WooCommerce is an extremely powerful e-commerce platform where you can customize the setup of your online store based on your own specific needs. As you probably already know WooCommerce is a plugin that can be downloaded for free via wordpress.org and installed in your WordPress website. Through various so called extensions, you can then expand the functionality of your online store.
An extension is actually also a WordPress plugin but its purpose is to add new functionality to WooCommerce. If WooCommerce isn’t installed on the site, an extension has no function anymore.
Many extensions there are
On woocommerce.com you can find what one might call the official marketplace for WooCommerce extensions. It has about 400 extensions available for sale (or free download). On Envatos marketplace codecanyon.net around 900 extensions are available and via the official WordPress plugin repository on wordpress.org you will find over 1800 plugins tagged with the label WooCommerce. In addition to these three main actors there are probably around hundred smaller operators selling extensions directly through their own channels.
Do I have to use extensions?
You can certainly get started with WooCommerce without buying or downloading any extensions. If you start an online shop as a hobby project, it might be a good idea to keep the costs to a minimum and allow your store to be as simple as possible. However, if you have had your shop for a while and want to streamline the administrative work a bit or maybe want to focus on increasing sales, then there may be a good idea to start digging into in the WooCommerce extension-jungle.
WooCommerce extensions – start here
In this article we wanted to show you some extensions that facilitate our everyday lives. Extensions that makes both our own and our customers’ work a bit easier. Basic extensions that are good to start with if you haven’t worked with WooCommerce that much earlier.
Order numbers in a sequential series
The order number in WooCommerce is by default the same as the order’s post ID in the database. Technically this works just fine but it may raise some questions from your bookkeeper or accountant. Since you do more things than just retrieve new orders in your store (publish blog posts, add products, upload images, create new pages, etc.), your order numbers will not be in an even number series. For each new page, product, image or post that you create, a new post ID is created in the database.
With the plugin WooCommerce Sequential Order Numbers and Sequential Order Numbers Pro you can control the order numbers so that they end up in an even number series without being affected by other content that is created on the site.
Both plugins are created by the company Skyverge. The difference between them is that with the Pro version you have the ability to set a prefix to the order number, control what number the number series should start at and exclude free orders from the number series.
Invoices and delivery notes
If you want the ability to print delivery notes and invoices you need an extension for this.
Print Invoices & Packing lists from WooThemes lets you print the packing list and invoice directly from a single order but also in bulk from the overview page of the orders in WooCommerce. The module also supports sending invoices via e-mail in HTML format to the customer and for the customer to print invoices from the “My Orders” page.
WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips can be downloaded for free from wordpress.org. With this extension, an invoice in PDF format is attached to the order confirmation sent to the customer. Again, you as the shop owner can print packing lists and invoices from individual orders in WooCommerce and customers can download their invoices from the “My Orders” page. Several premium extensions are available from the manufacturer WP Overnight, for instance to be able to print credit notes, send invoices to Dropbox automatically and get access to more invoice templates.
There is a plethora of extensions that will help you modify your WooCommerce store without needing to have programming skills. Some allow you to change everything between heaven and earth which can be both positive and negative. Positive as you solve many things in a single plugin and don’t have to look for and install many different plugins. Negative because a plugin with many features also has a higher risk of failure or conflicts with other plugins.
If you want to get started with customizations to your WooCommerce store, you can test WooCommerce Customizer which can be downloaded for free from the WordPress repository. With this extension, you have (among other things) the ability to change the name of the Add to Cart button, the number of products displayed per page, change the text tabs Description and More information on the product page and change the placeholder image used for products that do not have a picture uploaded.
One plugin at the time
To sum it up, you have very many extensions at your disposal. However, please make it a habit to install and activate one plugin at a time to be able to evaluate and test the features properly. It makes your work much easier if something goes wrong and you need to troubleshoot or determine which plugin is causing the problem.
As a final tip, set up a test environment to install and test new extension on. A test environment is a cloned version of your website where you can perform tests and make changes without your real online store is exposed to the risk of crashing. If you don’t know how to do this, there are several web hosts offering this in their hosting packages. If your hosting provider doesn’t offer this you can take a look at the Duplicator plugin that allows you to clone your website quite smoothly.
Which extensions are your favorites?