Why Service-Based Businesses Should Use WooCommerce

Written by Kathryn on October 8, 2019 Blog.

If you’re a service provider, selling online can save you a lot of time, money, and hassle. It can also be more convenient for your clients, who may prefer to book appointments, conduct business, and make payments at the time and location of their choosing. But it can be difficult to figure out the best ways to list your offerings, collect payments from your clients, market to the right audience, and integrate with your existing tools.

WooCommerce provides the solution for all of those concerns with one platform. Even though you may envision online stores selling physical or digital products, there are many companies using WooCommerce to sell services, rent accommodations, and book appointments.

WooCommerce is a great fit for service-based businesses. Continue reading to learn how to sell services with WooCommerce and how to expand the functionality of your store to best reach your clients.

The Benefits of Using WooCommerce to Sell Services

One of the biggest reasons WooCommerce is the best choice for selling your services online is how customizable it is. You can create virtually any design and add endless functionality to your website thanks to the extension library and database of experts. You can ultimately build the perfect, customized solution for your specific audience.

Here are a few of the other benefits:

Keep everything in one place. Rather than using several different platforms to manage your business, you can control it all right in your WordPress dashboard. Edit your website content, add posts to your blog, and manage your clients’ payments without switching windows. And, if you also sell physical or digital products, your orders are all shown on the same screen. This could lead to less confusion, fewer mistakes, and an easier and less time-consuming workflow.

Make payments easy for your clients. The easier the payment collection process is for your clients, the easier it will be for them to pay you. With WooCommerce, you can simply send your clients a link to the service they’re purchasing, where they can check out on their computer or on their phone, no matter where they’re located.

Display services more effectively. Display and list your services in a visually-appealing way. You can also make it easy for your clients to filter and search your store so they can find exactly what they’re looking for.

Up-sell and cross sell. Without downloading or installing a single extension, WooCommerce gives you the ability to make suggestions for related services and offer clients upgraded service plans when they’re checking out. 

Charge recurring payments. Do you charge monthly for services or put clients on a payment plan? Use WooCommerce with the Subscriptions extension to automatically charge your client’s account. No more chasing after them to pay!

Easily integrate with your existing tools. WooCommerce integrates with dozens of platforms for email marketing, payment processing, accounting, and client management. 

How to Set Up Services Using WooCommerce

Start by installing WooCommerce and navigating through the Setup Wizard. This will walk you through the process of selecting a payment gateway, setting up taxes, and other important first steps. In this case, you only need to set up shipping if you’re also selling physical products. 

After setup is complete, it’s time to create your services. In your WordPress Dashboard, navigate to Products —> Add New. In the Product Name field, set the name of your service. Then, add a description and short description in their respective fields. Learn more about writing effective descriptions.

If it makes sense for your services, add an image to the Product Image field on the right hand side of the page. There, you can also add product categories and tags, which you can use to organize your services to make them more easily discoverable by your customers. For example, if you offer photography services, you can categorize them as Newborn Sessions, Weddings, and Headshots.

Screenshot of product page in the WooCommerce dashboard

Then, navigate to the Product Data section and check the box beside Virtual. If your service has several options that customers can select, choose Variable Product in the dropdown box. If not, leave the auto-filled Simple Product. You can use product variations to allow clients to select a term length, type of service, length of time, type of rental, or other service options.

In the box titled Regular Price, go ahead and add the price for your service. Or, if you selected Variable Product, follow the steps in this guide.

While there are other service options you can set up, for a basic service offering, you’re good to go! Click the blue Publish button in the top right corner.

Example of selling blocks of hours on WooCommerce

One other option you have is to sell blocks of hours using the WooCommerce quantity field. Let’s say you charge $50 per hour and want to allow your customers to buy whatever number of hours they’d like. Create a simple product titled, “Hours”, or whatever you’d like, and set the price to $50. When your customers check out, they can use the quantity selector to choose one hour, five hours, or fifty hours.

Displaying Your Services

WooCommerce allows for virtually endless design possibilities when it comes to displaying the services that you’ve created.  

Product layouts for two websites using WooCommerce
Photo © https://car2go-biludlejning.dk and https://easytees.golf

Easy Tees, for example, chose to lay out their golf reservations in a list format, with booking calendars readily available. Car2Go went with a grid format instead, which highlights the photos of their available rental cars.

WordPress themes that were built for WooCommerce often provide easy-to-use layouts and settings to showcase your listings. One great option is the Storefront theme, developed by WooCommerce, which even offers a child theme built specifically for hotels and accommodations.

You can also use WooCommerce shortcodes to add your product listings to any page and customize their design without needing to edit complicated code.

If you’re looking for an alternative layout and images aren’t very important to your offerings, try the WooCommerce Product Table plugin. You can set up easy-to-consume tables of your services and add one-page ordering.

Accepting Payments from Clients

Whether you’re a graphic designer, marketing expert, tour guide, or private chef, accepting payments is an important part of your business. WooCommerce core provides built-in functionality for straightforward, one-time services. But there are a lot of additional ways that you can expand your invoicing and payment functionality to fit your exact needs.

Name Your Price. The Name Your Price extension allows your clients to pay an amount of their choosing for your services. So, for example, you can email them a digital invoice with a link to a “name your price” product page. The client can then fill in the amount of the invoice and pay right on your website. There’s no need to create individual products for each and every invoice!

Screenshot of payment page from Poppy Floral
Photo © https://poppyfloral.com

For example, Poppy Floral charges a set deposit for their floral services, then uses Name Your Price to collect the remaining balance. This makes the invoicing and collection process much easier.

PDF InvoicesAutomate the billing process with customizable, branded email invoices. Your clients can log into their account, download, and print previous invoices.

WooCommerce DepositsAllow your clients to make a deposit or use a payment plan. This is a great option if your clients pay over time or if you require an up-front payment before delivering your services.

WooCommerce Subscriptions. Do you offer maintenance plans or service subscriptions? Automate recurring payments and avoid the hassle of billing every week, month, or year. Your clients can also upgrade or downgrade their plan without any effort on your end.

Screenshot of product category page from Team Social
Photo © https://hub.teamsocial.co.uk/

Team Social, for example, offers both one-off social media marketing services as well as monthly marketing plans. They categorize their offerings by platform to make it easy for clients to find exactly what they need.

WooCommerce also integrates with accounting services like Xero and Quickbooks, which will automatically sync payment data and keep your accountants happy. Even if that accountant is you! 

Allow Customers to Book Appointments or Accommodations

If you sell experiences, book accommodations, or make appointments with your clients, WooCommerce offers several extensions that were built just for you.

WooCommerce Bookings – Add an easy-to-use booking calendar and allow your clients and customers to pay directly on your site. You can block off dates that aren’t available, set a minimum and maximum number of participants, and even offer discounts for certain days or for large groups. Send out reminders that help reduce no-shows and allow customers to cancel their appointment online. Plus, WooCommerce Bookings syncs with Google Calendar, so you can keep everything in the same place.

If you’re a home inspector, for example, you can use this extension to allow your customers to book appointments based on your schedule. Use WooCommerce Deposits to collect a fee up-front, and then send a reminder to your customer 24 hours before their appointment. You can even make valuable information like warranties available to your customers through their dashboard.

If you’re a consultant, your clients can easily book sessions with you based on your schedule, and reschedule if something comes up on their end. The possibilities are endless!

WooCommerce Accommodation Bookings – This is a free add-on for WooCommerce Bookings, designed specifically for hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other types of accommodations. It allows your guests to book overnight stays in just a few clicks, with full control over check-in/check-out times and special rates for holidays or weekends.

Screenshot of booking page for glamping pods
Photo © https://adventureparcsnowdonia.com

Adventure Parc Snowdonia allows customers to book activities, reserve glamping pods, and even purchase gift cards all in the same place. When someone selects an activity, they can choose between various experience levels and lengths of time. For both activities and accommodations, a calendar is available for visitors to choose their desired dates. It’s a seamless, well-designed process that keeps customers coming back.

Market to Service-Based Clients

By selling your services on your own WooCommerce store, you have full control over marketing to your customers and clients.  Reach out to them before, during, and after the buying process with these helpful extensions:

Follow-Ups. Send emails to segments of your customer base with a coupon, sale, or thank you note. Set reminders to follow up at a later time and send personalized coupons based on your clients’ actions.

Social Media ExtensionsQuickly integrate with Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Set up social media ads, list your services on Facebook and Pinterest, and even create a seamless support system with Facebook Messenger directly on your site.

WooCommerce Drip. Connect your store to your drip email account. Allow your clients to subscribe to your email list, then track conversions and sales to determine their lifetime value.

Mailchimp for WooCommerce. Sync your store with Mailchimp.  Send targeted emails based on your clients’ actions. Encourage them to upgrade their plans or purchase additional services. Segment your audience based on age, gender, amount spent, and more.

Collect Valuable Information Prior to Completing Services

If you offer services, you may need to collect additional information from your customers. You might need details about their needs so that you can determine the right solution for them. Or, you might want them to send files, like signed waivers, logos, or website content.

WooCommerce integrates with Gravity Forms, one of the most powerful form plugins available for WordPress. You can create custom forms for your services with radio buttons, checkboxes, file uploads, and more.

These forms can be as complex or as simple as you’d like. So if you need your client to sign a document or upload an image, just insert an upload field. Or, you can create forms with dozens of options and even add conditional fields, which change based on your client’s previous answers. This level of customization allows you to build a personalized on-boarding process that meets the specific needs of your business.

Another great option is the WooCommerce Product Add-Ons extension. You can add extra fields and options for your customers with checkboxes, dropdowns, and image selections. Plus, it integrates with WooCommerce Bookings and Subscriptions

Screenshot of booking page from a motorcycle tours company
Photo © https://motorcycletourspuertorico.com

Motorcycle Tours Puerto Rico uses Product Add-Ons to offer extras for their customers, like helmets, pads, and gloves. The price changes based on each selection and site visitors can choose more than one option based on their preferences. 

Use the Customer Account Page as a Client Hub

The WooCommerce account page is available to any logged in user after they’ve made a purchase. Typically, it’s used to allow customers to review and edit their orders, view shipping information, etc. but, with a little creativity, it can become a hub for your clients.

Without making any modifications, your clients can manage recurring payments and subscriptions, edit their bookings and reservations, access downloads that they’ve purchased, and change their account details. This is an excellent starting point and, in many cases, all you’ll need.

But if you do want to turn your dashboard into a client portal, you can make PHP modifications. Add custom sections to your customers’ accounts with important information and policies, documentation downloads, and links to other content.

If you’re a photographer, you might want to create sections for paperwork your clients need to fill out, details about what to expect, and tips for choosing the right outfit. Share links to related blog content or videos. This is an excellent way to really connect with your clients and provide them with a seamless experience.

Sell Your Services Online

No matter what type of services you offer – from medical and professional services, to auto repair, guided tours, and everything in between – WooCommerce provides a solution. Check out our showcase to see more sites selling services with WooCommerce and visit our extension library to learn more about the unlimited functionality that WooCommerce offers.

Selling your services online with WooCommerce helps make your business more efficient and allows you to provide a customized checkout experience for your clients and customers. Managing your website, blog, and payment platform under one roof will also save you time and drastically improve your workflow.

If you’re ready to get started selling online, check out our documentation, engage with our community support forum, or submit a support ticket to our happiness engineers.

2 Responses

  1. bsc200311
    October 17, 2019 at 9:31 pm #

    What would be really nice is if I could sell products as an installer. In other words, the client buys a product from me for me to install into their home. Do I set up virtual products in this instance since I am the one ordering them to install?

    • Kathryn
      October 19, 2019 at 12:49 am #

      Great question!

      Yes, virtual products would be a great way to accomplish this, since you’re not shipping a physical product to your customer in a traditional way.

      If you have a catalog of products that you install on your website, you could set them up as virtual products and include the cost of installation in the product price.

      Or, use something like Product Add-ons – https://woocommerce.com/products/product-add-ons/ – to offer an additional installation fee to a base product price.

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