If you’re looking for a simple solution for taking customer orders at the counter or table using a tablet or iPad, this article is just the thing you need.
Here, we’ll show you how you can create a WooCommerce POS ordering system for your business. Whether you run an online store, physical store, restaurant, spa, local coffee shop, or hotel – a WooCommerce POS plugin (or "WooCommerce point of sale plugin") can help you streamline business operations.
Having software that enables you to take customer orders is incredibly important – regardless of what sort of business you’re running. It enables your staff to quickly enter customers’ orders into a single ordering system – not multiple versions for in-store and online, or worse, something on paper. It’s more accurate and more efficient.
A WooCommerce POS system will simplify the order-taking process and make it easier for your waiting staff or behind-the-counter staff to add and remove items from the order list, select variations, place orders for customers, and instantly send it through for processing.
By the end of this post, you'll know how to set this all up.
You can also watch a video version of this post below.
I’ll show you how you can use WooCommerce with the WooCommerce Product Table plugin to create a one-page ordering system that enables your staff to take customer orders. They’ll be able to use this system on different types of devices including iPads or Android tablets/phones.
I’ll start by showing you how to install and set up the WooCommerce Product Table plugin on your existing WordPress website.
Then, you’ll learn how to use the plugin to create an easy-to-use, one-page POS ordering form. This form will enable your waiting staff to easily view, select, and customize the customer’s orders.
And, lastly, we’ll go over some tips about how you can optimize your order taking process using advanced features like routing orders to the right department.
Let’s get started.
Why you need a WooCommerce POS tool to take orders
Most stores take customer orders using a static computer screen. All of the items in the customer’s order are recorded and forwarded to the relevant departments. Unfortunately, there are a number of problems associated with this approach to taking orders:
- The software used by these stores is outdated and difficult to use. You need something that’s up-to-date and easy-to-use, like WooCommerce and WordPress.
- As there is a limited number of counters, either customers or the waiting staff have to stand in queues to pay for their items. This can be a real pain for anyone that has to wait for a long time in order to make a purchase.
- Desktop computers occupy valuable space at the counter and on desks.
- If you sell online as well, you'll need to maintain two order systems!
The solution is to set up a WooCommerce point of sale system to quickly input the customer’s order, calculate the total amount owed, and collect payment information using an iPad or Android tablet.
Using WooCommerce for your point of sale system gives you a web-based, state-of-the-art solution. It's inexpensive, and it's easy to set up. If you're already using WooCommerce for selling online, then even better – integrating WooCommerce POS with your existing store will offer a huge saving of time, simplicity, and money for store owners.
How your business can benefit from an automated WooCommerce POS ordering system
If you run a business that requires waiting staff to take customer orders or requires customers to place their own orders at the counter, you’ll be able to speed up the order placing process using a WooCommerce POS integration on your WordPress website. It’s easy to set up and uses the popular WooCommerce plugin with some minor modifications and additional plugins.
Related: Check out our complete guide on how to build a WooCommerce B2B wholesale store!
What you’ll need to get started
WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce platform that you can use to sell just about anything. Whether you’re organizing your online store’s items, creating an online shopping cart, placing orders, or checkout pages, it’s got you covered. It’s a free plugin that can be installed to any WordPress site.
Introducing the WooCommerce Product Table plugin
You need the WooCommerce Product Table plugin to be able to display products in a user-friendly, one-page table layout that’ll also serve as an order form. Your front-of-house staff will be able to use this on any device to take orders.
Your front-of-house staff, waiting staff, or even customers themselves will be able to search, sort, and filter the products they’d like to purchase and place orders. Any point of sale system needs to be fast, and using WooCommerce Product Table ensures there's no waiting around. Your uses will be able to:
- View and choose product variations or add-on options directly from the order form.
- Use the quantity selector to purchase more of the same items in one go.
- Add extra notes about the order. For example, custom monograms or what color crinkle cut paper to include in the gift hamper.
- Make a note of the customer’s order number which will be directed to the back-end for processing.
How it works
Confirmed orders are automatically sent to your back-end staff via email and are displayed on a computer screen. Additionally, you can pair your WooCommerce POS system with a WooCommerce order printing plugin (we'll recommend one later) that enables you to print out this information as a receipt.
When a customer places an order, they’ll be directed to the purchase page where they can choose the payment method of their choice, including PayPal and credit cards.
Advantage of using WooCommerce Product Table
Using a WooCommerce Product Table plugin enables you to handle variable products, which helps your customers find the right variant of the product they’re interested in purchasing using the product table’s search, sort, and filter tools. In addition to this, it also integrates seamlessly with the WooCommerce Products Add-Ons extension allowing you to take personalized order requests. And the best part is that all of this works in real time and is responsive across different devices.
How to create a WooCommerce POS point of sale system using WooCommerce Product Table
Once you’ve set up your WordPress site and installed a WooCommerce-ready theme, you can get started creating your own point of sale ordering system. This ordering system will enable your customers to easily add items to their shopping cart, and pay for them using the payment method of their choice at the counter or at the table using an iPad/tablet.
Here, you’ll learn how to create a WooCommerce POS system that consumer-facing stores can use for taking orders. You can follow the steps outlined below from start to finish or jump straight to a specific step:
- Add items as WooCommerce products
- Install and activate the WooCommerce Product Table plugin
- Configure the Product Table settings
- Create a one-page WooCommerce POS order form for waiting staff
- Simplify the checkout process for staff
Step #1: Add items as WooCommerce products
If you don't already use WooCommerce, you'll need to start by adding your products.
WooCommerce offers built-in tools to help you handle product inventory and store management. Once you’ve installed the WooCommerce plugin, add your store’s items as WooCommerce products. Here’s what you need to do to add new products (including variable products) to your WooCommerce store:
Go to Products → Add New from the WordPress dashboard and enter the following product details:
- Name Here you’ll enter the item name that’ll appear in your WooCommerce POS ordering system.
- Product description Fill in the detailed description of the item in the main text editor.
- Product data This is where you’ll enter the price, type, attributes, SKU, and variants of the product.
- Short description Enter a short description of the item if you want.
- Categories This helps organize your items into categories and keeps all the products nicely arranged in a systematic way. For example, if you were selling clothes, you could create categories like T-shirts, Hoodies, and Accessories.
- Tags Similar to categories, tags enable your staff to further organize your items, and enables them to locate particular items. For instance, you can create tags like, For Men, For Women, and Baby items.
- Product image Here you’ll provide your product’s image to display in your order form.
If any of your products don’t have options or choices, simply select the ‘Simple Product type’ in the ‘Product Data’ section. Use ‘Variable Products’ for adding choices. For example, if you’re selling t-shirts, you could add variations for the different available colors (blue, green, gray) or sizes (small, medium, large).
Click on the Publish button. Repeat the same process until you’ve added all of your products to WooCommerce.
Use Product Add-Ons for accepting customer requests
You can also add text boxes and other fields to your order forms using the Product Add-Ons plugin. They enable you to collect additional information from your customers like special requests or preferences. This information will be automatically directed to your back-end staff along with the order.
Product Add-Ons gives you more flexibility compared to the product variations, as it lets you add checkboxes and various other options.
Step #2: Install and activate the WooCommerce Product Table plugin
Now you’re ready to display your products in one-page WooCommerce POS order form:
- Get the WooCommerce Product Table plugin and find your license key from the confirmation email.
- Go to Plugins → Add New from the WordPress dashboard and upload the plugin’s zipped file to your site. Click the Activate button.
- Navigate to WooCommerce → Settings → Products → Product Table. Copy and paste the license key from the confirmation email into the License Key input field.
Step #3: Configure the Product Table settings
Once you’ve installed and activated the WooCommerce Product Table plugin on your website, head over to its Settings page to configure various options. From here, you can modify the WooCommerce POS order form to make it look the way you want it to appear on the front-end.
3a. Decide which columns you want to display in the product table
As you’re creating an order form to be used by your staff, choose columns that’ll make it easier for them to find exactly what they’re looking for. For starters, display columns for the product’s name, price, and add to cart button. To do this, you can add name, price, buy in the Columns text field.
You can also add an image of the product to make it easier for users to identify the product they’re looking for in the order form. This can be done by entering image, name, price, buy in the Columns text box.
Similarly, you can add other columns like product’s SKU in your POS order form. This helps staff members easily reference exact items and help your back-end staff find the correct item. Additionally, you can create a stock column to keep your customers updated about product availability. This will also help you monitor stock levels and restock them before they run out (this alone is a huge benefit for your inventory management, and a great reason to use this system). Here’s how it’s done:
Here's a complete list of available columns that you can choose to display in your WooCommerce POS order form.
3b. Configure additional settings
There are several options that can be configured from the WooCommerce Product Table’s settings page. Our main goal is to make it easier for users to find products and add them to the shopping cart. For this reason, I’d recommend making the following configurations:
Under the Table content section
Enter none in the Product links section. You should do this if your point of sale order system is meant for a business like restaurants or spas, where you don’t need your waiting staff to open up the single product page.
Under the Add to cart column section
Tick the Quantities checkbox. This enables users to increase the quantity of each product.
If your products have variations, choose Show as dropdown list in the Variations section. This will allow users to view and select different variants of an item.
Under the Table controls section
Set the Search box option as Above table. This lets customer’s easily search for an item quickly using the product name or SKU.
You can also add relevant filters for information you’ve already added about your products, like categories or tags. This will allow users to quickly find specific types of items. You can do this by setting the Product filters option to Custom and adding categories, tags in the Custom filters option.
Here’s a complete list of filter options you can set for your POS order form.
Step #4: Create a one-page WooCommerce POS order form
By now you’ve set up the WooCommerce Product Table plugin on your WooCommerce website and configured its settings. Next, we’ll create a simple, one-page order form for your users to take orders at the counter or table using a tablet/iPad. To do this, we’ll add the WooCommerce Product Table plugin’s shortcode to the ordering system page:
Head over to Pages → Add New from the WordPress dashboard to create a new page for your WooCommerce order form. Your customers and/or waiting staff will use this one-page order form to select items, add them to the shopping cart, and place the order:
- Give the new page a title. For example, Spa Services | POS Ordering System.
- You can also add an introductory description in the text box.
- Create relevant sub-headings (Massages, Facials, or Nail Services) for each section of your order menu.
- Add the shortcode
[product_table category="category-slug"]under each sub-heading. This will display all your products from the relevant category. And if you want to display products categorized under Massages, add the shortcode
- Publish the page and hit Preview to see how it looks on the front-end.
Step #5: Simplify the checkout process
WooCommerce requires your waiting staff to complete the necessary checkout fields, and click the Place Order button to place a customer's order. This is because WooCommerce is designed to take online customer’s orders, which wouldn’t work for other businesses such as spas and restaurants. We need to make sure there’s an option for waiting staff to take orders on behalf of the customer.
We’ll configure the checkout page to accept payments after placing the order. This will allow your waiting staff to place an order without making the payment. Here’s how it’s done:
- Navigate to WooCommerce → Settings → Payments from the WordPress admin panel.
- Pick an offline method Check payments or Cash on delivery. This allows your waiting staff to place the order without actually collecting payment from the customer.
- You can rename the payment method or add a relevant description by clicking the Manage button. For example, if you’ve selected ‘Check payments’, then you can rename this to something like ‘Payment required at the end of services’.
- Click the Save changes button.
Here’s what your checkout page should look like:
WooCommerce has the default option set to ask your waiting staff for the Billing details. You can remove the Billing details fields by using the Checkout Field Editor plugin. This will also make your checkout process faster for your staff. Another way is to create a shared user account for staff members to use and enter the default billing details for your business. This will auto-populate information for each order, so your staff can ignore this page, and just click the ‘Place order’ button to complete the order.
By now, you've learned how to create a one-page point of sale system in WooCommerce. Keep reading for a selection of bonus tips on how to fine-tune the POS order process to suit your organization.
Collect extra information from the customer
You can make it easier for your waiting staff to take POS orders at the table or the counter using an iPad/tablet by adding extra fields to your order form. To do this, you’ll have to add an extra field or two, to help them take note of any additional information. These could include:
- Customer’s name (great for ensure you retain new customers; you could send this to a CRM or similar)
- Token or voucher number
- Customer’s table/room/station/parking spot number
The Checkout Field Editor plugin lets you add, edit, and remove the fields shown on the WooCommerce checkout page. This makes it the ideal tool for adding an extra field to the checkout form.
Accept payment by credit card
You can let your customers make a credit card payment directly into the WooCommerce POS system by adding an online payment gateway such as Stripe. This allows your customers to add their credit card information directly into the checkout page. I
f you want to be able to scan their card, you’ll need to use a separate card reader and process payment outside of the WooCommerce POS order system. Similarly, you can also leverage barcode scanning options with a barcode scanner (use a plugin such as this to generate barcodes).
Protect your WooCommerce POS system and hide it from public view
You may want to add your WooCommerce POS order system to an existing WooCommerce site. This is an extremely efficient setup, as you'll have all your orders and inventory management in one place. But – you don't want the public being able to use your custom system.
In this case, you’ll have to hide your POS ordering system from public view. It should only be accessible to staff members who take customer orders at the table or from behind the counter.
You can do this by password protecting your page containing the POS ordering system. As a result, only staff members with the correct password will have access to it.
However, your products will still appear on the rest of your website, for instance, in the search results. You can use the WooCommerce Private Store plugin to add extra security which will hide everything related to your WooCommerce order system from public view.
Go to the WooCommerce Private Store plugin settings, and choose the same password you used to protect the ordering system. This enables all your staff members to unlock the ordering page and all other parts of WooCommerce using a single password.
Once you've set up the WooCommerce telephone ordering system, you need to plan how to manage the orders. Next, I'll share some tips on how to adapt the WooCommerce order process to make it easier for staff.
Automatically mark orders as complete
Out of the box, WooCommerce requires users to enter payment information before they mark orders as complete. However, this might not suit your specific buying process (for example because you’ll be handling your payments outside of the website - e.g. at the end of the massage services).
The Order Status Control plugin will let you automatically mark all your orders as complete. This way customer orders will be sent straight to the back-end staff without any further manual steps.
Forward orders to the right department and print receipt
You can now automatically send new orders to staff involved in the order process.
There are two default ways for back-end staff to view new orders:
- WooCommerce will automatically send new orders to the email address given in the settings.
- If they’ve access to WordPress admin, they can keep the WooCommerce orders page open and refresh it regularly to view new orders.
Alternatively, there are two easy plugins that improve the order notifications:
Automatically print new orders
Print out new orders automatically by pairing the WooCommerce-based ordering system with a GPRS printer. This will ensure that all customer orders are instantly printed for your back-end staff as soon as they’re placed.
Depending on the store setup, you can either print the receipt to give to the customer, or print the receipt for immediate processing by another team. You do this with the WooCommerce Automatic Order Printing plugin.
Send new orders to different email addresses
Use the Advanced Notifications plugin to send order notifications to different email addresses, depending on which product or category has been ordered. This is a huge time-saver if different departments are responsible for processing different types of product.
Set up your own POS ordering system
Setting up an efficient (and accurate) POS ordering system for customers and staff is simple and easy.
The WooCommerce and WooCommerce Product Table plugins together enable you to create a searchable, sortable, and customizable point of sale order form for your business. This makes it easy for your staff members to take orders at the counter or table using different devices like iPads or Android tablets/phones.
You can upgrade your existing ordering system by pairing it with some of the useful WordPress plugins we mentioned in this post.
What are some of the features you look for in a WooCommerce POS ordering system to make it easier for customers and staff members to place orders using an iPad/tablet? Let us know by commenting below!