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9 Easy Steps to Set Up WooCommerce

Selling products online is one of the best ways to monetize a website. Whether you want to start a new ecommerce site from scratch or add shopping cart functionality to an existing website, there is plenty of money to be made in this space.

WooCommerce makes it easy to turn any WordPress site into an ecommerce shop. With a simple plugin installation, you can convert your blog or personal website into an online store without having to migrate your site to a new platform.

Crazy Egg’s Favorite Tools for Setting Up an Ecommerce Site

Below you’ll find our Golden Eggs—our top recommended ecommerce platforms that you can use as an alternative to WooCommerce.

Shopify is an all-in-one ecommerce platform and website builder that’s feature-packed and supports any type of online store. Start your three-day free trial today.

Wix is a simple drag-and-drop website builder that’s perfect for beginners and has over 500+ ecommerce templates to choose from. Get started for free—no credit card required.

Bluehost offers best-in-class hosting with a guided online store builder and tons of built-in features. Create a WooCommerce-powered online store today with Bluehost.

Crazy Egg's favorite tools for setting up an ecommerce site - Golden Eggs

More Top Ecommerce Platforms

Our team here at Crazy Egg has spent countless hours testing, researching, and reviewing more than 20+ different ecommerce platforms. After comparing the usability, features, pricing, and real reviews from customers, we narrowed our list down to 12 ecommerce platforms that we can recommend with confidence. Check out our in-depth reviews and buying guide to learn more about the best ecommerce platforms on the market today. 

Step 1 – Get Started With WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, and this means that you need to have an active WordPress account to get started with WooCommerce.

To clarify, WooCommerce cannot be used on any other CMS, website builder, or ecommerce platform. It’s strictly for WordPress. This makes it an excellent option for existing WordPress sites that want to add shopping cart functionality to their site—without having to migrate platforms.

With that said, you can still get started with WooCommerce if you’re starting a new website from scratch. You’ll just need to create your WordPress account in the process as well, which can be completed at the same time.

Screenshot of sign up screen for WooCommerce with a WordPress.com account.

The plugin is used to power over 3.4 million online stores worldwide, including 27% of the top one million ecommerce sites. 

As an open-source platform, all of your store information, customer data, and order details still belong to you. The plugin has built-in marketing features, extensive payment processing options, and allows for complete no-code customization. 

It’s free to install on your WordPress site, and any additional WooCommerce subscriptions you choose are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Step 2 – Install the Plugin

Once you’ve signed up for WooCommerce, you can install the plugin directly from your WordPress dashboard. Just navigate to the Plugins tab on the left side of your screen. Search for WooCommerce and click the Install Now button,

Screenshot with arrows indicated where to click to install the WooCommerce plugin on WordPress.

After the installation is complete, you’ll need to activate the plugin to continue. Once activated, you’ll automatically be brought through the Setup Wizard.

The Setup Wizard is the easiest way to set up WooCommerce, as it walks you through everything that needs to be done step-by-step. 

Step 3 – Add Your Store Details

The first part of the Setup Wizard involves basic information about your business. You’ll need to complete a form that includes your company’s physical address along with your email address to continue.

From there, WooCommerce will ask you for more information about your industry. Options include:

  • Fashion, apparel, and accessories,
  • Health and beauty
  • Electronics and computers
  • Food and drink
  • Home, furniture, and garden,
  • CBD and other hemp-based products
  • Education and learning

If you don’t see your industry on the list, no problem. Simply select the Other option and type in an industry that best describes your business. 

You’ll also need to distinguish what types of products you’ll be listing on your WooCommerce site. It’s free to use WooCommerce for physical products, downloads, and subscriptions. But memberships, bookings, bundles, and customizable products carry a monthly subscription fee.

Screenshot of WooCommerce prompt asking what type of products will be listed.

WooCommerce will ask for a little more information about your business, including how many products you’re planning to list, if and where you’re currently selling products, and your current annual revenue. 

Step 4 – Configure Additional Features

WooCommerce comes pre-configured with a handful of free extensions. You can add or remove them at any time. But the Setup Wizard will prompt you to select them now, which makes life easier for you later.

Here’s an overview of those optional add-ons and what they do:

  • WooCommerce Payments — A completely integrated payment solution. You can use it to collect and process payments online, manage your revenue, and track cash flow directly from your WordPress dashboard.
  • WooCommerce Shipping — Set up label printing for DHL and USPS directly from your WooCommerce dashboard. There are built-in shipping discounts with this feature as well.
  • WooCommerce Tax — Automatically calculate sales tax for each order during the checkout process. This supports state, city, county, and other local taxes.
  • Jetpack — A WordPress security and backup plugin that protects your store’s data and customer information. It’s great for adding an extra layer of security to WooCommerce.
  • MailPoet — Set up email marketing with automation, promotional drips, and other valuable email features straight from your online store. 
  • Google Listings and Ads — Set up and display product advertisements through Google platforms, like YouTube, Gmail, Google search results, and more. 

None of these free add-ons is a requirement. But they do make things useful, as you’ll eventually need to have a solution for nearly everything on this list.

For example, you’ll need to process payments for your store to function, and you must calculate accurate taxes to remain compliant. You can probably skip the MailPoet add-on, as there are plenty of other great email marketing tools out there that integrate smoothly with WordPress and WooCommerce. If you’re going to print labels on your own, you can easily integrate ShipStation or similar tools with WooCommerce if you don’t want to use WooCommerce Shipping. 

The Jetpack extension is nice to have since security must be a top priority for every ecommerce site. 

Screenshot of the jetpack extension with security benefits described for an ecommerce site.

Step 5 – Choose Your Theme

By default, WooCommerce will work with any WordPress theme. So if you already have a WordPress website up and running, your existing theme will be compatible with your new ecommerce plugin.

With that said, you should strongly consider changing your theme to an option that’s built for selling online and optimized for conversions. 

Simply put, the best theme for a blog or content site likely won’t be the best option for an ecommerce store. The way users behave on those sites is completely different. So once you make the shift to selling online, you need to adjust your theme and design accordingly. 

There are more than 50 different WooCommerce themes to choose from. You’ll see a mix of free and paid options. 

Screenshot of a WooCommerce theme example.

To get a better feel for a theme, you can always look at a live demo. Then you can click around and explore to see if the theme matches the customer experience you want on your site. 

Narrowing down your theme choices is much easier if you select a category that matches your store type. Examples include:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Bookings and accommodations
  • Audio and digital
  • Flowers, gifts, and collectibles
  • Food and drink
  • Health and beauty
  • Pets and pet care
  • Sports and recreation
  • Toys and games
  • Home and furniture
  • Electronics and software

Most paid themes start for less than $50 in your first year, then renew for around $80 for each year after that. Theme subscriptions through WooCommerce include one year of updates, support, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Step 6 – Select Your Payment Processor

Payment processing is a key part of any online store, and WooCommerce is no different. Your ecommerce site can’t operate without this step, so it’s important that you take your time and don’t rush through it.

For those of you who already have an existing business with a retail presence, there’s a good chance you’re already set up with a payment processing solution. If you fall into this category, reach out to your processor and see if they’re compatible with WooCommerce.

You can also search for your processor’s payment gateway directly through WooCommerce to see if it’s available. 

If you don’t already have a payment processor and you’re starting from scratch, using WooCommerce Payments is a simple and straightforward solution.

Screenshot from WooCommerce website describing how payments can be made simple.

The cool part about WooCommerce payments is that it’s also compatible with in-person sales. So if you plan to eventually expand from online selling to in-person retail, you can still use WooCommerce payments from a mobile app and card reader. 

In addition to accepting all major credit and debit cards, WooCommerce payments also work with alternative payment methods like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other digital wallets. 

Step 7 – Set Up Shipping

Next, you need to figure out how you’re going to get your products into the hands of customers. While there are dozens of options to consider, all of these methods generally fall into one of two buckets—ship things yourself or set up dropshipping.

If you’re going to ship products on your own, you need a way to print labels when a new order comes in. The WooCommerce Shipping extension lets you do this from the comfort of your own home or office with ease.

Screenshot from the WooCommerce website describing their shipping extension with shipping cost savings described.

This bypasses the need for you to go through a third-party fulfillment tool. Those solutions often require lots of manual entry, which is not only time-consuming but can also be error-prone. 

WooCommerce shipping gives you access to exclusive rates on USPS and DHL—helping you save up to 67% on shipping costs. 

If you want to enable dropshipping, that’s fine too. You just need to make sure that you have a tool that can automate fulfillment notifications to relay order information to your supplier. There are plenty of plugins and extensions to support this workflow. 

Step 8 – Set Up Taxes

Most ecommerce businesses need to charge sales tax. But this can be a hassle as you’re selling to customers in different states, regions, cities, and potentially different countries. 

Rather than having to manually calculate the taxation for each order, you can use WooCommerce extensions to automate this process for you. This is by far the easiest way to calculate taxes and ensure you’re compliant with all governing agencies in your area. 

Screenshot of WooCommerce tax partners that allow for automated tax calucation.

WooCommerce Tax and Avalara will likely be the best options for most of you. 

WooCommerce Tax is powered by Jetpack, so you’ll need to install and enable the Jetpack extension as well if you want to go that route. This is ideal for new ecommerce stores that are just getting started with WooCommerce, and it’s 100% free to use. 

For those of you who plan on selling products internationally, you’ll need a tax solution that’s a bit more advanced. That’s where Avalara comes into play. 

Avalara supports cross-border tax calculations and multi-economic nexus compliance. It even helps you calculate and report taxes on international returns. 

Step 9 – Add Products to Your Catalog and Start Selling

The only thing left to do now is import products. For smaller stores with just a handful of products, you can add items to your catalog manually. 

Screenshot showing how to add a new product on the WordPress dashboard.

Just navigate to the Products tab on the left side of your WordPress dashboard and select the Add New button. 

Alternatively, you can click Import and upload a CSV file with all of your product details to import products in bulk. 

Example parameters that you need to include with your product details include:

  • Product name
  • Attributes
  • ID
  • SKU
  • Type
  • Size
  • Variables
  • Photos

You can also configure the way your inventory levels are tracked for each product. 

Once the products have been added to your site, it’s time for you to start selling. You can officially promote your products and start driving traffic to your online store. 

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