It is a well-known fact that WooCommerce offers a universe of options. The sheer customization it offers is unmatchable. Well, such is the beauty of open source and WordPress in general. But that discussion is for another day. In this post, we will discover the wonderful world of catalog stores, made possible by a rock-solid inquiry extension to WooCommerce.
What is a Catalog Only store, and when do you need one?
A catalog store means you can display a product gallery on your eStore without the standard features of an eCommerce store such as the cart or purchase option. You have a shop page, products page, you can view each product in detail, and so on. However, you do not have an option to purchase directly from the site.
A catalog store setup comes in handy when your products:
- are custom made for each buyer
- don’t have a definite price (could be a service you’re offering)
- are available for purchase only in a physical store
- can be purchased only by members (and the catalog option is available for guest users)
In such cases, you’d want to hide the price and purchase options and might want to offer an inquiry or quote-request option to visitors. This kind of store setup is known as a ‘Catalog Only’ store.
A catalog store is different from a product image gallery as you can see product details and ask questions about the product. Products can be tagged and categorized for easy search option.
How to Create a Catalog Only Store on WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a blessing if you want a catalog only store. With WooCommerce you can make the most of all the inbuilt features such as a single product gallery and carousel, image zoom, product description tabs, attributes, categories, tags, and related products. Basically, you get a much better version than a standard image gallery.
However, with WooCommerce, the product price is indefinitely displayed. In case you don’t set a price, the price is assumed to be zero, and the product is displayed as ‘Free’, which might not be the case.
As is the case with all things WordPress, to set up a WooCommerce catalog only store you’ll need an extension. You’ll need a plugin that can hide product prices, allow interested customers to ask a question about the product, and allow buyers to request a price quotation. And, the plugin that works to this end is Product Enquiry Pro for WooCommerce.
Converting WooCommerce into a Catalog Store
WooCommerce does not have an inbuilt quotation option. With Product Enquiry Pro, you get a customizable quote request and inquiry management system to capture interested leads and convert them into sales.
Some of the salient features of the plugin are:
- an option to create a custom inquiry form with a drag-and-drop form builder
- an option for customers to request a single inquiry for multiple products
- a customizable ‘Product Enquiry’ button
- an option to show/hide prices at a global and per product level
- easy quotation creation and management
But the most striking feature that aids you in creating a catalog-only store is the simple option of hiding the ‘add to cart’ button without the need to meddle with a single line of code. Let us see how!
Step 1: Activate Product Enquiry Pro
Once you install and activate Product Enquiry Pro, you should notice additional bulk operations for your WooCommerce Products.
Head on over to Products → All Products.
Select all products.
Step 2: Hide ‘Add to Cart’ Option
Now, for all your WooCommerce products (or selected products, in case you want to create a catalog store for products belonging to a certain category), use the Bulk Options menu to hide the ‘add to cart’ button.
Select ‘Disable Add to Cart’.
Step 3: Hide Product Price
Similarly, in case you do not want to display product cost, you can use the ‘Hide Price’ option to hide product prices for all your WooCommerce products.
Remember, at any time, you can reverse the settings using the ‘Enable Add to Cart’ and ‘Show Price’ options for all or individual products. This is always using the Bulk Actions in the Products list for WooCommerce.
Step 4: Enable Product Enquiry
Last but not least, using the same Bulk Options menu, you can ‘Enable Enquiry’ for the products. What this does is it adds a ‘Request a Quote‘ or ‘Product Enquiry‘ button on each product page along with the main shop page. Customers can use this option to ask you questions about your products and you can keep track of genuine leads.
Enabling the ‘Multi-product Enquiry’ option in Product Enquiry Pro can allow customers to ask you a question about multiple products at once. Make sure you go through the complete product user guide to understand all of the settings and offerings.
Save your settings and you will be good to go.
A catalog-only store helps you get more insights into your product demands. This allows you to decide which product is moving fast and which needs to be revamped. Even product pricing can be modified to see your sales increase.
Having a catalog store has its own pros and cons. It all depends on whether you want such a store for your website. WooCommerce, with its huge customization capabilities, offers us a good alternative to having a conventional eCommerce store. With the right combination of settings, and the Product Enquiry Pro extension, you can have a successful catalog only store in no time.
What are your thoughts on the usefulness of inquiry systems in catalog-only stores? The comments section is open for discussion.