eCommerce platforms

Guide to WooCommerce plugin for WordPress

Mariluz Sampalo

Mariluz Sampalo

Jan 28, 2022

woocommerce ecommerce plugin from wordpress to create online shops

Inside this article

  • iconWhat is WooCommerce?
  • iconAdvantages of selling with WooCommerce
  • iconDisadvantages of WooCommerce
  • iconHow to set up WooCommerce on WordPress
  • iconShipping with WooCommerce
  • iconWooCommerce Payments
  • iconIntegration with other sales channels
  • iconMarketing and branding
  • iconReports and statistics on WooCommerce
  • iconTaxes and WooCommerce
  • iconHow to set up discounts codes on WooCommerce
  • iconHow to create an offer on WooCommerce
  • iconFAQ about WooCommerce
  • In this article, we’ll provide all the necessary information related to WooCommerce: advantages and disadvantages, how to set up the WooCommerce plugin on WordPress.

    What is WooCommerce?

    WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin for the creation and management of online shops.

    WooCommerce was created in 2011 as an open-source software. This means total customization is possible, both aesthetically and architecturally, through an interface that’s easy to navigate. In fact, this is one of the features that is most valued by WooCommerce users, especially those already accustomed to WordPress.

    Advantages of selling with WooCommerce

    The WooCommerce plugin offers a wide variety of features that make it the perfect tool for online shops of all sizes, including the following:

    • Customization. You can design every detail of WooCommerce to work as you would like it to, from functionalities to aesthetics.
    • It’s free. WooCommerce itself is free. However, you'll need to face associated costs to WooCommerce hosting (or any other hosting provider) or the domain name.
    • The design. The WooCommerce design is very intuitive and logical, both for the seller and the buyer. This is particularly the case for those already using WordPress. There are over 15 functional and curated templates for eCommerce.
    • Scalability. Thanks to the high level of customization offered by WooCommerce, it can be used by online shops of all sizes.
    • Its Extension Store offers many plugins. This will speed up the process of adding new functionalities to your online shop and reduce the costs of this custom features. You won't need to hire a developer.

    Disadvantages of WooCommerce

    Despite its many beneficial features, WooCommerce also has the following disadvantages:

    • WooCommerce doesn't include the hosting. This means that you'll need to have a server powerful enough to ensure fast website loading speed or outsource this task to WooCommerce or another provider.
    • If you install too many plugins your online shop may face performance issues due to the lack of compatibility between plugins.

    How to set up WooCommerce on WordPress

    To open an online shop using the WooCommerce plugin, you first need to create a WordPress page.

    It’s also important to choose a theme compatible with WooCommerce to ensure that your shop will function properly. We recommend opting for a theme that has a high loading speed (under one second), is frequently updated and is chosen by many users.

    By the way, the Astra theme is free, compatible with eCommerce and one of the most popular options.

    Once you have installed the WooCommerce plugin, you can set up your online shop. You can start with these tasks:

    1. Install fundamental plugins
    2. Define your aesthetic and categories (shopping cart, legal pages, FAQ...)
    3. Set up your WooCommerce payment methods
    4. Choose the shipping options
    5. Consider cybersecurity. You can use a plugin for this.
    6. Set up taxes. You can find more information on this below.
    girl does research about how to open an online shop on woocommerce

    To set up the shipping and product options, start by going to the Product page, within Settings.

    • Choose the page for the products
    • Cart behaviour: Don’t redirect and enable the AJAX buttons
    • Weight unit: lb/ kg
    • Dimensions: in/ cm
    • Enable ratings (tick all three boxes)
    • Enable reviews (tick both)

    If you want to enable stock management, go to “inventory” (under the Product tab) and enable it.

    Shipping with WooCommerce

    To set up the various locations where you send your products, go to the Settings section in General.

    • Selling location: select all areas that you can send your products to
    • Shipping location: ship to the same countries that you sell to
    • Default customer location: choose Geolocate
    • Later on, you can modify the currency of your country and where you want the currency symbol to appear in your website text. Some prefer this to be following the price (on the right), instead of before it (on the left).

    To configure the shipping methods, go to the Shipping page inside WooCommerce’s Settings.

    Click on Add shipping zone, select your country and name the shipping zone with the name of the service you use (“courier + region” is a good way to label it). If you are going to deliver to other areas with alternative couriers, include these postal codes. To do this, click on “limit to specific ZIP/postcodes”.

    You can add more shipping zones for each area that would use a different rate or courier. For example, for shipments outside your country’s borders or express shipments that require a different rate or courier.

    If you’ll be using your domestic shipping rate for orders sent to another country, you can include that country in the same shipping zone created for your country.

    Now that the shipping zones are set, you need to decide how you charge your customers for the shipment.

    To start, click on Add shipping method, select Flat rate and click on Edit. Select the option None in Tax status and fill in the shipping cost. This cost is what your customer will pay for the shipment. Note: the cost should be a round number, without decimals.

    For in-store pickups, create a new shipping zone. You can name it In-Store Pickup. For the region, write the country, region or city where your shop is located. Click on Add shipping method and choose local pickup. Then edit the shipping method: Enter “0” for cost and “none” in Tax status.

    You can also create a shipping zone to offer free shipping to certain customers once they reach a determined value in their carts. To do this, create a new shipping zone, choose the area you want to offer free shipping to, select national or international, and in the shipping method, select free shipping. When editing this option, choose free shipping requires… and choose a minimum order amount. In the new field, write the minimum quantity required for this shipping method to apply.

    If you sell fragile objects, small or bulky items or any other kind of object that needs a special delivery method, set up a special shipping method under shipping class.

    girl manages shipments on woocommerce

    These are the most useful functionalities that WooCommerce offers for shipping management. However, up until this point, we haven’t talked about the couriers. With WooCommerce, you can only set up shipping zones and shipping methods, but you can’t include the custom rates you have with your couriers or shipping rules for specific products, countries, etc.

    If you want to do this, we suggest using Outvio for the fulfillment of your orders and everything that happens after the sale: shipping issue management, returns, customer communication, and so on.

    WooCommerce Payments

    Payments through bank transfer, credit and debit card, cash on delivery, Paypal, Redsys and Stripe are all possible in WooCommerce. You can install any plugin you want as a payment gateway.

    Integration with other sales channels

    Your online shop can be connected to other sales channels through a plugin like Facebook’s, Pinterest’s, Etsy’s, and eBay’s. You can also share your webpage through Instagram, Facebook and Youtube using WordPress to attract more traffic.

    Marketing and branding

    WooCommerce takes into consideration the importance of marketing to attract customers and includes many tools to serve this purpose:

    • Facebook Ads
    • Google Listings & Ads. Connect your shop with Google and improve your SEO
    • Email marketing and newsletters. Send emails to your customers to keep them updated on the location and status of their order with Outvio, and send email marketing campaigns with any of these marketing tools.
    • Coupons. Create personalized coupons to reward your customers with discounts or gifts for their loyalty
    • Blog. Use your blog to tell your story, create a sense of community and talk about your products
    • Boost sales. Thanks to Product Blocks, you can link and suggest related products, from landing pages or blog posts

    Reports and statistics on WooCommerce

    WooCommerce doesn’t offer statistics or data about your business. You can see some relevant data under the statistics section on WordPress, but if you truly want to know how your website is doing, you need to install a plugin specialized in measuring data and building databases for eCommerce businesses.

    Taxes and WooCommerce

    On WooCommerce, you can enable tax calculation. For this, you need to go to the Settings page. You can choose to display your products with the VAT included or show it separately.

    Our recommendation is not to include the tax in the price of the product. This way, you will avoid having to change the price individually for every product. You will only need to change the percentage once/if it changes. You can apply the taxes based on the customer’s shipping address, the customer’s billing address or on the shop’s address.

    To show the product price with tax already applied, which makes it easier for the customers, go to “display prices in the shop” and select “including tax”.

    If you want to generate invoices with a tax breakdown included —this is mandatory in many countries— choose excluding tax in the section “Display prices during cart and checkout”.

    If you only sell in a territory with one tax rate, you can set up a “Standard rate” by clicking on “insert row”. Under country code, enter the ISO code of the preferred country.

    To set up different taxes for different shipping zones, create the tax for each area under the Tax section (in Settings). You can include the province, region, city or postal code for taxes based on geography.

    Note: Write the numbers without the percent sign (21.5, not 21.5%).

    How to set up discounts codes on WooCommerce

    Setting up discounts codes is extremely beneficial during peak sale seasons like Christmas or Valentine’s Day, and for special promotions.

    On WooCommerce, you can create coupon codes and discounts codes in two ways. The first way is directly through the platform and the second is through an additional plugin.

    The installation of plugins is an easy way to address gaps in platforms like WooCommerce. However, we recommend avoiding them as much as possible. That’s why we’ll teach you how to create discounts codes on WooCommerce using its native features.

    To do this, go to the Marketing section and click on “Coupons”. Assign a name and a description to recognize it easily. Choose the type of discount you want to apply and the period during which it will be valid.

    You can apply a fixed discount to the value of the shopping cart or to every product in it; you can also discount a percentage of the total cart value or even offer free shipping. To enable free shipping for your customers, create a fixed discount and choose “0” as the value of the discount. Then choose “Allows free shipping”.

    WooCommerce discounts codes need to be entered during the checkout process. This means that in order for customers to use a discount, you have to share it with them in advance. This can be done through an email marketing strategy, social media or a banner on the website.

    If you want discount codes to be automatically applied to the prices listed on the website, you need to create an offer on WooCommerce.

    How to create an offer on WooCommerce

    If you want to apply an automatic discount to one or several products, you can create an offer. For this feature, go to “Products” and select the items you want to include in the offer. Click on Edit and go to “Product data”. In “General” you can select and enter the final price of the product. You can implement a beginning and ending date for the offer if you want, or just a beginning date. If you don’t put an end date, the offer will be applied until the stock is sold out.

    FAQ about WooCommerce

    How much does WooCommerce cost?

    WooCommerce is a free plugin.

    Where are data products saved in WooCommerce?

    Product data is stored in WordPress, in the posts section. The name of the file is automatically set to wp_posts.

    Where does WooCommerce save the orders?

    The received orders can be found in the same place as the product data: inside wp_posts, as post_type = 'shop_order'.

    Can you migrate from WooCommerce?

    Yes, migrations to various platforms can be completed with the help of an expert or a tool specialized in migrations.

    How can I remove the shopping cart from the menu?

    You can remove the cart tab from the menu by going to Appearance, in the menu on the left.

    How can I change the language?

    To change the language in WooCommerce, go to General settings and change the language of the site. After that, go back to the Dashboard and click on updates to update the translation of the site.

    How are products organized?

    You can organize your products into categories. For this option, go to the Category section inside the Product page.

    After creating the categories, select them under Appearance (Menu).

    You can also organize your products by attributes (depending on size, color, etc.). To do this, you’ll need to configure terms (S, M, L, black, white, etc.).

    Once the products are created, go to the product list and click Sort. They will be automatically sorted by alphabetical order. If you want to establish a different order, drag and drop the products to the desired spot on the list.

    To remove related products on WooCommerce, go to the tab Edit product, where you can modify the product data. Click on the cross next to the related product. This will get rid of all related products, either cross-sales or up-sales.

    WooCommerce and subscriptions

    If your products are frequently restocked, you can enable product subscriptions. This is done manually every time you publish a new item in your online shop. You can fully activate it, activate it along with a notification to the customer or deactivate it, as needed.

    WooCommerce and in-store pickup

    To enable in-store pickup, go to the Shipping tab, in Settings. To learn more about shipping, go to the related section above.

    WooCommerce and shipping zones

    Shipping zones can be modified in the Settings section, under the General tab. There, you can select the countries or geographical areas where you plan to make shipments. We provide more information on this topic in the shipping section above.

    WooCommerce subscriptions

    To see your WooCommerce subscription options, go to the WooCommerce area inside your WordPress and click on Extensions.

    Download, install and activate the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin in your WooCommerce store.

    In the Extensions section, you can download extensions; activate, suspend or cancel WooCommerce subscriptions; enable renewal synchronization of the subscriptions or reactivate a subscription that has expired.

    What to sell on WooCommerce

    On WooCommerce, you can sell both physical and digital products (services, tickets, downloadable items, etc.). You can also use WooCommerce to launch your dropshipping business or to sell your products via WooCommerce and a marketplace at the same time.

    How to contact WooCommerce?

    You can contact WooCommerce through the support tab under the resources section at the top bar.

    We hope that this article was useful and that it addressed any doubts you might have about WooCommerce. If you think that this eCommerce platform may not be the best one for you, you can read our articles on PrestaShop and OpenCart or our comparison on WooCommerce vs Shopify. These platforms might provide the solution you’re looking for.