, and the ability to see the statistics of your store. Click Continue with Jetpack to proceed.
    Activating Jetpack in WooCommerce.
  6. Create a Jetpack account by entering your email address, username, and password. Or, you can make use of the one-click registration through Google or Facebook account. Creating a new account will direct you to the Jetpack interface while signing in will move you to the final part of the setup process.
  7. Click Create a product to start adding items or select Import products if you have created a CSV file containing the list of your products.
    Finished setting up WooCommerce.

Step 3 – Adding and Managing Products

Once you’re done with the setup, you can now start the first steps of customizing your WooCommerce website – adding and managing products.

Adding Products

Before we continue with the tutorial, it is essential to learn the basics of WooCommerce and understand what product categories, attributes, and types are:

  • Product category. It helps group your products. For example, if you sell apparel, ‘top-wear,’ ‘bottom wear,’ and ‘nightwear’ are product categories. They enable the shopper to locate products from the same category quickly. You can create as many categories as you want and edit them anytime.
  • Attributes. This filters the products either by size, color, fabric, and the likes to help the customers choose their desired products easily. You can either assign attributes independently to each product or set up a global attribute for the entire web page.
  • Product Types. WooCommerce saves your time by having predefined product types:
    • Simple – a stand-alone product that is shipped without any other additional options. For example, one physical book.
    • Grouped – you can group related items such as a dozen shot glasses.
    • Virtual – these are products that require no shipping as they are not physical entities, like services.
    • Downloadable – digital products that you can download. For example, songs, images, videos, e-books, etc.
    • External – products that are advertised on your website, but is sold elsewhere.
    • Variable – these products have variable qualities like sizes, colors, etc. For example, shoes and clothes.

With so many product types, it can be confusing when adding products to WooCommerce.

But don’t worry, the process is pretty much the same as uploading a new post to your blog. Follow the WooCommerce tutorial below to add a product to your online store:

  1. From your WordPress dashboard, go to Products -> Create Product. Or, just hover on Products and click Add New.
  2. Type in your product’s name and add a detailed description that includes relevant information about your product.
    The product creation interface in WooCommerce.
  3. Scroll down to the Product data section and choose the product type. Then, set additional information – price, stock and inventory, shipping, linked products, etc.
    Adding the product data.
  4. Go to the bottom of the page to include a short product description to be displayed below the product’s name.
  5. Add the product categories, tags, a featured image, and product gallery images. These controls are almost identical to the ones you see when creating a new WordPress post. The only difference is the Catalog visibility option which has the following settings:
    • Shop and search results. Your products will be visible everywhere: search results, category, and shop pages.
    • Shop only or Search results only. The products will show up either only on shop and category pages or only on search results.
    • Hidden. Products will be visible only on the single product page, and not on any other pages.
  6. Once you’re happy with the settings, press Publish, and check the Preview. Here’s an example:
    Product page review.

Managing Products

Let’s continue with this WooCommerce tutorial by checking the Products page. You can see and manage all of your products — edit, delete, duplicate, feature an item, and apply bulk actions by selecting multiple products.

Here’s what else you can do with your products:

  • Duplicating a product. Find the Duplicate button under each item. WooCommerce will create and open a new product draft for you to edit. It’s super useful if you have a lot of similar items to sell!
  • Marking a product as featured. Click on the Star icon of the products of your choice. Featured items can be displayed on your homepage or be included in posts by using shortcodes.
  • Deleting a product. Click on the Bin button that comes under the product name when you hover over it.

Step 4 – Managing WooCommerce

Now that you understand how to manage products on WooCommerce, in this part of the tutorial, you will learn how to handle everything else – orders, coupons, reports, and other settings.

Managing Orders

A new order is created every time your customer completes the checkout process. You can view them by hovering WooCommerce and clicking Orders on the left-hand menu.

Each order has its unique Order ID and is populated with a few details like the date of purchase, order status, and total price.

To edit or view a single order, click on its name. You can easily update the order status, modify the ordered items, pricing, taxes, and the likes.

Managing orders in WooCommerce.

Managing Coupons

Coupons are a great way to market and sell your products. With WooCommerce, you can add some in the Coupons section and view the already added coupons. If you need to edit one, click on its name, and make the necessary changes.

Managing coupons in WooCommerce.

Managing Reports

In the Reports section, you can see your store’s performance. From the number of purchased items, gross sales, average daily sales, to other relevant stats.

You can even generate statistics for separate products, categories, or coupons. Select the appropriate period for which you would like to create the report – last month, this month, the last seven days or any custom duration, and click Go to generate the report.

Managing reports in WooCommerce.

Settings

On the Settings page, you can change your store’s core options, such as location, currency, or API settings. But be sure to hover on the question mark beside each setting for explanations before making any significant changes. Now let’s go through the available tabs in this WooCommerce tutorial and briefly overview what can be changed there.

  • General. On this tab, you can change the store’s main settings such as location, currency, enable/disable taxes, display notice for all your visitors, and so on.
  • Products. There are various product settings from different sections that you can customize:
    • General –  set the measurement units, enable/disable reviews, and set the base page of your shop.
    • Inventory – customize the default stock options, enable/disable stock management, enable email notifications, etc.
    • Downloadable Products – configure file download methods and access restrictions if you sell downloadables.
  • Tax. Here, you can choose to include or exclude taxes when you enter the price, enable the automatic tax management, include or exclude tax in the pricing display, etc. You can also set new locations to follow a certain set of rates – standard rates, reduced rates, and zero rates.
  • Shipping. You can add shipping zones, shipping methods, and rates. You can even set a different shipping rate for separate locations.
  • Payments. On this tab, feel free to enable, disable, and manage all the available payment methods.
  • Accounts and Privacy. Select this tab to change the account settings for your customers, such as allowing guests to checkout without an account, letting them create an account during checkout, etc. You can also set a policy message to appear during account registration and set how long you want to keep customers’ data.
  • Emails. It allows you to configure emails you sent to buyers. You can also customize email templates and change email sender details.
  • Integration. Here, you’ll get to integrate your store with Facebook and benefit from its features such as Messenger integration, showing your Facebook ads to potential buyers, install tracking pixel, etc.
  • Advanced. This tab allows you to set pages, force SSL on checkout pages, enable or disable WooCommerce API, authorize access to external apps, and set their permissions. Webhooks can be configured in this section as well.

System Status

In this part of the tutorial, we’ll discuss the System Status page is useful for checking the overall health of your WooCommerce store. From WooCommerce version, web server type to PHP limits – you can see pretty much everything here.

Press the Get System Report button to generate a detailed report in case you need it for your hosting or WooCommerce support team.

You can also move to the following tabs to set other options:

  • Tools. In this section, you can clear WooCommerce cache, enable/disable debugging, reset user capabilities, and so on.
  • Logs. This tab retrieves log files with useful information for debugging or troubleshooting errors.
  • Scheduled options. It contains a list of hooks (automatic actions) along with other details such as the scheduled date, status (completed or pending), recurrence time, and logs.
  • WooCommerce services. In this tab, you can see the health status of WooCommerce services, such as the WooCommerce itself, Jetpack, and WooCommerce services data. You can also enable debug to show troubleshooting information in checkout and cart pages, and send diagnostic information to your log files.

System status in WooCommerce.

Extensions

Extensions are what make WooCoommerce so flexible and easy to adapt. Similar to WordPress plugins, you can install them from the WooCommerce Extension store.

Although there are mostly premium extensions, they are worth every penny! You can enhance your online shop, add more payment methods, shipping methods, integrate tracking solutions, and synchronize WooCommerce with third-party services.

Keep on reading to find our list of recommended extensions and plugins at the end of this WooCommerce tutorial.

Managing WooCommerce extensions.

WooCommerce Tutorial: Customizing Your Store

In most cases, deploying your WooCommerce store in its default look isn’t the best idea. You should take advantage of the vast array of customization options given to you by WordPress, and attempt at tailoring your site according to your needs. Therefore, to attain the maximum interest of customers, we recommend going for a custom theme.

You can improve the user experience even further by adding various WooCommerce extensions. Fortunately, a lot of themes and extensions come free of cost. Let’s look at some of them more closely:

Changing Themes

Just like any other WordPress website, you can elevate your WooCommerce store by installing a new theme. There are plenty of options – whether you want a classy and minimalist look, or want to go loud.

Installing them on WordPress is also fairly straightforward – simply go to your admin area and navigate to Appearance -> Themes. Hit the Add New button to install a new theme. Are you still having trouble? Check our step-by-step guide on installing WordPress themes.

In this WooCommerce tutorial, we have compiled a list of the most popular free themes for your WooCommerce store:

Illdy

Illdy WooCommerce theme bannerAn excellent place to start, Illdy is a sleek, modern, and minimalistic WordPress theme. Although geared primarily towards portfolio sites due to its single page design, it can also work well for a business website. It is also compatible with other popular plugins.

Zerif Lite

Zerif Lite WordPress themeDeveloped by Themeisle, Zerif Lite is a multipurpose WordPress theme. As such, it can also be used in conjunction with WooCommerce to build a robust ecommerce site. There are over 100,000 active installations, which speaks volumes about its popularity.

It has all the essential features for a modern theme, including responsive design and good optimization. Being lightweight, Zerif is ideal for websites that pay particular emphasis on speed and performance.

Storefront

Storefront WooCommerce theme exampleDeveloped by WooCommerce itself, Storefront is a collection of WordPress themes. It comes with various ‘child themes,’ each of which is designed for a specific e-commerce site.

For instance, the ‘Galleria’ child theme is perfect for a clothing and fashion store, while the ‘Bookshop’ theme is intended for an online book store. With more than ten child themes to choose from, each with its own unique flavor and features, you can hardly go wrong with Storefront.

Market

Market WooCommerce theme exampleMarket is another multi-purpose WordPress theme that works exceptionally well with WooCommerce. It makes it very easy to display products for sale, which is also pleasing to the eye due to its minimalist design language. Market also comes jam-packed with features, including stellar animations that are uncommon on other e-commerce themes.

Make

Make, for building business websites, bannerLast, but certainly not the least is Make. Giving developers plenty of customization options, Make is easily one of the most flexible WooCommerce themes available free of cost.

The best part, you don’t need to know anything about programming to take advantage of its features, as it has drag-and-drop functionality and tons of customization options.

Installing Extensions

As stated before in this WooCommerce tutorial, extensions and plugins are what make WooCommerce such a powerful ecommerce tool. You can pile a ton of additional useful features on top of the WooCommerce core. It ranges from user experience enhancements, more language and currency options, to dedicated analytics.

To install plugins on WordPress, all you need to do is go over to the admin panel to Plugins -> Add New. Following is a brief list of some of the most popular extensions and plugins for WooCommerce:

WooCommerce Currency Switcher

WooCommerce Currency Switcher bannerA must-have for e-commerce sites that operate on a global scale, the Currency Switcher for WooCommerce is perfect for converting currencies on-the-fly.

PayPal 

paypal by braintree bannerAny e-commerce site is incomplete without an online payment solution. With PayPal, you get the world’s most widely used payment system on your WooCommerce site.

Stripe for WooCommerce

stripe for woocommerce bannerAn alternative to PayPal is the Stripe Payment Gateway for WooCommerce. This can be a better option for some, as it does not take the customer to an external page for payment. Instead, it integrates fully with your website. It also supports Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

WooCommerce Multilingual

woocommerce multilingual bannerA self-described ‘glue’ for the WooCommerce and WPML (WordPress Multilingual) plugins, WooCommerce Multilingual allows you to translate every facet of your site to other languages. This includes product information, checkout, and contact.

WooCommerce Product Filter

woocommerce product filter bannerAs the name suggests, the plugin filters out products based on various criteria like price, size, category, etc. Product filtering is a staple of any e-commerce site, so you should definitely have this on your website.

WooCommerce Menu Cart

woocommerce menu cart bannerAnother neat plugin for enhancing user experience, the WooCommerce Menu Cart displays the visitors’ shopping cart on every page in a tiny window. Customers don’t have to periodically check the cart manually as they can see which items are in the cart at all times.

YITH WooCommerce Wishlist

yiht woocommerce wishlist bannerCombining social media with e-commerce is always a good idea, and YITH seems to understand this very well. Its WooCommerce Wishlist plugin can be used by visitors to create an item wish list on your e-commerce site, which could then be shared on various social media platforms for all their friends to see. A win-win for both sides.

Pushover

pushover for woocommerce bannerKeeping in touch with mobile design principles, Pushover for WooCommerce is a tiny yet highly useful plugin for enabling push notifications for your e-commerce business. Whether you want real-time notifications on inventory, sales, or anything else, Pushover will come in handy.

FraudLabs Pro for WooCommerce

fraudlabs pro for woocommerce bannerFraudLabs Pro is a fraud prevention plugin that allows you to screen all order transactions and protect your WooCommerce store from fraud orders. It validates all order elements such as geolocation, proxy, email, blacklist, credit card, transaction velocity, etc.

The plugin works behind the scene during the checkout process. It also generates comprehensive reports in the merchant area. This tool is a must to protect against fraud and chargebacks. It’s a freemium plugin, meaning you can get a Micro Plan (less than 500 transactions) free of charge.

YITH Infinite Scrolling

yith infinite scrolling bannerAnother gem of an extension by YITH, Infinite Scrolling, eliminates the wait users have to endure for a new page to load. Instead, they can scroll indefinitely for new items. This is useful for quick comparisons of multiple items, as you don’t have to switch between pages.

WooCommerce Gift Wrapper

woocommerce gift wrapper bannerTo separate yourself from other e-commerce stores, you can also add the option for customers to gift wrap the items they have just bought. This makes sending gifts convenient and can be beneficial for your business come holiday season. The plugin can also be configured to choose between multiple gift wraps.

Conclusion

WooCommerce is undoubtedly a great tool to turn WordPress into a fully-featured ecommerce store. The best part of it is that you don’t need in-depth knowledge of programming to sell your products online. We hope that the above WooCommerce tutorial helps you set up and manage your store.

If you have any queries related to the above WooCommerce tutorial, do let us know in the comments!

The Author

Author

Tomas A. / @tomas

Tomas is a senior customer support agent at Hostinger. Besides providing top-notch technical advice on a daily basis, he likes to create websites and do various coding side projects.

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