Do you have a WordPress website and want to turn it into an online store? Or maybe you start from scratch and are looking for a practical, easy and free solution to start your eCommerce? Then you are in the right place! In this guide, I am going to teach you how to create an online store on WordPress using the Woocommerce plugin.
Electronic commerce or e-commerce grows by leaps and bounds, more and more purchases of all kinds are made through electronic devices such as a computer or mobile phone.
How to Create an Online Store in WordPress with Woocommerce
With this tutorial you will learn, step by step, to master how to create an online store in WordPress with Woocommerce and you will also be able to see its advantages and disadvantages compared to other systems, such as PrestaShop or Shopify.
1- What is Woocommerce?
WooCommerce is a free plugin that allows you to turn any blog or website made with WordPress into an online store.
This tool is translated into 55 languages and it is estimated that, with more than a million active installations, a third of online stores worldwide work with it.
Its easy implementation, its flexibility, its customization capacity, and the large number of extensions that can complement it, some free and others paid, make Woocommerce one of the favorite platforms for entrepreneurs who want to sell online, be they physical or digital products…
2- How to install Woocommerce?
The installation of Woocommerce is as simple as that of any other WordPress plugin. We go to the Plugins section, in the left sidebar and click on “Add new”.
Next, next to “Keyword” we will write “Woocommerce” and we will hit the “Enter” or “Return“. The plugin we are looking for will appear the first in a long list of extensions that add functionalities and benefits.
Now we give the button “Install now” and then “Activate“, as always. At that moment, click on “Run the Setup Wizard” from the welcome message and the Woocommerce configuration wizard opens automatically:
From that first screen, you will be able to specify:
- in which country your store is located,
- its physical address if it has,
- the currency with which you are going to use,
- if you are going to sell physical, digital, or both types of products,
- and even if you plan to do it in person.
You also have the option to dismiss the wizard’s help.
If we continue with it, on the next screen we can establish the payment methods with which we will work.
Do not worry if you still do not have it clear, or in the future, you will incorporate some more, since they can be installed later without any problem.
If you have activated Stripe and/or Paypal, WooCommerce Stripe Gateway and PayPal Payment Gateway for WooCommerce plugins will automatically be installed on your WordPress.
The next step is to establish shipping systems. By default, two payment zones have been created (editable below): one for the country where your store is located, in our case United States (US); and another for the rest of the world.
In each of them, you can choose a fixed rate of the cost you want or free shipping.
If you want to offer live rates from a specific carrier, you can find a wide variety of extensions available for WooCommerce.
Finally, on this screen, you will determine the unit you are going to use for the weight and dimensions of your products.
Next, Woocommerce recommends some plugins. If you are not sure that you are going to use them, better click to avoid their automatic installation. After all, you always have the possibility to add them at any time.
Once again, on the next screen, we are insisted on adding the Jetpack plugin for additional features such as protecting your store from unauthorized access, obtaining statistics, receiving alerts in case of server failures, and promoting products on social networks at the moment in which they are published.
As said before, the decision is yours, but keep in mind that Jetpack is a plugin that weighs a lot.
We have already completed the wizard and are ready to start selling. From the last screen, we have shortcuts to go to review settings, customize the store, or directly create or import products.
3- How to configure Woocommerce?
If we go to the WordPress dashboard, we will check that Woocommerce is already installed and has its own menu on the left:
We are going to see, section by section, how to configure Woocommerce parameters.
The orders you receive through your online store will appear on this screen. You can also add by hand:
In this section, you can create discounts and rewards for your customers to build loyalty.
After giving a name and, if you wish, a description to your coupon, you can choose the amount of the coupon and the type of discount you are going to offer (fixed in the cart, in the product or in percentage), as well as if you want to include free shipping. Also from there, you can give it an expiration date.
In the “Usage restriction” tab you can configure coupon characteristics such as the minimum or maximum cost if you can use it in combination with others or not if you want to exclude the products on sale.
You also have the option to include or exclude certain products or categories from the promotion.
In “Usage limits”, you will set the total number of uses of the coupon and how many times the same customer can use it.
We now turn to the “Reports” section, where you can consult statistical charts about your orders (sales by date, category, coupons or downloads), see the list of customers and their orders, and monitor your inventory (check which products are in stock, those that are almost out of stock and those that are out of stock).
All this for the most common temporary periods (year, month, week, day) or personalized. You can also download them in a CSV format document.
In this section, we have up to seven configuration screens for different aspects of our online store.
In the first, “General“, if we did not do it at the time with the initial assistant, we can indicate the physical address of our business; in which countries are we going to sell and ship; determine the customer’s default location and activate taxes and coupons.
We will also set the currency in which the prices of our catalog will appear and with which the payments of the orders will be made, as well as your display options.
In the “Products” tab, we will choose which of all our pages will be the cover of our store, the one in which the products of our catalog will be listed.
Following the adjustments in this section, we can decide how we want our store to act when someone adds an item to the shopping cart and the image of the default placeholder that we want for products that do not carry it.
Also from here, if you did not do it previously, you can specify the units of measure and weight, and finally, the configuration of the evaluations and reviews about your products.
The next subsection, under “Products“, is “Inventory“. By default, the management of our product catalog is activated. In the case of deactivating it or not, we can hide the non-stock items in the catalog and control how the inventory quantities are displayed in the store.
The most common thing will be to have it activated so that we can establish who will receive the notices of products with little stock (including the setting of the threshold from which the notice will be made via email) or the sold-out ones.
We will also determine how long the inventory will be kept for the products that are in the shopping cart in the absence of payment, or if we do not want those pending orders to be canceled after the given term.
Finally, in “Downloadable Products” we will establish the download system for this type of article and we will be able to indicate the access restrictions to them.
We now turn to the “Shipping” tab, which in turn has three sections.
The first of them is “Shipping Zones” and we saw it previously with the configuration wizard. It is simply the place where you will indicate the regions where your online store will work and their respective shipping systems.
The second, “Shipping Options”, allows you to activate the shipping calculator during the purchase or hide these expenses until the customer enters their address.
In the same way, you can decide whether the shipment will be made by default to the shipping or billing address of each buyer.
The third tab, “Shipping classes”, is used to group similar products and set different rates for each set.
In “Payments“, you will see all the payment methods enabled in your store. From there, you can configure and manage each one of them, deactivate them and order them as you want them to be displayed in your store.
From “Accounts and privacy“, we will establish our preferences on customer permissions when buying and creating and/or deleting their user accounts in the store.
In “Emails“, we will choose the recipients of the email notifications that the plugin will issue for each action that our online store registers.
Similarly, we will indicate the sender’s name and email. We can also customize email templates to be in line with the image of our e-commerce.
In “Integration“, An integration for utilizing MaxMind to do Geolocation lookups. Please note that this integration will only do country lookups. You will need to get MaxMind License Key. You can follow the MaxMind Geolocation Integration documentation to generate one.
The last of the “Settings” tabs is “Advanced” and in it, we find, in turn, five sections.
In the first of these, “Page setup“, the pages to which customers will be directed to make their purchase are defined. You can choose a page of yours or the one that the plugin itself creates by default for each action (cart, payment, my account).
You also have the option to customize the URL variables of each page related to the completion of the purchase and those of the specific actions on the account pages.
From the next section, “REST API”, you can create keys to authorize external applications to access your store’s data in a secure way.
In the next tab, we can enable “Webhooks“, which will allow us to send information in real-time to other applications.
In legacy API, you can activate the REST API to be able to interact with the applications to which you have created and provided a key.
Finally, in “WooCommerce.com”, you can allow usage of WooCommerce to be tracked or not to make WooCommerce better.
This menu item has five sections and all of them will x-ray the status of our online store at a technical level.
In “System status” we can review the WordPress environment and server data, the database, a content type counter, security, active plugins, settings, Woocommerce pages, and theme details and the templates used.
All of this information may be helpful in locating errors or providing it to support services when something goes wrong.
“Tools” is like having a closet full of cleaning tools. From here, you can delete, clean, sort, and regenerate different aspects of your online store, which will result in better operation of it and will save you work on certain tasks.
In “Logs“, you have access to the logs of your website, to review the activity of your system and your programs, and to see possible errors.
In “Scheduled Actions“, the possible scheduled actions on our website are collected.
Woocommerce has a large number of complementary plugins or extensions. From this section, you can search for them by category (marketing, type of products, shipping, store management) or directly by name.
Some are free but most are paid.
Finally, in the “Woocommerce Subscriptions” tab, you are invited to register on the Woocommerce website and thus receive news and updates and manage your purchased extensions.
Just below the Woocommerce tab, you will see that you have another one called “Products“. From there you can create tokens for the items you are going to sell, or import them from a CSV file.
If we click on “Add new” it opens a window that is very similar to creating a post.
After naming it and selecting the category in which it will be accommodated, we have to fill in many other details. First, choose whether it is a simple, grouped, external/affiliated or variable product; virtual or downloadable.
You will indicate its price and, where appropriate, its discounted price and in what period of time this discount will be active.
You also have a specific form for managing the inventory of that item and another one about the type of shipment.
You can also define directed or cross-sales by selecting linked products that will appear as suggestions on the tab.
In “Attributes“, you can add the ones you want (sizes, colors, etc.), while from “Advanced” you can add notes to send to the customer after the purchase of that specific product, customize your order in the menu and activate the ratings.
Finally, the editor allows you to include a short description of the product, which will appear next to the image and the price, and which is a short text in which you must summarize the main advantages of the article.
You can also, from the same screen in the area on the right, add labels, a product image, and even create a photo gallery.
The next section is “Categories“, from where you can create product categories, indicating their name, their slug, the parent category (if it has one), its description, its details, the type of display and its thumbnail.
You can also delete and order them to your liking, in addition to checking with a simple glance the exact amount of products that each one of them contains.
In “Tags“, the same as Categories. Although the usual thing is that you create the labels when adding your products, you can also do it from here and manage the existing ones.
In “Attributes“, finally, you will define and manage those characteristic data of each product, such as size or color.
You can also configure interesting parts of your online store from Appearance - Customize.
The screen that takes you incorporates two specific sections once you have installed the plugin: “Woocommerce” and “Store home page”.
The changes you make here you will see in test mode on the right and will be collected in the store once you give it to publish.
From the “Woocommerce” section, we will be able, first of all, to activate a notice throughout the store. It will appear at the bottom and will be used to carry out promotions or broadcast events.
The second section is “Product Catalog” and in it, we will choose what we want to show on the main page of the store: products, categories or both.
We will also determine the criteria by which the items in the catalog will be ordered by default (sales popularity, valuation average, or ascending or descending price).
Another option is to set the number of products that will be seen in each row, and how many rows will be shown on each page.
In “Product images“, we will set the width of the main image on the product pages, and also the size for the thumbnails of the items in your catalog.
The cutout of these thumbnails can be by box, personalized, or with the aspect ratio with which they were uploaded.
In the “Store home page” tab, we will choose the categories and number of products to display in each of the home sections of our e-commerce.
In “Appearance-Widgets“, you can also use Woocommerce widgets for the sidebar and/or footer of your website, if the template you use allows it. You have, for example, a product search box, another box with the categories and the option to show the shopping cart in the sidebar.
4- Woocommerce Shortcodes
A very interesting aspect of Woocommerce is the use of shortcodes. With these codes, we can show articles at our discretion on any page or post.
It will be enough to put [product id = ”XX”] where XX is the identifier of the product, and it will be shown with its name, price, photo and add to cart button, wherever we have included that shortcode:
We can also use the SKU instead of the id. Just change the id variable to SKU.
Similarly, we have the option of displaying not only the product sheet but the entire page of it. The shortcode, in this case, would be [product_page id = ”XXX”].
What do you want to show, various products? No problem at all. Here are some more shortcodes:
- [products ids = ”XX1, XX2, XX3 ″] - You will see the 3 products XX1, XX2 and XX3.
- [recent_products] - Show the latest products.
- [featured_products] - List of featured products.
- [sale_products] - List of products at a reduced price.
- [best_selling_products] - The best-selling products.
- [top_rated_products] - The best rated products.
- [related_products] - List of related products.
We can also display categories themselves instead of products or a category listing. Even buttons to add to the shopping cart.
The possibilities of shortcodes are multiplied much more since they can be shown depending on the product attributes that you have created.
Woocommerce is, in my opinion, the best solution for electronic commerce.
My recommendation is that you bet on WordPress for your online adventures, whether they are online stores or blogs. Today it is the simplest, most customizable, and cheapest platform with which you can work.
How to Create an Online Store in WordPress with Woocommerce, With which tool do you work your online store?
If you have any questions or want to comment, I’ll wait for you here below!