“I have earned $442,991 USD in just six months by building a dropshipping business that people loved”.

Erin Rafferty

Up to 8 months off on annual plans

Create dropshipping store in minutes
Get 14 day trial, cancel anytime
00
00
:
00
00
Sign Up Now

0

hrs

0

mins

0

secs
Cyber Monday Sale up to
55% off on all annual plans
Upgrade NOW & save
build custom plugins for woocommerce

How to Build Custom Plugins for WooCommerce

By
Adeel Qayum

WooCommerce boasts hundreds of plugins designed to extend the functionality of your online store. But sometimes, what's available might not fit your unique needs.

That's where the power of customization comes into play. WooCommerce is not only simple and easy to install, but it's also highly customizable. You can craft your own plugins to extend its capabilities without tinkering with the core WordPress or WooCommerce code.

In this tutorial, we'll walk you through the steps to build a custom WooCommerce plugin from scratch.

Why Consider WooCommerce Plugin Development?

If you want to deliver a personalized experience to your customers, developing a custom WooCommerce plugin might be necessary. Most WooCommerce plugins don't cover every unique need, which is why creating your own makes sense. This approach allows you to add essential features that enhance the core functionalities of your store and integrate specific solutions tailored to your business.

By crafting your own plugin, you can address specific challenges your WooCommerce store faces. For example, you can refine product displays, implement a unique payment gateway, or introduce custom product fields that meet your specific requirements.

Advantages of Creating a Custom WooCommerce Plugin

Creating a WordPress WooCommerce plugin offers several advantages to businesses. Here are some of the key ones:

  • Enhanced customization: WooCommerce plugins let you extend the functionality of your online store. This flexibility means you can tailor your eCommerce site to your business needs.
  • Monetization opportunities: If your WooCommerce plugin is unique and valuable, you can make money from it. Sell it directly or offer both free and premium versions.
  • Integration capabilities: Developing a plugin can allow you to seamlessly integrate with various business management tools. This helps streamline your operations and saves time.

Prerequisites for Building a Custom WooCommerce Plugin

To create a custom WooCommerce plugin, certain foundational skills and tools are necessary. Here are the prerequisites you need to ensure a solid start and successful development:

WordPress Development Skills

Of course, knowing your way around WordPress is crucial because WooCommerce operates within it. This means understanding the core structure, how to manipulate data with hooks and filters, and handling WordPress custom plugins.

PHP Knowledge

WooCommerce is built using PHP, so a solid grasp of PHP basics is key. You'll need to be comfortable with variables, loops, functions, and more. This foundation lets you tweak and extend WooCommerce plugins to fit your specific needs.

Front-End Tech

You'll also need skills in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript if you’re planning to spruce up the front end. These skills are essential when you want to enhance the interface of your WooCommerce extension.

Tools of the Trade

A good code editor is your best friend here—it should have debugging tools and support for syntax highlighting to make your coding smoother. Debugging tools are another must-have to squash any bugs during development.

Version Control

Using Git lets you manage changes and collaborate smoothly if you're working in a team. It's great for keeping your project organized and tracking each phase of the plugin development.

Writing Great Documentation

Don’t forget about documentation! Clear instructions and support documents are crucial for anyone who’ll use your plugin. Whether it’s setup guides or API docs, your users will thank you for the clear information.

Anatomy of a WooCommerce plugin

Before we explore how to create your own WooCommerce plugin, let's first understand the structure of a WooCommerce add-on. Knowing what each file does will help you build a more effective and manageable plugin.

README.md 

The README.md file is essential for anyone who will use or extend your WooCommerce plugin. It provides a high-level overview and instructions, making your plugin more accessible and easier to understand.

[your-extension-name].php 

This is the core file of your extension where you hook your plugin into WordPress and WooCommerce. It's vital for initializing your plugin and integrating it seamlessly with the existing systems.

package.json

This file is the organizational backbone of your plugin. It manages configuration settings, scripts, and dependencies needed for the plugin to function correctly. Here's a brief example of what it might look like:

{
    "name": "my-woocommerce-extension",
    "version": "0.1.0",
    "description": "A brief description of your plugin",
    "scripts": {
        "build": "wp-scripts build"
    },
    "devDependencies": {
        "@wordpress/scripts": "^12.2.1"
    }
}

The src/ Folder

Inside the src/ folder, you'll find the JavaScript and SCSS files that dictate how your plugin behaves and looks from the client side. These files are processed to work efficiently in web browsers, ensuring your plugin's frontend is as sleek as it is functional.

Understanding these components provides a solid foundation for creating a WooCommerce add-on that's robust and tailored to your needs. As you develop your plugin, these files will play a crucial role in its functionality and user experience.

How to Create a WooCommerce Plugin in WordPress

Creating a plugin for WooCommerce can significantly improve your eCommerce site by adding customized functionalities tailored to your needs. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you set up a plugin using the WC_Integration class, which simplifies creating a settings page within WooCommerce.

1. Prepare Your Development Environment

First, ensure you have the latest version of WooCommerce installed on your WordPress site. You can download it from the official WooCommerce website.

2. Create Your Plugin Directory

Navigate to the wp-content/plugins/ directory of your WordPress installation and create a new folder for your plugin, for example, my-custom-plugin.

3. Define the Integration Class

Create a file within your plugin folder for the integration class, such as class-wc-integration-demo-integration.php. This class will extend WC_Integration to include your custom settings. Here’s a basic setup for your integration class:

<?php
/**
 * Integration Demo.
 *
 * Provides an integration to extend WooCommerce functionalities.
 *
 * @package WooCommerce My Plugin Integration
 * @category Integration
 */

if ( ! class_exists( 'WC_My_Plugin_Integration' ) ) :

class WC_My_Plugin_Integration extends WC_Integration {

    /**
     * Initialize the integration.
     */
    public function __construct() {
        $this->id                 = 'my-plugin-integration';
        $this->method_title       = __( 'My Plugin Integration' );
        $this->method_description = __( 'An integration to extend WooCommerce functionalities.' );

        // Initialize settings fields.
        $this->init_form_fields();
        $this->init_settings();

        // Get settings from options.
        $this->custom_name = $this->get_option( 'custom_name' );

        // Save settings when updated.
        add_action( 'woocommerce_update_options_integration_' . $this->id, [ $this, 'process_admin_options' ] );
    }

    /**
     * Initialize integration settings form fields.
     */
    public function init_form_fields() {
        $this->form_fields = [
            'custom_name' => [
                'title'       => __( 'Custom Name' ),
                'type'        => 'text',
                'description' => __( 'Enter a custom name for this integration.' ),
                'desc_tip'    => true,
                'default'     => '',
            ],
        ];
    }
}

endif;
?>

4. Activate Your Plugin

Create the main plugin file, for example, woocommerce-my-custom-plugin.php, to initialize your integration class and add it to WooCommerce.

<?php
/**
 * Plugin Name: My Custom WooCommerce Plugin
 * Description: Extends WooCommerce by adding an integration.
 * Author: Your Name
 * Version: 1.0
 */

if ( ! class_exists( 'WC_my_custom_plugin' ) ) :

class WC_my_custom_plugin {
    public function __construct() {
        add_action( 'plugins_loaded', array( $this, 'init' ) );
    }

    public function init() {
        if ( class_exists( 'WC_Integration' ) ) {
            include_once 'class-wc-my-plugin-integration.php';
            add_filter( 'woocommerce_integrations', array( $this, 'add_integration' ) );
        }
    }

    public function add_integration( $integrations ) {
        $integrations[] = 'WC_My_Plugin_Integration';
        return $integrations;
    }
}

new WC_my_custom_plugin();

endif;
?>

5. Link to Plugin Settings

Extend your plugin’s functionality by adding a direct link to its settings page from the plugin list.

define('MY_PLUGIN_SLUG', 'wc-settings');

// Add settings link on plugin page
add_filter('plugin_action_links_' . plugin_basename(__FILE__), 'add_action_links');

function add_action_links($links) {
    $settings_link = '<a href="' . admin_url('admin.php?page=wc-settings&tab=integration') . '">Settings</a>';
    array_push($links, $settings_link);
    return $links;
}

6. Configure and Use Your Plugin

Now, you can navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > Integration to see your custom plugin settings. Here, you can manage and save your specific configurations.

7. Verify WooCommerce Activation

Ensure your plugin operates only when WooCommerce is active. Wrap your plugin’s main class around a conditional check to confirm WooCommerce’s activation.

if ( in_array( 'woocommerce/woocommerce.php', apply_filters( 'active_plugins', get_option( 'active_plugins' ) ) ) ) {
    if ( ! class_exists('WC_Dynamic_Discounts') ){
        class WC_Dynamic_Discounts {
            public function __construct(){
                // Initialization code here
            }
        }
    }
}

This conditional setup prevents your plugin from executing unless WooCommerce is up and running, ensuring compatibility and preventing errors.

8. Implement User-Specific Discounts

You can also add functionalities to manage discounts on user profiles. Use actions to display and save a custom discount value for each user.

public function __construct() {
    add_action('edit_user_profile', array( $this, 'show_discount'), 10, 1);
    add_action('edit_user_profile_update', array( $this, 'save_discount'), 10, 1);
}

public function show_discount($user) {
    // Display discount input
}

public function save_discount($user_id) {
    // Save the discount value
}

By integrating these actions, you can manipulate discount data directly on user profiles, enhancing your plugin’s functionality.

9. Dynamically Adjust Product Prices

Finally, adjust product prices based on the user’s discount. This step involves filtering WooCommerce's product prices to apply the discounts dynamically.

public function __construct() {
    // Other constructor code
    add_filter( 'woocommerce_product_get_price', array( $this, 'apply_dynamic_price' ), 10, 2);
}

public function apply_dynamic_price($price, $product) {
    $current_user_id = get_current_user_id();
    $discount = floatval(get_user_meta($current_user_id, 'show_discount', true));

    if (!empty($discount)) {
        $dynamic_price = $price - (($price * $discount) / 100);
        return $dynamic_price;
    }

    return $price; // Return the original price if no discount is applied
}

Incorporating this function adds a powerful selling feature to your WooCommerce store.

This basic framework sets up a functional WooCommerce plugin with a custom settings page. Customize further as needed to suit your specific eCommerce strategies.

Launching Your WooCommerce Plugin

Now that your WooCommerce plugin is polished and ready to go, let’s get it out there. Here's how you can make a splash in the marketplace:

  • Choose your publishing platform: Start by selecting where to publish your plugin. Options like the WordPress plugin repository, CodeCanyon, or GitHub are great depending on what you aim to achieve with your plugin.
  • Get ready to publish: This step is all about dotting the i's and crossing the t's. Make sure your documentation is helpful and your demo is spot-on. Double-check your code for security and functionality to ensure everything's top-notch.
  • Submit your plugin: Now, submit your plugin to the chosen platform. It’s crucial to carefully follow their submission guidelines to avoid any hiccups.
  • Promote your plugin: Once your plugin is live, it’s time to shout it from the rooftops. Use social media platforms like Facebook, X, and LinkedIn, and engage on forums and sites like Medium and Quora to spread the word.

Best Practices for WooCommerce Plugin Development

When you’re engaged in WooCommerce plugin development, you'll want to stick to some tried and true practices to make sure your plugin succeeds. Here are some best practices to consider:

1. Minimize Custom Tables

Opt for WordPress's built-in functionalities like post types and taxonomies instead of creating new database tables. This approach simplifies maintenance and integration.

2. Stick to WordPress Standards

When you develop a plugin for WooCommerce, sticking to WordPress coding standards is key. This keeps your code clean and compatible with other parts of WordPress.

3. Specify WooCommerce Version Compatibility

It’s essential to declare which versions of WooCommerce your plugin supports. This transparency helps users determine compatibility and ensures smoother operation:

  • WC requires at least: 4.0
  • WC tested up to: 4.1

4. Prepare for WooCommerce.com Sales

Planning to sell on WooCommerce.com? Include a unique Woo header in your plugin to facilitate updates:

Woo: 12345:342928dfsfhsf8429842374wdf4234sfd

5. Focus on a Single Objective

Your plugin should aim to enhance the WooCommerce experience with a clear, singular focus. Avoid cluttering it with unrelated features or external links that do not serve WooCommerce users directly.

6. Avoid Overriding Core Functions

Never alter core WooCommerce functionalities or add top-level menu items that could interfere with WooCommerce’s native operations.

7. Properly Enqueue Scripts and Styles

Instead of directly embedding scripts and styles, enqueue them properly using wp_enqueue_script() and wp_enqueue_style(). This method avoids conflicts with other plugins and themes and ensures scripts and styles load at the correct times.

8. Implement Robust Security Measures 

Security is paramount. Use capabilities checks, nonce verification, and sanitize all inputs to prevent unauthorized actions and data breaches.

9. Provide Thorough Documentation

Detailed documentation is invaluable. It aids users in installing, configuring, and effectively utilizing your plugin, thereby enhancing user experience and reducing support requests.

Where to Publish Your WooCommerce Plugin

Once you've developed a WooCommerce plugin, choosing the right platform to launch it can make all the difference. Let’s explore some top marketplaces where you can showcase your plugin to the ideal audience.

1. CodeCanyon

CodeCanyon from Envato Market allows you to sell your plugin directly to users. This platform is great because you don’t need to offer a freemium version, unlike the WordPress Plugin Directory. It exposes your plugin to a wide audience right away, which can jumpstart your sales.

2. WordPress Plugin Directory

The WordPress Plugin Directory is the best place to start due to its massive user trust and reach. It's a free platform that helps new plugins gain traction and credibility quickly. Here, users can download your plugin for free, leave feedback, and you get valuable insights from plugin statistics and user reviews.

3. WooCommerce Marketplace

For plugins specifically enhancing eCommerce functions, the WooCommerce Marketplace is ideal. It is trusted for its direct relevance to online store owners, offering a targeted audience that is looking for tools to improve their operations. Selling here allows you to earn a significant portion of the sales while reaching people who use WooCommerce exclusively.

4. Mojo Marketplace

Mojo Marketplace is unique because it integrates with hosting platforms, which means your plugin becomes available to users the moment they start building their sites. This direct integration can lead to higher visibility and quicker adoption.

Final Verdict

A custom WooCommerce plugin might seem like a distant dream, but it's definitely within your reach.

Follow the steps outlined, and you're well on your way to creating something that can transform your eCommerce site.

Take the leap, use this guide, and start shaping the way your online store operates. Who knows? Your plugin might just be the next big thing in the WooCommerce community.

How to Create Custom WooCommerce Plugin - FAQ

What do I need to know to create a custom plugin in WordPress? 

To create a custom plugin in WordPress, you need a basic understanding of PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Familiarity with WordPress hooks, actions, filters, and the WordPress Plugin API is essential. Start by setting up a local development environment, then write your plugin code and test it thoroughly.

How can I start building a WooCommerce plugin for my WordPress site?

To begin building a WooCommerce plugin, install and activate the WooCommerce software. Create a new plugin folder in wp-content/plugins, and inside that folder, create a PHP file that will house your initial plugin code. Use WordPress hooks to integrate your plugin with WooCommerce functionalities. Detailed guides and tutorials are available in the WooCommerce documentation to help you start.

What are some best practices for developing WooCommerce plugins? 

When developing WooCommerce plugins, follow best practices such as adhering to WordPress coding standards, ensuring your plugin is secure against common vulnerabilities, and making sure it is compatible with the latest versions of WordPress and WooCommerce. It’s also wise to keep your plugin focused on solving specific problems to avoid bloating it with unnecessary features.

How can I make my custom WooCommerce plugin extendable by other developers? 

To make your WooCommerce plugin extendable, use WordPress hooks (actions and filters) effectively. Provide ample documentation on how other developers can hook into your plugin’s functionalities. Consider following the Plugin Developer Handbook to ensure you're providing the most accessible and standardized code possible.

Get Spocket for BigCommerce!
Learn how to start and grow your own e-commerce store!
You're in! Look out for our emails to help you get started with your e-commerce store.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Adeel Qayum

Adeel holds a Master’s degree in digital marketing and is a passionate e-commerce marketer. He specializes in long-form content creation and has a conversion mindset, which helps him focus on elements that generate sales for businesses.

Also Read:

Get 14-day instant access to Spocket at no cost.

Congrats! You'll receive in depth guides and interesting blogs straight in your inbox.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Also Read

shopify dropshipping - 3shopify dropshipping - 2 shopify dropshipping - 3shopify dropshipping - 5
START MY FREE TRIAL
---