Setting Up E-commerce Using WooCommerce
In this lesson you will learn the basics of using the WooCommerce plugin for WordPress. By the end of this lesson, you will understand installation, general store settings, adding and editing products, order management, sales reporting, and the system status report.
After completing this lesson, participants will be able to:
- Identify multiple ways in which WooCommerce satisfies the needs of an eCommerce retailer.
- Install the WooCommerce plugin and complete the initial setup wizard.
- Add and modify products, review orders, and change the store settings.
Who is this lesson intended for? What interests/skills would they bring? Choose all that apply.
How much experience would a participant need to get the most from this lesson?
Type of Instruction
Which strategies will be used for this lesson plan? Choose all that apply.
- Lecture (Presentation)
- Show & Tell
Time Estimate (Duration)
How long will it take to teach this lesson (in minutes)?
Participants will get the most from this lesson if they have familiarity with:
- Basic knowledge of installing and activating WordPress plugins
- Basic knowledge of installing and activating WordPress themes
- Managing Media
- Categories vs Tags
- Are you familiar with the concept of a plugin in WordPress?
- Do you have a self-hosted WordPress website?
- Do you have a user role that allows you to install plugins and themes?
- WooCommerce plugin, version 3.4.4
- Installation of WordPress, version 4.7 or higher
- Sample pictures to represent the products: Phewa lake, Karelian forest (any other may be used)
Notes for the Instructor
- The recommended way to approach the scenarios would be to demonstrate and explain the process first, and then ask students to repeat the actions using their own devices, while you’re available for questions and troubleshooting if something doesn’t work out.
- It is easiest for students to work on a locally installed copy of WordPress. Set some time aside before class to assist students with installing WordPress locally if they need it or, if possible, send them instructions before the class so they come prepared. For more information on how to install WordPress locally, please visit our Teacher Resources page.
- The preferred answer to the screening questions is “yes.” Participants who reply “no” to question 1 might require a bit of explanation, and if they answer “no” to questions 2 & 3 they may be grouped with other students to work in pairs on the installation.
- You may print out the Example Lesson part to use it as handouts or send it out as a PDF file to keep it green and preserve the links used throughout the document.
- This lesson is meant to serve as an introduction to using WooCommerce and does not aspire to fully cover its functionality. At the end of the lesson feel free to refer your students to the WooCommerce documentation to help them fine-tune their shops. It will be helpful to demonstrate what the documentation looks like and how to use it.
Have You Thought About...?
- What if the participant doesn't have the correct version of WordPress and plugin?
- What if the participant's user role doesn't allow to install plugin and theme?
- What if the participant's site is hosted on WordPress.com and doesn't have the access to install plugin and theme?
- Introduction to WooCommerce and its usage
- Installing WooCommerce plugin and setting up the store
- Adding and managing products
- Understanding WooCommerce menu items
- Practice exercises to have participants install the plugin and setup their own e-commerce store
Add new product
Practice to add a new product. Participants can use the Karelian forest picture attached in this lesson or other images of the liking.
- Go to Products > Add New
- Set the attributes of the product to have 3 different sizes: 27x39", 18x11" and 36x54''
- Set different prices for each of the sizes of the posters
Practice to change the currency to be accepted by the store.
- Go to WooCommerce > Settings.
- At the General > Currency options, change the currency to Malaysian Ringgit (RM).
Add new shipping method
Practice to add a new shipping method for local pickup.
- Go to WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping zones and click Edit
- Add shipping method for Local pickup
- Add another shipping method if desired
Which of the following is NOT a part of WooCommerce core functionality?
- Reports on sales volume
- Coupons management
- Orders management
Answer: 1. SEO
Which of the following describes a WooCommerce variable product?
- A set of variations on a product, with a random option chosen
- A product listed and described at a website but sold from a third-party website
- A product that doesn’t require shipping
- A set of variations on a product, with control over prices, stock, image, etc.
Answer: 4. A set of variations on a product, with control over prices, stock, image, etc
Why would you choose to use attributes instead of product categories to categorize items? (select as many options as apply)
- To allow users to search for several parameters simultaneously.
- To ensure better SEO
- To define some extra pieces of technical information about the product like color, size, weight, etc
- To simplify adding new products
- To be able to create coupons to provide discounts to the customers based on their geographical location
Answer: 1. To allow users to search for several parameters simultaneously. & 3. To define some extra pieces of technical information about the product like color, size, weight, etc
- WooCommerce blog is a nice resource to follow for advice
- WooCommerce also offers extensive documentation - among the many topics you may want to pay attention to the Getting started section
Introduction: What is WooCommerce for?
WooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin designed for small to large-sized online merchants using WordPress. Some of its important benefits are:
- The plugin itself is free.
- It has very flexible settings including a wide range of product options to sell and over 300 free and paid extensions to choose from.
- The customer data is independent of any third party software platform.
- WooCommerce is 100% open source (which allows you to benefit from an active and growing community of contributors).
During the flow of the lesson, we will be working for an imaginary company called YayWP! which sells large sized photo prints that you might want to use to decorate your home. You will install the WooCommerce plugin, set up the newly created e-shop to operate, add some products to the store, and review the menu options and reports. You will also learn about resources you can study to continue refining your e-shop to suit your needs.
Setting up the shop
First, you need to have WordPress (version 4.7 and above) installed. The second step will be to select a theme for the shop look & feel. Generally, it’s best if the theme is built and optimized for WooCommerce (here is a guide you can use).
In this lesson, you'll use the Storefront theme, which is from WooThemes, the creators of WooCommerce, and is designed to build e-commerce websites. Install and activate the theme before you proceed.
Although Storefront is the theme WooThemes recommends for use with WooCommerce (it's their theme, after all!), there are plenty of other themes, both free and commercial, that are designed to integrate well with WooCommerce. If you don't use a theme designed for WooCommerce--and any will do--you'll probably have to add code and other modifications to make your store work.
For the training purposes it’s okay to be using a local installation of WordPress, but for a real-life scenario you need to be running WordPress on a self-hosted site and review server requirements before installation. Otherwise, you may encounter issues when using WooCommerce.
1. You will now perform an automatic install of WooCommerce plugin. Log into your WordPress Dashboard and go to Plugins > Add New. In the search field, type “WooCommerce” and click Search Plugins.
Install the newly found plugin by clicking Install Now and activate a plugin when prompted by clicking Activate.
2. Once the plugin is activated you'll see the WooCommerce setup screen.
An onboarding wizard will guide you through the steps needed to perform the initial configuration of WooCommerce.
1. Store Setup: This screen requests you to enter your store's location, currency that your store is accepting and the types of products you plan to sell in your store.
2. Payment: Here you can set the payment methods used by your shop.
There are two online payment options available which are Stripe and PayPal. Both payment options require you to have an account registered in order to accept payments using their services. To simplify the configuration here, you won't configure the online payment options so unselect Stripe and PayPal options.
Expand the Offline Payments section, select the Cash on Delivery option and click Continue.
3. Shipping: On this screen you're able to set your shipping options as well as the weight and dimention units used to ship your products.
For this demo, we're going to use Flat Rate as our shipping method at $5. Turn off the option of Location not covered by your other zones. Leave the Weight unit and Dimention unit configuration as default. Click Continue to proceed.
4. Recommended: The next screen shows you the recommended features to be installed for your WooCommerce store. For this demo, we'll select only the Storefront Theme option. Click Continue to proceed.
5. Your store is now setup and ready to add your first product! Click Create a product button to add a product to your store.
Adding a new product
Shop Organization: Categories, product tags, and attributes
Recall that your imaginary client YayWP! is selling large posters. Presumably, YayWP! customers are interested in the thematics and the size of the picture. You will use Product Categories to indicate the thematic, and you also have to manage the sizes available for sale.
Product categories and tags are very similar to regular post categories and tags. So, for sizes you could try to use product categories as well, but there are two reasons why that is not the most convenient option:
- The larger the print becomes, the more expensive it is, so it would be best to be able to set different prices for different sizes, while still having the picture and all its sizes listed as one item. This will make it easier for your customers to find and order the product.
- A user might want to include both size and thematics as their search parameters simultaneously.
Variable products are a product type in WooCommerce that lets you offer a set of variations on a product, with control over prices, stock, image, and more for each variation.
Attributes are pieces of data that can add more technical information to a product and help users refine your catalog while browsing/searching. Additionally, attributes are a key component of authoring variable products.
In the WooCommerce > Products > Attributes section, add an attribute before you create different variations of the picture. Type in “size” for the attribute name, and click Add Attribute.
Managing a new variable product
1. Go to: Products > Add New. Generally, adding a product feels quite similar to writing a regular post in WordPress, so the view of the form should be familiar.
2. Add a product image using the Product Image form (under product tags). You may use a sample picture provided to “sell” it or use some other picture of your liking. This is how an added image appears once you add it:
3. Now, make the product variable. Select Variable product option in the Product Data dropdown list.
- A Simple product type describes the physical off-line product which requires shipping. A book or a laptop which do not require variation would be simple products.
- A Virtual product is a product that doesn’t require shipping, for example online tarot reading.
- A Downloadable product is similar to virtual, however, the customer is given a file to download - could be an indie video game.
At the moment virtual and downloadable products are not present in our list as we have no digital payment method configured.
4. Click through the first tabs of Product data meta box: Inventory, Shipping, and Linked products. This is where you can add some important data for your products. At the moment, you will skip through them and go straight to setting the product attributes and variations. Open the Attributes section.
5. Select "size" from the select box, and click Add.
6. Once you have chosen an attribute and added it, apply the terms attached to that attribute to the product. The attribute can be hidden on the frontend of your site by leaving the Visible on the product page checkbox unchecked.
Check both of the checkboxes and click Add new to add the values to the poster's available sizes.
7. Type in 27x39" and click OK. Repeat adding with 18x11" size.
8. Save the entered attributes data by clicking Save attributes.
9. Switch to the Variations tab. Make sure Create variations from all attributes option is selected and click Go. Then click OK on the confirmation message pop-up.
10. Now the two variations for your product are created, it's time to set up how they should be distinguished on your product page.
Click each of the variation panels for each combination and enter price - 15$ for the larger poster and 10$ for the smaller one.
11. Click Save changes when you are finished.
12. Try to save the product now. Click Publish to publish the product.
At this point, the shop is fully operational. Take a look on how it looks by going to the Shop page of your site.
The look is quite not polished, but this could be a foundation of a great WordPress-based shop. Note you can also create custom menus and place it in your theme’s menu areas or in a widgetized area with the menus widget if you like.
WooCommerce menu items
The WordPress customizable dashboard is normally the first thing you see when you log in to the site. After being activated, WooCommerce adds two dashboard widgets you can use for an overview of your store:
- The WooCommerce recent reviews widget displays your store’s most recent reviews.
- The WooCommerce Status widget gives you a quick overview of your store, alerting you if you have a processing order or an order on-hold, or a product is running low on stock. It also displays sales statistics.
Take a look at the other menu sections.
1. Use the Orders section to view and manage orders. The orders placed by the customers at your shop will be displayed here.
2. The Coupons section allows giving discounts by creating coupons that can be applied by customers on the checkout page.
3. In the Reports section, you can view data on the store activity and export it as a .csv file.
4. The Settings section contains all the settings that you briefly explored when setting up the shop: general store settings, products settings, shipping, payments and more.
5. Status provides an overall snapshot of your setup, as well as potential conflicts, and is mostly used for troubleshooting on your own or when contacting support.
6. The Extensions section is where you can browse for additional plugins and extensions to extend the functionality and features of your store.
This top-level menu has sections relating to managing products. This lesson used the Products and Attributes sections earlier. There are additional sections to modify, add, and delete product Categories and Tags.