If you’re considering adding an online store to your website, WooCommerce is a fantastic option. It’s free and packed with lots of great features to help you make the most of your store. One such feature is product types. If you’ve ever wanted to have options on your products — like sizes or colors —as many major online stores have, choosing the correct product type will make all the difference.
At first it might be difficult to tell the difference between WooCommerce’s product types, so here’s a handy guide to help you choose the right one.
As the name suggests, simple products are the most basic option. Every simply product you create in WooCommerce is a unique item with its own item number, price, and so forth. While you can simply create every different item you want to sell as a separate simple product, it might make more sense to use another option below for some of your products.
Variable products are more complex. Unlike a simple product, a variable product allows you to create multiple variations on one product.
As an example, if you sell clothing, you can create variations of one product — such as a shirt — for things like size or color. Instead of creating a separate simple product for a blue small shirt, a red small shirt, a blue medium shirt, a red medium shirt, and so on, these variations allow all of these options to be contained in one product.
To create variations on a product, first navigate to the Attributes tab of the Product Data box. Create a name for the variation (such as “Color”) and enter a list of values, separating each with a pipe symbol (for example, “Blue | Red | Green | Black” without the quotes). Check the “Visible on the product page” and “Used for variations” boxes and click the Save Attributes button. You can add multiple attributes to each product.
Once you’ve created all the attributes you want to add, navigate to the Variations section. To use the attributes you created to make variations on a product, click the “Add variation” dropdown box and choose “Create variations from all attributes.” WooCommerce will then automatically create a product for each possible option based on the attributes you created. This is much faster than creating each one as a separate simple product.
You can also manually add variations in the Variations tab. To do this, choose “Add variation” in the dropdown.
After you’ve created all the variations you want to make for a given product, they’ll be listed on the Variations tab. Click the “Expand” link to set custom attributes for each variation, such as a separate shipping weight or different price for each.
Because you can set different prices for different variations, variable products are extremely versatile. If you want to create multiple tiers of a product, you can use a variable product to do this. For example, if you create an online course and want to sell audio and video files online, you can create one product for your course and price the audio and video options differently.
Grouped products allow you to feature items related to another product. These items are listed as “up-sells” and “cross-sells.” Keeping with the clothing store example, if you sold a shirt in your store, you could suggest pants and shoes as cross-sells and a more expensive shirt made with a premium material as an up-sell. The Linked Products tab in the Product Data box allows you to specify these related items.
As the name suggests, an external/affiliate product is a product for sale on another website that you can feature in your WooCommerce store. For example, if you have an Amazon affiliate account, you can list Amazon products in your WooCommerce store with your affiliate link. Instead of an “Add to cart” button in WooCommerce, the product will redirect your customer to the other website where they can buy the product. You can specify the Product URL, button text, and price in WooCommerce.
Creating custom product types
If you’re not afraid of writing custom code, WooCommerce can be extended with custom product types. Here’s a tutorial explaining how to bundle a custom WooCommerce product type into a plugin. Of course, if creating a custom WordPress plugin isn’t your thing, we do that! If you’re interested in having MPWR Design create a custom plugin for you, contact us.