WooCommerce is one of the most elegant eCommerce solutions on the market today. With over 2.3 million downloads, it is a free WordPress plugin that creates an exceptional shopping cart experience for online business owners, both large and small.
In this series of articles, I will step you through some of the amazing features in WooCommerce to give you a better understanding of this solution, and why it’s worth considering.
Of course, adding products to your online store is the first and most important chore of any eCommerce endeavor. In WooCommerce, not only is the process of adding store products easy and streamlined, but they’ve thought of just about everything.
You can add simple products, grouped, products, downloadable products, and more. They’ve packed the suitcase full to overflowing – and in a good way.
Here are the 4 basic kinds of products available in WooCommerce.
1.) Simple Products
2.) Grouped Products
3.) External Products
4.) Variable Products
Simple Products are the most straightforward. You use this when you have a product that doesn’t have any colors, sizes, or other special features.
An example would be an antique store that carries a certain kind of lamp. There are no sizes to worry with, no colors. Just the lamps.
Take inventory of your business in your mind. Do you have any simple products you could sell on your website? If so, the WooCommerce Simple Products option is the way to go.
As an aside, Simple Products also come with checkboxes for VIRTUAL or DOWNLOADABLE. This is sometimes a sticking point for people because at first it’s not obvious what the difference is between Virtual and Downloadable. Allow me to explain it in an easy to understand way.
A Virtual Product would be a service or gift certificate where nothing physical changes hands. A Downloadable Product would be something like an eBook – and that actually is a bit physical in that there is something downloaded.
On your WordPress Dashboard:
Grouped Products are your second option for adding products. This option should be used when you have a product for sale that has other products for sale with it.
EXAMPLES: A toy store that sells toys and also has batteries for purchase would be well-served by using the WooCommerce Grouped Product option. Electronics like phones or mp3 players also could be sold as Grouped Products.
On your WordPress Dashboard:
External/Affiliate Products is another type (and an especially great one!) You’ll want to use this when you sell affiliate products on your website. Customers can load up on your External/Affiliate products in the WooCommerce cart and checkout easily with the streamlined checkout process (more on that in later articles).
EXAMPLES: Some examples of affiliate products would be educational courses offered on Clickbank or products on Amazon that give you a commission on the sale (usually a percentage of the product price.) Affiliate websites are a great way to make a passive income – money while you sleep. Many affiliate websites are highly profitable and they are a growing trend.
Variable Products. Lastly, there is the Variable Product type, the one you will likely use most of the time.
EXAMPLES: T-shirts that come in various sizes and colors are examples of Variable Products. All apparel and shoes, plus picture frames and many other items can fit into this category.
Also, in WooCommerce, things like size and color are referred to as Attributes. As an aside, WooCommerce breaks Attributes down further into Variations. Variations of size are things like small, medium, and large. Variations of color are things like red, green, and blue.
So let’s take for example, the aforementioned t-shirts. Under PRODUCTS in the WP dashboard, you’ll see ATTRIBUTES. That’s where you get to create attributes like color and size. Not only is it fun to create those, but it’s also important, because then you add those Attributes to your Variable Product.
So lets say, for example, you’ve created a SIZE attribute in the Main attributes, and configured the terms of S, M, and L.
(See the picture below.)
So there you have it. The four kinds of product types available to you in WooCommerce. Easy, straightforward, and logical thinking is why WooCommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms available.
If you’re still trying to decide on an eCommerce solution for your business, make sure you take a long and hard look at this elegant (not to mention free) solution. And the beautiful thing is, WooCommerce is only going to keep getting better.
(The next article in this series will cover how to add the MAIN ATTRIBUTES to your products in WooCommerce and why that’s important.)