WordPress started as a blogging platform and has now evolved into one of the most popular CMS that we have today. The other online entity that has seen a massive growth over the years is e-commerce. When these two biggies come together, what can we expect but a big boom?
WordPress + eCommerce = Opportunity
With the introduction of the wooCommerce plugin by the team at wooThemes, building a WordPress eCommerce site couldn’t get any easier. You can create an engaging online store from scratch, in a few hours, without having to write a single line of code. Ain’t that awesome?
Though we have many popular eCommerce platforms like Magento and Shopify that offer a host of features, using WordPress has its own merits. The familiarity with WordPress coupled with your experience with plugins simplifies your learning curve. You don’t have to forego your comfort zone and learn a whole new platform to build your ecommerce site.
Apart from being integrated with WordPress, the plugin has a very intuitive interface which means you don’t have to go through pages of documentation while setting it up. It also brings a great deal of flexibility to the users. Using the plugin you can categorize products, schedule sales, manage coupons, track orders, and so much more. You can also sell different types of products including virtual and downloadable ones. To top it all, the basic plugin is totally free.
Installing the wooCommerce Plugin
The first step to getting started with wooCommerce is to install the plugin. The process is similar to that of any other WordPress plugin. So go right ahead, install and activate the wooCommerce plugin. Once you’ve completed this step, you will see a notification on top of your Plugins page asking you to install wooCommerce Pages.
Clicking the install button will automatically install Shop, My Account, Cart, and Checkout pages.
Shop page lists all the products in your catalog.
Cart page provides details of all the items in your shopping cart along with total cost that includes shipping and taxes
Checkout page includes details about your billing and shipping address, mode of payment, etc.
My Account page is where you can view your recent orders, manage your address information, change your password, etc.
Since we definitely require these pages on our site, let’s go ahead and add them.
That’s it! Your wooCommerce plugin is ready for use. You should see new additions on your dashboard’s side panel – wooCommerce and Products.
Setting up the Product Catalog
Creating your product catalog is perhaps the most important step in this tutorial. After all, isn’t that why we are setting up the site, to sell our products? This step is also most time consuming as you need to add each product with details such as name, description, price, etc.
With wooCommerce’s easy-to-use categories and product pages, creating a product catalog is a very simple process.
A well structured and organized product catalog goes a long way in enhancing the user experience. It will also help your customers locate the desired products quickly. The wooCommerce plugin provides a Categories page to set up your taxonomies.
Each product is added using the Products-> Add Product page. All the fields in the product creation form are self-explanatory, making it very easy to fill. The key part here is the Product Data tab set which forms the bulk of the product related information such as price, dimensions, stock status, etc. Don’t forget to associate the product with an appropriate category, which we created in the previous step, before publishing it.
The product type that you just added is called the Simple Product. As the name suggests, it is a basic product with no options, like a can of soda. The plugin, however, doesn’t limit you to this. If you want to add products that come in varied sizes and colors, you have the option to do that too. For more details, refer to our tutorial All about wooCommerce Products.
Now that you’ve successfully added a product, I’m sure you are very eager to see it displayed on your site. But let us quickly go through the rest of the settings in the next part – Configuring the wooCommerce plugin.