Transforming your existing WordPress website into a shopping cart is sometimes the next logical step in growing your business.
If you sell physical products, owning and operating your own online store gives you the power to sell to anyone and distribute anywhere. Whether you are a local-only business or an international operation, WooCommerce is flexible enough to make this happen.
WooCommerce’s greatest strength is its extensibility. There’s very little I can’t build with WooCommerce. Given enough time and resources WooCommerce can be finely tailored to even your store’s most niche feature. – KATHY DARLING
How Does WooCommerce Work – Out of the Box?
WooCommerce, once added to an existing WordPress website, forms the basis of a simple online store. Some of its out-of-the-box features include: basic coupons, automated order notifications/receipts, unlimited product uploads and basic shipping settings. With some configuration, the addition of a payment gateway (e.g. PayPal) and the upload of your products, your site is ready to start selling.
On the other hand, if you are only selling a handful of products that don’t need shipping, an online form with payment options might just be enough for what you need.
Prerequisites for WooCommerce
- A WordPress website – WooCommerce is, first and foremost, software (aka. a Plugin) developed for WordPress. Check out our article Why we Love WordPress Web Design for more information about the platform.
- Payment Gateway – Ideally set up under your business name, you’ll need a verified account through at least one of the following: PayPal, Stripe and Square.
- Other Plugin Licences – In addition to the free WooCommerce core software, you’ll likely require a handful of premium WooCommerce extensions (we’ve listed a bunch of our favourites below).
Preparation for your Online Shopping Cart Website
As web designers, while we can assist with the design and all of the technical elements of your online shopping cart website, the one thing we cannot assist with is preparing your products. If you have a lot of products, this part can be very involved. Here’s a guide of what to start working on either before or while your web designer is developing your website. This will help you go live much sooner than taking weeks or even months after your site goes live to upload your products.
- Product List – Create a spreadsheet of all of your products including their name, price, short and long descriptions and any other variations that you’d like to offer (e.g. red, white, blue or small, medium, large)
- Categories List – For ease of navigation, you’ll need really clear main and maybe even subcategories under which you’ll sort your products. Assign each of your products above to their relevant main and subcategory/s.
- Product Photos – Good photos will sell your products much better than bad ones. Take the time to take and curate clear and bright photos for your products that are all as consistent as possible. This will result in a much better looking website.
- Shipping Costs + Locales – list the postcodes/state/countries in which you wish to sell, along with the costs for your products either based on size or weight. Alternatively, you can opt for a ‘one size fits all’ price or, even better, offer FREE shipping (at least) for Australia wide if doable. Us Aussies do love free-stuff 😉
- Product Weight + Measurements – if you need to base your shipping costs on size or weight, you will also need to record the exact weight / measurements for every product. Yes. EVERY Product… Now do you see why we suggest you start preparing this information sooner rather than later? This will lead to much more accurate shipping calculations.
If building your own WooCommerce shopping cart is not on your “To Do List”, then contact us for a free quote! We’ll discuss your unique requirements and can recommend the best course of action to satisfy your timing and budget.
What else can WooCommerce Do?
As I’m sure you can already tell, we’re BIG fans of WooCommerce. They continue to surprise us with the countless marketing, shipping, booking and coupon extensions being released, allowing business owners to make the most out of their online store.
Here’s an overview of WooCommerce extensions that we LOVE!
- WooCommerce Bookings – Let customers book and pay for their own appointments and hire items
- WooCommerce Subscriptions – Let customers subscribe and pay weekly, monthly or annually
- WooCommerce Shipping – flexible shipping options for more accuracy
- WooCommerce Dropshipping – Add + manage your dropshipping from within your own website
- WooCommerce Measurements – Let your customers enter in custom height, depth and width
- WooCommerce Add-ons – add gift wrapping, special messages or other special options
- WooCommerce Wish Lists – allow customers to build for later
Again, if this all seems too overwhelming and your not sure what extensions would work best for your shopping cart website, we highly recommend speaking with a WordPress and WooCommerce specialist (like us). Click here for a free call back to discuss your requirements and can offer you free quote.