Sell products online with WordPress & Woocommerce.

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Online shopping has become the norm in this digital age we live in today. According to The Office of national statistics, in November 2017 19.8% of retail sales were made across the internet, compared to Just 4.4% for the same period in 2007 10 years previously. So if you have products to sell it just makes common sense to sell products online.

So you want to sell products online?

There are many ways you can achieve this. You can use an online marketplace, such as eBay, Amazon, and Etsy to sell products online. These platforms can be quite successful, or maybe not depending on the competitiveness of your niche across the platform of choice. Another option is to use an e-commerce platform such as Shopify. However, with both these options, your online shop is not your own and come with a price in commission charges, heavy subscription fees or both, eating into your profit margins.

It docent cost the earth to sell products online.

Bet you are thinking to yourself your very own website would be expensive and out of your budget. Yes, it can be dear to setup if you hired a web designer. But he will only be around until your site is up and running anyway and you will need to operate the site (add content, products etc:) yourself. So with or without a designer or developer, you (or an employee) will still need to learn to use the backend of the website. And the best thing is, the software is totally FREE of charge.

“There are no coding or programming skills involved”

Powered by Creative Market

If you want to sell products online with your own online store with very little running costs, then read on as I show you how easy it is to build your very own e-commerce website compleat with shopping cart and payment gateway. There are no coding or programming skills involved. If you can write an email, fill out a form online or use a word processing application like Microsoft Word, then you already have all the skills you need to start selling online with your own e-commerce shop. complete with shopping cart and payment gateway. There are no coding or programming skills involved. If you can write an email, fill out a form online or use a word processing application like Microsoft Word, then you already have all the skills you need to start selling online with your own e-commerce shop.

What will you need to sell products online?

You will need.

  • A web hosting service
  • A Domain name.
  • FREE SSL certificate.
  • The FREE content Management system (CMS) called “WordPress”.
  • The FREE e-commerce platform Plugin by “Woocommerce”.

To get started you need to purchase your Domain name and web hosting service. This is usually done at the same time from your chosen hosting provider. My provider of choice is TSOHost who provide a one-click WordPress installation feature. I can vouch for them, the service is impeccable. Hosting starts at just £2.99 a month and includes free SSL certificate. Setting up hosting is quite straightforward, just follow the onscreen instructions.

There are other hosting companies. The things to look for when choosing one is do they provide one-click WordPress installation and FREE SSL certificate capabilities.

Setting up hosting and WordPress are covered in these following articles.

When you have set up your domain name and hosting you need to connect your domain to an SSL certificate before installing WordPress. This can be done later but it means changing settings and URLs and this can be tricky.

TSOHost give you the option of a FREE SSL certificate provided by “Let’s Encrypt”

Install the WooCommerce WordPress plugin.

You need the”WooCommerce” plugin to turn it into a fully functional e-commerce store.

Woocommerce cover image https://wordpress.org/plugins/woocommerce/ sell products online
Image curtesy of Woocommerce.
Go to Plugins/Add new sell products online

To install “WooCommerce”, go to your dashboard and click Plugins – Add New.

Wordpress's add new plugin page

The Add New plugin page looks something like this. It opens on the “featured” by default. The other tabs are Popular, Recommended, and Favourites. You will most likely find “Woocommerce” close to the top of the first page of the “popular” tab.

Searching for the Woocommerce wordpress e-commerce plugin.

If not just type Woocommerce into the search box in the top right of the page.

The Woocommerce pluginpain

This is how the plugin looks in the search results.

installing woocommerce plugin
Activate woocommerce for wordpress

Click install. Once installed, click activate.

Setting up WooCommerce.

On activation you will be presented with the setup wizard.

Setting up WooCommerce. lets go

The first page of the setup wizard asks general information about your location, address, and local currency. Also, if you are intending to sell physical goods, digital goods, or both. When you have finished just hit the “let’s go!” button.

Payments and payment gateways.

On the following page you asked to choose your payment gateway.

Set payment methods PayPal and stripe

WooComerce includes two payment gateways to get you started. PayPal and Stripe. You can either choose one or have both switched on. This will give your customers a choice.

PayPal.

PayPal is the easiest to set up and most people already have a PayPal business account. When a customer uses PayPal they have more choice of payment methods. Debit/credit cards, direct debit Apple Pay or PayPal balance. Transaction fees are 3.4% +20p. You can withdraw your money instantly in most cases. They do on occasion put a 21-day hold on some transactions if they suspect fraudulent behaviour. This is to protect PayPal from loosing out on Chargebacks. PayPal directs customers off your site to complete the transaction and then directs them back after checkout.

Stripe.

Stripe only allows credit and debit cards as well as apple pay. Your funds will automatically be paid into your account on a seven-day rollout to protect them from chargebacks. This can be a problem where cash flow is concerned. However, on the upside, they only charge a very low 1.4% +20p per transaction on all European cards, including the U.K. Other international cards are still a very competitive 1.7% + 20p. So when you do get your hands on your wonga you will receive a substantial difference. when all those transactions are added up. All transactions are done on your own site.

NB: You will need to set up your payment gateway in payment settings after the setup wizard is complete.

Other payment gateways.

There are many other payment providers. You may be using one already. WooCommerce has a long list of payment provider “Add-Ons” Including “Square” and “Amazon Pay”.

Other Payment methods.

You can also setup payments by.

  • Direct bank transfer.
  • Cheque Payments.
  • Cash on Delivery.

Click continue once you have done.

Shipping.

On this page, you will be able to set your shipping charges and your units for weights and measures.

set shipping

Again, once completed click continue.

Recommended for all WooCommerce Stores

Is the name of the following page.

Recommendations from the set[up wizard

These are WooCommerce’s recommendations, not mine. I do however think that the Free “Storefront Theme” is ideal for beginners. The other two are either paid for or “Freemium” extensions. So I recommend leaving that two un-ticked for now. They can always be added at a later date.

Press continue button once you are ready .

You are now ready to sell products online.

you are ready to start sell products online

Now go to your admin dashboard, locate “WooCommerce” in the right sidebar, and click on it.

Compleat payment setup.

You will, of course, need to set up your payment methods before you are able to sell products online.

Locate wooCommerce sexting on sidebar

Hover over “WooCommerce” in the sidebar and click settings.

Choose your methods of payment with the toggles then go to manage settings for each one to complete the setup.

For example, this is the setup page for PayPal.

Customise the “Store Front” Theme.

woocommerce on sidebar

You will be presented with this.

sell products online, design your store

leave the boxes checked and click lets go.

The customiser

The site will open in the customiser.

Welcome to the customiser

The help wizard will take you through various steps. You can change the colours and fonts etc. Make sure to press publish to save any changes.

After a little tinkering.

Just after a little tinkering. The “Feature Image” can be changed in the page editor.

During the initial set up, Woocommerce has created some pages for you. A shop page, so you can sell products online, basket page and checkout page as well as a page for customer accounts. Depending on your menu setup they may or may not all be showing in your menu. You can re-arrange the menu items under menus.

Meneu sample shop

Categories and Products.

You can see that the setup wizard has added some sample categories and products for you. To give you an idea of how things will look. You may wish to change or remove these before you add your own.

categories and product samples

Now you can set up some categories for your online shop and start creating some products. Everything you need is easily located on the right sidebar os your WordPress admin, under Woocommerce.

Add a new category.

From the sidebar under products locate and click categories.

Fill-out some details for your new category.

uoload image

You can add an image.

Click the add new category button to save the newly created category. 

Create a new product.

woo -30 add new sell products online

Under products, locate add new and click the link.

You will be presented with a new product editing page that will look something like this.

woocommerce new product page

Add a title and description.

Add your product title and description.

Under the general tab.

woocommerce product type and price

Choose your product type. In this scenario, we are going with a “simple product”. The vertule checkbox has been ticked (✔️) as it is an item that can be shipped (or collected). Not a digital download such as a photograph or an e-book. Then fill in the price of the product.

Ehe inventory tab.

Next click on the inventory tab to fill out your stock details for your product.

Give your new product SKU (stock-keeping unit identifier). For this tutorial, I have called it Trousers-1.

woocommerce inventory tab example 1

Tick (✔️) the “Enable stock management at product level” checkbox and enter the stock quantity.

woocommerce inventory tab example 2

Short description.

You can add a short description that will show on your shop pages.

Ad images.

On the bottom right of the product editing page, you can add a product image and some gallery images.

Set product image and product gallery.

Click on the “Set product image” link to set the main feature image of your product.

woo-57 select or upload product image

Give your image a title and a descriptive alt-text. This is important for your shops S.E.O. (search engine optimisation).

Then click on the “Set product image” button.

product image box with added image

Product gallery.

If you have multiple images of your product you can show them in a gallery on the product page. This is a great way to sell products online

To do this click onto the “Add product gallery image” link.

I have just added some random images for the purpose of this demonstration.

Adding a product gallery is a cool way to sell products online
Adding a product gallery is a cool way to sell products online

Add some product tags.

Product tags will help your customers find what they are looking for and will help with S.E.O.

Product tags are essential when you sell products online.

Now select a category.

Or create a new shop category with the “+ Add new category” link.

choose a shop category for your product.

Release your awesome product to the world.

Check that all is ok, and click “publish“.

Publish your product online.

You can now view your product online.

View your product online

Your new product page is complete with add to cart button and gallery.

Your new Woocommerce  product page

…and how it looks on the shop page.

Sell products online on your Woocommerce storefront.

Here are some of my own products.

Summary off your WooCommerce backend.

You have already visited this area when we set-up our product page and theme. etc.

Woocommerce menu

Everything you need to run your e-commerce store and to sell products online can be found here.

WooCommerce tab.

From this tab you can:

  • check your orders.
  • create a coupon code.
  • Generate a report.
  • Change settings.
  • Add WooCommerce extensions.

Products tab.

This tab lets you:

  • View and edit all of your products.
  • Add new Products.
  • Create new categories and edit old ones.
  • Create new tags and edit old ones.

WooCommerce extensions & open source plugins.

WooCommerce is a good example of an open-source and freemium plugin and is great straight out of the box. It has everything you need to sell products online. If you need any extras to sell products online or services you can either find it in a paid for an extension from wooCommerce or as a free plugin on the WordPress plugin repository.

For example, on my “logo design service” products I use a free plugin that lets clients enter details about their business and the style of logo they are looking for before adding their chosen product to their shopping basket.

The possibilities are endless.

Summary

There is a small learning curve with WordPress and WooCommerce, but nothing you can’t find an answer to. There is plenty of resources online including https://codex.wordpress.org/Main_Page,

So that’s how easy it is for you to independently set yourself up and sell products online. 

Don’t have any products to sell online? Read my article on a choice of craft books that will show you how.

Get involved.

If you like or dislike, this article on selling products online, or wish to share your own experiences, please add a comment below. All your views and questions are welcome and I will reply to all in person.

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