WooCommerce is a powerful plugin and the most common option for adding a shop to WordPress websites. It’s widely used for good reason. It’s easy to set up, flexible, and simple to use.
But like everything with WordPress, many find that WooCommerce has a little bit of a learning curve. Don’t let that stop you, though! We know that once you get everything setup and have the product creation process down, you’ll love WooCommerce just as much as we do. In fact, we love it so much, we’ve added WooCommerce integration to our Olivia, Studio, and Market themes!
To help you get past the learning curve, today we’ll go over how to get started with WooCommerce through the setup process and creating your first product.
1. Install the WooCommerce plugin
To get started you’ll need to install WooCommerce. The best thing about this plugin is that all of the standard features you need are totally free. To install, go to Plugins > Add New and search for “WooCommerce”. From there, click Install and Activate.
2. Go through the setup wizard
Besides the fact that all these amazing features are free, our second favorite part of this plugin is that it leads you through the most important steps of the setup process. After activating the plugin, you’ll be brought to a screen that looks like this:
If you don’t have time to complete the setup right away, you can click Not right now and come back to the setup later. But if you’re ready to go, hit Let’s Go!.
The next screen you’ll see is for setting up the pages you’ll need for your shop. If you’ve been on other websites with shops, you’ve probably noticed that they have pages for their Shop, the cart, the checkout process, and customer accounts. Luckily, you don’t need to worry about making those pages yourself. Clicking the Continue button will create them all for you.
Next, you’ll set some information about your store. Even if you’re selling digital products, you’ll still want to set your store’s location and currency. If you’re not selling any physical products at all, you can leave the units for weights and dimensions as their default values of pounds and inches. Once you’ve got the settings correct for your shop, click Continue.
After you set the initial information about your store, you’ll have the option to choose whether you’ll be shipping products or charging sales tax. If you’re not sure which option is best for you, take your best guess and you can always change it in the WooCommerce settings later.
Now it’s getting exciting! The next screen will let you choose which payment options to include right away. Check the options that will be the best for you and your customers.
If you don’t see something you’re looking for in this initial list, don’t worry, there’s probably a plugin for the option you’d like to include. A quick Google search will do the trick!
And that’s it, you’re done with the initial setup for your shop!
From the next screen you can choose to go right into creating your first product, but for the purposes of this tutorial, we’re going to click the Return to the WordPress Dashboard link at the bottom of the page to check a few more settings before creating any products.
3. Check some additional settings
To find the rest of the WooCommerce settings, go to WooCommerce > Settings in your WordPress dashboard.
We recommend looking through each settings tab, to make sure things are set up correctly. This will also help you get familiar with the different options that are available to you and your customers.
If you’re selling physical products, you’ll want to check out the Shipping tab and add a few shipping options. Since we’re not familiar with selling physical products here at Coded Creative, if you need help setting up your shipping zones, check out this great tutorial straight from WooCommerce.
If you’d like your customers to be linked to a Terms & Conditions page, set that by going to the Checkout tab, scrolling down to the Checkout Pages section, and selecting your Terms and Conditions page.
Also in the Checkout tab, click through the different payment options to make sure your accounts are set up correctly. For example, if you enabled the PayPal checkout option during setup, you’ll need to enter your PayPal email address before accepting any orders.
After you’ve looked through the available options, you’re all set to start creating products!
4. Create your first product
After you’re finished tweaking the WooCommerce settings, it’s time to get some products listed! To start, go to Products > Add Product in your WordPress dashboard.
The page you’re brought to will look very familiar if you’re used to creating blog posts or pages in WordPress. Just like with a blog post, you can start by adding a title, description, image, categories, and tags.
One thing you may notice is that there are two areas for a description. One at the top, right under the Product name, and one near the bottom of the page called Product Short Description.
The section at the top is for a longer description. For most themes, this section will appear underneath the product images in a tabbed format. The Product Short Description at the bottom usually shows to the right of the product image for a quick introduction.
For an example, take a look at the product listing for our Studio theme. The section to the right of the product image that starts with “Studio is a simple website and blogging template…” is the Product Short Description. Underneath the image where you see the listed Features is being pulled from the longer description section under the product name.
To see where these sections will appear in the theme you’re using, write a few words in each section and click Preview to see where they show up.
Once you’ve added your descriptions you can add a product gallery in addition to the featured image you’re used to. Just like when you add images to a blog post, click the Add product gallery images link and either upload new images or choose existing images from your media library. To select multiple images, hold down Ctrl on Windows or Cmd on a Mac. Once you’ve selected your images, click Add to Gallery.
Now it’s time to add settings that will actually allow customers to purchase your product.
Starting on the General tab, choose your product type. If you’re not sure what to choose, take a look at this quick guide before moving forward. If you’re not shipping a physical product or providing a download, check the Virtual box. This option is great if you’re selling services or access to an event through your website. If you’re offering downloads to your customers, check the Downloadable box.
Choosing Downloadable will show a few additional fields where you can select the files to provide to your customers, set a download limit, and decide whether the download link should ever expire.
Last, but not least, enter your product price.
Next, move on to the Inventory tab. If you have stock that needs to be managed, this tab is for you. If you’re selling virtual or downloadable products, you may not need this tab.
Next comes the Shipping tab. If you’re shipping physical products, here’s where you can set your product weight, dimensions, and a shipping class. Depending on the type of shipping you’ve set up, it may pull these values to calculate shipping costs for your customers.
The rest of the tabs are more advanced features that you’re not likely to need when you’re just getting started. We do recommend clicking through the options and hovering over the little question mark icons to get yourself familiar with the different options that are available.
Do you know what that means? Your first product is ready! Scroll back up to the top and hit that Publish button once you’re ready for the world to see what you have to offer. Once you’ve done that, navigate to your Shop page to see it in action!
To create additional products, you can either go to Products > Add Product or go to Products and click Duplicate under a product that’s similar to the new one you’re creating. Using the Duplicate feature is a great way to save yourself some time!
5. Add your Shop to your menu
The last thing you’ll want to do after getting your products ready in your shop is make it easy for customers to find. To do this, go to Appearance > Menus and select the menu you want to add your Shop page to.
From the Pages section, check Shop, click Add to Menu and then save your menu. You did it!
See? Running a shop isn’t so bad
We hope you found that the WooCommerce setup wasn’t nearly as tricky as you expected. Now, moving forward, you have all the skills and knowledge you need to add new products to your shop and manage the ones you already have.
If you ever have a question about WooCommerce, you won’t have to look too hard for an answer. Typing your problem or question into Google will almost always get you the answer you need directly from WooCommerce – their documentation is some of the best out there!
If you’re looking for a theme that is WooCommerce compatible, making your life a whole lot easier, check out our Olivia, Studio, and Market themes!