How to Create an Online Store with WordPress and WooCommerce

Take note of this moment, it may mark the start of something pivotal for your business. An eCommerce store can make your products available to the world and open a world of new possibilities for your brand.

While building an eCommerce store is a crucial step, it doesn’t have to be a difficult one. We’re here to show you exactly how to create an online store with WordPress and WooCommerce.

Why build an online store with WordPress and WooCommerce?

Investing in inventory for an eCommerce store can be costly. The last thing you need is another upfront cost before spotting a glimpse of profit. Cost (or rather, lack of it) is one of the main reasons WordPress remains a popular platform for websites and eCommerce stores alike.

So how much does the WooCommerce plugin cost? Absolutely nothing. That’s right – like WordPress, WooCommerce is completely free and open source.

If that doesn’t catch your attention, here are a few additional reasons you may want to build an online store with WooCommerce:

  • Can be Installed Yourself

Why buy if you can DIY? WooCommerce can be installed in a short amount of time all by yourself.

  • Plenty of Apps

If you’re looking for even more functionality, you’ll be pleased by the number of apps available for WooCommerce. Hundreds of extensions (some free!) connect you to a wealth of applications.

  • It’s Popular

WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress, to be exact.

  • Room to Grow

You’ll find that modifying themes is quite easy with WooCommerce. This can be done directly in the theme files or by utilizing hooks and filters.

  • Simplified Analytics

Analytics may not be first on your to do list when creating an online store, but you’ll certainly be thankful for them in the long run. WooCommerce has a built in, user-friendly analytics system that presents a wide range of metrics.

  • Themes Galore

At Present Website we have 400+ themes available for WooCommerce stores alone. How’s that for variety?

What kind of products and services can be sold with WooCommerce?

In short, all of them! This includes:

  • Bookings: From dinner reservations to hotel stays.
  • Access: Exclusive access to products or services.
  • Subscriptions: Ongoing payments to participate in something or receive a service.
  • Tickets: Sold for offline events like concerts as well as online events like webinars.
  • Digital Goods: Think eBooks, software, photos, music.
  • Physical Products: Last, but certainly not least, those physical products that are shipped directly to your home.

There’s really no limit to the assortment of items that can be sold using WooCommerce as a platform.

How to Create an Online Store with WordPress and WooCommerce

Now that we’ve claimed WooCommerce is a straightforward, user-friendly solution, let’s see just how easy it really is.

Step 1: Install WordPress

If you haven’t installed WordPress yet, there’s no better time than now! As the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, it’s an excellent resource for small start-ups just getting established up to large corporations expanding their reach.

WordPress walks you through the free installation process right on their website.

Step 2: Install WooCommerce

As we’ve mentioned, WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress. Plugins are software that can be added to a website to extend functionality. Since WordPress plugins are built to integrate seamlessly with WordPress, you’ll find using WooCommerce a very smooth transition.

Start by navigating to WordPress Dashboard/Plugins/Add New. Search for ‘woocommerce’ and select the first result.

Click Install Now. Wait a moment and click the button again after the text changes to Activate.

WooCommerce’s launch wizard should initiate and guide you through installation step by step. Just click Let’s Go!

Create Essential Store Pages

You wouldn’t have an online store without these classic pages:

  • Shop: Where products are displayed.
  • Cart: Customers can use their shopping cart to edit orders and submit purchases.
  • Checkout: Where shipping preferences can be set and purchases completed.
  • My Account: Profile used to view past orders and adjust account details.

Simply click Continue and the pages will be created for you automatically.

Establish Locale

This is the point in which you specify your business location, currency, and measurement units. Upon completion click Continue.

Decide if You’ll be Charging Sales Tax

Not our favorite part, but an important one nonetheless. WooCommerce simplifies this for you and actually helps determine tax rates based on where you operate from.

If you’ll be shipping physical products, check the box. Chances are you’ll be charging sales tax and if so, check the next box as well.

Additional boxes will appear. Be sure to confirm that the tax settings selected for you are accurate and up to date with your location. Don’t worry if you’re unsure at this point, everything can be adjusted later.

Click Continue.

Choose a Payment Method

Two of the most popular payment methods will appear side by side in the first row. Paypal and Stripe are both great options and you may even want to elect both.

Paypal, a very secure and well known method for accepting payments, is a must have. Remember that both of these options require that you create an account separately and then connect it in WooCommerce.

After you’ve made your selections, click Continue.

Review the confirmation screen that follows. At this point your online store is pretty much complete, all it needs is products and customization!

Step 4: Add Products

Now is when you add your moneymakers. Navigate to your dashboard and Products/Add Product.

If you’re familiar with WordPress, you’ll feel right at home here. Fields shown:

  • Product Name
  • Product Description: Here you can describe your product to your heart’s delight. Just like any other WordPress content editing page, you can include additional media and formatting.
  • Product Data: This is where you specify what kind of product you will be selling (virtual, downloadable, physical, etc.). Other specifications under this category:
    • General: Prices and taxes.
    • Inventory: Manage stock levels.
    • Shipping: Set weight, dimensions, and cost of shipping.
    • Linked Products: Related products, effective for up-selling.
    • Attributes: Product characteristics like colors.
    • Advanced: Additional settings.
  • Short Description: Snippet on what the product is, text will be displayed under the name of the product on the product page.
  • Product Categories: Groups for similar products (shirts, pants, hoodies, hats).
  • Product Tags: Relevant keywords that correspond with the products.
  • Product Image: The main image displayed for the product.
  • Product Gallery: Additional product photos.

WooCommerce also provides descriptions of each field the first time this area is visited.

Happy with what you’ve entered for your first product? It’s time to click Publish!

Step 5: Select Your Website Theme

Now for the fun part: customization! Making a WordPress eCommerce store your own is easy with the large selection of themes available.

While WooCommerce technically works with any WordPress theme, most choose to utilize templates designed specifically for WooCommerce. Standard WordPress themes can be beautiful for your website, but you may find them lacking when used for online stores.

With all of the new features and elements that come with WooCommerce, it’s a tragedy to then use a theme that wasn’t designed to showcase them.

Now that you know how to create an online store with WordPress and WooCommerce, you can begin envisioning your new eCommerce website’s look and feel. Start exploring the various options right in our WooCommerce themes marketplace!