How to make an online shop
As I mentioned in my first tutorial Wordpress has evolved from being a blogging tool to a powerful platform that is expandable in nearly every conceivable way with the use of plugins. One of which is WooCommerce, a plugin that according to the developers website at WooThemes powers over 37% of all eCommerce stores on the internet.
WooCommerce can be installed and configured in no time as I am about to demonstrate and once it is up and running WooCommerce is really easy to use. Meaning running your own online store is a breeze compared to some of the more complex eCommerce solutions that are freely available. So let’s get started!
How to install WooCommerce
Login to your Wordpress admin and select plugins from the menu then add new, number one in the image below. From there type Woocommerce in to the search box, number two in the image below. Then click install, number three in the image below.
Once WooCommerce has finished installing click on activate plugin and you will be greeted with a five step setup wizard. Click on the "lets go" button and proceed to the first stage of the process titled "page setup" like the image below. This step adds the pages to your site that are needed to run your online shop. Click continue and it will automatically generate the new pages for you.
The next step is the store locale, here you can set you stores location, currency, units of weight and measurements for shipping purposes. Fill all this in and click continue to the next step.
Next up is the shipping and tax settings. If you click on tax then more setting will appear for you to enter tax rates etc. The shipping checkbox is pretty self-explanatory.
The next step is choosing your stores payment methods and how you want to be paid. Check which ones you would like to use. You can always add more or remove some later once you are up and running.
And that’s the setup wizard finished. We will proceed to do as it is asking and add the first product to your store. If you have your first product ready to add that is. If not then you can come back to this part of the tutorial anytime.
Adding products in WooCommerce is easy. Browse to products in the main menu and click on "add product" demonstrated with arrow number one in the picture below. I will expand on all of the features on this page after the picture.
The quick guide to adding a product in WooCommerce.
This is the quick and easy way to add a product to your website. Below this I will go in to more details about all the options available.
- Go to products then add product in your Wordpress menus (Number one in the image above)
- Give your product a title and short and long description (Numbers two and four in the image above)
- Set the price for your product and configure the shipping rate (Number 2 in the image above)
- Add a main image and extra gallery images to your product then select a category or tags if you are using any. After this is done click publish (Number five in the image above)
Product options in more detail.
So that was a quick over view of how to add a product to your online store. Now lets look at the options in more detail.
Number three in the image above is where you set the additional settings for your product and below is a breakdown of each tab in this section.
The first section is the product data dropdown. It is set by default to simple product which is a standalone single product as the name suggests, it is a single product with one price and id and no variations. If you are just adding single products then this is the option to keep.
The next option in the dropdown is grouped products. A group product is a kind of parent child product where the parent is the page and the children are the products for sale within that page. A good example would be if you were selling camping sets. The parent (Grouped product) would be called camping set, it would not be an actual product with a price etc. It would contain the products like a tent, sleeping bags, airbed, and all the camping accessories that can either be purchased separately or together as part of the group.
You can view exactly how group products work and how to set them up in the video below from WooCommerce.
As the name suggest this is for selling external products, selecting this option removes a few of the unnecessary tabs and allows you to enter a url linking to you external product. I doubt many people reading this tutorial would be going down this route but you can find more information on WooCommerce’s website.
A variable product is exactly what the name suggest it is. It’s a product with variations, for example a pair of shoes is one product that can come in many different variations such as size and color. There is a lot involved in variable products, too much for this page so whilst I finish off writing another long page on this subject you can refer to the WooCommerce documentation to find out more and learn how to set up variable products in your store.
The product tabs.
As you can see this tab is straight forward, it is where you give your product a price and if applicable a sale price. You can also click on the schedule link to set a date for you sale price to come in to effect and end.
The inventory tab is where you control the stock levels etc. of your product. The first field is the SKU (stock keeping unit) and is a unique identifier that you assign to this product. If you are adding products from a suppliers catalog you could use their SKU to keep things tidy.
The next field is to enable stock management at product level. If you check this box more options appear. Here you can set the number of items in stock etc. Every time an item is sold this will then automatically be deducted from the running total in stock and the stock levels will be displayed on the product page of your store.
The next two fields, stock status and sold individually are self-explanatory.
The shipping tab is where you set your variables for the shipping cost of the product. Shipping rates are set under the WooCommerce settings of your online store found in the WooCommerce menu tab in the main menu on the left. There are lots of shipping methods available, to familiarise yourself with the read the documentation and watch the video below the image.
Linked products come in three varieties, they are products in your store that are related to each other or recommended to go together, linked. For a detailed breakdown refer to the manual
Product attributes are extra pieces of data that are added to a product such as weight, size color etc. Again product attributes are well documented.
And the final tab is the advanced tab. Which when you look at it is not so advanced at all and is self-explanatory.
Now that you have learned to add and configure a product let’s scan over the other options and settings for your online store.
Once your store start receiving orders this is where you view and manage them.
The coupons section is where you can add discounts to your store. You can add a discount on a per product basis or on the whole order places by your customers. You can also choose between a percentage discount or a fixed price discount. The title you give the discount is the actual discount code. Once published this code can be given to people to claim the discount.
There is also two other options here, usage restrictions and usage limits. These options control how the discount code can be used. Take a look and see for yourself, it’s pretty self-explanatory.
This is where you can view all your orders and generate sales reports from your store. Again this is fairly self-explanatory when you take a look.
The settings section is split in to 7 parts. Here is an overview of each part and what it does.
This is where you set your shops general settings for currency and location. This was also entered when you ran the installation wizard.
This section is broke down in to four sub sections as follows.
General: This is where you configure your stores units of weight and measurements which you entered in the shops setup wizard. Here you can also configure whether or not to show product reviews.
Display: Does exactly as it says, this is where you configure the display settings for your online shop.
Inventory: This is where you configure your stores inventory settings for controlling stock levels.
Downloadable Products: If you are selling products that are downloadable you can configure a couple of basic settings here.
Here you can configure your shipping options. As I stated before this is quite a big subject to cover so refer to the documentation to read about all your options. I am writing a separate tutorial on this subject but these things take a lot of time so bear with me.
This is where you configure your stores checkout and payment options. Another one that is self-explanatory if you take a look.
If you are allowing your users to create accounts with your store then this is where you configure the basic options for user accounts.
Whenever a user places a new order or other actions are made on your store, your store sends out automated emails. Here you can configure those messages to suit your requirements and configure other email options such as your email address etc.
This section is for development. You will probably never have to look at it in the day to day running of your shop.
Does exactly as it says and gives you the current status of your system. Take a look and see for yourself.
Here you can extend your stores functionality with add-ons pretty much like using a Wordpress plugin.
So there you have it in a nutshell. How to make your own online shop. Obviously there is a bit of learning and experimenting involved now but I hope this gave you a clear overview and got you up and running with your new store.