Introduction to WooCommerce
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin free to download and use on WordPress websites that makes selling products and services online very easy. It is the most popular eCommerce plugin in the world used by millions of large and small businesses. It works with any website design which makes developers’ jobs easier, as they will just need to add the plugin and start working. WooCommerce allows us to sell not only physical products but also digital products, services, subscription etc.
Because it is a free plugin unlike Shopify and BigCommerce, we have the freedom to use it for building as many as websites we want and it also allows us to add new features like contact forms, security firewall, galleries, data backup etc. Another feature is that Woocommerce has no restriction over how we run your business.
In an eCommerce website, the major hurdle is the payment gateway but this problem is also solved in WooCommerce which comes with many integrated payment gateways.
What do you need to get started?
Before we start adding the WooCommerce plugin to our website, we need to get a few things ready at hand. They are:
- Domain registration / Domain Name: To get started with we need to have a domain name for our website. It is a unique name for our website which allows others to easily get access to our website. It is a very easy and important step, to register a domain name online we can search for any domain selling website. It is preferred to have a “.com” at the end of your domain as it is reachable and looks professional.
- Hosting: Now we have to find good hosting for our website. A web hosting service allows our website to be deployed online and comes with so many features which will come in handy in building a website.
- Installing WordPress: To install WordPress is very easy if we have a hosting server available, but if we are using the local server for developing a website we need to visit WordPress official website and download the WordPress and install it in our system.
Installing WooCommerce Plugin
Before we install WooCommerce we need to set up WordPress and after that, we will find the WordPress dashboard, once we have the WordPress dashboard available, now we can add the WooCommerce plugin to our website.
Install the plugin
First, we need to install the WooCommerce plugin on our website. We can download it from the WordPress repository for free, then upload the plugin on to our website. The easiest method is we can directly install it through our WordPress dashboard.
To add the plugin, go to the dashboard and navigate to Plugins > Add New. Now use the search bar to locate “WooCommerce”, and click on the Install Now button.
After installing it, activate the plugin by clicking the ”Active” button.
Setup WooCommerce Plugin
After clicking the “Active” button the activation will take some time to get activated, as soon as that process gets complete, the WooCommerce plugin will launch a configuration wizard, which will help us set things up.
At first, it will ask some basic questions about your store.
We want to specify our location and which currency we want for our store to be used, and what types of products we want to sell in our store:
Selecting the Payment Gateway
Now we have to select the payment gateway for our website, WooCommerce comes with PayPal, Stripe and Offline Payment Mode.
We can click on the toggle button to enable these payment methods and we need to provide our email address to set up them.
We can turn them both off later by clicking the WooCommerce > Settings page then switching to the tab for Payment.
Shipping Zone Setup
After setting up the payment gateway no it’s time to set up the shipping zone, we will be asked about which ‘zones’ we want to ship our products and what rates we want to apply on them:
A shipping zone is nothing but a geographic location where we want to apply certain delivery charges. For example, we are shipping not only within our country but outside too, here we would like to charge a different amount for delivering products outside the country. Once we’re done with establishing your shipping zones and their rates, click the ”Continue” button.
Now we will be asked to install the recommended services for the plugin but it is good to uncheck them for the time being and install them later based on our needs.
Next, we will see the JetPack plugin. We can scroll down to the bottom and select the Skip option for this step. As there are better and more powerful alternatives available and we can install them later
In the WooCommerce plugin, it is really easy to add a product to our store. Go to Products > Add New page to add the first product.
We need to provide a title for our product and then a detailed description of the product. After that, we click on the “Add new product category’ link on the right. We can create a new category for the product.
Categories allow customers to easily search for products on the website. Now we need to go down to the “Product Data” box. Here will select the product type, it’s pricing, shipping, and all the other information.
After that, we will see a short description box for the product. In this description we should add a catchy and informative short description that will help our product get more clicks.
Now we have to add product images. WooCommerce makes it super simple to add product images for us and we can even add an image gallery for each product. First, we need to add the main image for the product.
Below that we can add multiple images and can create an image gallery for the product. Now click on the “Publish” button on the screen to publish our product.
Now repeat this process to add more products to your website.
Selecting a theme for the Website.
It is a final step for our eCommerce website, we have thousands of themes and templates available for an eCommerce website we need to select a good looking website to get started running. It is recommended to use the StoreFront theme as it is free and easy to use. Once the theme is installed and all the steps are completed and we are ready to go live.