Whether you are selling one product or thousands, WooCommerce provides the flexibility to offer both simple and customizable products.
Before setting up your online store, you’ll need to classify your product as one of the following WooCommerce product types:
Understanding WooCommerce Product Types
A Simple Product, which is the most common WooCommerce product type, is a stand-alone product that you will ship to a customer. Simple products cannot have options or variables that a customer would need to select before checking out. The product needs to be assigned a specific price and SKU. For example, books would be classified as a simple product in WooCommerce.
In comparison, clothing would not be a simple product and it would fall under the variable product below because of the sizing options and variables like color and style.
A grouped product is often referred to as a collection or cluster of products. It consists of multiple simple products that can be purchased individually.
An example of a grouped product would be a set of six drinking glasses. When setting up a grouped product in WooCommerce, you have the flexibility to either first create multiple simple products and add them to a grouped product later, or to start with a grouped product and then add simple products to it.
The variable product type is often the second most used classification by website owners. This product type allows you to add variations to the same product.
Each variation can have its own price, SKU and stock option. A t-shirt with multiple colors and size options is an example of a variable product type. Online retailers and fashion companies often use the variable product type for all of their products in the WooCommerce store, except for simple products like jewelry and accessories.
As you’d expect, you would use the virtual product type for any non-tangible products that do not require shipping. For example, services, such as online courses or training sessions, are considered a virtual product in WooCommerce.
When setting up your store, once you select the virtual product type in WooCommerce, all of the shipping related fields and shipping calculator are automatically disabled. This means customers won’t see shipping fields and a shipping calculator during the checkout process.
Some website owners can confuse the virtual and downloadable product types. You should select a downloadable product classification, if the product becomes available as a downloadable file with a specified path or URL after purchase.
Downloadable products are generally premium content such as a photo album, digital magazine or articles. Although most downloadable products are not shipped, WooCommerce has kept the option available to ship downloadable products, such as a packaged version of the product in a CD or DVD.
As one of the newest additions to WooCommerce, the subscription product classification gives you the ability to offer subscriptions with recurring payments for physical or virtual products and services.
Product-of-the-month clubs or weekly service subscriptions are common examples of subscription products. The paid WooCommerce subscription plugin is required in order to set up these products, and you may need additional WooCommerce extensions depending on your online store.
The product types above are specific to the WooCommerce product, but you’ll find a similar product classification on the e-commerce platform Shopify. If you have any questions about WooCommerce product types and whether to select WooCommerce vs Shopify for your online store, feel free to reach out to us.