How to build customizable products in WooCommerce: a complete 2022 guide

Build personalized products in WooCommerce

Without a doubt, WooCommerce is the best (and only?) plugin for turning your WordPress website into an e-commerce shop. It’s very versatile and has many features built-in to help you successfully launch your online store. But unfortunately, WooCommerce doesn’t offer much functionality for creating customizable products. Instead, you need to rely on a plugin to solve this problem.

This complete guide explains how you can create customizable products in WooCommerce with the use of a plugin. The article also contains plenty of other details, such as definitions and examples of personalized WooCommerce products.

It’s a long read, but you’ll learn a lot along the way!

Customizable products in WooCommerce – it starts here

This complete guide contains everything you need to know about personalized/customizable products in WooCommerce. Here’s a breakdown of all the subjects tackled in this guide:

What are customizable products in WooCommerce?

A customizable – or often called personalized – product is a product that includes a form with extra input fields on the product page. Your customer can fill out those custom fields to personalize your product to their wishes.

A classic example of a personalized product is a pizza, for which customers can choose the desired size and add extra toppings.

pizza configurator illustration

Customizable products can be simple, like adding a checkbox to offer gift wrapping. But they can also be complex, like selling business cards with various options, or a “build your own” product with a large form. Technically, you could build whole product configurators in WooCommerce! We’ll go over more examples later in this guide.

The important things to know are:

  • Customized or personalized products allow customers to tweak various extra options in order to achieve the product they want to buy.
  • You can create customizable products by adding extra options to your WooCommerce products.

Extra product options – terminology

Extra product options are basically form input fields you add to your WooCommerce products. Throughout this guide (and the internet) you’ll notice different terms that refer to the same thing:

  • Extra product options
  • Product add-ons
  • Custom fields or product fields
  • Product extras
  • Input fields

These terms all refer to the same principle: showing input fields on your product pages, which allow customers to personalize the product before adding it to their cart.

Types of custom product fields

Typically, product options are built using normal form input fields like:

  • Text and text area input fields
  • Dropdown lists (select lists)
  • Checkboxes (either a single checkbox or a group of multiple checkboxes)
  • Radio buttons
  • Number input fields

But you can also use more advanced fields like:

  • File upload
  • Date picker (a calendar field)
  • Color picker / color swatches
  • Image swatches (clickable images)
  • Text swatches (clickable text buttons)

With these field types, you can build simple or complex forms on your WooCommerce product pages!

Examples of customizable products on the web

Some examples of popular brands jumping on the personalized products bandwagon:

The concept of customization was designed just a few decades ago, but today prominent companies are using it to meet customer demand while growing their profit margins. Sure, these examples are very advanced product configurators, but they showcase the importance of offering customization.

Why you should sell personalized products

A 2017-2018 survey conducted by Epsilon concluded that 80% of the audience was more likely to do business with a company offering personalization. 90% of the audience found personalization appealing.

Here are some of the main reasons why offering personalized WooCommerce products is a good idea:

  • You can increase the size of your target audience: by offering custom product options, you become a more inclusive store because you have options for everyone. There’s a good chance, you can even target a new audience.
  • You increase average order value (AOV) because extra options often also change the final product price.
  • Users stay on your site longer.
  • It increases sales & profit margin.
  • You offer a better user experience for your customers: break complex products down into easy steps.

Just be aware not to offer too many (complex) product options because you don’t want to overwhelm your users with extra choices!

What is the difference between custom product options and WooCommerce variations?

WooCommerce already has a built-in mechanism for adding extra options to your products. You can use this by changing the product type from Simple to Variable in WooCommerce. A classic example is selling shoes: you can offer visitors various colors (e.g. brown or black) and different shoe sizes. You can do this by creating a variable product in WooCommerce and adding variations for each combination of options you want to offer.

The problem is that WooCommerce variations are too limited in terms of features. Variations are meant to select a different version of the same product (for example a “large” size or a “small” size), but they are not meant to offer extensive features for personalized products.

Here are some of the key disadvantages of using WooCommerce variations:

  • Variations are always displayed as predefined options in a select list (dropdown field). This means you can’t add “free input” fields like text fields and you can’t select multiple options from the same set.
  • Variations don’t have conditional logic: you can’t show or hide variations depending on the selection of previous fields.
  • The pricing structure for variations is very limited: you need to define a different product price for every combination of variations.
Choice of yes or no
Further reading

Read more about when to use variations versus custom product options

In order to have more control over the available product customizations, you’ll have to use a plugin that extends WooCommerce with those features.

How to add product options (custom fields) to WooCommerce

As mentioned before, WooCommerce doesn’t have many features for extra product options by default, so you’ll have to use a plugin to build customizable products. In this guide, we’ll be using the Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce plugin.

Advanced Product Fields WooCommerce
Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce

The easiest way to set up extra product options!

Find out more

It’s a powerful yet lightweight plugin you can use to add various form input fields to product pages and create the customizable WooCommerce products you want.

Installing Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce

After purchasing the plugin, you will be redirected to your Studio Wombat account. Once you’re logged in, you can download the plugin. Head over to the Plugin Downloads section and click the download button on the right. This will automatically download the latest version.

To install the plugin, go to your WordPress admin dashboard → Plugins → Add new → Upload Plugin. Next, choose the zip file you downloaded in the previous step and click Install Now.

How to add a text input field to a WooCommerce product

Now that you’ve installed the plugin, it’s time to use it! In this simple tutorial, we’ll add a text input field to a WooCommerce product. This is what we’re making:

woocommerce add text field to product

Before you can start using the plugin, you need to create a product in WooCommerce and assign a price in the General tab.

When that is done, navigate to the Custom fields tab and click Add your 1st field. You’ll now see a section appear with all the options for your new text field.

add a text input field to a WooCommerce product

We’ll go through the most important settings for the field here:

  • Type: this setting decides what type of custom field this should be. For now, leave it as Text.
  • Label: this is the title of the field (which appears above it). Set it to ‘Add your slogan to the back’.
  • Instructions: this setting adds a small paragraph of specific instructions below the input field. It’s used to give your customer extra information about that product option. We’ll add ‘Maximum 35 characters’.
  • There are various other settings to change the behavior of the text field but we won’t set those now.

Once you’ve added all information, publish or update your product and you’re done!

woocommerce add text field to product
Detailed tutorial

Here is a more detailed tutorial on adding a text field

How to add checkboxes to a WooCommerce product

Adding one checkbox or multiple checkboxes to your Woo product is very similar to adding a text field (which is explained above). Follow the steps above for adding a text field, but:

  • If you want to add multiple checkboxes, choose Checkboxes from the Type dropdown.
  • Want to add only 1 checkbox? Choose True/False as a type.

When adding multiple checkboxes, scroll down to the Options setting and click Add option. In this section, you can define each checkbox with a label and optional pricing changes.

The Options setting for checkboxes in the backend

How to add a number field to a WooCommerce product

By now, you probably get how it works. To add a number input field, repeat the steps above, but change the Type dropdown to Number.

Note that depending on the field type you select, additional settings will show up. For the numbers field, you can define whether or not you expect a decimal number, a minimum expected value, and a maximum allowed value.

How to add clickable images to a WooCommerce product

Most extra product options are basic form fields such as input fields or checkboxes. But Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce also includes swatches. They are clickable buttons/elements such as color swatches, text swatches, and image swatches. They make your personalized products look better and are very easy to use. Below is an example of image swatches:

Example of an APF image swatch field

To add image swatches, repeat the usual steps from above and change the Type dropdown to Image Swatches. If you want to give customers the ability to select more than 1 image out of the group, then change the type to Multi-select image swatches.

Similar to adding checkboxes, scroll down until you find the Options setting. This is where you can define each image with an image, label, and additional pricing settings.

How to add a file upload field to a WooCommerce product

To add a file upload field to your product, change the Type to File Upload. This will add a file upload field like this:

This file upload field looks a bit basic, but Advanced Product Fields (APF) for WooCommerce comes with many options to style and secure the file upload field. Make sure to check out the available options before saving your product.

File upload field on WooCommerce Products
Detailed tutorial

Here is a more detailed tutorial on adding a modern file upload

Change the total product price depending on selected product options

A powerful product configurator or customizer needs the ability to change the final product price. Depending on which options the customer selects, the final product price can increase or decrease. This allows you to create customizable WooCommerce products with extra options that give discounts or add an extra price. Here are a few examples of extra product options that increase the total product price:

  • Add a “gift wrapping” checkbox. When checked, the user is charged an extra $1 to cover the gift wrapping fee.
  • If you sell computers, each option in the configurator is usually better than the previous one. Think about a 1TB hard drive versus a 2TB hard drive. The 2TB hard drive will be more expensive, so the total product price should increase.
  • If you sell pizza with extra toppings, each additional topping increases the total product price with $1.50.

Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce has a lot of features to help you create a similar experience. You can increase or decrease the final product price depending on the values the customer selects in your personalized product.

Pricing types

Advanced Product Fields allows you to use many different pricing types for your product add-ons. Here are the most popular ones:

  • Quantity-based flat fee: charges an extra fixed cost, which is automatically multiplied with the chosen product quantity.
  • Flat fee: a fixed price, regardless of the product quantity.
  • Percentage fee: the additional cost is a fixed fee based on a percentage of the product’s price.
  • Amount × character count: allows you to ask a fixed price per character. The price is automatically multiplied with the number of characters in the text field.
  • Amount × field value: this pricing option is only applicable to number fields. It will multiply the field value with your given amount. This is useful to create a “pay-what-you-want” donation option.
  • Table rate pricing: finds the extra pricing from a predefined table.
  • Formula pricing: if the above types don’t cover your needs, you can create your own formulas to cover more advanced pricing schemes.

These pricing features will take your customizable WooCommerce product to the next level! Below are quick tutorials on how to add pricing to your product addons.

How to add a flat fee to a text field in WooCommerce

A basic example is to charge a flat fee when a text field is filled out. In our T-shirt example from earlier, we want to increase the final product price when the user adds the text that should appear on the T-shirt.

To do that, edit your product and find your text field in the Custom fields section. Scroll down to the Pricing setting. Turn it on and select Quantity based flat fee as the pricing type. Enter the desired additional cost in the field next to it. Your settings should look like this:

The pricing toggle in the APF backend

Now save your work by updating your product. Visit your product page and see how 2 extra sections appear on the product page: a pricing hint and a pricing summary.

Pricing hint and pricing summary

The pricing hint shows the customer what cost will be added when this field is filled out. The pricing summary at the bottom shows a breakdown of 3 prices: the product price, the total price of all options, and finally the grand total price.

How to add an extra fee to checkboxes in WooCommerce

Let’s say we’re building a “build your own pizza” customizer product in WooCommerce. Customers can add multiple extra toppings to their pizza. Each topping should increase the product price with $1 or $1.50.

We’ve discussed how to add checkboxes to a product, so we’ll skip that part here. Edit your product and find your checkboxes field in the Custom fields section. Scroll down to the Options setting. From there, set the desired pricing type and amount for each checkbox.

Add pricing to your options in APF

Save your product and check out the final result:

Multiple checkboxes on your WooCommerce product page

If you want to hide the pricing hint, go to WooCommerce → Settings → Product fields and disable the pricing hint there.

Conditional logic

Your configurable WooCommerce products are already powerful, but they’re about to get even more powerful!

Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce allows you to show or hide product add-on fields based on the values of other fields or selected product variations. This powerful feature is called conditional logic and allows you to create more complex product configurators while maintaining a good user experience for your customers.

Here are some advantages of using conditional logic in your personalized products:

  • Don’t overwhelm your users with many options, but gradually show them more.
  • You can even create a multi-step product form to divide complex products in easy steps.
  • Group logical parts together, increasing the user experience for the customer.

When your extra product options are complex, it’s a good idea to use conditional logic to help your customers understand your product.

How to add conditional logic to your WooCommerce product options

Conditional logic is achieved by adding rules that let you decide when to show a specific product field. Using the Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce plugin, you can create as many conditional rules as you like for the fields you create.

Edit your product and find your field in the Custom fields section. Scroll down to the Conditionals section and click Add new rule group to start adding conditional rules.

Conditionals builder in APF

Since you can add multiple rules, this system is capable of creating very complex logic to fit even the most advanced product setups.

By adding conditions to custom fields in WooCommerce, you can keep your product pages neat and concise. This helps you deliver a good user experience to customers.

How to add product add-ons in bulk

In this guide, we’ve only worked with local product fields. That means the custom fields only exist on a single product. But what if you have many products that require the same fields? No problem! Advanced Product Fields allows you to add product options in bulk too.

To do so, navigate to WooCommerce → Product Fields and create a new Field Group. Add your fields and then navigate to the Conditions section. In that section, you can add rules to display these fields on various products at once. You can add rules based on:

  • Product categories
  • Product tags
  • User roles
  • User logged in or logged out?
  • Product names or IDs
  • And finally, product types

If you add new products to your WooCommerce store in the feature, fields will automatically show if one (or more) of the above rules are true.

How are extra product options displayed on the order admin screen?

As a store owner, it’s important you get a good view of everything your customer selected before adding their product(s) to cart. Luckily, the Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce plugin displays all details nicely in the order admin screen. Here is an example of how it looks in the WooCommerce back-end:

SHowing extra product options on the WooCommerce order admin screen

As you can see, all options are chronologically added underneath each order item in the WooCommerce order admin screen.

What customizable products can you build with APF? Get ideas!

Below is a list of product types you can make with Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce. This is by no means a complete list, but it gives you a good idea of what you can do with the plugin.

“Name your price” products

A “name your price” (or “open price” or “pay your price”) product is one where your customer decides how much they are willing to pay for it. You can enforce a minimum and maximum price or totally leave it up to the customer.

Creating a “name your price” product is easy with Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce:

  1. Add a number field to your product. Refer to our previous tutorial in this guide on how to do it.
  2. You can optionally set a minimum required price or a maximum allowed price.
  3. Under the Pricing option, select Amount × field value × qty.
  4. Set the pricing amount to 1.

That’s it! This is all you need to create a “pay your price” product in WooCommerce!

Name your price WooCommerce product example

Print on demand is a business process in which products are not printed until the company receives an order. This means your company doesn’t need inventory management or a complicated printing process.

A typical example of Print on Demand (POD) products are custom designs on T-shirts, mugs, or calendars. Customers would upload their own images, logos, etc. They could even add slogans, add text to the back of the T-shirt, and choose various color options.

Take a look at our demo of bulk book printing here.

Takeaway or food products

WooCommerce is perfect for restaurants that want to branch out online and offer takeaway or delivery through their own website. Takeaway products are booming globally due to the COVID pandemic. As a food business, it’s a smart move to jump on the bandwagon too. Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce can help!

We’ve already discussed creating a pizza builder product. You can see the final demo of the pizza product here. We’ve also got a step-by-step tutorial on how to create the pizza product here.

Plenty of products exist that are custom made based on the customer’s desired size. Here are a few examples:

  • Window blinds (shutters): their size depends on the size of the customer’s windows.
  • Closets: IKEA, and similar stores, offers a way to build closets by measurements.
  • Clothing: bespoke suits are custom made based on body measurements.

Custom-made products by measurement

Advanced Product Fields has many features to help build these kinds of products. There are 2 ways to achieve the desired result:

  1. Most measurement pricing depends on 2 fields: width & height. Add 2 Number fields in APF and use formula-based pricing to multiply them with a unit price.
  2. If your product’s measurement pricing can not be distilled into an easy formula, Advanced Product Fields supports matrix table pricing.

Both methods for measurement-based pricing are explained in detail in this blog post.

Various other product types

The possibilities don’t stop here! There are plenty of other customizable products that WooCommerce and APF can handle: selling tickets, greeting cards, gift cards, etc. The list is too long to include in this guide. I hope this sparks your creativity and you can think of some great use cases to build!

Wrapping up: customizable products in WooCommerce

While WooCommerce itself doesn’t have many features to create customizable, personalized products, we’ve learned there are options to build out any type of use case. Specifically, we’ve looked at the Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce plugin. We’ve learned how to use the plugin to create extra product options, to conditionally show or hide them, and to price the extra product add-ons accordingly.

We’ve also looked at specific examples and use cases of personalized products. Throughout the guide, we link to various other tutorials which explain how to build specific types of customizable products in more detail.

Hopefully, this guide is the only guide you’ll ever need to build customizable products in WooCommerce. If you have any questions or remarks, please let us know in the comments!

Advanced Product Fields WooCommerce
Advanced Product Fields for WooCommerce

The easiest way to set up extra product options for customizable products!

Find out more
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