If you’re looking to build an eCommerce store using WordPress, the best tool and plugin is the WooCommerce plugin.
WooCommerce is a free, open-source plugin, which over the years became the most popular eCommerce tool on the web and is used by millions of small and big businesses online to run their eCommerce stores or take payments through their websites.
The plugin is super-flexible, so you can use it to build an eCommerce website from the ground up, or just add shopping cart functionality to your existing website. Since WooCommerce doesn’t impose licensing fees and is completely free – you can create as many stores as you like.
In business, it’s always nice to get a break!
In addition, there are thousands of excellent addon plugins and themes developed for WooCommerce, which can be used to extend the functionality of your store and design the perfect website (and many are available for free).
These add-ons allow you to add options like subscriptions, sales tax collection, shipping integrations, bookings, and more. And if you need galleries to display your products, contact forms or call to action buttons – you can add these through thousands of regular WordPress plugins.
This is the real power of the WordPress platform and WooCommerce plugin integration, flexibility at its best.
Let’s get started!
This next step begins when you are logged into your WordPress dashboard.
From here you need to install the WooCommerce plugin. You can do that by visiting Plugins > Add New page in your WordPress Dashboard and search for WooCommerce.
WordPress will list the search results, and you can click the Install Now button to install the plugin.
Once installed, an Activate button will appear next to WooCommerce, you can click that to activate the plugin on your website.
Pretty easy stuff!
WooCommerce will then launch the Setup Wizard to help you with the initial setup of your eCommerce store.
Fill in the store location details, currency, and product type to go to the next step.
The next screen allows you to choose your preferred payment methods. By default, you can choose between Stripe (for credit card processing) and Paypal.
In addition to that, you can also enable offline payment methods such as checks, bank transfers, and cash on delivery.
Next, you can choose your shipping options (free shipping or flat rate for different zones). You can also select different measure units for product weight and dimensions.
The Setup Wizard will then ask you to install recommended features for WooCommerce. For the time being, we will leave these all unchecked as those can be enabled later through the Settings once we need to use them.
The last step is to install JetPack on your website, which we’ll skip (since JetPack is a known resource hog) by clicking on a Skip this step button at the bottom of the page.
And WooCommerce set up is completed! Let’s go back to the WordPress Dashboard to see what we do next.
Now we can start adding our products, the best part of any business!
On the left hand menu, you’ll see WooCommerce now appear, right underneath click on the Products > Add New option in your WordPress Dashboard to add your first product.
Start by adding a product name and a detailed description.
Next, click the Add new category button under Product categories widget:
Categories help your customers to find products on your website efficiently, you want everything to be nice front and center!
Once that’s completed, scroll down a bit to find the Product data section. This is where you can:
- Select product type (simple, grouped, external or variable)
- Make it a virtual or physical product
- If it’s a virtual product, you can check if it has any downloadable files
- Set pricing
- Set SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) and stock options
- Manage shipping options
- Set product attributes
- … and more!
Below the Product data section, you’ll find a Product short description box. A short description is used on different product pages on your website, so make sure to create a detailed and catchy description to get more clicks.
Now let’s add a product image by clicking the Set product image option under the Product image section.
This is the main product image that will be used on all shop pages in your store.
Below the Product image section, you’ll find the Product gallery option, which allows you to create a product image gallery. Upload multiple images of your item to create a product gallery.
Let’s add some tags to make a product easily searchable across your website. You can do that by inputting a list of tags under the Product tags section and separating them commas.
Once completed, click the Add button to add them.
Make sure to review all the information you’ve added so far, and if everything looks good – you can go ahead and publish your first product. You can do that by clicking the Publish button in the top-right corner of the page:
Here’s how our example product page looks like:
Not bad, isn’t it?
Go ahead and repeat these steps for all the products you need to add to your store.
You can also manage your categories, tags, and attributes anytime via the Products section:
Another important section to keep in mind while setting up your online store is the WooCommerce section on the the left-hand side:
Coupons, Sales, Stats
This section allows you to:
- See and manage your orders
- Create coupons
- View reports on your sales
- Configure your WooCommerce plugin
- Check the status of the system and WooCommerce variables
- Browse and purchase WooCommerce extensions
We’ve already done a basic setup of WooCommerce through its Setup Wizard, but we recommend going to the WooCommerce > Settings option and go through each tab to ensure it’s configured as you need it.
There are many more options to check out than what was shown in the setup wizard.
For example, in the Payments tab, you can fine-tune how your Paypal or Stripe integrations work and which payment gateway is used, etc.
To further enhance your online store, there are thousands of free and paid WooCommerce extensions and addons you can use.
These are used just like any regular WordPress plugin, so you simply install them on your website (following the same steps we did above to install the WooCommerce plugin).
Here’s a list of useful extensions to get you started and enhance your online store:
Allows you to develop your social media followers, email lists, and traffic via viral giveaways and contests.
Easy to use interface to customize button text, fields, labels, etc. by using WooCommerce built-in filters.
This plugin automatically detects the location of your customer and displays prices with correct VAT.
This plugin integrates Google Analytics with your store and provides you insight on your landing pages, top products, categories, and so on.
This plugin integrates PDF invoices and packing slips to your store, so you can either send them to your customers via email, or they can download them from their account area.
This plugin adds a drop-down menu to your classic editor, which allows you to insert tons of available WooCommerce Shortcodes with one easy click.
This is an easy to use drag and drop page builder for WooCommerce. You can use it to create perfect landing pages to promote your products, drive marketing campaigns, and so on.
There are millions of online stores around, and to differentiate yourself from them – you need to make sure your website is aesthetically pleasing and has excellent usability.
Your store is everything for sales, so make it nice!
You can use any WordPress theme with WooCommerce, but we recommend getting a WooCommerce-ready theme.
WooCommerce-ready themes are made for the WooCommerce plugin and optimized to work with it.
Here’s our list of the best WooCommerce themes, that are mobile-friendly and optimized for SEO:
This free theme is fully optimized for WooCommerce and comes with a clean layout and design. It has multiple widget areas that allow you to add content widgets.
This is a paid theme that is powered by one of the most popular page builders – Divi. It has a full drag & drop functionality so you can create your website easily and make it stand out.
This is a free theme that supports most of the top WooCommerce extensions. It has a lot of premium features and custom widgets to enable you to create beautiful and functional websites.
This is another free theme, and it was designed by WooCommerce developers, which means it’s tightly integrated with WooCommerce and its top extensions.
One of the best free themes that allow you to customize your website easily.
If these don’t work for you, and you want to look for a theme yourself, make sure to:
- Only download themes from the official WordPress theme repository or reputable theme shops.
- Check ratings and reviews to ensure there are no caveats.
- Ensure that the theme is mobile friendly and optimized for SEO.
After Your Store Is Built
Lastly, we prepared an article on what to do next once your store is up and running, and you can check it out here.