Why WooCommerce for WordPress Ecommerce

Why use WooCommerce to Build a WordPress eCommerce Site

WooCommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce plugins available for WordPress. This means that if you decide to use this plugin to build an online store, you will be helping to increase the 3.2 million times this plugin has already been downloaded from the WordPress plugin directory.

However, just because everyone else is doing something, it doesn’t mean you should automatically follow. To help you decide if WooCommerce is the right eCommerce solution for you, this article will highlight some of the main attractions of using this plugin.

Why You Should Use WooCommerce Why use WooCommerce to Build a WordPress eCommerce Site

The Core Plugin is Free

While free doesn’t automatically mean better, if you are starting out with a basic online store, then being able to use an eCommerce option that is free can be a real advantage. With WordPress also being free, and with plenty of free themes available, you can get an online store up and running with just a domain, a web hosting account, and an investment of your time.

As your store grows you can choose to upgrade to a premium theme or commission a custom WordPress theme design. You can also reinvest some of your profits in making your store more powerful by installing one or more of the premium WooCommerce addons that are available.

Highly Expandable

While you can build a functional eCommerce store by using the free core WooCommerce plugin, if you want to increase the features and capabilities of your store, you may need to install one or more of the extensions that are available for WooCommerce.

With a large number of extensions available, spanning many categories, whatever type of features you would like to add to your store, there should be an existing addon available. If there isn’t, there are many freelance WooCommerce developers out there who will be happy to build it for you.

These extensions can both help improve the administrative side of your store, such as adding more payment options to your store, through to the more customer-focused, options such as displaying a product of the day, a name your price option, or adding a points and rewards system to your store.

With so many people using this eCommerce solution, there is a large incentive for developers to keep creating new extensions for WooCommerce.

Also, as this plugin is so popular, many WordPress theme developers ensure that their designs are built for maximum compatibility with WooCommerce.  For those themes that aren’t 100% compatible, such as the child themes for the Genesis Framework, there is usually an effective solution available. This gives you plenty of options when it comes to choosing a template for your WordPress site, whether you are looking for an off the shelf theme or a custom design.

Large Existing User Base and Community

Thanks to the large number of online stores using WooCommerce, if you do decide to use this plugin for your website, you will be joining a large user community. The advantage of this is that there are a lot of people out there who are sharing ideas and techniques for maximising the potential of this plugin.

If you are ever stuck when it comes to trying to get your WooCommerce-powered eCommerce store to function in a certain way, then there is a good chance there is someone else out there who has already implemented such an approach and documented it online.

Also, with so such a large number of people using this plugin, a whole industry of WooCommerce-focused developers has sprung up. These third-party developers offer their services in a number of ways. This includes creating commercially released extensions, building compatible themes, and also offering their services on a one-to-one basis to create custom solutions for your eCommerce needs.

If you can’t find a pre-existing solution such as an extension or theme, then finding a reliable WooCommerce developer isn’t difficult.

Conclusion

As we’ve seen there are plenty of reasons why you should use WooCommerce and WordPress for your online store.  By being able to get started with the core plugin for free, and then add premium extensions as and when they are needed allows you to setup an online store for just the price of a domain and web hosting.

The large community of users to learn from and share ideas with, as well as the eco-system of products, services, and developers, is another great reason to use WooCommerce. If ever you run into any problems, or need to extend the features of your store, there will always be someone to turn to.

Setup Varied Shipping Options in WooCommerce

One of the attractions of WooCommerce is that as well as being free, it’s very easy to setup and start selling products online with. If you are just selling a few products of a similar type then the basic shipping options in WooCommerce should be more than enough to ensure you are able to add the correct amount in costs to your customers’ orders to cover the shipping fees.

However, if your inventory grows, or includes a wide range of products of all shapes and sizes from the start, then you will soon have to delve deeper into the way you can setup varied shipping options in WooCommerce. In this post we will give a quick rundown of the varied shipping options that are included in the core plugin, as well as showing you how you can use the shipping classes feature of WooCommerce to add varied shipping costs to specific products or groups of products in your store. 

As the shipping handling properties of this eCommerce toolkit can be greatly enhanced by the extensions available for it, we will also give a quick overview of some of the add-ons which might be able to help you configure the varied shipping options of your store to best suit your product range and the needs of your customers. 

WooCommerce Shipping Options

Out of the box, the free WooCommerce plugin gives you a few decent options for defining shipping costs for your WordPress eCommerce store and its products. 

As standard the plugin includes these shipping options, each with their own settings to be configured:

  • Restrict shipping locations
  • Enable flat rate shipping costs
  • Enable free shipping
  • Enable international delivery
  • Enable local delivery
  • Enable local pickup
  • Create shipping classes

WooCommerce Shipping Options 01 Setup Varied Shipping Options in WooCommerce

All the above are optional and can be enabled or disabled as per the requirements of your store.

Setting Shipping Costs According to Shipping Class

One option for setting up shipping charges for individual or groups of products in your online store is to use the Shipping Classes feature of WooCommerce. This is included in the standard version of the plugin so it doesn’t require the purchase and installation of an extension.

By using Shipping Classes you can create a class and then set a shipping cost for that class. Once this is done, you can then apply that class to any products to which that shipping cost applies to. 

An example of this could be a shipping class titled ‘large products’ with a set shipping cost. The class would then be applied to each product that would incur this shipping cost when being purchased. If you ever need to change the cost, you can change it via the shipping class, which will then see that change applied to all products in that class.

To give you a better idea of how this feature works and to help you apply it to your eCommerce store, here is a quick walkthrough covering how to use shipping classes and charges with the core WooCommerce plugin.

From the admin dashboard of your site, click on the Products menu and then click on Shipping Classes.

WooCommerce Shipping Classes 01 Setup Varied Shipping Options in WooCommerce

Then from the Shipping Classes screen, enter a name for your class and then hit the ‘Add New Shipping Class’ button. As you will most likely be creating multiple shipping classes, give each of them a descriptive name so you can tell them apart when assigning them to products.

WooCommerce Shipping Classes 02 Setup Varied Shipping Options in WooCommerce

Now we need to go back into the WooCommerce settings and then click on the Shipping tab, and then on the Flat Rate sub-page.

WooCommerce Shipping Classes 03 Setup Varied Shipping Options in WooCommerce

If you scroll down the page until you get to the Additional Costs section and then click on the ‘Add Cost’ button, you can then enter a shipping cost for each of the shipping classes you created earlier. 

WooCommerce Shipping Classes 04 Setup Varied Shipping Options in WooCommerce

When setting these costs you have three options for how they are applied: 

  • Per Order: shipping charge applied to the entire order as a whole
  • Per Item: shipping charge applied to each item in the order individually
  • Per Class: charge shipping for each shipping class in an order

Once you’ve entered the cost for each class, you can then hit the ‘Save changes’ button.

Now when you create a new product or edit an existing one, you can apply one of these shipping classes to it, and then when a customer checks out, the cost will be applied to their total bill. 

WooCommerce Shipping Classes 05 Setup Varied Shipping Options in WooCommerce

Advanced Shipping Options

The above is a quick and easy way to apply different shipping costs to products according to what shipping class you have assigned them to. However, it’s still a fairly basic way of determining how much to charge users for having their purchased items shipped to them. 

If you want to get more advanced with how you assign shipping costs to individual items and orders, there are a number of extensions available for WooCommerce to give you more options:

To view all the shipping extensions available for WooCommerce visit the plugin homepage.

Conclusion

For those starting out with a small eCommerce store the core shipping features of the WooCommerce plugin should be enough for you to get started, however as your inventory and customer base grows, you may need to turn to one of the premium extensions, or even a WordPress developer who can provide you with a custom solution to match your specific needs. 

This can be especially true if your products vary considerably in size and weight, and you have customers from around the world, requiring shipping to many different locations. 

If you want to discuss any issues related to shipping or other features of an online store, then please get in touch to discuss your needs. 

Add Payment Options in WooCommerce: Intro to Payment Gateways

The WooCommerce eCommerce plugin for WordPress is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to build an online store with minimal effort and expense. The plugin makes setting up and managing an online store with WordPress much less daunting than you might imagine, and includes many great features to make your life easier.

One of those features included in the core version of the plugin is the ability to accept payments from your customers via PayPal, as well as a few other core payment options. However, while PayPal is one of the leading payment gateways in operation today, it isn’t always everyone’s first choice when it comes to sending or accepting payments online. 

Thankfully, WooCommerce also supports many other payment gateways, which means your eCommerce store can make use of the other options already out there. Also, while WooCommerce does support PayPal standard payments out of the box, this does involve sending the customer to the PayPal website to enter their payment details. 

However, your WooCommerce store can be enhanced to make use of the advanced features offered by PayPal in order to allow you to better serve your customers with a more integrated checkout process, keeping them onsite as they complete the transaction.

So whether you want to avoid using PayPal altogether, gain access to more advanced payment options from this popular payment processor, or you simply want to give your customers more options for paying for your goods or services, this article will help you weigh up the available options and give you an overview of what is involved in order to add them to your site.

Options for Integrating Payment Gateways in WooCommerce

As well as the standard PayPal integration, which as previously mentioned takes the user to the PayPal website to enter their payment details, there are other options for taking payments on your WordPress WooCommerce powered online store. 

These additional options can be added to your eCommerce store by installing the corresponding extension on your site, much in the same way you would install a regular WordPress plugin. However, in order to use the more advanced features of these payment gateway addons, especially those that enable a more seamless integration with your store, you will need to have an SSL certificate installed for your store in order to be PCI compliant

With many payment gateway extensions to choose from, here are a few highlights to help you make a decision on which one might be suitable for your site, and how you can go about setting them up:

PayPal Advanced

The PayPal Advanced extension adds a seamless integration with this payment gateway to your website, allowing your customers to enter their payment details right on your site, without leaving our store. 

This creates a much more professional impression for your online store as opposed to sending them offsite to enter their details. Customers don’t need a PayPal account to make a payment via this option.

You will need a PayPal Advanced Payments account and an SSL certificate to make the most of the features of this extension, but it will simplify PCI compliance, and allow your visitors to stay on site during the check out. 

Setting up the extension is pretty straightforward and can be done using the familiar WordPress and WooCommerce user interface.

WooCommerce Payment Gateways PayPal Advanced Settings Add Payment Options in WooCommerce: Intro to Payment Gateways

This isn’t the only PayPal extension for WooCommerce and you can compare the features of the different options here.

Amazon Simple Pay

Amazon Simple Pay allows customers at your store to check out and make their payment using their Amazon account. The idea is that you can gain trust by associating yourself with the number one online retailer, while also giving your customers more options for paying for their goods.

WooCommerce Payment Gateways Amazon Simple Pay Add Payment Options in WooCommerce: Intro to Payment Gateways

This extension also allows customer to make a payment using their credit card to ensure you get the best of both worlds when it comes the options you can offer your customers. 

Again, this isn’t the only Amazon payment gateway extension for WooCommerce and you can compare the different options here.

Authorize.net CIM

The Authorize.net CIM payment gateway extension for WooCommerce allows you to easily and securely accept credit cards at your online store. 

Customers can even save their credit card and bank account details as part of their customer accounts on your store, making it very convenient for them to make repeat purchases. As the checkout process all takes place on your site, there is no disruption of the checkout flow while the payment details are entered and the goods are paid for.

WooCommerce Payment Gateways Authorize Checkout Add Payment Options in WooCommerce: Intro to Payment Gateways

For PCI compliance, you will need an SSL certificate to ensure the payment details that are entered are securely store on your site. 

Conclusion 

As you can see, there are many options for expanding the payment processing abilities of a WooCommerce powered eCommerce store. While the standard PayPal features might be enough for some users, having the ability to keep users on your store for the entire checkout process, as well as giving them the ability to save their payment details for later use can be beneficial to both you the store owner and the customer. 

However, the more integrated the payment process is for your site, the more responsibility will be on your shoulders to ensure the transaction is secure. If you need any help with this please get in touch to discuss the various options for handling payments on your site and ensuring you remain PCI compliant.