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Free PluginsHow to use WooCommerce as a catalog only; 5 use cases

What is Catalog Mode for an e-commerce store?

When started using WooCommerce and have added products showing on the front-end but you do not allow visitors to purchase them, you can disable the native WooCommerce cart and checkout in a simple click. Also if you prefer, you can hide the prices from being displayed to visitors. Depending on the plugin and if this is a free or the premium version, you can adjust many more settings. Some people also refer to this type of solution as an e-commerce brochure site, if it is a more permanent solution. Let’s dive a little deeper into different problems it can solve.

So let’s start with 5 very good user scenarios whereby you would want to use a catalog mode plugin for WooCommerce.

  1. The store is populated but not ready to sell. Starting and populating a new shop and you are waiting to finalize pricing and the payment methods? By having the product pages live, it can help with getting the sitemap indexed by Google or share them on social media to create interest
  2. A temporary online store closure; holidays or due to unforeseen circumstances like the corona outbreak. You can simply display a message with more details instead of the ‘add to cart’ button.
  3. External link but with a custom CTA; like a rental site with an external booking platform
  4. Only logged in customers can make a purchase, though every visitor can see the products. Also referred to as a trade or wholesale site that requires some kind of application to allow customers to see the pricing and checkout.
  5. Your products are custom made or are no longer for sale; for example, when artisan crafters have created custom pieces of furniture or jewelry and showcase these to inspire the next customer to get in touch.

These are just 5 examples and we’ve seen many more use cases, making this the must-have plugin to have for every WooCommerce site, whether this is enabled or disabled to use when you need it.

What are the key features of the Free version of YITH WooCommerce Catalog Mode?

The most important feature you can do ‘out of the box’ which is to turn your WooCommerce store into a brochure. This covers the first two user-cases and disables your cart and checkout pages.

For many store owners, this is what you need it most for, to stop online orders. But remain visible with all products, categories and archive pages, there to be seen. Seen by actual visitors but also bots (Google Indexing) and linking from referral sites.
Just ‘out of the box’, WooCommerce has a great structure to manage taxonomies (categories and tags) there are many scenarios whereby you only need to install WooCommerce and the YITH WooCommerce Catalog Mode plugin, to manage a whole new type of online ‘stores’, service providers and galleries. Think of art, custom products, inspirational fashion images, party providers, and more unique products and services that most people will not buy with an online checkout without making some serious inquiries.

Both the free and the premium version allows you to hide the ‘add to cart’ button or replace this with a different text. It could link to a contact or booking form for example. Asking yourself what you want to achieve, not all solutions need a plugin.

Create a WooCommerce brochure without a plugin

It gets better as you can hide the “add to cart” button with a simple line of code. Add the following code to the functions.php
As always when adding custom code, take a backup, use an FTP client like Filezilla and test it!

add_action( 'init', 'hide_add_to_cart', 30 );
function hide_add_to_cart() {

//Remove from single product page

remove_action( 'woocommerce_single_product_summary', 'woocommerce_template_single_add_to_cart', 30 );

//Remove from Shop/Categories pages

add_filter( 'woocommerce_loop_add_to_cart_link', '__return_empty_string', 99 );

}

Added functionality that comes with the premium features

Most likely you will get used to the flexibility of the different functions the free plugin offers and want something more. For example, what if you need to set separate rules that do not apply all visitors or products? Then it makes so much more sense to use the premium version.


You can set rules that set the catalog mode for a specific category or tag only. A great usage example would be that if you are planning to sell remnants on a specific day, but want to list the products so people can browse. In this way, you can create a huge demand for the items and give everyone a fair chance to buy them on the day. All you need to do is to remove the rule you’ve set up and everything is available to be purchased.

By enabling it for guest users, you can use any contact form to create an application form to recruit trade buyers to shop from you. A super simple way to create a wholesale or trade buying website.

Other options including selecting catalog mode for certain categories, tags, and products, but also the location and of course the logged out users only.

Creating an inquiry form is super easy now and even better when you connect it with your favorite form builder. Just imagine the possibilities when you add conditional fields, image uploads, and more… the options are limitless to make a brochure site into a landing page and lead-capture, whilst using the WooCommerce structure and layout.
The plugin has been integrated with Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, Formidable Forms, and Ninja Forms. So adding a form to each of the products you can send the specific inquiry straight to you or even a third party, depending on the rules you set up. This can work for sites that show custom-made of hand-made products and the artist or professional would need to discuss more details. But also this could work for a house rental site and the visitor can get in touch with the home-owner directly.

The options with the Catalog Mode for WooCommerce are endless and it should really be a base-plugin for so many types of businesses and something you can just enable when you need it.

Like all YITH plugins, YITH WooCommerce Catalog Mode works with all plugins and in particular the Request a Quote for WooCommerce, Multi-Vendor and Product Bundles.