How to Use WooCommerce for Novices

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that allows you to integrate a full-fledged e-commerce shop into your WordPress-based website. Though it is easy to set up, it can be a bit difficult to use without the myriad of free extensions out there designed to simplify things. This guide on how to use WooCommerce will give you the basic steps you need to get things started.

Install the WooCommerce Plugin

First and foremost, you will need to install the WooCommerce plugin designed for WordPress. Of course, you will need an existing WordPress-based website. This is easily found through the WordPress repository, but you can also install it directly through your WordPress Dashboard. Go to WordPress Admin, then Plugins, then Add New. Search for “WooCommerce”, and when it comes up, make sure the author is Automattic before you click “Install Now”. After following this process, click “Activate” and you’ll be ready to set up your WooCommerce shop.

Follow Along with the Setup Wizard

WooCommerce has a setup wizard built right in to make things simple for you. Though you can skip it, if this is the first time you’ve ever used WooCommerce, you should follow along. To get started, click “Let’s Go!” and watch as the plugin works its magic. After each of the screens below, you will need to click “Continue” to allow the setup wizard to proceed.

Page Setup – The plugin will automatically create a few basic pages to get you started, including your Shop, Cart, Checkout, and My Account pages.

Store Locale – Here, you will choose your location (country and state), the currency your store will use, and the units you want to use for product weights and dimensions.

Shipping & Tax – On this page, you will tell the plugin whether you will ship physical products to buyers and whether or not you will charge your buyers sales tax on their purchases.

Payments – Here, you will choose what types of payments you want to accept from your buyers. Out of the box options include PayPal, Stripe, PayPal Standard, checks, bank transfers, and cash on delivery (CoD).

Ready – You’ve reached the end of the setup wizard, and you can now go back and start adding your products or services to your shop.

Adding Products & Managing Orders

These are the two most common tasks you will perform while in your WooCommerce dashboard, and they are both fairly simple.

Adding Products – Go to WordPress Admin, then Products, then Add New. Here, choose the type of product you want to show viewers, then enter the regular price and the sale price if one applies. Click Inventory to manage your stock and click Linked Products to add cross-sells or upsells. Don’t forget to upload an image, add your tags, and place it in a category.

Managing OrdersOrders are the lifeblood of your e-commerce shop, so you’ll visit this page quite often. Go to WP Admin, WooCommerce, then Orders to see it. This page shows you all your current orders, and it’s where you will go to organize orders that you need to process, put on hold, or ship.

Creating & Viewing Reports

If you want to be successful in your WooCommerce endeavors, you will need to learn how to create, view, and analyze reports within the plugin. WooCommerce gives you access to powerful tracking tools and the ability to customize dozens of different reports. To view these, go to WordPress Admin, then WooCommerce, then Reports. You can compare orders, customer acquisition, repeat buyers, and even your stock in this window based on any time frame imaginable. You can use all this information to your advantage to see which products your customers like, who is buying them, and even whether you have enough stock to fulfill demand.

Get More out of WooCommerce with Add-Ons

The WooCommerce platform is excellent as it is, but with Add-Ons, you can do even more. Do you wish you could change the way your menus look? What about your checkout page? Do you want to accept different payment methods outside of those WooCommerce allows by default? Do you want to integrate your email marketing platform? There’s an extension for just about anything, and the good news is that many of them are 100% free to use. Take some time to browse them by going to WordPress Admin, then WooCommerce, then Add-ons. You can view these by category, by most recent, and more.

WooCommerce is by far the most popular e-commerce platform in the world. In fact, nearly half of all the online shops in existence today are built on WooCommerce. It’s free, it’s simple, and it offers you all the customization and reporting you could ever need.