The suffering I had to go through to set up a basic WooCommerce store

Published on 2018/03/29

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Last updated on 2019/04/26

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by Dejan Murko

To refresh our knowledge of WooCommerce we decided that we’re going to start our own dropshipping store from the start all the way to selling the first product. Matei, our marketer, set up the store. He has some basic knowledge of WordPress and has set up his own Shopify stores in the past. He started with market and product research, and then after a few weeks, it was time to setup WooCommerce.

Saying that Matei was not happy with the process is a huge understatement. It didn’t take long to hear the frustration in his voice in our daily meetings. He was used to the straightforward interface of Shopify and WooCommerce is far from that. Even though he has some basic knowledge of WordPress, he quickly required help from our dev team.

While everyone felt bad for Matei, we knew that there are probably thousands of people going through the same process. More than that, a large majority of them don’t have access to a developer team. And as we mentioned before, we really like open source software and would love to help everyone actually own their stores with WooCommerce instead of renting space with Shopify.

Setup of WordPress and WooCommerce

We already run a WordPress managed hosting service so the setup of WordPress and mailbox was a one-click process. This might not be the same for everyone since people are still running WordPress on hosts that don’t provide one-click setups. And when it comes to a mailbox even Shopify does not provide one.

Then came the bare-bones setup of WooCommerce:

  • install WooCommerce plugin,
  • set the checkout, account, cart, and other store pages,
  • set up shipping and taxes,
  • research and write the content for Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, both of which need to be compliant with the country of the company.

That wasn’t too bad. But we’re just getting started:

  • find and install a good looking theme,
  • add sample products and categories to get a feel for how the theme actually looks like,
  • create the header and footer menus,
  • remove unnecessary WordPress features (sample pages, blog links, etc.),
  • research, install, setup, and test plugins for payment gateways (multiple times until you find one that works),
  • modify the homepage so it nicely shows the categories of products you want to sell,
  • simplify the checkout process because the default one is too long and too complex,
  • research, install, setup, and test plugins for Google Analytics,
  • research, install, setup, and test plugins for dropshipping (multiple times until you find one that works),
  • research, install, setup, and test plugins for sale notifications (multiple times until you find one that works),
  • make sure everything looks good on mobile because even responsive themes still need some fixing up before everything lines up correctly after all of the changes,
  • polish the last changes to the theme and make sure everything still works.

That was exhausting just writing about it! This whole process took about two weeks, with a lot of frustration and help from developers.

The main problem is that all of the above can be done in probably less than an hour with Shopify. You can see why people are flocking to them, ignoring all of the issues this brings.

With WooCart our plan is to get the whole cumbersome process down to just one click.

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Dejan Murko

Dejan is the WooCart co-founder and Project Lead.

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