In September of 2015, WooCommerce ran on 30% of E-Commerce websites. Since then, it has only grown & now basically owns the e-commerce WordPress market. I mean, just take a look at the market share breakdown among circa 2017 when comparing e-commerce solutions for WordPress.
Looks like Automattic (WordPress’s Parent Company) acquisition of WooCommerce early on is paying off big time. However, what WooCommerce does for so many is make it easy & simple to run an e-shop, their success is undoubtedly due to this top notch ease and simplicity.
So today, I’m going to show you how to setup your very own e-commerce site using wordpress and the massively popular WooCommerce plugin.
Big surprise here, but in order to use the WooCommerce plugin, we first need to spin up a WordPress instance. (WordPress also has a Five Minute Install page, that you can look at as well) You’ll first need to either have a shared host or a VPS with FTP access + a MySQL database. Almost all shared hosts come with this, so I’ll assume if you’re spinning up a VPS & configuring it for a LAMP stack you probably know how to install WordPress; Instead I’ll focus on installation using a shared host’s CPanel.
Before we do this the hard way, take a look around your CPanel for “Softaculous Apps Installer”. It’s a very simple software that can save a bit of time here — mine looks like this;
If this is something you’ve got in your CPanel, hit that WordPress button & skip to “Adding WooCommerce”.
Otherwise, let’s move.
Uploading WordPress to your Server
Firstly, make sure to download the latest WordPress files from WordPress.org (here’s the download page); You’ll now have to extract those files & upload them to your server through the “File Manager” in your CPanel or an FTP account using software like Filezilla or WinSCP (my personal fav for Windows).
After the WordPress files have been uploaded, visit either the folder or main page where it’s been uploaded. If you did this correctly, you should see something like this:
Clicking continue should leave you with something like this:
Creating a Database & User
If you’re using CPanel, you should have something like this to help you create a database for your WordPress installation:
- Click MySQL Database Wizard icon under the Databases section.
- In Step 1. Create a Database enter the database name and click Next Step.
- In Step 2. Create Database Users enter the database user name and the password. Make sure to use a strong password. Click Create User.
- In Step 3. Add User to Database click the All Privileges checkbox and click Next Step.
- In Step 4. Complete the task note the database name and user. Write down the values of hostname, username, databasename, and the password you chose. (Note that hostname will usually be localhost.)
After you’ve created a place for WordPress to store its data, pop over to the previous screen & plug it all in. Setting up the rest of should be as simple as configuring it like below.
Bingo. You’ve now got a website with a fresh new twenty seventeen theme active.
Adding the WooCommerce Plugin
Now’s the part where we start our shop up. Search the plugins by going to “Plugins” > “Add New” in your WordPress admin area. Search for “WooCommerce” & add what you see below.
Once you activate the plugin you’ll be able to set up how you want to run your e-commerce website. This is where you’re selling physical goods, digital goods, ways you’d like to get paid etc.
Depending on what you’re selling, this can change how this is done initially, but we’ll go through it together. For the sake of argument, I’ll be selling physical stickers.
The initial setup is fairly straight forward, so I’ll do a quick buzz through until we get to adding products. Here’s we setup a few needed urls for the shop such as shop, cart, checkout and my account.
After that, we add in our location and how we would like to do taxes
Next is shipping settings (which is really only applicable if you have a physical product)
After that we set our payments up, I’m choosing PayPal for this example because it’s fairly easy to use.
The last step, is whether to apply the storefront theme by woocommerce, since I don’t plan on getting into the theming portion of an e-commerce website in this tutorial, I’m selecting the default theme.
Boom! We’ve just setup a new online store. Time to add a product & start selling.
When in your WordPress Admin Panel go to “Products” > “Add New” , this lets you add a completely new product to your store.
Here I’ve added a “Branded Sticker” with the tags “awesome” and “sticker” & set the price to $3.50 with a sale of $2.50 ending soon. Before I publish, I want to add some options to the sticker.
However, a simple product doesn’t support options, so we have to change the product data type to variable product.
Then in the variations tab, select color & price of the variation. This step is optional, and if you’re selling one off products without variation, this is not at all needed.
After it’s published you can see the following, add it to a cart & checkout with PayPal.
We now can checkout easily with our too cool for school sticker.
You may notice that shipping is a flat fee of $5, that’s a setting I created in WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping > Shipping Zones
You can do the same & setup as many zones as you like.
That’s it though, not too hard to start your store & as you can tell WooCommerce has an extreme level of customization. Somethings we will cover in later articles will be theming, shipping options, inventory, using a different payment processor, and lots and lots of product customization from digital goods to seasonal sales.