So you just started your eCommerce journey? Got your product designs ready to go? Great! The next big step is to set up an online store. Multiple platforms offer a place to sell your stuff online, but few are as flexible, open-source, and affordable as the WordPress WooCommerce plugin.
The eCommerce industry accounts for a fifth of all global retail sales, with an estimated 12 to 24 million eCommerce websites worldwide. When you decide to build a store with WooCommerce, you build on that momentum and gain access to extensive community resources, plugins, and integrations.
Not everyone is a professional website designer – you don’t have to be. With WooCommerce, you’re able to:
Our tutorial on how to setup WooCommerce will take you step-by-step through the process of setting up a WordPress website with full store functionality. Let’s look at the platform and the steps to create and manage a consistent and reliable eCommerce store from scratch.
What is WooCommerce?
In short, WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin for WordPress websites.
WordPress is a content management system, or CMS, used to run news sites, blogs, community forums, digital portfolios, and, most notably, online stores. WordPress offers users a lot of flexibility, and this alone is part of the reason it hosts 43.1% of all websites on the internet.
When we talk about setting up an eCommerce store through a WordPress plugin, we’re looking for ways to enable the necessary store features that will allow you to make sales: a checkout page, pricing, payment methods, product visibility, shipping, and other valuable integrations. This is where WooCommerce comes in. In particular, it offers:
WooCommerce is a flexible pick for online stores in multiple stages of development and totals 28% of all global eCommerce. The WooCommerce software is open source, enabling developers to enrich the merchant experience with over 6000 additional plugins: themes, analytics, user interface extensions, and many other features.
Here are a few ways WooCommerce stands out from other eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Wix, and Etsy:
The only question left is: How can you get WooCommerce up and running on your website? To answer this, we’ve put together an extensive WordPress WooCommerce tutorial.
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WooCommerce Activation and Setup in 7 Easy Steps
WooCommerce has many moving parts and can get overwhelming when you’re just starting. To make things easy for any WordPress beginner, we’ll divide all the major steps into the following tutorial categories:
- WordPress features and hosting
- WooCommerce installation
- WooCommerce setup
- Configuring WooCommerce settings
- Printify product integration
- Product and store management
- Store promotion and growth
Set up WooCommerce at your own pace, and feel free to invest as much time as you wish to experiment with additional plugins and integrations. Be sure to skip any step you’re already familiar with.
There are two ways to run a WooCommerce store through WordPress, each with its own set of advantages:
Option 1 – install WooCommerce and run your website through the internal WordPress.com hosting service.
Option 2 – use the WordPress.org product software to install WooCommerce on a separate hosting service.
We’ll use option two for the purposes of this tutorial as it’s the preferred eCommerce solution. First, let’s fully address the significant differences between the two and what each option offers:
- WordPress.com as a Service
The WordPress service is a paid web hosting subscription with limited software access. It runs on the centralized WordPress platform, includes additional service perks, and gives ease of use in exchange for flexibility.
- WordPress.org as a Product
The product is free WordPress open-source software. It’s a website management extension that rewards more flexibility for those with a slightly higher skillset.
Don’t let the sea of flexibility intimidate you. You can do manual hosting in three easy steps.
WordPress.org hosting process:
- Purchase a domain name
- Choose and buy a plan from a hosting company
Let’s take the option of Hostinger for reference since it offers a very competitive subscription plan. Their all-in-one web hosting plan goes for as low as $1.99 a month. Hostinger offers help from a 24/7 tech support team and their existing experience with WordPress integrations.
- Integrate your domain and have the host install WordPress for you
Once you have your subscription ready, you need to add your verified domain to your profile and request a WordPress installation. You should have a perfectly blank WordPress site with your business domain when they finalize the service.
WordPress.org functions just as efficiently as their centralized service but is more affordable and flexible once you’ve finished the hosting process. Now, we can finally get your WooCommerce extension up and running.
Install the WooCommerce Plugin
Naturally, the next part is to install WooCommerce on your new or existing WordPress site. The process is similar to installing any other browser extension or computer software.
WooCommerce Installation process:
- Find the Plugins section on your dashboard and click the Add New button. Once you’re on the Add New page, locate the search bar and type in WooCommerce. It should pop out as one of the first results.
- Click the WooCommerce title or the More Details link. Be sure to recap the detailed installation notes and plugin documentation. Then, click on Install Now.
For a manual installation, download WooCommerce through the WordPress plugin page directly and upload it to your web hosting server with a File Transfer Protocol application (FTP) following the installation instructions set by WordPress.
- Give it a moment to install and, once done, click the Activate button. Once the plugin has been activated, you can proceed with the WooCommerce setup.
When your WooCommerce plugin is installed and activated, it will prompt you to run the WooCommerce setup wizard. We’ll detail each step separately in the following section. As WooCommerce receives further updates, the setup layout may change.
Note: if the application doesn’t launch automatically, you can find it in the WooCommerce > Help > Setup Wizard section.
- Setup store details
At the start of the setup wizard, you’ll have to add your business address. Fill in your country of operations, address, and postal code. If you’re running an exclusively online business – such as print-on-demand – add your home address instead.
- Choose industry
In the following section, you will have to choose your retail industry – clothing, electronics, art, etc. Simply check any that apply to your store. If your industry is not listed, you can check Other and write a detailed description of the nature of your service.
Choosing an industry is the first step in defining the theme and identity of your business. It’s a good idea to take a look at the design interfaces of other similar industry providers so that you know what you’re up against.
- Choose product type
Select the product types you’ll list in your store. Even if you’re still in the idea phase, your choice should be clear between the physical, downloadable, and subscription product types. This choice will help WooCommerce optimize your website functions once you begin filling your catalog.
- Fill in business details
Specify the number of products you plan to display and whether you have any additional channels – physical or online – you’re already selling on.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the specifics yet. Focus on your current business size and the amount of time you’re planning to invest. You can always change your web page layout later, and it’s natural for businesses to shift in size in response to their niche, outreach, and revenue.
- Select free features
The following add-ons include a variety of free plugins which may come in handy. We recommend integrating all the basics: payment methods, shipping labels, sales tax, and security.
One unique WooCommerce extension – Jetpack – is described in more detail in the last step. It provides device compatibility, optimized loading speeds, and additional interface add-ons.
- Select a theme
Your website will operate under a single theme. WooCommerce themes are categorized for specific industries, which you can easily filter from the available options. A premium theme will enable a lot of new user interface features.
Original WooCommerce themes should work by default, while other customized themes from independent developers might require additional supporting plugins. Be sure to read all installation descriptions and requirements.
- Setup the JetPack plugin (optional)
JetPack is one of the most useful WooCommerce plugins. It comes with a ton of optimized modules and integrations:
The main strength of JetPack is that it centralizes all of these features under one extension, which limits the amount of middlemen you’ll have to spend time enabling. It’s up to you to set up this WooCommerce plugin now or skip to continue immediately.
With the WooCommerce setup finished, we’ll continue with the following two steps: setting configuration and adding the Printify extension.
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Configure the WooCommerce Plugin Settings
This step is where WooCommerce truly stands out. Use this configuration stage to double-check that the information you’ve already added is correct. Then, we’ll fill out what’s missing in the settings.
To get started, go to WooCommerce > Settings in the WooCommerce sidebar. In this section, you should see a lot of available add-ons you can decide to check and enable. These options should make selling much easier, but your business might have unique ways of dealing with them already.
The four main sections you should review all provide supply and purchase accessibility:
Select your customer-preferred product measurements and placeholder images. Then, link your main shop page from the drop-down menu. Here, you can also enable product reviews to engage with customers.
WooCommerce has optimized tax integrations. You can enable tax add-ons to your product price. It then bases the final sum on each user’s shipping or billing address.
By including tax to present the net price, your numbers remain consistent from product page to purchase. Inconsistent pricing might drive away customers.
This section allows you to add a shipping zone to regulate shipping costs. Shipping zones narrow down each customer segment depending on their region. Each location uses a specific shipping method. Add the zones you’re providing your service in, depending on your fulfillment providers or primary customer demographics.
In the shipping options menu, you may also add more visibility by choosing whether to enable a shipping calculator in the checkout or to allow access only when the customer adds their address.
In the payments section, you can see all of your already installed payment options. If you want a payment gateway that isn’t listed, you can search for additional plugins in the WooCommerce extension store.
In this settings menu, you can enable and sort payment gateways you want to be presented first. Customers use card transfers the most, but some might prefer digital wallets or even crypto purchases, depending on your customer niche.
For more customization options, check additional configurations in the setting menu, including email integrations, accounts and privacy, and advanced page setups and features.
Integrate Printify With WooCommerce
Now that you’ve filled out your basic WooCommerce settings, integrating your Printify products is fast and straightforward.
If you haven’t created a Printify account yet and want to learn what we offer, you can check out our introductory guide to Print On Demand.
- Login to your Printify account.
- Click on the user icon in the upper right corner of the screen and select My Stores.
- Click on Add new store. Once redirected, scroll down and choose WooCommerce. You can also find all available integrations in the bottom panel under Integrations on every Printify page.
- Enter your website address and click Connect.
- Once prompted, click Approve. Wait some time for this process to load and finish.
It’s that easy. You will now have the option to take your designed products from the Printify My Store page and publish them to your WooCommerce store catalog.
Simply pick a product from the Printify catalog, add your design using our Mock-up Generator and sample the product by ordering straight from the manufacturer. Then, click to Publish your product on your integrated WooCommerce platform.
You can contact the Printify merchant support team via email or the on-site chat option for any issues during the process.
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Manage Products in WooCommerce
Take Full Control Over Your Products
You can make some initial changes right in your Printify edit design page, but WooCommerce offers centralized control over every product aspect:
Product editing process:
- In the sidebar, navigate to the Products section. Once there, select the product that you wish to edit. You may also delete any duplicates or products no longer sold.
- From here, it’s possible to edit the product name. Then, you can add your product description in the provided text boxes – one under the title and a shorter one at the very bottom of the page.
For Printify products, you can incorporate the existing product descriptions from the catalog page, especially when including manufacture details.
Then, add your own spin on the product – why your design is worth buying. Be creative in your descriptions, but make sure your information is clear and to the point.
- By scrolling down, you’ll find the ability to edit product data: price, stock and inventory, shipping, and linked products. For detailed information on setting a good product price, check out our guide.
For Printify products, you won’t need to activate stock management frequently since there’s no need for inventory. Your product stock should update and be visible on your Printify My store page.
- You’ll find the category tab on the right side, where you can add new product categories or select an existing one. Choose from well-known options or create your own. Here are some examples:
- Tags can make product selection easier. You can edit and add new tags under the category tab on the right sidebar. While categories list the more significant product types, tags connect related products, designs, and relevant matches. Using tags makes it quicker for your customers to find similar products.
- Add the main product image. On the right-hand side of the screen, click Set product image in the Product image section. Then, upload the photo from your computer. Good product photos are crucial for making sales. Since your product isn’t visible on store shelves, your image has to compensate for the look and feel of the real thing if you want to compete with physical stores. If you want to up the quality of your catalog and have the time to do so, check our article for a comprehensive guide for taking good product photos.
Once you’ve filled out the information, the product can be previewed, saved as a draft, or published through the panel in the upper right corner. You can choose to make your product visible in three ways:
When you finish editing, you can return to the Products page for additional management controls:
Feel free to experiment with your descriptions, tags, photos, and more as you get used to the interface.
Manage Your WooCommerce Store
Now that you have the know-how for setting up and editing a product, we can go ahead and look at managing everything else – orders, coupons, reports, and other online store settings.
By clicking on the WooCommerce > Orders section in the sidebar, you can view all customer orders and transactions. Each line refers to a unique ID order and includes the date of purchase, status, and total price.
By clicking on an order, you can do any necessary edits: change the status, issue refunds, edit address and shipping information, and change taxes and pricing.
Make sure these changes are made through the customer’s informed consent or are reflective of their expected outcome.
In the Marketing > Coupons section, you can add, edit, and publish coupons to discount your products. They’re a great way to add rewards to drive customer retention.
Click the Add coupon button. Then, generate a name, description (optional), and a unique coupon code. Choose a discount type – fixed, percentage, or free shipping. Finally, set the expiry date, and you should be all set.
Similar to the products page, you will now be able to overview your coupons – type, amount, description, ID, usage, and expiry. Offer your customers a coupon ID through a personalized email or other online channels. Buyers will be able to add it at the checkout page.
To assess your potential market demographic, it’s essential to know your customers and how to contact them. In the WooCommerce > Customers section, you’ll see a list of all your previous customers and their details:
You can also view the average order value, which can help you calculate your budget for marketing campaigns and further business growth.
In the WooCommerce > Reports section, you can see how well your store is doing. View sales numbers, product purchases, and other essential metrics.
Select a specific timeframe and press Go to generate a graph in your selected category. This is an excellent feature to gauge your growth and see which products are doing well or which need to be edited or removed from your store.
Phew, that’s the end of the setup stage. Of course, running a successful store still requires fine-tuning your visibility through marketing and store optimization.
Promote and Grow Your WooCommerce Store
You might have the best-looking store ever, but no one will find you without promotion and marketing. Here are some often used methods that can help you jump-start your traffic.
Provide the Best Possible User Experience
An attractive website is not just for show. When a user lands on your store page, the chance that they’ll end up making a purchase is slim – the average conversion rates range from 2% to 4%.
Most users will abandon your store in the first few seconds if they can’t find what they’re looking for. To increase your chances of driving traffic, a website providing a good user experience should focus on:
Use Social Media
Social media marketing dominates how people view and engage with businesses. Social media is a great tool for marketing outreach, generating traffic to your store.
Most online marketing goes through only a few highly popular social media sites. Marketing through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube provides the highest ROI, according to HubSpot.
To fully capitalize on social media marketing, research your customer demographic and their
preferred online channels. Create a store presence through profile building and react to media trends to increase your outreach.
Use Facebook to build your brand, Twitter to engage in public relations, and post updates on Instagram to promote your merchandise. Glue all of it together with a consistent and attractive company style and voice.
Include Emails & Newsletters
Personalized emails and newsletters are a great way to be active with your store promotion. For your call to action to work, you should provide relevant and timely content.
Your emails should act as a bonus instead of rehashing what’s already available. Offer some kind of advantage for your customers – discounts, rewards, product trends, and promotional materials. Don’t over-sell yourself, but maintain a confident approach when interacting with your existing customer base.
Newsletters can keep your customers up-to-date with new deals and engaging topics. The main difference between social media posts and a newsletter is that newsletters provide a more in-depth and personalized communication method and are a great way to introduce campaigns, events, and seasonal store updates.
Engage in SEO and Content Creation
Don’t just follow established media trends – lead with your own content.
Organic search is one of the most powerful ways to generate traffic, and good SEO involves maintaining a store with new and consistent content updates. With informative or entertaining topics, you’ll have a higher chance of people finding you without looking for your store directly.
A great potential option is integrating a blog section on your WooCommerce store. Use it to discuss relevant topics and diversify your brand by offering news and information your audience can latch onto before purchase. Create a spotlight for your products beyond just the product descriptions and introduce a story, increasing your perceived value.
Many well-established content creators end up setting up a merchandise store after gaining some popularity, but it can work just as well the other way around. Video content is especially important if you want to give your brand identity that surpasses the product itself.
Marketing and promotion are how your store is kept alive. With enough effort, your potential for long-term growth and business success increases.
WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce solution out there. It’s freely accessible, receives constant updates, and has hundreds of community resources. You can build a WooCommerce store using any number of freely available plugins and integrations.
From learning about WordPress features to fully managing your WooCommerce store, we’ve run through the major steps of setting up a fully functioning eCommerce website. To stand out from other retailers, foster your creative vision and continue honing your marketing skills.
Of course, running a WooCommerce store itself is an involved process, so keep up-to-date with your initial traffic analytics and product sales, and be sure to update and optimize your settings in response. Add new products in response to market demands and browse more WordPress plugins and WooCommerce extensions as you continue to master your website.
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