woocommerce user roles

WooCommerce Tutorials

WooCommerce User Roles – How to Use Them in Your Store

If you’re looking to understand what WooCommerce user roles are, how to create and edit them, and how to use them on your WooCommerce store, this article is for you.

Creating and editing user roles in your WooCommerce store allows you to give users access while maintaining full control over what they can see and do. By doing this, you’ll increase the security of your store while still allowing your employees, contributors, and contractors to work effectively.

By the end of this article you know what exactly WooCommerce user roles are and how to create, edit, and use them in your store. We’ll also show you how to add custom content to the ‘My Account’ page depending on the user role and how to set up user role-based pricing.

user role WooCommerce

What are user roles in WooCommerce?

To understand user roles, we need to explain what roles and capabilities are first. 

Roles are given to a group of users on your WordPress site. For each role, there are a set of specific actions that users are allowed to complete. These actions are known as capabilities. So, for each user role, there is a specific set of capabilities. 

WordPress user roles

By default, WordPress has 6 user roles with set capabilities. Let’s briefly have a look at them.

Super Admin

This is the highest level. The capabilities of the admin and super admin are identical for a single website. The difference is a super admin can complete these capabilities over multiple websites.

Note: If you need to manage multiple WordPress sites, make your job easier by using iThemes Sync. With this plugin, you’ll be able to manage and maintain all your WordPress websites from one place.

Admin

The admin has access to everything on the website. This includes creating and editing user roles. This should be your role as the website owner.

Editor

A user with an editor’s role is responsible for managing content on the website. This includes adding, editing, publishing, and deleting posts, media, comments, categories, and tags. This user is not limited to their own content. They can use the same capabilities on content made by other users.

Author

An author is responsible for creating, editing, publishing, and deleting written content. They are limited to doing this on their own posts.

Contributor

A contributor can basically do everything an author does. However, they can’t directly publish their own content on your website. All of their posts have to go through your review, giving you control over what they can publish.

Subscriber

This user has permission to only update their own profile, read, and leave comments on posts on the website. You can only have subscribers on your website if you allow registration on your website.

user roles wordpress

WooCommerce user roles

These 6 roles are on all WordPress websites. When you install the WooCommerce plugin, two additional user roles are registered: customer and shop manager. 

Customer

This role is assigned to new customers when they create an account on your WooCommerce store. The permissions are similar to that of a subscriber except customers can view ongoing and past orders and edit information in their accounts.

Shop manager

This role is reserved for when you want to grant a user capabilities to run the operations of your WooCommerce store. These capabilities are managing all settings on WooCommerce, creating and editing products, along with all that a customer is permitted to do. 

The shop manager, however, is not allowed to edit themes, plugins, and other settings on the website. Also, they can’t access user roles and won’t be able to create/edit them.

Now that you have a general understanding of what WooCommerce user roles are, let’s look at why you might want to customize them.

Why you might want to customize your WooCommerce user roles

Customizing your WooCommerce user roles is important in the following situations:

You want to give restaurant staff specific permissions

If you’re running a local restaurant and you want staff to only access orders and nothing else. You could create a specific role that allows them to do so, and restricts them from anything else. This way your staff won’t get overwhelmed or access something that they shouldn’t.  

You have someone updating product pages

Suppose you are expanding your team and looking for a person to only manage the product page, including updating content on this page, images, SKU, etc. You would want to edit the ‘shop manager’ role to restrict them to product pages only. Customizing user roles gives you an opportunity to precisely do this.

You want to create a membership area or wholesale store 

If you’re expanding your business you might have to create a wholesale store or a membership area. You might need to promote some of your staff into management roles giving them more capabilities to manage the new store/membership area. In this case, customizing user roles would be a must.  

To enhance this further, you could use a WordPress membership plugin like Restrict Content Pro to create different membership levels, integrate with WooCommerce and more.

The default WooCommerce setup allows you to change someone’s user role to restrict their current capabilities or grant them new ones. Let’s walk you through how you can do this. 

How to change someone’s user role

Changing someone’s user role is as easy as following these steps.

  1. In your WordPress admin dashboard, locate and click on Users on the left-hand side menu. You will see a listing of all the users on your website along with their roles and activity.
  2. Hover to the username and click on the Edit option.
  3. Scroll down to the Role section and click on the drop-down button.
Change woocommerce user role
  1. Select the role you wish to change to, then scroll down and click on the Update User button. That’s it!

WooCommerce has its own standard user roles and capabilities. The six default WordPress roles along with customer and shop editor for WooCommerce. 

To make the most out of WooCommerce user roles, you will need to introduce new user roles or customize the capabilities of existing roles. Let’s show you how you can do this. 

How to edit (or add a new) user role in WooCommerce

The standard WooCommerce setup doesn’t allow you to customize user roles or introduce new user roles. To do this you will need the help of a plugin.

User Role Editor is a plugin that allows you to easily change standard user roles and capabilities on WordPress. It enables you to create custom WooCommerce roles as copies of existing roles by editing the capabilities according to your needs. 

The User Role Editor allows you to delete unnecessary roles that do not have users – or those left from previously installed plugins. You can also add new capabilities or delete existing ones. 

This plugin also allows you to change roles assigned to new users by default. You can manually assign capabilities for each user and assign multiple roles to a single user at the same time.  

How to edit an existing user role

To edit the capabilities for an existing user role, you will have to first install and activate the User Role Editor plugin. Once the plugin is activated, you will notice that you have a new menu item under Users called User Role Editor.

  1. Hover on Users on the left side menu of your WordPress admin dashboard and select User Role Editor.
  2. Under ‘Select Role and change its capabilities’ click on the drop-down menu and select the role you wish to edit.
user role editor select
  1. Select the capabilities you would like this role to have by clicking on the checkboxes below it and click Update

Here is a specific example of the changes you can make to the shop manager role. 

shop manager user role

There are 17 new capabilities for product management that you can add to the shop manager role. The shop manager will have greater control over how products are created, managed, accessed, marketed, and even removed from your WooCommerce store. 

Users with this role will be allowed to ensure the products on the website accurately reflect the stock in the warehouse. If there are any products that are out of stock, they will be allowed to delete them.

They can also edit product variations if new ones are introduced. They can link other products to the popular ones and facilitate the marketing of new products, product lines, or brands. 

You could also edit the shop manager role and restrict them from editing products that others have published. This is useful when you have multiple shop managers for different regions. It allows them to work efficiently without interfering with each other’s work.   

This is only half of it, you might need to add a new or create a custom user role, for example for a contributor that adds images to your products.

How to add a new or create a custom user role

To add a new role or create a custom role:

  1. Start by clicking on the Add Role button.
add user role woocommerce
  1. Add the role ID and provide a display name for it.
  2. If you’re creating a custom user role from existing roles, you have the option to select the parent role from which you want to make a copy. If you’re adding a new role, you can skip this option.
user role name wordpress
  1. Click on the Add Role button. 
  2. Once this new role/custom role has been created you can select the capabilities you would like it to have by clicking on the checkboxes and then Update.
user role permissions

Additional things you can do with your user roles

You can use WooCommerce user roles to make important information or extra resources available to your customers. You can also use it to display different content depending on users. 

This feature can also enable you to set different prices for different users. Let’s see how.

Add custom content to the my account page

Adding extra pages to the account page is a great way to provide extra information or resources to your customer. 

While adding custom content to the ‘My Account’ page, you must make sure that the right content is presented to the intended customer, and this is where user roles come in. A good example is, if you deal in technical goods that require an installation procedure, this is the place to provide that information.

WooCommerce Account Pages Custom Content

If you allow memberships on your website, you can also utilize user roles to restrict access to content based on the roles you assign. Different content will be displayed depending on the user. You wouldn’t want to display unnecessary information to users who don’t need it. This is where creating account pages that only show up for certain users comes in handy.  

You can’t do this with the default WooCommerce setup. The good news is, there is a plugin specifically for this purpose.

WooCommerce Account Pages is the plugin that lets you create and add as many custom pages and add them to the ‘my account’ page for your users. It allows you to easily add a new tab to this page. The tab could contain content such as FAQ sections, blog posts, user guides, contact forms, etc. This is why the correct information must be displayed to the desired customer.

Start your 14-day free trial of WooCommerce Account Pages

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Set different prices for different user roles

The ability to set different prices for different user roles enables you to flexibly charge for your services to offer products at different prices for different users. When would you want to do this?

When selling products to wholesalers, you would want to offer them a lower price than that meant for retailers because wholesalers are more likely to buy your products in bulk. 

user role pricing

Alternatively, if you allow memberships on your website, you might want to offer higher discounts for members to persuade non-members to join. You could also assign tier levels to memberships and allow tier-based discounts to encourage long-term and active memberships. You could also want to offer your employees a discount. 

All of these require you to create a user role with custom pricing based on user roles. By default, WooCommerce doesn’t allow you to do this, it can only be achieved with the help of another plugin. 

WooCommerce Wholesale Pro is the plugin that permits you to add user role-based pricing to your WooCommerce store. If you already know how to create custom roles or add new roles using User Role Editor, using this plugin shouldn’t be a problem.

Get to grips with WooCommerce user roles today

In this guide, you have learned how to change, edit, and add new custom user roles to your WooCommerce store. We have also shown you how to add custom content on the “My Account” page and carry out user role-based custom pricing for your products using the following plugins:

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Gina is our in-house content creator and partnership manager. She’s passionate about working with plugin companies with copywriting/storytelling, content creation & marketing.

She can typically be found tending to her vegetable garden, writing, and travelling to mainland Europe.

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