WooCommerce is a free eCommerce plugin for WordPress, one of the most popular and robust content management systems available today. Out of the box, WooCommerce has a ton of functionality like product and inventory management, shipping options, tax and payment options, marketing, reporting, and more. And for virtually every other eCommerce need there is a wide selection of extensions that can be downloaded.
Beyond your standard ecommerce model, WooCommerce can also power a variety of other online businesses. Click the links below to jump to the following:
Dropshipping WooCommerce Store
Dropshipping, with its relatively low barrier to entry, is a great way for online retailers to learn more about running an ecommerce store while minimizing their risks. Instead of purchasing and storing inventory, a dropshipping store sells items from a supplier. Once the item sells on your website, you place the order with your dropshipper at your wholesale rate, they fulfill and ship the order to the customer, and you keep the retail margin as your profit.
If you are reading this post, you may already be familiar with drop shipping and wondering if you can run that sort of store on WooCommerce? The answer is YES!
Setting up a drop shipping store in WooCommerce is really not that different from setting up a standard eCommerce store. Typically, the only difference is what happens AFTER a sale is made. In other words, how do you notify your supplier of the new order and the customer’s details?
In WooCommerce you have two options:
- Set the “New Order” emails in WooCommerce to be sent to your supplier
- Or, use a dropship-specific plugin/extension (ex: WooCommerce Dropshippers)
One thing to keep in mind with a drop shipping store is that you will need to work with your supplier in managing inventory. They may have feeds you can integrate with your website, so be sure to discuss this with your supplier!
Digital WooCommerce Stores
Are you trying to sell your customers a download of something like an e-book or mp3? A service? WooCommerce can help. WooCommerce offers both virtual and downloadable product types and setup is a breeze?
Virtual products, like a service, are intangible and are not shipped. Downloadable products, like an e-book or mp3, allow customers to purchase and then receive after completing payment.
For downloadable products you have 3 download method options and some access restrictions which you will set in WooCommerce > Settings > Downloadable Products:
- Redirect only – when a customer downloads a file, the link redirects to the file
- Force download – file downloads are forced using PHP
- X-Sendfile/X-Accel-Redirect – downloads are server by Apache. If you use this method, keep in mind that this requires the X-Sendfile module and not all servers have this
Then, choose downloadable as the product type in the top of your product data editor. A number of fields will appear, allowing you to upload your file, set a download limit, an expiration date, and the download type.
Affiliate WooCommerce Stores
WooCommerce has built-in functionality to sell external/affiliate products through your website, making it easier than ever to run an affiliate store!
Simply add all of the details of a product (learn how to add woocommerce products) and choose External/Affiliate product as your product type. As you can see in the example below, choosing this product type will enable you to add the external URL to the product and custom button text. When customers click on your product they will be taken off your website to the URL you provided to complete their purchase.
In the example below, we’ve linked externally to an affiliate product on Amazon and added BUY NOW as our button text. How simple is that?
Subscription WooCommerce Store
Subscriptions are the perfect way to manage recurring payments for services such as access to website content, newspapers, or subscription-based ecommerce models.
With the help of WooCommerce Subscriptions, you can easily offer products and services that require recurring payments. This WooCommerce extension offers a number of robust features including:
- Add a sign-up fee, offer free trials, and set expiration dates for subscription products
- Set subscriptions to renew on a variety of different billing schedules
- Offer customers multiple gateway options
- Variable subscriptions allow customers to choose from different levels/tiers of subscriptions
- Manual of automatic renewals
- Renewal emails
Membership WooCommerce Store
Are you looking to sell memberships? A combination of tools can help you create sell memberships, set group-based capabilities, and content access control based on membership levels.
To achieve the features mentioned above you will need the following plugins:
- Groups – this controls the membership levels and access control capabilities
- Groups for WooCommerce – allows you to sell access to the groups you’ve set up in the Groups plugin above
- (optional) WooCommerce Subscriptions – if you’d like to sell memberships with recurring payments you will also need to use this extension (described in previous section)
Auction WooCommerce Stores
We ran into this store type when helping a client who wanted to auction off a product on their website for charity! With the help of a plugin called, WooCommerce Simple Auctions, you can turn your regular WooCommerce products into an auction.
The plugin enables you to leverage a number of awesome new functions. In the example below, you can see the new AUCTION tab on your product data editor gives you new data fields for: item condition, auction type, start price, bid increment, reserve price, buy it now price, auction dates.
On the front-end, bidders can even access a “My Auctions” section to keep track of their bids. Learn more here: WooCommerce Simple Auctions.
Sell Bookings or Appointments on WooCommerce
Do you want to take reservations? Offer appointments? Or sell services and rentals? With the help of the WooCommerce Booking extension you can turn your WooCommerce website into a powerful booking portal. This extension can help you sell time or date based bookings.
Here are some cool features:
- You can create booking slots which are fixed (offer set times) or let the customers decide
- Manage bookings and availability
- Customer email notifications
- You can even add extras for each booking by combining this with the Product Add-ons extension
Did you know you could run all of these types of online businesses with WooCommerce? While this is not an exhaustive list, we hope you learned something new! If you are doing something unique with your WooCommerce store let us know in the comment box below.