WooCommerce Review – Pt. 5


If you ran the quick setup wizard, a lot of these settings should already be set. Let’s take a look at the other features included in WooCommerce.


The General section control settings such as your location, the locations you sell and ship to, and how WooCommerce collects your customer’s location. You can also choose to enable taxes and tax calculations. Additionally, there is a setting to enable a banner notice site-wide. The section called Currency Options allows you to set your default currency, the format your currency is shown in, such as ‘$9.99’ or ‘9.99$’ and how your currency denominations are separated.


The Products tab has four sections.


In the General section, we can set the weight and dimension units, these units are used to calculate shipping. You can also enable reviews for your products, allow only ‘verified owners’ to post reviews and have these comments labeled as such.


From the Display section, we can choose how products are arranged on which specific page. We can also manage which page the default category-pages is displayed.

You can also manage the cart functionality from here. The ‘add to cart’ behavior has two options. You can choose whether your page redirects to the cart page after successfully adding an item and you can also enable AJAX add to cart buttons on archive pages.

The Product Images section lets you set the size of the product images on different pages, you can also choose to ‘hard crop’ the uploaded images to the preset size.


As noted before, WooCommerce can manage your stock for you. In the Inventory section, we can set how long a customer can ‘reserve’ an item in stock while they browse your site. This is helpful because by setting a lower amount of time we can allow other –more eager– customers a chance to purchase the item.

You can also set low stock and out of stock parameters. Based on your set number, you can receive notifications before you run out of stock, you can also display on the front end ‘out of stock’ before you physically run out, this can be helpful to avoid back orders. Lastly, you can choose to hide out-of-stock items once they reach that point. You can choose to show how much stock you have, only how much once you reach a lower supply, or never show the amount of stock at all.

Downloadable Products

There are three ways to serve the downloadable product to your customer:

Forced Download: The safest way to send the file, this uses PHP to protect the file from being shared to anyone but the end user.

X-Accel-Redirect/X-Sendfile: Must be enabled server side, this module allows you to securely send larger files.

Redirect Only: The least secure option, a redirection link to the file will be sent to the user, this link can be used by anyone (you can password protect the page, but anyone with the password can download the product)

You can also choose to require a login to access the download and also allow access to the download before the payment has been completed, or is in the processing stage.


The tax section lets you decide whether to include the tax in your pricing, show the tax in the shop, or just in the cart, set additional tax classes, round the tax, set price display suffix, decide how to calculate the tax or even apply taxes to shipping based on shipping class.

The additional tax classes field allows you to set your own tax rates such as reduced rate or zero-rate. You will notice at the top of the page links to the different rates.

And if you click on these rates you can adjust a number of tax related fields or import/export a csv.


WooCommerce divides shipping into zones. As they put it: “A shipping zone is a geographic region where a certain set of shipping methods are offered. WooCommerce will match a customer to a single zone using their shipping address and present the shipping methods within that zone to them.”

Once you set your zones, WooCommerce will estimate the costs based on the customer’s location. In the shipping options section you can enable/disable the shipping calculator on the cart page, choose to hide shipping costs until an address is entered, decided whether to ship to the customer’s business or shipping address and also enable debug mode, this will bypass the shipping rate cache.

You can also setup your payment options for printing shipping labels from this section.


Checkout process

WooCommerce allows you to set coupons for your shop. From this section you can enable/disable coupons and decide whether to calculate your coupon discounts sequentially, i.e., each subsequent coupon would discount from the previous discounted price.

You can also allow for guest checkout and ensure that all checkouts are secured with SSL (HTTP), the latter requires an SSL Certificate.

Checkout pages

If you went through the setup wizard then this section will be mostly completed, otherwise, you can choose which pages handle your cart, checkout and terms & conditions functions. If you define a terms page the customer will be asked if they accept them.

Checkout endpoints

Endpoints are appended to your page URLs to handle specific actions during the checkout process. Keep these unique! These will ultimately be used by WooCommerce to handle moving the user through the checkout process, the setup wizard should predefine these for you.

Payment gateways

The next few sections will describe each payment gateway, these are the primary methods of payment your customers can use. This section just gives you an overview of which gateways are currently enabled.


Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services, or BACS, is a direct bank transfer/wire service in the  UK, you can enable the service and enter your account information directly in order to receive payments.

Check payments

A strange gateway, why would you want to accept checks via the internet? WooCommerce agrees, but they suggest using this gateway to test purchases in order to test order emails and success pages.

Cash on delivery

This is an interesting option, Cash on Delivery allows your customer to pay for goods at the time of delivery. This could be useful for customers who do not have access to credit or debit options.


One of the leading credit payment processors, Paypal allows you to collect credit payments by just adding your Paypal API credentials. You can also create a Paypal sandbox in order to test payments.


The Accounts section allows you to choose the ‘endpoints’ used by WooCommerce to handle your account creation process. It also allows you to choose when and on what pages your customers are asked to register and/or login.


The Email section lets you set your notification emails that are sent to your customers are certain points in the checkout and shipping process.

WooCommerce Review – Pt. 4

Manually enter items

Now that we have completed the Setup Wizard, we should have the foundation of a basic e-commerce system. The next step is to populate the Store page with products. You can either upload a CSV of products or manually enter them in via the Product tab. Let’s look at the latter.

On the Products tab, go to Add New.

Here you can set up your product with some pretty self-explanatory fields. Item name, description, categories & tags, images and image galleries and SEO data.

First we will title the item ‘baked apple,’ add a description, add a category and then provide a few tags.

More importantly, let’s scroll down to the Product Data section.

Product Data

This section is a bit extensive but essentially outlines what your product is. The first step is to select a product type, there are four main types:

Simple Product – this is a single physical or digital product, can also be Virtual or Downloadable, or both!

  • a website subscription would be virtual but not downloadable
  • a service would be virtual but not downloadable
  • an e-book would be both virtual and downloadable

Grouped Product – A collection of products with separate SKUs that are grouped into one ‘parent’ product to be purchased together.

  • Consider a clothing store, sometimes there may be suggested outfits, the ‘outfit’ would be the ‘parent’ product, while the pieces of the outfit would be the individual items with their own SKUs.

External/Affiliate Products – products that you promote on your website but are actually fulfilled through an external service.

  • Consider stores where they sell items found on Amazon when the user clicks on the item your site will redirect them to Amazon to complete the purchase, then Amazon will compensate you through their affiliate program.

Variable Product – A product that comes in a variety of variations

  • A t-shirt can come in a variety of colors, this would be a great option to sell the type of shirt but also offer a variety of colors.

Let’s begin selling some Zelda Breath of the Wild foods. This is all imaginary since I do not actually plan to sell any food, especially shipping food.



The first step for our Baked Apple is to select the type, in this instance we wiill choose a Simple Product, since this is just a simple, solitary ‘Baked Apple.’ I am setting the regular price to $3, the sale price to $2, scheduling a sale (optional) and using the standard tax methods for my given location.


On the Inventory tab we want to set the SKU or ‘stock keeping unit,’ I chose 001, you can choose any number. I want WooCommerce to keep track of my stock. WooCommerce has inventory management built in, so I can say ‘I have 500 Baked Apples.’ When I sell 500 Bakes Apples I can also tell WooCommerce to back order any additional orders and notify the customer that their purchases will be back ordered. Once I receive more stock I can ship out to the back ordered requests. I can also sell items individually.


On the shipping tab I can set the weight of the item, the dimensions of the item (once boxed) any the shipping class. The shipping class will be defined at a later point. All of this information is used by WooCommerce to estimate the shipping cost for the customer when they are in the checkout process. Note: When Virtual is checked the Shipping tab disappears because you cannot ship a virtual product.

Linked Products

Linked products are products you associate with the item the customer is interested in, such as accessories for a laptop that they wish to purchase.

Upsells: Upsells are items that are more profitable or better quality than the item chosen.

Cross-sells: Cross-sells are items commonly bought with the desired item.


A product’s attributes are the different variables the product is offered as. You can set custom attributes such as Size or Color, anything variable you want.


Lastly, the Advanced tab. Here you can set a custom note that will be sent to the customer after the purchase. You can also set the order of your item within the context of the other items. You can even enable reviews for your product!

Product Short Description

You will also notice an area to create a short description for your product, this will appear as an excerpt and should be as descriptive as possible so your customer knows what they are looking at before clicking.

Up Next

Creating a product is a pretty straight forward process with a lot of powerful options such as Upsells and Product Attributes. Next, we will take a closer look at the Settings for WooCommerce in order to fine tune our e-commerce experience a bit further.

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WooCommerce Review – Pt. 3

The Wizard

The Wizard will walk you through creating your essential pages such as Shop, Cart, Checkout, and My Account:

Store Location

The second step requires you to choose your location, currency and how you choose to collect sales tax, you can include the tax in the price, exclude it, or not collect any at all. WooCommerce will then bring up your state’s sales tax, though it is up to you to verify what taxes you need to collect which can be updated from the tax settings page later.


Next, you can opt in or out of the WooCommerce Shipping option which enables you to print labels and get discounted USPS shipping rates. You will also choose your shipping weight unit and dimension unit.


You can also set up your payment gateways with just a few simple clicks and a couple steps depending on the gateway.


Lastly, you can choose to activate the WooCommerce theme Storefront, otherwise, you can choose to skip this step and keep your current theme. WooCommerce integrates correctly with the majority of themes, but Storefront and its extensions are guaranteed to work flawlessly.

Your store is now setup and ready to be populated, you have two options, manually enter in items or upload a CSV file.

Up Next

In Part 4 we will create a product and run through the main settings.

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WooCommerce Review – Pt. 2

Installing and Using on WordPress.com

WordPress.com has added some cool features, such as the ability to use practically any plugin or theme from the WordPress.org ecosystem. If you upgrade to the Business plan, you will be able to add plugins from the plugins tab and also upload themes in the Themes tab.

Let’s go ahead and add WooCommerce to our WordPress.com site. Click on ‘Add’ next to Plugins

Next, search for WooCommerce or look for it in the featured section.

Click on the icon then click install, it should say installing, then after a few moments the plugin will be active:

Considering that as of this writing the WordPress.com Calypso dashboard does not support WooCommerce integration, or for that matter a wide variety of third party plugin UIs, you will need to go to the older WP-Admin. There are three ways to get there.

  • From the WooCommerce Plugin page where we installed the plugin, click on Settings

  • Go to your address bar and add /Wp-Admin to your domain, i.e ‘http://www.onecoolsite.com/wp-admin’
    • From here search for WooCommerce in the left-hand sidebar
  • Scroll to the bottom of your WordPress.com dashboard’s sidebar and click on WP  Admin

Once you arrive at the WooCommerce plugin page you will be presented with a few options. Along the top are the different settings tabs for your WooCommerce account such as General, Products, Shipping etc. There should also be a Setup Wizard option, this is useful for setting up your most important information and I advise going ahead and doing so.

Up Next

In Part 3 we will look through the many settings in WooCommerce to fully set up your e-commerce experience.

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WooCommerce Review – Pt. 1

In the beginning….there was commerce.

Building out an ecommerce store used to be a very involved process requiring a skilled programmer, and it still is! But luckily we now have access to plugins that essentially create an entire ecommerce experience for you with little to no coding experience required. WooCommerce is arguably one of the most extensive and well supported plugins, and is now maintained by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.

WooCommerce is built for WordPress and integrates seamlessly with the WordPress ecosystem reducing many conflicts right out of the box. The plugin is built to be mobile friendly and designed so your products look good on any device, you can even turn your existing mobile store into a mobile app with no custom coding by utilizing a few third-party tools.

Since WooCommerce is managed by Automattic, you know the code is reliable, scalable and secure. Because WooCommerce is an open source product, you own your data. Unlike private services like Shopify or PayPal Stores, WooCommerce is owned by you. When you create a store on a private software you technically never receive the rights to the store, so if the server suddenly shuts down, changes policies, or changes hands, your data may become compromised. With WooCommerce, you own the data.

The WordPress community is known for creating incredible amounts of documentation on virtually everything. WooCommerce is no exception. With more than 350 contributors and 7 million downloads, WooCommerce is one of the fastest growing open source communities out there. There is also a large extension marketplace with over 300 free and paid extensions, making adding functionality to your ecommerce store very simple.

WooCommerce Core + Extensions

WooCommerce is separated into two categories, Core and Extensions. The core software is the basic features baked into every free copy of WooCommerce. Set up a store in just a few hours and begin selling your wares online. Extensions are custom plugins, both free and paid, that extend the functionality of your basic WooCommerce store and provide a lot of cool features. Let’s look at both.

The Core Features:

WooCommerce comes with many great features included in the free version. A lot of free counterparts to expensive ‘pro’ plugins are usually just a taste of the pro content, leaving a lot to be desired. But the free version of WooCommerce is a complete product, and the paid content only adds extensibility to the Core software.

A benefit of the Core components is that they are made to look beautiful. WooCommerce is made to seamlessly integrate with the trends of default WordPress themes, providing synergy between your theme and store. The backend is just as well thought out, with a thoughtful UI design that works well on hand-held devices allowing you to update your store on the go.

WooCommerce comes with five preinstalled payment gateways including Direct Bank Transfer, Cheque Payment, Cash on Delivery, Credit card payment with PayPal or Simplify Commerce (available for US only) which supports Hosted Payments (a PCI Compliant hosted payment platform).

You can also enable and disable guest checkout and force secure all checkout processes. Only operating in the US? No problem, you can specify which countries you want to sell to from the admin panel, not to mention set specific page urls to handle specific actions during checkout.

Set the default currency from a range of options.

Geo-location support allows your store to auto-detect the customer’s address making shipping and tax calculations a breeze, also, product pricing store wide will adjust to reflect the customer’s local tax markups.

You can also choose for the page to redirect to the shopping cart after an item is added by the customer. Alternatively, WooCommerce uses AJAX on ‘add to cart’ buttons which means your store won’t reload each time a customer adds a product or edits the cart. Magic.

Some Exciting Extensions:

WooCommerce has an enormous extensions library that makes adding unique features seamless and pain free. Products like Sensei can be linked with WooCommerce to create online courses. WooCommerce also has prominent membership, subscription and booking extensions that are easy to use and create beautiful functionality.

Developer Friendly

WooCommerce is built for the WordPress platform, so WordPress and PHP developers should have no problem customizing WooCommerce, building extensions, and utilizing countless actions and filters unique to the WordPress environment.

It is easy to migrate existing e-commerce data to WooCommerce using a variety of migration tools which facilitate a painfree experience.

WooCommerce also utilizes a REST API that ‘works on a key system to control access linked to WordPress users on your website.’ Pretty cool!

WooCommerce also allows you to setup custom AJAX endpoints which can do powerful things like speed up adding items to your cart. AJAX also allows your users to continue shopping without being redirected every time they add and item.

Additionally, the API has a UI for the Webhook system which makes it easier for 3rd party apps to integrate their services with your WooCommerce shopping experience.

Up Next

Let’s dive into the plugin on WordPress.com and take a look at the different features and settings.

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