Online product catalogs are immensely helpful for customers. A catalog allows them to explore your offerings in detail. They can sort and filter products as per their requirements, view multiple product images, and read detailed descriptions; all without feeling any pressure of closing the sale.
The advantages of a Product Catalog Store
Catalog stores or view-only stores are especially helpful for businesses that want to keep the option of dynamic pricing and convert every customer through tailor-made offerings. Rather than simply giving them a flat price for a standard product.
Advantages for the business owner:
- No need to set a fixed price for custom offerings
- Can negotiate prices for bulk purchases
- Can restrict purchases only to registered users
- Can showcase upcoming products which are not currently on sale
Advantages for buyer:
- No pressure of making a purchase
- Can browse products and services without being registered
- Can inquiry about interested products and bargain on the price
This unique functionality is difficult to achieve in standard e-commerce websites, which have in-built pricing information and ‘Add to cart’ buttons for each product page.
But in case it makes sense for you to create a product catalog store, you can do so quite easily with simple plugins on WordPress.
Best WordPress Plugins for Digital Product Store Development
Setting up a WordPress Product Catalog Store
Quite arguably the most popular e-commerce platform is WooCommerce. It’s free and can be used in this case to set up your product showcase store along with the WISM Product Catalog Manager extension. Here’s how.
1. Start by Installing the WooCommerce Plugin
WooCommerce can be installed as any other plugin on WordPress. If you already have a standalone site on WordPress, then all you have to do is select the ‘Add New’ option under the ‘Plugins’ category on your site’s side menu.
Inside the Plugins Browser, you will find WooCommerce listed as a featured plugin. Or you can search for it. Click on the plugin icon to see the plugin description and access the installation option.
As soon as you click on the install button, WordPress will install the WooCommerce Plugin in your business site.
Alternatively, you can also get the WooCommerce plugin in the form of a zip file from the WooCommerce site and then install it on your WordPress site by uploading it.
Once the installation is complete, you then need to activate the plugin, before you can start using it to create your catalog.
Add your products using WooCommerce
The WooCommerce plugin will automatically create the ‘Shop’, ‘Cart’, ‘Checkout’, and ‘My Account’ (for customers) page for your site.
It’s on the ‘Shop’ page where your products can be displayed and as soon as the plugin setup is complete. Click on the ‘Create your first Product’ tab to start adding your products on your shop page.
The product details that you can fill in under the general field include the name of the product, its description, and any supporting media (images, forms, certificates, etc.). You can also allocate a category to every product to facilitate your users in finding relevant products through the filter option.
The interface of WooCommerce Products page is nearly identical to the Posts page in WordPress, making your life very easy to add basic product information in your product catalog.
Next you can go to ‘Product data’ to add Meta data about your products, which include information like pricing, discounts, taxation, inventory, shipping costs and specifications. You can also add linked products which you intend to position for upselling (on the product page) or cross selling (on the cart page).
By adding all the information related to your products in WooCommerce, your ‘Shop’ page will be ready where customers can view and buy your products.
On a catalog store, you can choose to keep the pricing field blank, but the next plugin will help you hide prices for guest users. Do note, if you leave the pricing field empty, WooCommerce shows the product as free. So, an extension to hide the purchase option is a must.
Enable WISDM Product Catalog Manager
Now, if you want your WooCommerce catalog to only allow potential customers to view the products but not divulge any pricing information or give them a purchase option, you need to enable the WISDM Product Catalog Manager extension on your WordPress WooCommerce site.
To enable this extension, download it for free.
Upload the extension file on your WordPress WooCommerce site and install it.
Converting your WooCommerce Store into Product Catalog
The WISDM Product Catalog Manager extension is the easiest way to convert your WooCommerce Shop page into a catalog for your customers.
Start by clicking on the ‘Guest Restrictions’ button in the WISDM Product Catalog Manager.
Hiding Pricing and Add to Cart Options
If you want your store catalog to give no pricing information and purchase option to your site users, then click on the ‘Hide’ button for ‘Product price & Add to cart button’.
Under the ‘Placeholder for price when it’s hidden’, select the ‘Show nothing’ button and your shop page will instantly transform into a catalog.
Prompting actions on your site
If you want to encourage your guest users to register and become members, to buy your products, then select the ‘A link to my account page’ button in the ‘Placeholder for price when it’s hidden’ option, which will include a ‘Login’ suggestion link on your product page.
You can also allow guest site users to view product price along with all other details in your product catalog, but not let them purchase. If such is the case, then only click on the ‘Hide’ button for ‘Add to Cart’ option.
Allowing Users to request a quote
You can also allow your site users to request a quote for the products in your catalog, instead of showing them a flat price. To do so, click on the ‘Add a link to the custom page’ when the price is hidden.
When leads come in, you can directly engage with your customers to facilitate their buying experience.
A product catalog can give you the flexibility to open up your products to potential customers. All of this, without the stress of setting a price or managing inventory. You can showcase upcoming collections, your services, or simply create a sense of seemingly exclusive by preventing visitors from making a purchase.
WooCommerce and WISDM Product Catalog Manager allows you to set up such a store on WordPress for FREE!
What are your thoughts about the plugins we recommend? Do they allow you to create the store you want? Share your comments and queries and we’d be happy to help.
Author: Sahana Karkal
Sahana is a WordPress enthusiast and Marketer for WisdmLabs. She loves discovering new ideas across the internet and sharing what she already knows.
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