Before proceeding to tutorials on how to create a product in WooCommerce core, you should have a full knowledge of types of WooCommerce products you’re allowed to create, how they are different from each other, and when to choose what type of product to add.
Basically, there are 6 types of products in WooCommerce core:
- Simple product
- Virtual product
- Digital product
- Variable product
- Grouped product
- External / Affiliated product
There are other product types you can add into your store, using WooCommerce extensions:
Types of Products in WooCommerce Core:
Simple product type covers a vast majority of physical prodicts you want to sell. As its name refers, simple product does not have other options like sizes, colors, weights,… It’s a stand-alone product that has no variations. Simple product requires shipping at purchase.
Example: books, television set, furniture, a handmade card,…
A virtual product is actually a simple product which is intangibale and doesn’t require shipping. A virtual product could be services and subscriptions.
You can send your customers a purchase note after they make the purchase, instructing them how to get the service or subscription activated.
Also a sub-type of simple product, digital product doesn’t require shipping just like virtual product, and is downloadable. Digital products could be downloadable e-books, courses, videos, photos…
After making successful purchase, customers are given a downloadable file as a link in the order notification email.
Variable products are physical products that have many variations such as colors, sizes. Each variation can have different SKU, stock, price, images… Customers view the variable product, and choose variable options before adding to cart.
As physical simple products, variable products requires shipping at checkout.
Usually confused with variable product, grouped product is a single product that lists a number of very similar or relevant simple products in one page.
These simple products are not variable of the grouped product. They can be viewed and bought separately either on the main grouped product page, or on its stand-alone page.
Grouped product can only link simple products, not variable products.
A good example of grouped product is a collection of wood furniture, which consists of tables, chairs, beds, wardrobes made from the same material and carved with the same pattern. You might ask how it is different from a product category. From a product category, you navigate to each product’s separate page to view and buy, while a group product shows all belonging products in one common product page, where you can view and choose what to buy separately.
Creating a WooCommerce grouped product takes a bit more time than creating other types of products.
External / Affiliated product
External / Affiliated product type is used when you do not directly sell the product listed on your website, instead you will redirect customers to another website where the product is sold. Why is this? It could be that you own a number of websites and you want to redirect customers to only the main shop where the product is sold, or you are part of an affiliate program in which you earn commissions for each order coming from your URL.
Types of Products Added by WooCommerce Extensions:
If you sell products or services at recurring payments, you will need to create subscription products, using WooCommerce Subscriptions extension.
This extension allows you to create either simple subscription products or variable subscription products. It’s quite similar to creating a product in WooCommerce core, except that you need to set up recurring payment schedule for it.
Another type of special product that you can add with a WooCommerce extension is time or date-based bookings. Products could be timed services, rentals, tickets, or appointments.
WooCommerce Bookings extension will add another type of product called “Bookable product” to your product data selection.