Sometimes you want to make a splash with a sale at your store. Other times, you’d prefer to keep things a bit more selective.
This post is about the latter – specifically, how to create a secret sale at your WooCommerce store.
With a secret sale, you’ll have pinpoint control over exactly which users have access to your sale prices.
You can either:
- Create a private category (or categories) and grant access to specific user roles or create a password to allow entrance to the secret sale categories.
- Make your entire WooCommerce store private so that only authorized users can access any part of your store (including the sale).
What You Need To Create A WooCommerce Secret Sale
There are two plugins that you can use to create a WooCommerce secret sale, both of which come from the same developer:
- WooCommerce Password Protected Categories. This is the one that you want to go with if you just want to make specific categories private for your sale.
- WooCommerce Private Store. This is what you want if you want to make your entire WooCommerce store private for your sale.
Of course, you’ll also need your own WooCommerce store to create the private sale – but I’m assuming that you’ve already got that part figured out!
Below, I’ll go through how to use both plugins to create your private sale.
How To Create A Private WooCommerce Sale Category
The WooCommerce Password Protected Categories plugin gives you two ways to come at the issue of creating a private sale category of products:
- Add a password to the category. Once visitors enter the password, they’ll unlock all the sale products in that category. You can even create multiple personalized passwords to unlock the same category if desired.
- Make the category private. Users will need to have the proper capability assigned to their WordPress user role in order to be able to see the sale products.
Again, I’ll show you both. All you’ll need before getting started is the WooCommerce Password Protected Categories plugin by Barn2 installed and activated at your WooCommerce store.
Step 1: Create Your Private Sale Category
To get started, create a new category for your private sale and either:
- Assign existing products to the private sale category (if you do it this way, it will make those products unavailable to regular shoppers, though)
- Use the free Duplicate Post plugin to create a copy of the products that you want to be part of the private sale. Then assign those duplicates to the sale category and clean up the title to remove the Copy verbiage. This ensures that regular visitors can still access the product(s) at the regular price(s), but authorized users will be able to see the special sale version of the product.
No matter which method you use, make sure to update the price once you’ve put the products in your private sale category.
Step 2.a: Add A Password To Your Private Sale Category
Now that you’ve added your products to your sale category, either by moving or duplicating existing products, you can add a password by going to Products → Categories in your WooCommerce dashboard and editing the Private Sale category.
At the bottom of the edit screen, you’ll have a new option for Visibility. Select the Password protected option and enter your desired password:
If desired, you can use the Plus icon to add multiple passwords that unlock the category.
And that’s it!
Your shoppers will be able to enter the password at the login form that you set in Settings → Protected Categories. In this settings area, you can also configure whether or not to include the private sale category in your menus and widgets:
You can also use the [[category_login]] shortcode to display the login form anywhere you want, which is helpful if you want to create an entire dedicated landing page for your WooCommerce secret sale.
Step 2:b: Make Your Private Sale Category Private
If you’d rather not have to deal with passwords and logins for your private sale, you can also opt to make the entire category private.
When you do this, only users who have a user role that allows viewing private products will be able to view the private sale category. By default, this is limited to only high-level user roles like Admin or Store Manager, but I’ll show you how you can manually add it to a new user role.
To make your category private, go to Products → Categories. Edit the category and scroll down to the Visibility section.
This time, instead of making it password protected, select the option for Private:
Now, your category is private. But people won’t be able to access it. To fix that, you can use the free User Role Editor plugin to assign these capabilities to the user role(s) that you want to be able to see the private sale:
You can assign these capabilities by going to Users → User Role Editor:
- If you want all logged-in users to view the private sale, give these capabilities to the Customer and Subscriber user roles.
- If you only want select users to be able to view the private sale, create a new user role, clone the existing Customer user role, and assign the new user role the relevant capabilities.
Once you assign the proper capabilities to the user role(s) that you want to be able to see the private sale, those users should be able to see the private sale category as long as they’re logged in.
Anyone without the proper capability will see a 404 error, including users that aren’t logged in.
How To Create An Entire Private Store For Your Sale
Most of the time, you’ll probably want to go with the private WooCommerce category method above. But depending on your needs, it’s also possible to make your entire store private to create a sitewide private sale.
For example, this one can be handy if you want to create an entire standalone WooCommerce store that’s just for providing sales to specific members.
To do that, you’ll need the WooCommerce Private Store plugin from the same developer.
Once you install and activate the plugin, you can add a password to control access to your entire store by going to WooCommerce → Settings → Products → Private Store:
Start Promoting Your WooCommerce Private Sale
There you go! Three easy ways to create a private WooCommerce sale for a specific category or your entire store using either passwords or user roles and capabilities.
Now, get out there and start promoting your sale.
And if you still have any questions, leave a comment and we’ll try to help out!