Want to start an online store? Or post up an internet catalog for your brick and mortar shop? Let me introduce you to e-Commerce. It’s so easy to see it as an easy way to make money, build an asset, and really cash in on the power and global reach of the internet. Interested to find out more? Read on!
E-Commerce stores can be an excellent expansion to your current business to grow to the next stage, if you do it the right way, and take the time to learn how to do it properly.
There are a number of e-Commerce options in the market, with so many kind of variations and types. Shopify is one of the more famous options but there’s also Magento, OpenCart and PrestaShop. To an e-Commerce rookie, some of these might be daunting to use. Well, if you are familiar with blogging, or using WordPress, how about you try out WooCommerce, which is a WordPress Plugin.
What is WooCommerce Plugin?
WooCommerce Plugin is a eCommerce plugin for WordPress. The WooCommerce Plugin and Theme (there are a number of free options, Mystle and WooTheme) that helps you sell anything beautifully. With WooCommerce Plugin, you can transform your WordPress website into a thorough-bred online e-Commerce store. It has a detail product catalog system, with categorries and sub-categories to help you organise and sort out your inventory as well. It is a professional-quality theme and plugin, delivering enterprise-level quality & features whilst being FREE.
For one of the websites I helped setup, I enjoyed using the Mystile theme. I like Mystile because it had a clean and simplified look for you to build or customise from. There are a lot of options, relatively modern (released in Aug 2012) and is responsive as standard, and comes bundled with plenty of options and alternate colour schemes.
Beyond that, WooThemes has great documentation, so I’m not going to spend too much time here paraphrasing their setup guide. Upon installation, WooCommerce will ask your permission to ‘install the WooCommerce pages’ (click yes) – this will generate pages for the cart, checkout, store, etc. I then go through and update settings accordingly – specifying location, tax rate, allowing for inventory management, shipping options, payment gateways, the email template, and analytics integration.
The whole premise of WooCommerce is user-friendliness, and I have had great success in setting up the initial catalog, establishment of shipping methods, and also setup our payment gateways all with very little time or effort. Out of the box, you get a few basic payment options, things like Direct Bank Transfer, Cheque, Cash On Delivery, which have no basis to be on an online store. However, what you do get is PayPal which should be fine for most people starting out.
Tip: If you just want an Online Catalog
For this website (www.rehabking.com.sg) which I used Mystile, I wanted to set it up as a Catalog only. Hence, I needed to remove features such as the cart, account login, checkout functions etc. So the question was on How do I remove the add to cart button from the products page, which apparently wasn’t so easy to find. If you asked WooThemes, the default response is to refer you to this paid option, which allows you to Transform WooCommerce into an online catalog by removing eCommerce functionality. It would cost you $29 though.
The easier way is for some CSS hacking. Go to Appearance -> Edit CSS, and paste in the following lines of magic code:
For the second line of code, that will remove the top right hand corner shopping cart and checkout functions. It would also remove the product search bar. I wanted to keep the search bar so I added it back in through a sidebar widget. Well those above lines of CSS codes help remove or take out the cart, checkout process and ‘buy now’ buttons, and coverts WooCommerce Mystile theme to a simple catalog of products which aren’t currently for sale online.