WooCommerce Tutorial: How to Set Up eCommerce on WordPress

With over 5 million installations, WooCommerce is WordPress’s most popular eCommerce plugin. It offers tools for creating online businesses of all sizes, from order management to different payment and shipping options.

However, creating a WooCommerce shop can be complicated, especially for beginners. With so many settings to configure and extensions to install, it’s easy to get lost in the process.

If you want to transform a WordPress site into a fully functioning online store, this WooCommerce tutorial will guide you through the steps. We’ll show you how to properly set up WooCommerce and customize an eCommerce site to your needs.

WooCommerce Video Tutorial

Watch our video tutorial on how to create an online store with WordPress using WooCommerce.

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Why Choose WooCommerce?

While many eCommerce plugins exist, WooCommerce is often considered the best. Here’s why:

  • Built for WordPress. It integrates seamlessly with WordPress and lets you connect with its global community.
  • Highly scalable. WooCommerce offers a rich library of free and paid extensions. They let you customize and add more functionality to your eCommerce site as it grows.
  • Affordability. No need to worry about paying license or subscription fees. You can install WooCommerce free of charge.
  • Security. WooCommerce secures the transactions between customers and your eCommerce store via tokenization. This method ensures that all credit card details are stored on the payment processor’s servers rather than your site’s database.
  • Full support. This plugin provides extensive guides, ranging from store installation to WooCommerce speed optimization tips. You can also reach out to its support team via email for assistance.

How to Set Up a WooCommerce Store

From installing the WooCommerce plugin to managing its extensions, this section will provide a step-by-step guide to help you create a successful online store.

Step 1. Install and Activate WooCommerce

Before you install WooCommerce, purchase a hosting plan and create a website.

We recommend our WooCommerce hosting, which lets you install WooCommerce with a few clicks.

After completing the installation, log in to WordPress and follow these steps to install the plugin:

  1. Access the WordPress dashboard and select Plugins on the sidebar.
  2. Click Add New and enter WooCommerce in the search bar.
  3. Once you find the WooCommerce WordPress plugin, click Install Now.
  4. Once the installation is complete, press Activate.

Step 2. Add WooCommerce Store Details

After installing and activating the plugin, the WooCommerce Setup Wizard will automatically appear.

The WooCommerce Setup Wizard

Follow the WooCommerce tutorial below to complete the setup:

  1. Fill in the Store Details, including your country, address, postcode, city, and email address.
  2. Select at least one Industry in which your WooCommerce store operates.
  3. In the Product Types section, determine which physical and digital products your eCommerce shop offers.
  4. Include more Business Details, such as the number of products and whether you’re selling on other platforms.
  5. For the final step, choose one of the available WooCommerce templates. You can always change the theme later.
The Theme Setup Wizard on WooCommerce

After the setup process, you will be redirected to the WooCommerce dashboard.

Step 3. Add New Products

Before adding new products to your WooCommerce website, it’s essential to understand these terms:

  • Product categories. A group of different products within the same niche. For example, the apparel category can include tops, bottoms, and sports gear. Categorizing related items together enables shoppers to locate similar products quickly.
  • Attributes. This filters the products by size, color, fabric, and other features, helping customers choose their desired products. You can assign attributes independently to each product or set up a general one for the entire website.
  • Product Types. WooCommerce separates products into several types:
    • Simple product. A stand-alone item that is shipped without additional options. For example, one physical book.
    • Grouped product. A collection of related items, such as a dozen shot glasses.
    • Virtual product. Non-physical products that require no shipping, like software and services.
    • Downloadable product. Products that you can download, including songs, images, videos, and eBooks.
    • External product. Goods that are advertised on your WordPress website but are sold elsewhere.
    • Variable product. These items have varying qualities like sizes and colors. Shoes and clothes are prime examples of this product type.

Adding Products

Embedding new products to your eCommerce store works similarly to creating a new blog post. Here’s how to add WooCommerce products via the WordPress dashboard:

  1. On the left navigation bar, head to Products and click Create Product. You can also import products from a CSV file.
  2. Enter the product’s name and a detailed description.
The Add new product section on WooCommerce
  1. Head to Product data and select your product type.
  2. Select Virtual if you sell non-physical products. Tick the Downloadable box for digital products like software and files.
  3. Fill in the required information like the price, stock status, attributes, linked products, and brief product summary.
The Product data section on WooCommerce
  1. Choose the product category on the right menu. If you haven’t created one, click Add new category.
  2. Label your product using Product tags, so customers can find them easier.
  3. Under Product image, upload your product’s featured image. The maximum file size is 1 MB.
  4. If you want to use multiple product images, upload them via Product Gallery.
  5. Select your product’s visibility in the Publish section – Public, Password protected, or Private.
  6. Head to Catalog visibility and determine where your products will be listed – Shop and search results, Shop only, Search results only, or Hidden.
  7. Make sure to click Save Draft and check the product Preview. If you’re satisfied with the result, click Publish.

Here’s an example of a product page:

Example of a WooCommerce product page

Managing Products

Once the store grows, you’ll likely have to handle more products. This is where WooCommerce’s inventory management feature comes in handy.

By accessing the Products tab, WordPress users can easily manage products:

  • Duplicate a product. If you have similar items to sell, this feature is very useful. Click the Duplicate button under each item, and a new, copied product draft will open.
  • Delete a product. Press the Trash button that appears under the product name when you hover over it.
  • Mark a product as featured. Click the Star icon to feature an item. This lets you display your best-selling product on the homepage or include it in posts using shortcodes.
The Products tab with the star icon highlighted

Check out our list of top WooCommerce inventory management plugins to enhance the platform’s stock management functionality.

Step 4. Set Up Payment Methods

Setting up payment methods is crucial for your store as it is the first step in customizing your WooCommerce checkout page.

Follow this step-by-step WooCommerce tutorial to add several payment options that users can select when buying your products :

  1. Head to WooCommerce Set up payments.
  2. To set up PayPal on WooCommerce, click the Get started button next to the PayPal Payments option. WordPress will automatically install the WooCommerce PayPal Payments plugin.
  3. Configure your PayPal account and click Activate PayPal.
  4. Enter your login credentials to connect PayPal with your WooCommerce store.
  5. Go back to Set up payments. Then, enable Cash on delivery and Direct bank transfer. For the latter, provide your bank details like account name, account number, bank name, and sort code.

If you want to add more options, visit the WooCommerce Extensions Store. It offers a wide range of WooCommerce payment gateways, such as Stripe, Amazon Pay, and Square.

Step 5. Set Up Tax

Tax calculations are complex, especially for business owners without accounting experience or knowledge. Thankfully, WooCommerce allows you to automatically include taxes during checkout. Here are the steps:

  1. Access WooCommerce Settings General.
  2. Tick the Enable tax rates and calculations box.
  3. Click Save changes.
  4. Once enabled, the Tax tab will be visible. Configure your tax settings in the tab:
  • Prices entered with tax. Decide whether the product prices are inclusive or exclusive of tax.
  • Calculate tax based on. Select the address for tax calculation purposes – customer shipping, billing address, or your shop location.
  • Display prices in the shop. This determines how visitors will view prices when browsing through the store. These settings should be consistent with the first option, or customers might encounter errors.
  • Insert tax rates. Enter the standard, reduced, and zero tax rates for specific regions.
The "Standard tax rates" section on WooCommerce

Step 6. Set Up Shipping Details

If you sell physical items, the next step is to set up shipping zones. This enables you to charge shipping costs based on specific geographical areas. Here’s how:

  1. Head to WooCommerce Settings Shipping.
  2. Select Add shipping zone.
  3. Enter the zone name, select the regions, and add shipping methods.

Let’s take a look at this example:

Zone NameRegion(s)Shipping Method(s)
Local AreaFloridaLocal pickup and free shipping
United StatesAll states in the USFree shipping
InternationalCountries worldwideFlat rate shipping

Next, configure the Shipping options. You can display the shipping calculator on the cart page, hide shipping rates until customers enter their address, and choose the default shipping address.

Moreover, WooCommerce also lets you group similar products using the Shipping classes feature.

Step 7. Customize Your Store

Install a theme that suits your brand identity to make your store more visually appealing. You can also customize the site further by installing WooCommerce extensions.

Fortunately, a lot of WooCommerce themes and extensions are free. You can find them via the WordPress dashboard or WooCommerce Extensions Store.

Let’s look at some of them more closely:

Themes

Like any other WordPress website, installing an attractive theme is crucial to elevate your WooCommerce store’s look.

To install a WordPress theme, go to the WordPress admin area and navigate to Appearance → Themes. Then, click the Add New button.

To speed up the selection process, we have compiled a list of the most popular eCommerce themes for your WooCommerce store:

  • Astra. A highly-customizable WordPress theme that suits any website project, including eCommerce. Its lightweight nature means fast loading time, which is great for user experience and conversion rate. Astra also offers templates for various eCommerce niches. For example, the Fashion Designer template is great for luxury fashion items.
  • Superb eCommerce. A sleek, modern, and minimalistic eCommerce WordPress theme compatible with other popular plugins. It suits online stores in different niches, including fashion, furniture, and beauty.
  • Storefront. Developed by WooCommerce, Storefront is a collection of WordPress themes. It has over 10 child themes, each designed for specific eCommerce websites. For instance, Galleria is perfect for starting an online clothing business, while Bookshop is intended for an online book store.
  • Threadwears. A lightweight and block-based eCommerce theme for different types of online stores. It is highly customizable, offering over 16 block patterns and 17 templates.
  • Make. With a drag-and-drop editor and many customization options, Make is one of WordPress’s most flexible themes. This theme is also optimized for different screen sizes, from desktop to mobile devices.

If you haven’t found the right theme yet, check out other recommended WooCommerce themes.

Plugins and Extensions

WordPress and WooCommerce offer plenty of plugins and extensions to enrich your eCommerce website. They range from user experience enhancements to additional languages, currency options, and dedicated analytics.

To install WordPress plugins, simply go to Plugins → Add New. And to install extensions, head to the WooCommerce store and purchase the ones you want.

The following is a list of recommended extensions and plugins for WooCommerce:

  • FOX Currency Switcher. A must-have plugin for eCommerce websites that operate on a global scale. The Currency Switcher for WooCommerce lets you convert currencies on the go.
  • Stripe for WooCommerce. An alternative to PayPal, the Stripe Payment Gateway can be a better option for some WooCommerce users. Instead of taking the customer to an external page for payment, it integrates fully with your website. This plugin supports Visa, MasterCard, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and American Express.
  • WooCommerce Multilingual. Translate every element of your WordPress website to other languages, including the product information, checkout page, and contact form.
  • Husky Products Filter. This WordPress plugin filters WooCommerce products based on various criteria, such as price, size, and category.
  • WooCommerce Menu Cart. This tool can display a floating shopping cart. Therefore, customers don’t have to visit a separate page to check items in their cart.
  • YITH WooCommerce Wishlist. With this plugin, users can create wishlists on the eCommerce store and share them on various social media platforms.
  • Pushover. Install this app on your mobile device and get real-time notifications on new orders and low stock.
  • FraudLabs Pro. This plugin screens all transactions and protects your WooCommerce store from fraudulent orders. It validates order elements, including geolocation, proxy, email, blacklist, credit card, and transaction velocity. The plugin also generates comprehensive reports in the merchant area.
  • YITH Infinite Scrolling. Eliminate wait time when loading new pages. Instead, users can scroll indefinitely to load new items. This is useful for quickly comparing multiple items, as users don’t have to switch between pages.
  • WooCommerce Gift Wrapper. To make sending gifts more convenient, add the option to wrap their purchased items. This feature is especially popular during the holiday season.

Step 8. Manage Your WooCommerce Store

Now that your WooCommerce store is ready, let’s learn how to manage orders, coupons, customers, analytics, system status, and extensions.

Orders

Whenever someone makes a purchase, WooCommerce will automatically create a new order. To access them, head to WooCommerceOrders.

Each order has a unique ID, payment date, order status, and total price.

Click the Order name to update the order status, apply a coupon, issue refunds, or modify the order details. The order details include the creation date, billing and shipping information, and customer email address.

The Edit Order feature on WooCommerce

Coupons

Coupons are great for giving discounts and rewards to increase customer loyalty. Here’s how to create a new coupon:

  1. Head to WooCommerce Coupons and select Add coupon.
  2. Generate a coupon code and enter a brief description.
  3. Choose the discount type – fixed cart, fixed product, or percentage discount.
  4. Set the coupon amount.
  5. Tick the Allow free shipping box to offer free shipping.
  6. Set the coupon expiry date and click Publish.
 The Add new coupon section on WooCommerce

To edit a coupon, click its name and make the necessary changes.

Customers

WooCommerce lets you view the following customer information:

  • Name
  • Username
  • Last active
  • Date registered
  • Email address
  • Total orders
  • Total spend
  • Average order value (AOV)
  • Country/Region

Click Download to turn this data into a PDF file.

Store Analytics

Understanding which product types customers like is important for growing a successful online shop. To view your top-selling products and categories, access the Analytics section.

It also comes with charts to help you monitor net sales and orders based on a selected period:

  • Today
  • Week to date
  • Month to date
  • Quarter to date
  • Year to date
  • Custom duration
WooCommerce charts for net sales and orders

Settings

Visit WooCommerce Settings to further customize the online store’s options, such as default shipping destination, currency, and third-party integrations.

Before making any changes, make sure to hover over the question mark for a short description of each option.

Here are some WooCommerce settings you can configure:

  • General. Change the store’s details, such as the address, default customer location, and currency. There is also an option to enable tax and coupon calculations during checkout.
  • Products. Customize the inventory management settings based on your selected product type:
    • General. Set your default shop page, select the measurement units, and turn on product reviews.
    • Inventory. Improve stock management by activating email notifications when your products are running low.
    • Downloadable Products. Configure file download methods and access restrictions if you sell downloadables.
  • Shipping. Add different shipping zones to determine the shipping costs and methods for geo-specific customers. You can also group similar products using the shipping classes feature.
  • Payments. Set up your store’s payment options via PayPal, direct bank transfer, checks, or cash on delivery.
  • Accounts & Privacy. Personalize your store’s account registration, guest checkout, privacy policy, and data retention.
  • Emails. Create a custom purchase note for customers. You can also configure email notification settings for new accounts, password resets, refunds, and pending orders.
  • Integration. Connect the WooCommerce shop with MaxMind Geolocation, a tool for locating and analyzing site visitors.
  • Advanced. Secure checkout pages, configure Webhooks, customize checkout page URLs, create an API key to grant external access, and enable usage tracking.

System Status

The System Status page is useful for checking the overall health of your WooCommerce store. This ranges from the WooCommerce software version to the web server type and PHP limits.

Click the Get System Report button to generate a detailed report of your WordPress site and server environment.

You can also move to the following tabs to set other options:

  • System status. An overview of your site’s system status, such as API package, server environment, database, security, themes, plugins, settings, and pages.
  • Tools. Clear cache, enable or disable debugging, and customize other WooCommerce capabilities.
  • Logs. Retrieve log files with useful information for debugging or troubleshooting errors.
  • Scheduled Actions. Find a list of automatic actions with their details, including the scheduled date, status, recurrence time, and logs.

Extensions

WooCommerce extensions let you enhance the online store’s functionality. This includes adding more payment gateways and shipping options, integrating tracking solutions, and synchronizing WooCommerce with third-party services.

To get started, head to the Extensions tab and browse WooCommerce plugins based on these categories:

  • Featured
  • Store Content and Customizations
  • Marketing
  • Payments
  • Merchandising
  • Shipping, Delivery, and Fulfillment
  • Store Management
The WooCommerce Marketplace section on WordPress

Clicking any of these entries will take you to the WooCommerce store. From there, visit the WooCommerce login page and create a new account.

After that, proceed with the purchase to install the extension on your site.

Conclusion

WooCommerce is undoubtedly a great tool to turn WordPress into a full-fledged eCommerce online store. The best part is you don’t need in-depth programming knowledge to sell your products online.

We hope this WooCommerce tutorial helps you set up and manage your online store. If you have any queries, let us know in the comments section.

How to Use WooCommerce FAQ

Find answers to commonly asked questions about WooCommerce below.

What Is WooCommerce Used For?

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin for creating eCommerce stores. Users can manage inventory, orders, shipping, and promotions in online stores of all sizes. WooCommerce also has its own shopping cart system, can handle various currencies, and supports payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, and Square.

Is WooCommerce Easy to Set Up?

Yes, it is. After installing and activating the WooCommerce plugin, WordPress will automatically launch the WooCommerce Setup Wizard. Simply follow the steps to launch your online store.

Can WooCommerce Handle 5,000 Products?

WooCommerce is highly scalable, and there’s no limit to how many products it can handle. Your store’s performance mainly depends on the web hosting service. Thus, select a hosting plan that provides enough storage and bandwidth to handle many products and high traffic. 

How Can I Use WooCommerce for Free?

WooCommerce is an open-source plugin that’s completely free to use. However, since it isn’t a stand-alone platform, you must purchase a WordPress hosting plan to create a WooCommerce store. Plus, you might need to install premium extensions and plugins, which can increase the overall WooCommerce costs.

How Can I Make WooCommerce Perform Faster?

To ensure faster performance, choose a reliable hosting provider with pre-installed WordPress optimization plugins like Hostinger. Moreover, increase the upload size limit, compress images, clean up the WordPress database, disable cart fragments, and install a cache plugin like W3 Total Cache.

Author
The author

Tomas A.

Tomas provides top-notch technical advice on a daily basis to our valued customers. He also likes to create websites and do various coding side projects.

Author
The Co-author

Brian F.

Brian is a Content Writer who knows the ins and outs of digital marketing and eCommerce. Driven by passion and a dose of caffeine, he constantly looks for better ways to tell complex stories in a simple manner. Follow him on LinkedIn.