WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that adds e-commerce functionality to your WordPress website so you can have an online store. With just a few clicks and this simple setup guide, your WordPress website will turn into a fully-functional e-commerce website.

#1 Setting up WooCommerce

As the WooCommerce is just a plugin for WordPress, you will need a WordPress cm already installed on your server. The plugin is installed just like any other plugin: search for it in the Plugins options in your WordPress dashboard, and install and activate it with a couple of clicks. After it’s finished installing, the Setup Wizard will walk you through the configuration of some basic steps to get your store up and running. 

WooCommerce setup wizard

Once you’re done with the setup, head back to the main WordPress Dashboard. You’ll see the plugin has added a bunch of options and extra menus to your site. We’ve got the basic setup done, so we’ll come back to these new settings later on – including adding products. First, though, we need a new theme.

#2 Get a WooCommerce compatible WordPress theme

The next step is choosing and installing a WooCommerce-ready theme, which dictates what your site looks like.  You can follow our guide for WordPress themes, just keep in mind to make sure, they support WooCommerce’s unique features: things like product display pages, storefronts showing off all your products, and the checkout process. When you’re considering a theme, be sure to check all WooCommerce pages – not just the shop page. This includes the ‘My Account’ section, the cart, and the checkout page.  

WooCommerce comes with an official theme “Storefront”, which is simple, but intuitive and flexible.

#3 Using WooCommerce

You’ll already have the core setup WooCommerce needs to be sorted from the initial Setup Wizard guide. We’ll now cover some of the extra settings and features. If you need any additional clarity on any of these points, WooCommerce has excellent documentation.

Add new product

The first thing to do is to add some products! These are the things you’ll be selling. Go to Products → Add New, and you’ll be taken to the product page. It’s similar to adding posts or pages, but specifically for WooCommerce products.

There will be different options for a Product type you choose in Product data dropdown menu: 

  • Simple – covers the majority of products you may sell. Simple products are shipped and have no options. For example, a book.
  • Grouped – a collection of related products that can be purchased individually and only consist of simple products. For example, a set of six drinking glasses.
  • Virtual – one that doesn’t require shipping. For example, a service. Enabling this disables all shipping related fields such as shipping dimensions. A virtual product will also not trigger the shipping calculator in cart and checkout.
  • Downloadable – activates additional fields where you can provide a downloadable file. After a successful purchase, customers are given a downloadable file as a link in the order notification email. This is suitable for example for a digital album, PDF magazine, or photo.
  • External or Affiliate – one that you list and describe on your website but is sold elsewhere.
  • Variable – a product with variations, each of which may have a different SKU, price, stock option, etc. For example, a t-shirt available in different colors and/or sizes.
  • Other types are often added by extensions. For example, WooCommerce Subscriptions adds new product types as does WooCommerce Bookings.

Product Categories and tags

Product categories and tags work in much the same way as normal categories and tags you have when writing posts in WordPress. They can be created, edited, and selected at any time. 

Attributes

Attributes can be added per product, or you can set up global attributes for the entire store to use. Attributes are also used for a Variable product, in which for every attribute combination you can create product variation with it’s SKU and option for a different price for every variation.

Managing Orders

Your Orders can be managed in WooCommerce → Orders. Order is created when a customer completes the checkout process, and they are visible by Admin and Shop Manager users only. 

Every order also has a Status, which lets you know how far along the order is, starting with Pending and ending with Completed. These also vary with selected payment methods. We have the following order statuses:

  • Pending payment – Order received, but unpaid.
  • Failed – Payment failed or was declined (unpaid). 
  • Processing – Payment received (paid), and the stock has been reduced; order is awaiting fulfillment. There is no processing for Virtual and Downloadable products.
  • Completed – Order fulfilled and completed.
  • On-Hold – Awaiting payment – stock is reduced, but you need to confirm payment.
  • Cancelled – Cancelled by an admin or the customer – stock is increased, no further action required.
  • Refunded – Refunded by an admin – no further action required.

Upon changing order statuses customers receive mail notice.

Payment gateways

For clients to make a payment, you will need some kind of payment gateway. WooCommerce comes with a couple of payment gateways built in, including PayPal. Also with other option, such as check and payment on delivery. Stripe is another popular way to take online credit card payments. You can install the Stripe plugin either via the WooCommerce Setup Wizard or by heading to Plugins → Add New. If Stripe doesn’t cover all of your selling regions, you will need to do some research to find the one which works in your country or the one with the lowest fees.

Hope that you find this guide useful for starting with WooCommerce, or to help you chose WooCommerce for your e-commerce platform. Besides products, orders and payment gateway there is much more to configure, but this should help you get started.



Author

Ivan Jurković

Front-end web developer at Kontra and a car enthusiast.