How to create a WordPress product catalog (with or without a shopping cart)
As an online store owner, you might want to create a WordPress product catalog to showcase your products. The only problem is that most e-commerce plugins don’t provide much flexibility in terms of how to display products.
One way to create a visually appealing, user-friendly product catalog in WordPress is by using a product table layout, with a simple WordPress plugin – WooCommerce Product Table. It makes it easy for customers to browse your product listings, view details, and act on your conversion goal – whether it’s to make a purchase or get in touch for a quote.
In this article, we’ll start off by explaining in more detail what a WP product catalog table is. We’ll also walk you through a step by step tutorial on how you can create a WordPress product catalog – with or without a shopping cart.
What is a WordPress product catalog and who needs one?
Out of the box, most e-commerce plugins only let you display products in a standard format. Each product takes up a large amount of screen real estate. And while this creates a visually appealing layout, it’s not user-friendly – especially for WordPress online stores that sell more than a few products.
This is mainly because a grid layout makes it difficult for prospective customers to quickly browse through products or compare product details.
With a product table plugin, you can create a WordPress product catalog – with or without a shopping cart – to effectively display more products per page. In addition, it makes it easy for customers to search, sort, and filter products to find exactly what they’re looking for.
Who needs a WordPress product catalog?
Anyone who’s looking for a user-friendly way to showcase a lot of products can benefit from a WordPress product catalog plugin. You can list products in a neat table (or grid) layout along with important details without the need for finicky custom CSS or complicated HTML. As a result, customers can view more products per page.
E-commerce stores that sell products
Online stores that sell products directly through their website can also benefit from a product table layout. A product table layout makes it easy to display more products – with important product information and Add to Cart buttons – on a single page.
Since products are displayed in a table layout, this makes it easy for customers to make bulk purchases. For example, online stores that generally sell multiple products per transaction (such as wholesale suppliers or stationery shop) can benefit from using a product table to create a WordPress product catalog.
In addition to this, they generally include features that lets customers find specific products through search or sort and filter them based on different parameters (such as price).
Businesses wanting to showcase products without e-commerce
Some businesses need to be able to showcase products without letting customers purchase them directly from the website. Instead, they might want to create an online product catalog in WordPress that customers can browse, to make a selection.
These sorts of businesses generally want to take orders by phone or have customers request a quote. Therefore, using an e-commerce plugin with shopping cart functionality isn’t a practical solution.
However, a WordPress product catalog makes it easy for businesses to showcase their products on their website without having to display a price or enable shopping cart functionality.
Next, let’s look at the WordPress product catalog plugins that are available for you to choose from. First, I’ll talk about the best WooCommerce product catalog plugin. Then, we’ll look at other options for WordPress sites not using WooCommerce. Finally, I’ll tell you how to create a WP product catalog without needing an e-commerce plugin at all!
Introducing WooCommerce Product Table
The WooCommerce Product Table plugin lets you create a product catalog in WordPress to display products in a searchable, sortable, and filterable table layout.
This product catalog plugin is hugely beneficial to both businesses and e-commerce stores because:
- Works with WooCommerce, the world’s leading WordPress e-commerce platform.
- Lets customers browse your entire product listing – or a curated selection of products – at a glance.
- Makes it easy for customers to view important product information and compare products quickly.
- Takes up less room on your website as compared to the standard format offered by most WordPress e-commerce plugins.
- Simplifies the purchasing process by allowing customers to buy multiple products from a single page. In other words, they don’t have to visit individual product pages to add products to their shopping cart.
- You can improve the buying process even further by using Product Table with its sister plugin, WooCommerce Quick View Pro.
In addition, the WooCommerce Product Table plugin lets you decide which columns you’d like to display in your WordPress product catalog (and in what order). You also have the option to decide how customers can filter through products e.g. by product category.
How to list products in a catalog for e-commerce
If you’d like to give customers the option to buy products directly from your online store then you’d want to display Add to Cart buttons in your WordPress product catalog.
Below, we’ll show you how you can do this regardless of which WP e-commerce plugin you’re using.
To get started, you’ll need a WordPress website with the WooCommerce plugin installed and some products added. You’ll also need to purchase the WooCommerce Product Table plugin and install and activate it to your website.
Step #1: Create a page for the WordPress product catalog
Log in to your WordPress admin panel and head over to Pages -> Add New to create a new page for the WordPress product catalog. Give your new page a name. For example, you might call it Our Product Catalog.
Alternatively, you can add the product catalog to an existing page by navigating to Pages > All Pages and opening it up in the Edit Page screen.
Step #2: Enter the product catalog table shortcode
Next, we’ll add the WooCommerce Product Table plugin’s shortcode to the text editor.
- Click the (+) icon in the top left corner of the screen to add a block.
- Add a Shortcode block to the text editor.
- Enter the WooCommerce Product Table shortcode
[product_table]to the shortcode input field.
For the classic text editor:
Click the Insert Product Table icon in the toolbar. This will add the
[product_table] shortcode to the text editor.
Once you’re done, click the Publish… button and preview the page. The WordPress product catalog should look something like this:
You’ll see a dynamic product catalog in a table layout. At this time, the table layout displays the default columns. In the next step, I’ll show you how to display the columns that would be most relevant to your products.
Next, navigate to WooCommerce -> Settings –> Products –> Product tables to set the columns you’d like to have displayed in the front-end WordPress product catalog.
If you’d like to display Add to Cart buttons, enter image,name,description,categories,price,add-to-cart in the Columns field under the Table content options.
Step #3: Decide which columns to display in the WordPress product catalog
Navigate to WooCommerce -> Settings –> Products –> Product tables to set the columns you’d like to have displayed in the front-end WordPress product catalog. Be sure to check out the complete list of available columns and advanced options in the plugin knowledge base.
For example, you might consider displaying the product’s image, name, a description, price, ands add to cart buttons. To do this, you would enter image,name,description,categories,price,add-to-cart in the Columns field under the Table content options.
Now, when you preview the WordPress product catalog, it should look something like this:
For complete instructions, be sure to check out this article on WooCommerce Product Catalog: Build a Product Table With or Without Online Purchasing.
Step #5: Add product quick view to your tables
Used alone, WooCommerce Product Table comes with an add to cart column where customers can choose variations, pick a quantity, and add to the cart.
Some stores find that they want to show extra information, without taking customers to a separate page for each product. They might want to show multiple product images. Or they might have too many variations to fit neatly in the product table.
If any of this applies to you, then you can enhance your product tables by adding WooCommerce Quick View Pro. This plugin works alongside the table-based product catalog. It adds quick view links or buttons to the catalog pages.
Customers use the lightbox to view the full image gallery, read more information, choose variations and add to the cart.
Quick view is a great alternative to having a separate page for each product. Add it to your WooCommerce product catalog as follows:
- Install and activate the WooCommerce Quick View Pro plugin.
- Go to WooCommerce → Settings → Products → Quick view. Enter your license key and choose what you’d like to appear in the quick view lightbox.
- Return to the Product Table settings page (WooCommerce → Settings → Products → Product table) and add
quick-viewto the list of columns. If you want to disable the links to the single product page, scroll down to the Quick View settings on the same page, and enable this option.
For WP eCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, or any other e-commerce plugin
If you’re using any other e-commerce plugin – such as WP eCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads – to power your online store, you can use the Posts Table Pro plugin to create a dynamic, functional WordPress product catalog.
The only condition is that the e-commerce plugin must create its own custom post type in WordPress for storing products. That’s fine, as nearly all WordPress e-commerce plugins do this.
With the Posts Table Pro plugin installed and activated, simply select the products post type from your e-commerce plugin on the Posts Table Pro settings page. Then, enter the
[posts_table] shortcode wherever you’d like to display the WordPress product catalog.
For complete instructions, check out this article on WordPress Product Table Plugin: Create a Table View for Any E-Commerce Plugin.
How to create a WordPress product catalog without a shopping cart
In some cases, you might want to create a WordPress product catalog without a shopping cart. In other words, you want to showcase your products in a product table layout with e-commerce functionality disabled.
Below, we’ve outlined the steps you need to follow to combine product tables with catalog mode while disabling the e-commerce functionality.
Strangely, I’m going to talk about WooCommerce again. Yes, I know it’s an e-commerce plugin – but you can equally use it without offering an online ordering facility. I’ll show you how this works, and I’ll also tell you how to create a WordPress product catalog without installing any e-commerce plugin at all.
Create a WooCommerce product catalog without online ordering
Start off by following Steps 1 and 2 outlined in the previous section. The only differences are:
- Do not include an add-to-cart column when you choose your product table columns.
- When you add your products in WooCommerce, do NOT add prices. This is important because you’re not selling them online. If you don’t add prices then no add to cart buttons will appear. Or if you really want to show prices, then use the Catalog Visibility Options extension to hide product prices and add to cart buttons throughout your online store.
Your non-eCommerce WordPress product catalog will look something like this:
Create a product catalog without an e-commerce plugin
Finally, I’ll reveal how to create a WordPress product catalog without needing an e-commerce plugin at all! E-commerce plugins such as WooCommerce are fantastic, free of charge, and won’t weigh down your site too much.
But if you really don’t want one, then you can create your own custom post type and use this to store your products instead. This will add a ‘Products’ section (or whatever you want to call it) to the left of the WordPress admin.
Once you’ve added the products, use the Posts Table Pro plugin to them in a table-style WordPress product catalog on the front-end of your website.
For full instructions, please see our tutorial about how to create custom post types and display them using Posts Table Pro.
The perfect WordPress product catalog plugins
The WooCommerce Product Table and Posts Table Pro plugins let you create a functional, dynamic WordPress product catalog for your store – regardless of whether you simply want to showcase products or allow customers to buy them from your store.
And the best part is that it gives you complete control over how your product listing appears on the front-end. You can choose to display the columns that are most relevant to your products, offer search, sort, and filter options, and allow customers to make bulk purchases.
Do you agree that creating a WordPress product catalog in a table layout enhances customer experience? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!