Today we've released a new WordPress plugin to create a private WooCommerce members only shop. The plugin, WooCommerce Private Store, locks down the whole of WooCommerce while keeping the rest of your website public. It's the perfect way to create a private online shop to sell products exclusively to your members.
We've developed the new WooCommerce members only plugin in response to demand from users of our Password Protected Categories WooCommerce plugin. The aim of that plugin was to let people protect specific areas within a WooCommerce shop. We were surprised at the number of customers using it to protect their WooCommerce whole store. While we supported customers in finding ways to achieve this, it wasn't really ideal. It was missing crucial features such as hiding protected products from search engines.
The new WooCommerce Private Store plugin offers a dedicated way to make WooCommerce private. It has all the features that you need to hide an entire WooCommerce shop so that only your members can see it.
Get WooCommerce Private Store or read our tutorial 'How to Build a Private WooCommerce Members Only Shop'
What does the WooCommerce members only plugin do?
The members only plugin transforms any WooCommerce website into a 100% private online shop.
It does this by hiding all elements of WooCommerce from public view. There are 2 ways to hide WooCommerce, which can work together or separately:
- You can password protect WooCommerce. Customers must enter a correct password to unlock your private store. You can create 1 or more passwords, e.g. one for everyone to share, or a separate password for each customer.
- Alternatively, you can set it up so that the private WooCommerce store is automatically unlocked for logged in user or specific user roles.
Either way, the plugin protects all the pages created by WooCommerce. This includes the main shop page which lists all your products, the individual product pages, product category pages and tag archives. It also protects other content added by WooCommerce such as shop-specific widgets and menu items.
Everything in your WooCommerce members only shop is only visible to customers who have unlocked the private store. For everyone else, it's as if the e-commerce part of your site doesn't even exist.
Your products, categories, tags etc. are hidden from search engines so they can't be indexed. They're hidden from your XML sitemap. The shop pages are also hidden from the WordPress search on your website. This means that if someone uses the search box on your site, your products and other WooCommerce content won't appear on the search results page.
How does the WooCommerce password protection work?
Whenever a customer tries to access part of the members only WooCommerce shop, they'll see a login page where they must enter the correct password to continue. (You can customise the text that appears above the password entry form and on the 'Submit' button.)
Once the customer enters the correct password, the entire members only WooCommerce store is unlocked for them. They can then navigate through the WooCommerce shop as usual - viewing the shop page, categories, products and buying online.
What sorts of website need a members only store?
It's useful for any e-commerce site that needs to sell products to a specific group of pre-approved people. This might include:
- WooCommerce wholesale shops for approved trade distributors.
- WordPress membership websites.
- Clubs and organisations selling branded merchandise to members only
- Company websites selling workwear to their employees via a private e-commerce area.
Will anyone know my members only WooCommerce shop exists?
It's up to you whether to include any links to your members shop on your public-facing website.
If you like, you can add a link called 'Trade Login' or 'Member Login' to your menu, sidebar, header or similar. That way, members can click the link to view the store login page and unlock the shop. Public users will be able to see the link, but they can't get past the password protection page.
To hide WooCommerce completely, you don't have to include any links to your shop. Give your members the link to your private shop page and no one else will know it exists!
Can people find my private members only products in search engines?
Nope - the plugin takes care of all that. Once you activate the plugin, your product pages, category archives, tag archives and other WooCommerce content is automatically noindexed and hidden from search engines.
How do I create a private members only shop?
The WooCommerce members only plugin is really simple to use. You can create a private WooCommerce shop in minutes.
- Set up WooCommerce and add your products, categories in the normal way - just as you would for a public online shop.
- Install and activate the WooCommerce Private Shop plugin.
- Go to the settings page, add your license key and choose a password for your members only store.
- Either add a 'Member login' link to your website or give the URL to your members along with the password.
And that's it! The WooCommerce members only plugin will take care of the rest.
Use the Documentation in the knowledge base to learn how to configure the hide WooCommerce plugin in more depth. For example you can change the text on the private WooCommerce login page.
Can I hide specific areas of my WooCommerce store?
The new WooCommerce members only plugin is just designed to protect your entire online shop. If you just want to hide parts of your WooCommerce shop then you need our Password Protected Categories for WooCommerce plugin instead. This lets you protect specific areas within WooCommerce while also having a public e-commerce store.
I love the plugin! Can I earn commission for reselling it?
Absolutely! Check out our WordPress Plugins Affiliate scheme and sign up to get 30% commission for reselling our members-only plugin, and our other premium plugins too.
Where can I get the plugin?
The WooCommerce Private Store plugin is available on our website. Get it today and set up your WooCommerce members only shop in minutes!