A few powerful and flexible tools exist to help organize your product catalog. The main tools at your disposal are Categories, and Tags.
WP-e-Commerce User Guide – 3.8 Version RSS feed for this section
To get started adding new products, first we need to learn where how to navigate to the page that lists our products, and also the page that adds them. In your WordPress Dashboard, expand the Products section and click the Products link.
Up to this point we have focused on configuring the settings for WordPress and the e-Commerce plugin. Now it’s time to dig into the real meat-and-potatoes of any online store: building a catalog of products to sell.
Adding new products to the catalog is a fairly straightforward process, but there are still a number of options to consider. For instance, how does a T-shirt seller account for different sizes and colors? What about selling a digital versus a physical item? For someone with a large number of items, what elements are available to help organize and categorize them?
In this chapter we will start building products for our music shop that sells sheet music in both physical and digital formats.
This chapter will cover:
Creating New Products
Groups, Categories, and Tags
Price and Stock Control
All finished? Fantastic! The majority of the setting for your e-Commerce store are now configured. Thankfully, most of these items must only be addressed once, though you are welcome to revisit them at any time to continue tweaking and testing. We are now ready to build our product catalog.
You can import your products from a comma delimited text file.
An example of a csv import file would look like this:
Description, Additional Description, Product Name, Price, SKU, weight, weight unit, stock quantity, is limited quantity.
To upload a file simple select your CSV file and push the upload button
The marketing section provides different options and features for marketing both internally and externally for you store. No configuration is really required you just need to check the boxes of the tools you want to use.
Display Cross Sales
If selected Adds the ‘Users who bought this also bought’ item to the single products page. – Great for encouraging your users to browse to more products in your store.
Show Share This (Social Bookmarks)
This simply adds all the share this socialv book mark links to your products (single product page only). – Allowing your buyers to share your products with their friends and family encouraging more buyers to your store.
Display How Customer Found Us Survey
Adds the ‘How did you find out about us’ drop-down option at checkout.
Display Facebook Like
Simply adds a facebook like button to your single product page.
RSS (most commonly expanded as “Really Simple Syndication”) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format.
Under this heading you will find the RSS Feed Address for your products page, use this to keep all your buyers up to date with new products.
Google Merchant Centre / Google Product Search
You can use the feed link at the bottom of this section to import your products into theGoogle Merchant Centre. If you don’t have an account you will need to sign up first then add a scheduled data feed with the URL feed link. If you import your products they will appear within Google Product Search results.
The Checkout Settings tab relates to your checkout page, It is here that you set up your form fields and settings for checkout.
The Admin tab contains various settings related to administrative use. Specifically, you can configure settings for digital downloads, purchases, and e-mail.
The Presentation tab includes a plethora of available options for controlling how your store looks and operates. Specific categories include:
Product Page Settings
Shopping Cart Settings
Product Category Settings
All the following options are available under the General tab on the Settings page. These options include:
- Base Country Region Settings
- Target Market Settings
- Stock Reset Settings
- Category Url Settings
- Currency Settings
Base Country Region Settings
First things first, let’s configure the base country/region of operation. Why is this important? Choosing a base country/region of operation allows the WP e-Commerce plugin to automatically handle any necessary tax calculations for you. Select a country from the Base Country drop-down list, and if applicable, a list of regions will become available. For instance, if you select Canada as your base country, you can then choose from a list of available Provinces.
Our sample music shop is located in California, so let’s make the appropriate selections.
Target Market Settings
Select the countries that you will be selling your products to – if you leave a country unchecked then that country will not display in the delivery and billing countries on the checkout form, shipping quotes will also not be able to be generated so you wont be able to sell your products to that location.
Stock Reset Settings
This controls how long stock will get reserved for in someones cart. You can also specify decimal amounts such as ’0.5 days’ or ’1.25 weeks’. Note that the minimum interval you can enter is 1 hour, i.e. you can’t schedule it to run every 0.5 hour.
Category Url Settings
When Hierarchical Product Category URL is enabled, parent product categories are also included in the product URL, you will need to have a nice permalink setting to reflect this turned on also.
For example: example.com/products-page/parent-cat/sub-cat/product-name
This is where you configure the base currency for your store
Currency Type: Select the currency type you are going to use in your store – this will be displayed on the front end and be the currency that is sent to the payment gateways – If your chosen currency is not supported by some of the gateways (eg PayPal) when you configure your gateway you will be asked what currency you want to use to send to the gateway. this currency will not be displayed on your shop though instead your selected currency from the general settings will be converted into the gateway chosen currency for processing at the gateway.
Currency Sign Location: Each currency has a different rule for that so we give you the choice! This will just reflect where they currency sign will be displayed on your products pages.
Thousands and decimal separators: The name says it all – you probably wont need to change this at all.
A smoothly running e-Commerce store requires some time spent configuring the initial plugin settings. For instance, where should the shopping cart appear on your site? How much tax should buyers have to pay? What about e-mail reports?
Fortunately, most of these settings only need to be configured once, but they are integral to the proper functioning of your store. Let’s get started. All of the following options can be found by expanding the Setting section of the WordPress Dashboard and clicking Store.
Congratulations! You have now completed all the basic pre-requisites needed to prepare your WordPress site for use as an e-Commerce platform. Your store-in-progress should now look and act much less like a blog and much more like a business platform.
Chapter 2 covers:
How to install and activate third-party themes.
Instructions for disabling comments on posts and pages, both on an individual and a global basis.
Adding new pages and setting a static front page.
How widgets add massive flexibility and functionality to any WordPress e-Commerce site.
A range of recommended complementary third-party Plugins, including tools for spam protection, search engine optimization, database backup, and polls.
Three different options for adding a contact form, ranging from simple to advanced.
Taking advantage of WordPress’ strength as a blogging platform to add a
Up to this point, we’ve worked hard to convert WordPress from a traditional blogging platform into a more-appropriate business platform. However, we can’t deny that blogging is ultimately a strength of WordPress.
Business blogging is rapidly becoming more popular, and while you can certainly create a functional e-Commerce site with WordPress using nothing but static pages and the WP e-Commerce Plugin, the addition of dynamic content on a blog helps give your shop a personal element. It provides the customer a sense of the face and personality behind the store. If nothing else, it can serve as a medium for communication between you as a store owner and your visitors. Adding a business blog only takes a few clicks.
No e-Commerce site is complete without providing a way for customers to contact the shop owner(s). Fortunately, this is an easy task to accomplish. Some themes for WordPress already contain a “Contact” page template. If your theme does not, there are a multitude of Plugins that can bolt on that functionality with only a click or two. Here are three options:
Also known as “sidebar accessories”, Widgets are one of the slickest and easiest ways to vary the content of your WordPress sidebars. With Widgets, you can elegantly add text, images, gadgets, HTML, or any other design elements to one or more sidebars on your site. A growing number of Plugins for WordPress also come with additional Widget features, including the WP e-Commerce Plugin.
To get started with Widgets, go to Appearance in your Dashboard and click Widgets.
By default, the main page of your WordPress site shows a running list of your latest posts. While this is perfectly acceptable for a personal blog, an e-Commerce site typically takes a more static approach so as not to confuse any first-time visitors.
Fortunately, configuring a static front page is simple. First, we need to create a new page that will become the default front page. In your WordPress Dashboard, go to Pages and select Add New.
While the ability to leave comments and interact with readers is integral to the way a standard blog works, it’s not nearly as important for an e-Commerce site. Unless you have a specific need for comments on your site (such as a business blog), you can disable them entirely. The following instructions will cover how to disable and remove all traces of comments on your site, but you’re free to follow only as much as you need, depending on how much customer interaction and feedback you wish to allow. For instance, you may wish to disable comments on WordPress pages, but not on posts, therefore leaving room for comments on a business blog. The choice is up to you.
Before we can dive into listing and selling our products, we first need to address a few cosmetic and functionality issues. Right out-of-the-box, a default installation of WordPress works great as a typical blogging platform, but the needs for an e-Commerce site are different. Let’s work on converting WordPress from a blog-centric platform to a business-focused platform.
This chapter will cover:
- Installing Third-Party Themes
- Enabling / Disabling Comments
- Setting Up a Static Front Page
- Using Widgets
- Complementary Plugins
- Adding a Contact Form
- Adding a Business Blog
Once you have uploaded some themes to try, it’s time to activate them. Enter your WordPress admin panel and scroll down to the Appearance section within the Dashboard. Click the Themes link.
You should now see a list of available themes that you uploaded, plus your currently active theme. Clicking on an available theme will show a preview of your site using that theme. In our case, we will go ahead and click the Crafty Cart theme.
One of the major strengths of WordPress is how easy it is to customize and alter. This is especially true with regard to themes. If you have the knowledge, experience, and patience to build a theme for your site completely from scratch, you are more than welcome to do so. For the rest of us, it’s easy to install and tweak a pre-built theme from a third-party.
One strong recommendation is to create a testing ground in which to install WordPress and the WP e-Commerce plugin that is independent from your production server. That way, you can test and re-test any changes without fear of breaking your live site.
WordPress is a fantastic tool for building a personal web site, but it works equally well as the foundation for an online store. Plus, it’s open nature and extensibility allow for limitless customization and modification.
The WP e-Commerce Plugin harnesses the power and flexibility of WordPress and seamlessly integrates a shopping cart into it. Anyone with an existing WordPress installation can quickly add the ability to sell goods and services.
The remaining chapters will walk through the process of creating and deploying an online store. To demonstrate this process, we will build a sample music store that publishes and sells sheet music in both in physical printed form and electronically via digital downloads.
Chapter 1 covers:
WordPress’ capabilities and familiarity as a tool for both self-publishing and e-Commerce.
- Some business and website possibilities of the combination of WordPress and the e-Commerce Plugin.
- What you sign up for when you decide to use WordPress for e-Commerce: it’s free (in terms of money and speech) extensible, and widely used..
- A basic overview of the features included in the WP e-Commerce Plugin.
- How to upload and activate the WP e-Commerce Plugin into an existing WordPress installation.
Before we begin the installation and configuration of the WP e-Commerce Plugin, let’s make one thing clear: I strongly recommend setting up a test platform. You’re going to get your hands dirty during this process, and the last thing you want to do is break anything on your production server.
Setting up an e-Commerce site is much different from a personal web site or blog. Having a testing platform is especially important once we deploy the initial site. Without a testing ground, one little accident or mistake can make your site non-functional, and a broken e-Commerce site is of little use to anyone. I implore you not to ignore this warning – yes, it can happen to you, even through no fault of your own. Perhaps a newly installed Plugin disagreed explosively with an existing Plugin. Perhaps a WordPress update went awry. No matter the issue, test all changes and updates before rolling them out to the production server.
Appendix B covers the setup of a WAMP test server. You can set up WordPress and the e-Commerce Plugin on the test server and try all instructions covered in this book before making a single change to your production server.
Created by the New Zealand-based Instinct company, WP e-Commerce is an easy and elegant way to integrate an e-Commerce capability into WordPress. The Plugin is free (released under the GNU General Public License), though some additional modules are available as part of a paid upgrade.
WP e-Commerce is the product of over four years of development and testing. With over 1,400,000 downloads to its fame (as of this writing) and featured as one of the Most Popular Plugins for WordPress, WP e-Commerce is the most tried-and-true way to build an online store with WordPress.
It’s an ideal solution for selling physical goods, services, and digital products online.
Downloads are available at http://www.getshopped.org
Maybe you are attracted to WordPress because it’s free, it’s easy to use, or perhaps because you have a client who wants to add an e-Commerce component to an existing WordPress-based site next week. No matter the case, you need to know a little about what makes it special.
There are lots of great reasons to build an e-Commerce web site. Perhaps you are a small business owner with goods or services to sell. Maybe you are an author or musician who wants to sell documents, audio files, or other digital downloads. Whether as part of a business or hobby, running an e-Commerce site can increase your sales, public profile, and your income.
Chapter 1: Getting Started with WordPress and e-Commerce
- WordPress is free (as in memory)
- WordPress is free (as in speech)
- WordPress is widely used
- WordPress is flexible and extendable
About the WP-e-Commerce plugin
- Site and Business possibilities
- Photography Shop
- Music shop with digital downloads
- Clothing shop
- Accessory shop
- WP-e-Commerce feature overview
- Organization and layout
- Products and merchandising
- Checkout and payments
- Marketing tools
- Plugin Installation
- Plugin Activation
- Apendix B: Setting up a WAMP Testing Platform
Chapter 2: Getting Ready to Sell
Installing third-party themes
- Installing themes through the WordPress Dashbord
- Uploading themes via FTP
Activating third-party themes
Enabling and disabling comments
- Disabling comments on individual posts and pages
- Disabling comments globally
- Removing comment traces from your theme
Setting up a static front page
- Creating text widgets
Adding a contact form
Adding a business blog
Chapter 3: Configure your e-commerce Settings
- Button Settings
- Product Settings
- Show Product Ratings
- Show Stock Availability
- Display Fancy Purchase Notifications
- Display per item shipping
- Disable link in Title
- Add quantity field to each product description
- Product Page Settings
- Shopping Cart Settings
- Cart Location
- Display tax and postage
- Product Category Settings
- Show Category Group Description
- Show Category Group Thumbnails
- Use Category Grid View:
- Thumbnail Settings
- Pagination Settings
- Comment Settings
- Digital Downloads
- E-mail Settings
Chapter 4: Managing Your Product Catalog
Creating new products
- Creating a physical product
- Creating a digital product
Product Categories and Tags
- Product Categories
- Deleting Categories
- Creating Cateogires
- Product Cateogires Widget
- Product Tags
Price And Stock Control
- Custom Meta
- Merchants Notes
- Personalisation Options
- Common Problems (3)
- Troubleshooting (1)
- Configuring Your Store (36)
- Developer Documentation (311)
- Extending Your Store (18)
- Getting Started (4)
- Managing Your Store (9)
- Upgrades (2)
- Resources (47)
- WP-e-Commerce User Guide – 3.8 Version (27)