Demystifying Related Products in WooCommerce

WooCommerce can automatically determine similar products and show them, providing customers with a quick and easy way to view other products.

If a customer has easy access to more products that pique their interest then they are likely to:

  • Spend more time browsing your store,
  • Have a better experience using your store, and
  • Ultimately buy more products.

For example, an unconvinced customer may see what it is they are looking for in the related products and proceed to purchase it.

WooCommerce determines which products are related by looking at their categories and tags. If certain products share a large number of categories and tags then they will be deemed related and appear on each other’s product pages.

Setting up related products in WooCommerce

To set up related products you must first already have created the products. You can see a list of your current products by going to the products menu on the left hand side of the admin screen. If you have not created any products and are unfamiliar with how to do so, you can find out how to on the WooThemes website.

Once you have some products set up you are ready to start optimising them. To start, hover over one your products and press the “Edit” button.

A screenshot of the products menu showing the location of the "Edit" button.

On the right hand side of the page you’ll see two boxes, one labelled “Product Categories” and the other labelled “Product Tags”.

Within the “Product Categories” box you will see any categories you have already created. If there isn’t a category relevant to the product you’re editing, then you can add a new one by clicking “+ Add New Product Category”. You should try to create categories that are fairly general so they can be applied to multiple products, like the ones shown below.

A screen capture of the product categories metabox.

Products aren’t restricted to having just one category, you can give each product as many categories as you feel is necessary. Once you’ve added any categories you’d like to apply to the product, you can tick the boxes next to their names to assign them to that product.

In the “Product Tags” box you can enter as many words as you’d like to tag the product with. Tags are usually more specific than categories, and will often only be used on a handful of products. They should describe what the product actually is and some of its features, as shown in the example below.

A screen capture of the product tags meta box.

Once you’re happy with the categories and tags you’ve applied to the product, you can save your changes by clicking the “Update” button in the top right hand corner.

Repeat this process with each of your products, until they all have categories and tags assigned to them.

A photo of some records that are organised by genre.

You should now have everything set up for related products to work properly. Assuming that your theme supports them, you should see several related products when you view any of your products. WooCommerce will pick the products that have the most categories and tags in common with the product you are currently viewing.

If your theme does not automatically insert them into the page, however, you can use the following shortcode within a product’s description to enable related products on that product’s page.

[related_products per_page=”12″ columns=”3″ orderby=”title”]

Currently the only way to determine which products are going to appear on a particular product page is to visit that page on the front end and see for yourself. There is no way to see which products are related from the back end.

You don’t have control over which products appear as related products. If you had a product that you really wanted to appear on a particular product page then you could instead use an up-sell.

An up-sell is similar to a related product except it will always display on a particular product page regardless of any categories or tags it may have. You can find out more about up-sells and how to set them up on the WooThemes website.


2 Comments on “Demystifying Related Products in WooCommerce

  1. Good Day to you, maybe you can help me… I am trying to base the related products showed on the single product page of WooCommerce based on the product category. It seems that by defaults it is based on the product tag.

    I would like to do this without pluggin (which I use at the moment if you visit my web site). Do you know if this is possible? Thank you so much for your help, Nathalie

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