Step #1: Before you begin, buy a domain name and hosting
If you have already chosen a domain name and hosting and have installed WordPress, move on to the step of choosing a theme.
Going for a managed WordPress hosting means that the hosting provider will take care of your site’s maintenance, updates, and security. By choosing a dependable web host like Bluehost, you can forget about these hassles and focus solely on the business side of your store.
Bluehost comes with a WordPress+WooCommerce hosting too, but I wouldn’t recommend going for it now as it will be a little steep on your pocket at $12.95/month, whereas the simple web hosting costs just $3.49/mo.
So once you’ve chosen a domain name and hosting, you need to:
- Install the WooCommerce plugin and configure its settings
- Choose a beautiful online store theme
- Add a bunch of free or premium WooCommerce addons
Step #2: Installing WooCommerce and configuring its settings
As soon as you activate WooCommerce, you should see its settings page.
Click on the Let’s Go! button.
If you don’t want to complete these settings now, you can access them again via WooCommerce > Settings.
So … WooCommerce setup begins with the addition of the following 4 pages to your site (WooCommerce adds these pages on its own, you don’t have to do anything):
- My account
Click on Continue to proceed to the next step.
For the next step, WooCommerce asks you to add your store’s information like its:
- Product units (how you’ll measure your product – kg, lbs, simple quantity in digits, etc.)
- Product dimension units
Fill out all these details and click Continue:
WooCommerce will then prompt you to input your shipping and tax preferences. Tick if applicable; click Continue.
In the final configuration step, you need to choose the different ways in which you’ll let your users pay. WooCommerce supports PayPal, Stripe, Check, Bank transfer, and cash on delivery (COD) payment methods.
Choose the applicable options and click Continue.
With the checkout options configuration, you’re done with setting up WooCommerce.
Now you need to start adding products to your store.
So, on the next screen, click on the Create your first product! option.
Step #3: Adding products to WooCommerce
WooCommerce offers an editor very similar to its post editor for adding products. Add your product title and description just like you’d add a post and its actual content. Once you add the product content, you need to configure the remaining product settings.
Let’s look at each of these settings in detail:
Here, you have the field for listing the product price. You also have an optional field for adding a sale price.
Another cool feature is that you can choose to show the sale price between specific dates, which means you can automate the process of launching and closing an offer.
The inventory option lets you add inventory details like the product’s SKU, stock status and more.
If you’re wondering what SKU means … well … it’s a seller’s unique formula for naming a product type.
Shopify gives an easy-to-understand definition of SKU. It says:
A SKU is a unique code consisting of letters and numbers that identify characteristics about each product, such as manufacturer, brand, style, color, and size.
Here’s an example Shopify shares:
A SKU for a pair of purple Ugg boots in the Bailey Bow style, size 7 might look something like this: UGG-BB-PUR-07.
Basically, you need to come up with a format for naming your product.
If you’re selling Yoga pants in 3 different colors, your SKU could look like:
You get the idea, right?
Now, I’m sure your product is not as easy to name as the example I took. So, to help you better, I’ve dug up this awesome free SKU generator from TradeGecko (requires signup).
… Back to the WooCommerce product settings:
After the SKU field, the second option in the Inventory section is to choose if WooCommerce should manage the product’s stock.
When you enable the Manage stock? provision, 2 additional fields appear:
- Stock quantity
- Allow backorders
Here, all you need to do is specify the number of units that you have for a product. With this information, WooCommerce will be able to understand when you’re out of stock.
If you go out-of-stock, you can set WooCommerce to:
Take a backorder (a backorder is an order for an out-of-stock product)
Take a backorder and notify the customer about the stock status (tell the customer that you’ve booked the order but the product is out of stock and that you’ll ship when it’s available)
Stop taking orders for out-of-stock products
Next is the Stock status field. Use it to set the availability of a product.
And the last preference Sold individually tells a user that they can only buy one copy of the said product.
The Shipping section is pretty straightforward. Here, you just need to specify a product’s weight, dimensions, and class.
The value in the Shipping class of a product helps in calculating its shipping rates. So, if you sell products that can be easily categorized into classes like bulky, moderate, and light-weight, these three will become your shipping classes.
Once you’ve specified a shipping class, you can easily associate a shipping method to it. For example, you can choose a flat fee shipping method for items in the light-weight shipping class. A lot of shipping rate calculator plugins also use the value of the shipping classes to determine the shipping rates, so try to define proper shipping classes.
4. Linked Products
The Linked Products sections lets you make up-sells, cross-sells, and promote product groups in your store.
Up-sells: Making an up-sell means recommending a product that’s a little better than the product a user is currently checking out.
For example, if a user if looking at a $45 headphone, in your up-sell section, you should recommend a $60 headphone.
Cross-sells: Making a cross-sell means suggesting an item related to the item the user is checking out.
For instance, if someone is looking at a monthly planner, in your cross-sell section, you should recommend daily and annual planners. (Here is the difference between upselling and cross-selling.)
Grouping: In grouping, you bundle together related products and offer them at a package. So, if you sell photography equipment, you’ll bundle up items like a tripod, camera bag, SD cards and more and offer this group to your users.
WooCommerce lets you add custom product attributes to describe your product better.
For example, if you sell office notepads, you might want to add the number of pages as a custom attribute.
The Advanced section lets you add a personalized purchase note to the buyer.
Now that you understand the basics of how WooCommerce works, let’s see how you can choose the right theme for your store.