In the years since its launch, WooCommerce has become one of the most popular eCommerce plugins. Open-source, easy to understand and highly customizable, it’s easy to see why it’s so beloved. Still, when you’re just starting, it can look pretty daunting. That’s why we’ve prepared our first basic WooCommerce tutorial: to show you the ropes!
Whether you’re looking to expand into eCommerce or are building a website from scratch, you’ll need some guidance. Taking actions involving money always seems intimidating, but WooCommerce is perfectly safe. In any case, let’s delve into this WooCommerce tutorial and set you up!
To go through this WooCommerce tutorial, you’ll need two things:
- A WordPress website.
- Administrator access to the said website, as to install and manage plugins.
WooCommerce Tutorial: Installation
The first thing you’ll need to do in this WooCommerce tutorial is simple: installing the plugin! Here are the steps:
- Go to the Plugins screen on WordPress, which you can find from the dashboard.
- Activate the WooCommerce plugin.
- Install the WooCommerce store pages. Once you’ve activated the plugin, you’ll get a wizard to install these pages, which include the main Shop page and a Cart one.
- Click on Install WooCommerce Pages.
- Follow the steps to the end.
You’ll then reach the Welcome screen. Here, you’ll notice you have two new items on the WordPress admin menu, to your left: WooCommerce and Products. Keep in mind that, for the remainder of this WooCommerce tutorial, you’ll be working with the first one.
Revising the WooCommerce Pages
While the installation should have added the relevant WooCommerce pages, it’s essential to check that they appear on the navigation. Here’s how to see that they’re going well:
- Head to your WordPress dashboard.
- Go to the Appearance > Menus screen.
- Decide which WooCommerce pages you’ll want on your site. Some of the most popular pages include Shop, Checkout, Cart, a link to the home page and My Account.
- Add the pages you’ve chosen.
- Check that the pages are working well on the live site. When navigating, you should find, for example, an empty Shop page.
To edit your assigned pages, add this after your domain: /wp-admin/admin.php?page=wc-settings&tab=advanced
Now that you’ve made sure eCommerce is running correctly, it’s time to customize. As you can imagine, this is the heftiest part of the WooCommerce tutorial. We’ve split this section into three subsections: general settings, product settings, and taxing settings.
- Go to WooCommerce > Settings on your WordPress dashboard.
- Select the General tab.
- Add the base location and where the store will operate. For example, if you’re in the United States, selling in the U.S. and Canada, this is where you specify this. You can also opt to sell worldwide.
- Select which currency you’ll be using for your sales. Ideally, here you should add the currency of your country.
- Once you’ve customized the general settings, click on Save Changes.
The first thing you must do is go to WooCommerce > Products tab on your WordPress dashboard. This tab has two smaller tabs: Product Options and Inventory. We’ll first go through Options. Here’s what you’ll find:
- The Product Archive / Shop Page is where you’ll see the main store page. WooCommerce will set it as Shop by default, automatically displaying your products. However, if that’s not how you want it to look, you can create a different page.
- The Shop Page Display drop-down menu will ask what you need to be displayed: products, product categories or both. We recommend the Show Both option.
- The Default Category Display gives you the option to select how you want category pages to look. You can choose between showing products, subcategories or both.
- The Default Product Sorting menu allows you to choose how you want to showcase products. You can choose to display them by popularity, rating, how recent they are, and their price. Users can also sort them in whichever way they find most comfortable.
- The Add to cart section allows you to specify whether you’ll be using AJAX and whether visitors will find themselves at their shopping cart after adding items. We’d recommend not redirecting to the cart, as some customers might find it invasive. Instead, let them add as many things as they desire and manually head to checkout.
- In the Product Data section, you can choose which weight and dimensional units you prefer. It’s also where you can choose how you’ll want your ratings to work.
- In the Product Image Sizes section, you’ll be able to specify the dimensions of product images on each product page and on listing screens. It’s good to be aware of the image sizes you’ll use, as WordPress will save them for you in these dimensions. Keep in mind that, if you make changes here after uploading images, you’ll have to regenerate thumbnails.
- In the Downloadable Products section, you can manage how your visitors will behave with downloads. If you’re posting downloadable content on your WooCommerce site, you can decide to give visitors access to downloads while the site processes payment. You can also make visitors sign in to be able to download content.
- Once you’ve customized the product settings, click on Save Changes.
Now, head to the Inventory options sub-tab, where you can choose the way you’ll manage stock levels. This way, WooCommerce can do stock control for you.
- WooCommerce can notify you if you’re running low on a specific product.
- You can hide items when they’re out of stock or let visitors know that the item is currently unavailable.
- From here, it’s possible to display stock levels, so visitors know if there aren’t many items left.
The Tax tab has four different sub-tabs: Tax Options, Standard Rates, Reduced Rate Rates, and Zero Rate Rates. Here are some of the things you’ll be able to do on the Options screen:
- On Prices Entered with Tax, you can choose whether you’ll include or exclude your tax from pricing. Keep in mind that many buyers find it unpleasant to think an item costs one thing only to be charged by unexpected taxes near the finish line. However, if you’re selling to different states or countries with different tax regulations, the best thing you can do is not include taxes and have eCommerce calculate rates for you.
- On Tax Based On, you can calculate where you’ll base the site’s taxes: your address or customers’. The choice must depend under what tax system you work.
- If you sell items where shipping taxes apply, you can specify how to calculate them under Shipping Tax Class. You can use a flat or zero rates, base it on the products you’re shipping, or even create a new class for shipping under Additional Tax Classes.
- Additional Tax Classes will allow you to add tax classes that WooCommerce hasn’t accounted. You’ll then have to add the country codes and rates relevant to each of these new taxes.
- The Display tax totals option allows you to specify how you want different taxes to appear: individually or as a whole.
- Once you’ve customized the Tax Options settings, click on Save Changes.
You can now move on to the Standard Rates sub-tab. On it, you will find every place where you’ll be selling, be it countries or states so that WooCommerce can calculate tax rates for each.
- Click on the link for each place’s code and add it to the Country Code field.
- Go to the Rate % field and enter the tax rate for each place.
- Find out whether the tax rate will also apply to shipping fees. If it does, tick the checkbox.
- Once you’ve added all the relevant tax rates and area codes, click on Save Changes.
If you’ll be selling products without any tax applied to them, it’s time to head to the Zero Rate Rates sub-tab. Here, you can add the country code of where this zero rate of tax will apply, entering 0% in the Rate % field.
Through this WooCommerce tutorial, you’ve made your first strides into setting up an eShop. You’ve configured your General, Product and Tax settings. Stay on the lookout on the Bright Vessel blog to find more tutorials!
Bright Vessel has specialized on building WordPress websites and managing them for quite some time. We believe our broad client base speaks for itself, as we’ve created great custom solutions for each of them. Find out more about our services or contact us to find out how we can work together.