Launching and running a WooCommerce shop is very simple in the long-term perspective. The beginnings are difficult in any field. To make the start easier for you, I will discuss the basics in this manual - WooCommerce products.
Product management in WooCommerce is similar to activities in WordPress: adding posts, editing pages, assigning categories. The familiar interface helps in getting started with WooCommerce to WordPress users.
WooCommerce products - general information
You can access products from the Products menu level. If you just started your WooCommerce adventure, you will most likely have no products in the list. You can add your first product in a simple way by clicking Add Product. I encourage you to install the Storefront theme and import example products. Some of them are visible in the screenshot below.
WooCommerce offers several possibilities for configuring products. The system is quite universal: you can sell both physical and digital products, i.e. e-books. You can control the stock, set up promotions, discount codes and many other functions in your WooCommerce store. You can configure all those features on you own without expert knowledge.
As you already have experience with WordPress, you surely know that managing posts, adding new categories and editing the content on pages is quite straightforward. There is nothing more complicated in product management.
Simple WooCommerce products configuration - main settings
Once you go to a selected product or add a new one, the product content box will appear. It looks the same as in posts or pages. You will enter product description here. Below you will find product settings. Thanks to a transparent interface of that window, managing products in WooCommerce is simple.
As you can see in the screenshot above I selected Simple product from the list of product types. This is what we are going to focus on in this tutorial. In General settings you can set the regular and sale price. Once you set the sale price, both prices will be visible in the shop and the regular one will be crossed out. Here you can also set a schedule for your discount so that it automatically ends for example after one week.
On the very bottom of the window, there are settings connected with taxes. For more information in this topic, refer to our complete WooCommerce Taxes guide.
Virtual and downloadable products
A new product is a physical product by default. On the top of the window with settings, you can change the product to a virtual and/or downloadable.
If you select virtual, settings related to shipping on the left side of the window will disappear. Once such a virtual product is sold, you can send it via e-mail - for instance PDF ticket to an event to be printed at home. What is interesting here is the possibility to set a product as a physical one with option for download. This way we - as a seller - will receive information on the purchased product and the customer, apart from the product, will automatically receive a defined file via e-mail.
The Inventory tab allows you to configure how to manage the stock. You can do this manually. When you see that you have run out of a given product, you will set that it is unavailable. Such change is possible with stock management, which can assume value In stock or Out of stock.
However it is much better to rely on automation, i.e. enable the option of managing the stock by the system. Managing products in WooCommerce becomes much more convenient then as it requires less work from you. I will proceed to discuss that option in a moment.
Here I would like to mention the SKU field, which allows you to introduce an individual product identifier in our shop. You can also set unit sale if for some reason you would like to limit the number of orders of a given product to one per one order.
An example use of that option are customized products of our own making or products requiring deeper consultation prior to manufacturing.
But let me focus on stock management. Here you simply insert how many units of a given product are in stock. That stock will update with every purchase of the product.
We also have an additional option here - you can turn on backorders. This means that a customer can place orders for products which are not physically in stock. It is well worth activating that option if you know that you can quickly receive the product in the warehouse from a distributor or producer.
When you sell a physical product you can set parameters of that product such as size and weight here. In the future, thanks to the use of such plugins as Flexible Shipping you will be able to set the shipping cost depending on the total weight of products.
In the shipping settings you can configure the shipping class for the product. Shipping classes are similar to products categories but they group products by shipping type, i.e. big products or products made of glass (that require fragile shipping). For instance, if you send glass items, you can set an appropriate class so that after those products are found in the cart, the customer sees the shipping method involving protection of the parcel against damage. Shipping classes are also supported by the Flexible Shipping plugin mentioned before.
Have you ever heard of such terms as up-selling or cross-selling? Up-selling means selling a more expensive option, for example a notebook with a larger screen than the customer planned to buy or a larger set of tennis balls. Cross-selling is selling products which are related to the product selected by the customer. Taking the example of the notebook, that would be a mouse, notebook bag or screen cleaning cloths.
You can configure all those options here. Products related to those currently browsed by the customer will be suggested on the product and cart pages.
In related products, there is also an option for grouping products in bundles.
Product attributes are additional features you would like to assign to products. The configuration allows you to show them in the Additional Information tab on the product page - as in the screenshot below.
The attributes can also be used for filtering products in the products list. The customer may want to find all T-shirts offered by our shop, which are available in grey. Attributes make that possible. Another example: a notebook can have a DVD drive or not. An attribute can therefore be DVD drive with yes and no values. Instead of such simple values, you can also use the following: Blu-ray, DVD or none. You have full freedom in this respect. Attributes can be used to mark special features of a product as well.
Attributes are most often used to create variable products. They are a basis for products with variations. In short, we then have a possibility to set one product (for instance a T-shirt) with a selected attribute, e.g. the color with the following example values: red, yellow and green. Thanks to the use of variations, the customer - entering one T-shirt model - will be able to select the color they are interested in with a simple list. As of right now, you can surely create a separate product for each T-shirt color, without the use of attributes or variations.
Here you can add a note to the order. It will be shown to the customer in an e-mail. For instance, you can add a note on the necessity to contact you if the customer orders a personalized product.
In this window, you can also include an opinion under a product. Customers will be able to write their reviews. Running a shop and managing products in WooCommerce becomes much more convenient when we are flooded with positive reviews by our customers :)
Categories and tags
That function is based on a standard functionality of WordPress. When you add a post, you link it to a specific category. You can do the same with products.
You can create any categories, which you will use later for instance to create the menu of your shop website. Tags also operate in a standard WordPress-like manner.
With categories, you can distribute products for instance into men's and women's clothing. Tags may be useful to describe additional product features, e.g. color or accessories. When browsing the shop, the customer will be able to search for products based on that additional metadata.
Are you ready to manage WooCommerce products?
In this guide I showed you the basics related to product management. You acquired the skill of adding simple products. Product management in WooCommerce does not seem so difficult anymore, does it? :) Say in a comment below whether any aspects of that article are still unclear to you.