Show the WooCommerce short description or product main description anywhere on your store

July 7, 2021

'Displaying a short WooCommerce product description on your store’s main shop page and category pages makes it easy for customers to make a quick buying decision. It lets them know what the product is and encourages them to learn more.

The only problem is that WooCommerce only displays the short description - and also the main long description - on the single product page. There's no option to add a WooCommerce short description to your main shop page, product category pages, or elsewhere on your site. You can't display the main description away from product pages either.

Fortunately, there’s another way to display product descriptions, other important product information, and various buying options directly on your WooCommerce store’s main shop page:

Product short description in table
A product table with the WooCommerce short description displayed in a 'Summary' column

What's more, you can include any content in the short description, including formatting, audio and video players, or content from a shortcode. You can do the same with the WooCommerce main description.

In this post, we’ll show you how to customize and display a WooCommerce product short description on your main shop page, category pages, and archive pages. You'll also learn how to display the product long description anywhere on your site with a WooCommerce product description table, or in a quick view lightbox.

Before we begin, let’s quickly step through some reasons why you might consider doing this in the first place.

Why you might want to show extra product information

Most WooCommerce stores use the default shop page layout which is limited in terms of display options. For each product, it typically displays the product image, reviews, prices, title, and an add to cart button.

While this may work perfectly fine for some online stores, it isn’t the best solution for every type of online store. For example, if you sell a lot of similar-looking products – such as mattresses – you’ll need a better way to let customers know how each product is different from the next. In these sorts of situations, you can’t rely on the product’s name alone.

Here are some of the ways you can enhance the customer’s shopping experience by adding a WooCommerce short description or long description to the shop and category pages:

  • Improve the shopping user flowCustomers don’t have to click through to the single product page to read the WooCommerce product’s short description or view additional details. This takes a step out of the buying user flow, which is especially helpful if your customers typically purchase multiple products from you at a time.
  • Help customers make a quick buying decisionCustomers can view the product’s short description - and even the long description - directly on the main shop page. This helps them make a faster buying decision since all they have to do is find what they’re looking for and add it to the cart. They don't get lost by having to visit multiple pages.

Two plugins to help you display the WooCommerce short or long description

There are two different ways you can go about displaying extra product information on your main shop page and category pages:

1. Create a WooCommerce product description table

One way to display extra product information on the shop and category pages is by using WooCommerce Product Table. This plugin lets you list all of your products – along with important product data – in a neat, front-end WooCommerce product description table. It allows your customers to see more information at a glance.

You can control exactly what information shows up in your table. This includes:

  • A 'Summary' column dedicated to each product's short description.
  • A long description column containing the WooCommerce long product description. This is the main description that normally appears on the single product page.
  • The product excerpt.
WooCommerce Product Table
The easiest way to display a WooCommerce short description anywhere on your store.

2. Use product quick view

Another way to show extra product information on the shop or category pages is by using the WooCommerce Quick View Pro plugin. While it doesn't make the short description or long description visible on the initial page load, it adds a button that shoppers can click to open a lightbox with more product details.

The plugin then lets you include the product short description in the lightbox popup. In addition (or instead), you can include the product long description or main description. In summary, the plugin replicates the essential information from the single product page within a lightbox. This makes for much faster shopping because customers remain on the same page at all times, instead of visiting multiple pages.

There are several places where you can add quick view buttons to your WooCommerce store:

  • To your main shop page and category pages (next to the add to cart buttons).
  • As a 'quick view' column in a product table created using WooCommerce Product Table.
WooCommerce Quick View
The quick and easy way for customers to learn more about your WooCommerce products.

Overall, the WooCommerce Product Table and WooCommerce Quick View Pro plugins allow you to display the long or short WooCommerce product description anywhere on your WooCommerce store, including the main shop page and category pages.

The key benefit of using a plugin is so you don't have to code or HTML/CSS. This saves you from messing around with add_action functions or the post_excerpt function. The coding method involves creating a new filter for woocommerce_short_description in your functions.php file.

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By Tim
This Product Table plugin can be used by both basic and advanced users, and provides a perfect solution, while doing it elegantly simple. An amazing team built a great plugin here, endless customization options, extended knowledge base, and very responsive email support. Product Table by Barn2 is the best plugin we own, highly recommended! Good job guys!

How to show the WooCommerce short description on shop and category pages

Here, we’ll show you how you can customize and display a short WooCommerce product description or main description on the shop and category pages.

We'll cover the two methods discussed above:

  1. Using Product Table to create a WooCommerce product description table to include the product short description.
  2. Displaying the product short description in a quick view lightbox.

We'll also discuss how you can use both methods at the same time.

Method #1: Create a WooCommerce product description table to include short description and main description

In this first section, we'll show you how to use WooCommerce Product Table to display the product short description or long product description.

1. Install the plugin

Get the WooCommerce Product Table plugin and install and activate it on your WordPress website.

WooCommerce Product Table license key

Next, go to WooCommerce → Settings → Products → Product Tables and copy-paste the plugin’s license key. You are now ready to start using the plugin.

2. Configure the plugin's settings

In the same area where you added your license key, you can also configure your WooCommerce product description table.

There are lots of helpful settings for things like filters, bulk add to cart, and more. But if you want to display the product short description or long description, the setting you most have to pay attention to is the Columns option.

Here, you can define the exact columns that will display in the WooCommerce product description table, including your short description. You can view all the column options here, but a good starting point is something like:

image,name,price,short-description,buy - this will create a product table with a short description column.

or

image,name,price,description,buy- this will create a product table with a long main description column.

The full length of the short description will always appear in the WooCommerce product description table. However, you'll find a 'Description length' option lower down the page. If you've included a column for the long product description, then you can either show it in full or automatically truncate it here.

Feel free to browse the other settings because you might find something else that can help your store. For example, maybe you want an excerpt column instead?

3. Display your product table on the front-end

To add your product table to the front-end of your store, you have two options:

  1. You can add the [product_table] shortcode to any post or page. By default, it will display all of your products, but you can use shortcode modifiers to filter products from specific categories, tags, and more. Learn how to select your products.
  2. Alternatively, you can automatically enable the product table layout on your shop and category pages. edit your WooCommerce store's template files to replace the native WooCommerce shop and archive pages with your new table layout.

If you go with option #1, all you do is add the shortcode and you're done.

If you want to use option #2, you can do this on the plugin settings page.

Once you're finished, your main shop page should look something like this:

WooCommerce Product Table with short description on the front-end
A product table on the shop page, complete with a column for the main WooCommerce product description

Method #2: Add a quick view lightbox that includes short description

For Method #2, we'll show you how to set up the WooCommerce Quick View Pro plugin to add a quick view lightbox button to your shop and archive pages. This can include the product short description or the long description:

WooCommerce product quick view

You can also use the quick view lightbox to let customers:

  • View full product galleries.
  • View additional information (such as a WooCommerce short description).
  • Choose product variations.
  • Add products to cart.

Here’s what you need to do to add it to your WooCommerce product table:

  1. Get the WooCommerce Quick View Pro plugin and install and activate it on your WordPress website.
  2. Navigate to WooCommerce → Settings → Products → Quick view and enter your license key.
  3. Select what product information you want to display in the quick view lightbox. You should enable the short description and/or the long description for your products.

That's it! You'll have a product quick view button on your shop page. When a shopper clicks it, they'll see your product short description, long description and other details in the lightbox.

Pro tip: You can also disable the links to individual product pages. Scroll down to the Quick View settings on the same page and enable this option.

You can combine both methods

If you want to use both the product table layout and product quick view, you can integrate WooCommerce Product Table with WooCommerce Quick View Pro.

If you have both plugins active on your site, you can add a new quick-view column to your product table layout to include the product quick view button.

Here's an example of what it will look like:

WooCommerce-product table quick view services with subscriptions plugin

Add WooCommerce product descriptions to improve the user flow

We explained how you can:

  • Enhance the customer’s buying user flow and
  • Help them make a quick, informed buying decision

... simply by adding a long or short WooCommerce product description to your main shop page and category pages.

WooCommerce Product Table
The easiest way to display a WooCommerce product description on your main shop page and category pages.

You can use the WooCommerce Product Table plugin by itself for a simple layout. Or, you can pair it up with the WooCommerce Quick View Pro plugin for some additional neat features.

WooCommerce Quick View
The quick and easy way for customers to learn more about your WooCommerce products.

Do you think that displaying a WooCommerce short description on the main shop page will impact your conversion rate? Or is it better to include the full long description? Let us know by commenting below!

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