It is the most popular eCommerce solution for WordPress by some margin. It boasts over 4 million active installs, a 4.6 user rating on WordPress.org, and an army of happy, loyal digital store owners.
In order to start your free eCommerce store, you need to have a WordPress website! In order to create one, you can go to this tutorial I have made to launch your site:
Another option is to simply go to Bluehost and launch your website on your own. (It is super easy and quick!) The only catch is that you have to pay a yearly plan, but in the long term, it is still the cheapest solution.
Alright, let’s get started!
Is WooCommerce Free to Use?
WooCommerce is an open-source shopping cart plugin free to download and use on WordPress websites. Running an online store, though, isn’t cost-free as there’ll be costs associated with hosting and domain fees, at least, along with customizations, design, branding, marketing, and advertising costs.
How to Install and Set Up WooCommerce
The first thing you need to do is to go to plugins once again and activate Woocommerce. That is all you need to do to get an online store. The rest is setting up everything to your liking.
How to get started?
As mentioned, go to plugins, type Woocommerce into the top right corner. Install and activate Woocommerce.
Lo and Behold! It took you less than a minute to have your very own retail store! 🤓
Now just like in any shop or store you need to get a cashier, place some shelves on the walls, stack your products in their categories and put a price on everything, we need to build up our virtual store ourselves.
We will do these step-by-step as we go on!
Accessing Setup Wizard
After installing WooCommerce, you’ll be prompted to walk through a setup wizard.
The first page of the WooCommerce setup wizard should look like this. Here below, WooCommerce is prompting you to enter some basic information. This includes address, the currency you’d like to use, and whether you plan to sell digital or physical products (or both).
Keep in mind that anything you set here can be changed later on in your WooCommerce settings. But I’d recommend being decisive as it can impact future sales and confusion with buyers.
Choose Your Payment Process
On the next page, you can decide what payments you’ll enable for your online store. By default, you can use PayPal, along with offline payments such as checks and cash. I normally use Paypal, however, I’m not very happy with them charging a 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. 😋 (But that’s just me.)
You can also use extensions to add more payment processors to your store. Simply select the options you’d like to use, and WooCommerce will set them up.
Set your Shipping Options
Once your payment is ready, in the next section you’ll find the Shipping screen.
Here, you can decide how much customers will be charged for shipping. There are two options for you. You can set one rate for your preferred zone, and another for customers who are in other locations.
If you like, you can also offer free shipping to one or all groups, which customers would truly find alluring. (But this might incur an expense on your end.)
7.5, Review Optional Extensions
At this point, you’ve configured all the basics for your online WooCommerce store. The next page of the setup wizard presents you with a few optional extensions.
I would personally recommend ticking all the boxes since all the extension can come in very handy in the long term.
None of these are compulsory, but I’d recommend them in the future for a wider range of outreach and better User Experience. I would also suggest checking out this theme called Storefront. It is designed specifically for WooCommerce and can make setting up your store quicker and easier.
You can create beautiful pages for all your products and its very easy to use.
Once you’re done and ready to move forward, go to Activate and finally to the Ready! option.
What you’ll want to do now is stuffing those virtual shelves with products. To start adding the things you’d like to sell simply select Create a Product.
7.6, Adding and Managing New Products
To start setting up your online store, you can either follow the link at the end of the setup wizard or go to Products > Add New. Either way, this will enable you to add your first product, using the familiar WordPress editor you would use for publishing articles.
The first thing you’ll have to do is think of an image, a product/service name, the price, and a short description. Here’s what just a title and description looks like in a live preview as an example.
As I told you, it is pretty easy. 😊 In the next few sections, we’ll look at how to do these.
7.7, Adding Important Details to Your Products
Let’s get deeper into the options and settings available for your products. If you scroll down below the post editor part, you’ll see two new widgets not found on regular posts or pages in WordPress. The first is the Product data section at the top left.
Here, you can add all kinds of details about your product. At the very top, you can select whether or not the product is virtual (which removes the Shipping tab) and if it is downloadable. In the General tab, you can enter the regular price and sale prices.
If you’re selling digital products, you’ll also have to upload the file to be purchased, customize the download limit (leave it blank to mark it as unlimited), and set the download expiry. You can leave it blank to keep it available permanently.
Next, in the Inventory tab, you can manage things by entering the quantity of the product, stock status (in/out of stock), and if you’re going to allow backorders.
Additionally, you can mark the product as individually sold, meaning the only one can be bought in a single order. This is also where you can enter the product’s SKU (identification number) if you have one.
7.8, Here are some of the key things you can enter for your products
- Shipping: you will be allowed to enter the item’s weight, dimensions, and shipping class.
- Linked Products: you can add upsells and cross-sells.
- Attributes: enables you to describe the product’s characteristics.
- Advanced: you can enter custom purchase notes, give the product a set position in your menu, and enable or disable reviews.
- Get more options: you can also view recommended extensions.
7.9, Managing Your WooCommerce Products
If you plan on adding a large number of items in your WooCommerce store, you’ll need an easy way to manage them for your customers. Fortunately, you can do this through the Products tab in your dashboard.
For example, you can select All Products to see every item currently listed in your store. You can add, edit, and delete products here as needed.
In the other pages under the Products section, you can view your product categories, tags, and attributes. Each of these pages looks like the standard WordPress Posts > Categories page and can help you keep your entire inventory organized.
7.10, What are Coupons?
Coupons are a great way to get more customers and satisfy customer needs. They are basically discounts you can give for specific reasons. Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re selling books in December. To celebrate a Christmas special, you want to give your customers a 20% discount on books for the entire month — but only for the first 100 customers.
You can do this by going to the Coupon tab, where you can select Create your first coupon to access the editing screen. You can add a coupon code and description here.
The General tab enables you to edit its basic information: the type of coupon (percentage discount, fixed cart discount, or fixed product discount), its value, free shipping options, and its expiry date.
Under Usage Restrictions, you can set a minimum spend the customer has to make in order to validate the coupon. This way you can make them buy more from you. You can also check the box for Individual use only if you don’t want customers to use the coupon in conjunction with other offers.
The final tab, Usage Limits, enables you to determine how many times the coupon can be used, both overall and per customer. Then, simply publish your coupon to make it active, and let your customers know about the code they’ll need.
WooCommerce also offers powerful built-in tracking functionality. In the Reports tab, you can view charts and graphs of your sales, orders, and shipping costs over different time periods.
Each graph can be limited to the sale of a particular product, category, or coupon. In the Customers sub-tab, you can also view your customer acquisition over the same time periods.
You’ll also be able to review if you’re low in stock, out of stock, and most stocked products in the Stock sub-tab.
In the Settings screen, you can customize just about every aspect of your eCommerce store. Elements such as the contact option, the placement of your ‘thousands’ separator, the checkout process can be tailored to meet your needs.
Let’s go through every box in Settings and see what they are and why they’re important for you
- General settings covers your store’s basic information, including its currency, selling locations, and display options.
- Tax is where you enable tax rates and calculations. Here, you can let your customers know if the prices you enter for your products will include taxes or not. In the latter case, you can have WooCommerce calculate tax rates for you, based on your store’s address, the customer’s shipping address, or the customer’s billing address. You’ll also be able to configure how taxes will apply to shipping costs and customize the way prices and taxes are displayed on the front end and during the checkout process.
- Products data, including measurements, reviews, stock details, download methods, and even add-to-cart buttons can be customized.
- Shipping is where you can configure your shipping zones and pricing
- Payments show you what payment processors are available and active on your store
- Accounts & Privacy controls various aspects of your customers’ experience. You can set up a privacy and checkout policy, configure how customer data will be stored and retained, and more.
- Emails customize all things customer support. You can get all sorts of notifications in case a customer has done something to trigger an order. You can click on any of these emails to enable/disable them.
- Advanced is a tab where you can enable the REST API, configure keys, apps, and webhooks, and perform other lower-level tasks.
The continuous optimization of your WooCommerce store can lead to improved conversions, more sales, and greater income. There is a TON of information out there about how to market your work. That is why once you have all your products placed you will have a grasp of how Woocommerce works.
How to market your Online Store?
Once you’ve uploaded all your products, its time to focus on your outbound sales and marketing strategies.