If you’re new to WordPress and/or WooCommerce, you might be overwhelmed with options and tech talk. In this blog post, I wanted to cover some of the key features of the ecommerce platform as well as some simple getting started tips and tricks! 

Key Features

WooCommerce provides a great ecommerce solution for your WordPress website. It allows you to sell physical or virtual products all around the world. It’s easy to configure, has lots of flexibility and many add-ons. The basic WooCommerce plugin is free, then most of the add-ons are yearly subscriptions.

Some of the WooCommerce features include:

  • Shipping rates – fixed rates, address based, weight rules and so on (also the ability to link directly to Australia post or courier services for efficiency)
  • Set featured products for display on homepages or sidebars
  • Set up coupon codes
  • Digital downloads with protection options
  • External/Affiliate links – for products sold by other businesses
  • Integrate with accounting software (such as Xero), email marketing platforms (such as Mailchimp) or use tools such as Zapier to connect with other platforms.
  • Interesting features/add ons we have worked with:
    • Additional customer email configuration
    • Additional customer analytics
    • Display products as a catalogue only
    • Bookings/Memberships/Subscriptions
    • Additional fields on checkout
    • Add-on services/products on checkout
    • “Email cart” functionality (so you or the customer can send the cart others to view)

Setting up the Store

Once the WooCommerce plugin is installed, you can access it from the left-hand menu in your WordPress admin dashboard. Before you get started, you should consult our checklist for some areas you to consider for set up (such as GST and shipping options). Don’t worry though, should you wish to make changes everything can be updated after the initial set up.

When the plugin is first installed, WooCommerce has a set up wizard which covers the basics, then you will need to configure any advanced set up options and integrations. Pay close attention to the payment gateways and your shipping options!

The WooCommerce plugin will automatically add in the required pages to your website, so if you notice some new pages popping up – don’t delete them! You can configure the default pages for each process in the settings, generally however this doesn’t need to be updated. If you have specific requirements (perhaps you already set up a shop page with custom styling and wish to use that for your products), you can update the page name for each option to whichever one you wish.

Do not delete any of the shortcodes you might see for the cart or checkout as these drive those functions on the website. A shortcode looks something like this: [woocommerce_checkout].

Pro tip – something further to consider If you’re selling products through your website, is that you should have an SSL certificate installed.

Adding Products

Access the Product area from the “Products” option on the left-hand menu, just under the Woocommerce option. Adding products follows a similar process to adding a page or blog post. The main thing to consider before adding your products is whether you will have any variations (i.e. different colours or sizes), as this will impact how you enter the information (and trust us, it’s easier to have it clear before you start entering things!). If you’re selling digital products, you need to consider how your customers will “receive” the files and what protection you wish to configure.

Other considerations include product categories and SEO. We recommend keeping your site structure simple and using the Yoast plugin for SEO purposes.

Moving Forward

Once your products are installed and your settings configured, review your cart and checkout pages to see if any changes need to be made. It’s also a good idea to put your payment gateway into test mode and make test purchases, making note of the user experience to progress to the checkout (i.e. how easy is it for your customers to buy from you!). Better yet, have someone independent of your site test the process as well and ask them to provide honest feedback!

If you want to go a step further, you can configure additional settings such as customising the emails customers receive, showing featured or related products, allowing social shares and promoting customer reviews. There are also many great analytics tools you can integrate, including functions such as emailing customers who abandon their cart…. but…we could go on and on about this so let’s leave it there for now!

We hope this guide has provided you with some tips for getting started with your WooCommerce Store! If you get stuck, give WP Butler a try for awesome WordPress support!