Hey there, we noticed you didn't complete your Wholesale Suite purchase.

We're excited to have you join the Wholesale Suite family! Complete your checkout now & save!
If you have any questions, please reach out to our support team!

Guide to WooCommerce User Roles & Permissions (Tutorial)

Guide to WooCommerce User Roles & Permissions (Tutorial)

Once a customer registers with your ecommerce site, you can target them with personalized ads, product suggestions, and even email marketing. However, out of the box, WooCommerce only adds two new user roles to your site.

Fortunately, it’s easy to add more user types and permissions to your WooCommerce store. By creating some additional roles, you can better serve the needs of your customers and encourage them to convert.

In this post, we’ll discuss why WooCommerce user roles and permissions are crucial to ecommerce success. We’ll then show you how to maximize your appeal by creating additional user types and offering some exclusive role-based perks. Let’s get started! 

An Introduction to WooCommerce User Roles and Permissions (And Why They’re Important)

Granting people access to your store can be a risky move. Malicious third parties often register with websites in an attempt to gain increased privileges. If successful, they could use these privileges to perform malicious actions, such as uploading malware or posting spam comments.

In addition, not everyone is a WooCommerce expert. If you assign elevated privileges to every single user, there’s a chance that legitimate customers may accidentally damage your site.

There is an easy answer to this problem: disable user registrations. However, this isn’t feasible for the majority of online stores. Many of the best-known ecommerce brands enable customers to create an account:

The Amazon ecommerce site.
An example of a user registration form from Amazon

User registration is an effective way to encourage subsequent purchases. After investing time and effort into the signup process, customers may feel more inclined to pay you repeat visits. 

You can also auto-fill information for subsequent purchases, such as completing the Address field. This can improve the checkout experience and reduce cart abandonment rates.

As part of the registration process, you’ll typically collect the customer’s contact details. You can then target this person with email marketing and personalized content such as ads. 

Registrations can be a valuable addition to your ecommerce store. To help you offer signups safely, WooCommerce comes with a user management system consisting of roles and capabilities. Roles are groups of users, such as customers who create an account with your WooCommerce store: 

WooCommerce user roles.
(click to zoom)

Each role has its own set of capabilities. These are actions that users can perform, such as uploading a new product:

WooCommerce's product settings.
(click to zoom)

In this way, limiting the user’s capabilities can make life more difficult for hackers. It can also prevent customers from accidentally editing your content, or changing your site settings. 

Understanding the default WooCommerce user roles

WordPress has six default user roles: super admin, admin, editor, author, and contributor. When you install WooCommerce, you’ll gain two additional roles.

By default, WooCommerce assigns the Customer role to any visitor who creates an account. This role has the least number of permissions. Customers can edit their own account information and profile, and view past or current orders. They can also post comments.

WooCommece also adds a Shop Manager role. Individuals with this role can edit all of the settings within your store and access your WooCommerce reports. They can also add new products and edit existing ones:

Editing a WooCommerce product.
(click to zoom)

However, Shop Managers cannot access your site’s back-end functionality. This includes adding plugins or themes, and editing your site’s settings. Therefore, this role is perfect for anyone who’s responsible for stock management, but doesn’t have any WordPress experience.

How to Create a Wholesale Customer Role (In 2 Steps)

While many online stores sell directly to customers, you might also be able to sell to wholesalers. These are organizations that purchase products in bulk, with the intention to sell them to outlets or retailers.

A wholesaler can sell your products to lots of different companies. This can help build brand awareness, without you having to invest time and resources into maintaining relationships with lots of smaller organizations. 

Therefore, you may want to consider creating a Wholesale Customer role on your site. Let’s take a look at the process.

Step 1: Install the Wholesale Suite plugin

Once a wholesaler establishes you as their supplier, they’re likely in it for the long haul. This can guarantee a reliable, long-term income.

With that in mind, it’s smart to offer a special discount to these customers. You can achieve this by creating a new wholesaler user role, using the Wholesale Suite plugin:

The Wholesale Suite WordPress plugin.
Wholesale Suite is a complete wholesale solution for WooCommerce

You can install and activate this plugin as normal. As soon as it’s up and running on your site, Wholesale Suite will create a new Wholesale Customer role automatically.

Step 2: Create unique wholesale pricing

You can assign this new role to any existing account by navigating to Users > All Users. Then, find the account in question and open it for editing. You can then open the Role dropdown and choose Wholesale Customer:

WooCommerce user roles and permissions.
(click to zoom)

To encourage wholesalers to sign up to your store, it’s wise to offer them special pricing. In your dashboard, navigate to any product where you want to offer a wholesale discount. Then, open this product for editing:

WooCommerce products.
(click to zoom)

Next, scroll to the Product Data section and ensure that the General tab is selected:

WooCommerce user roles, including wholesale permissions.
(click to zoom)

In the Wholesale Customer field, enter your discounted pricing. When you’re ready, save your changes. WooCommerce will now offer this perk to anyone who has the Wholesale Customer role. 

How to Create Tiered Wholesale Roles (In 2 Steps)

With so much at stake, you’ll want to do everything in your power to retain your most lucrative customers and attract new wholesalers to your business. With this in mind, let’s see how you can boost your appeal by creating tiered wholesale levels.

Step 1: Install the Wholesale Prices Premium plugin

In WooCommerce, you can create unique wholesale pricing, shipping discounts, and minimum order amounts for each wholesale user role. You can then reward your best customers by moving them to a higher level. Alternatively, you might try to attract big-name brands by offering them your highest tier. 

You can create tiered wholesale roles using Wholesale Prices Premium. After activating this plugin, navigate to WooCommerce > Wholesale Roles. You can then enter some information about the role that you want to create:

WooCommerce user roles.
(click to zoom)

When you’re ready, click on Add New Wholesale Role. You can then repeat the process to add more levels for your wholesale audience. 

Step 2: Create unique discounts and perks

You can now create exclusive benefits for each wholesale role. To make this change, navigate to any product that you’re selling in bulk. You can then open this item for editing and scroll to the Product data section. This should contain some new settings: 

WooCommerce's minimum order quantity settings.
(click to zoom)

Here, you can create unique pricing for each wholesale level. You can also assign the minimum number of items that users must purchase in order to qualify for the wholesale discount: 

A WooCommerce wholesale discount.
(click to zoom)

At the other end of the scale, you might want to limit the number of units that a wholesaler can purchase. You can make this change in the Wholesale Order Quantity Step section:

WooCommerce user roles and permissions, created using the Wholesale Suite plugin.
(click to zoom)

Free or discounted shipping can be another powerful incentive. To offer different shipping methods to your wholesalers, navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > Wholesale Prices > Shipping:

WooCommerce's wholesale shipping options.
(click to zoom)

Then, scroll to the Wholesale Role/Shipping Method Mapping section. Here, you can assign specific shipping zones to your various wholesale roles.

How to Add Subscriber WooCommerce User Roles

Few businesses can succeed on one-time purchases alone. For most ecommerce ventures, the true value lies in transforming one-off visitors into loyal repeat customers.

Subscriptions are one way to build a long-term relationship with your audience. By selling subscriptions to your products or services, you can establish a reliable revenue stream that will provide your business with funds for months, or even years to come.

For example, you might launch a product-of-the-month club, create an exclusive members-only portal, or create a subscription box:

An example of a subscription box.
An example of a product of the month club or subscription box

You can sell a wide range of subscriptions, using the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin. This plugin integrates with over 25 payment gateways, so your new followers can set up automatic recurring payments via their preferred method:

The WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin.
WooCommerce Subscriptions provides everything customers need to manage their subscription services.

WooCommerce Subscriptions can also send automated email invoices and receipts, and rebill upon failed subscription payments. This can minimize the work required to run a successful subscription site.

The plugin also provides everything customers need to manage their own subscriptions, without reaching out to you for help. This includes upgrading and downgrading their plan. 

On the back-end, WooCommerce Subscriptions generates detailed reports. This enables you to track recurring revenue, your total number of active subscribers, and more. 

How to Create Exclusive Role-Based Coupon Codes (In 2 Steps)

WooCommerce coupons can be another powerful way to drive conversions. By making discounts exclusive to certain user roles, you can encourage customers to create accounts with your store, or even upgrade their existing subscription. With this in mind, let’s see how you can create role-based discounts for your audience. 

Step 1: Create a coupon

You can create exclusive coupons using the free Advanced Coupons plugin. This plugin enables you to restrict coupons based on a range of factors, including cart conditions, cart subtotal, and user role: 

The Advanced Coupons plugin.
Advanced Coupons extends your WooCommerce coupons features so you can market your store better

After activating this plugin, navigate to Coupons > Add New. You can either create your coupon manually, or task Advanced Coupons with auto-generating a coupon code:

Creating a coupon for your WooCommerce user roles.
(click to zoom)

Next, open the Discount Type dropdown and specify the discount or perk associated with this code. This might be a fixed price discount, a global percentage discount, or a Buy One Get One Free (BOGO) offer:

A coupon code, created using Advanced Coupons.
(click to zoom)

You can also set an expiry date. This prevents customers from using this coupon indefinitely. To set this time limit, use the Coupon expiry date field:

WooCommerce user roles and permission.
(click to zoom)

Then, select the Usage restriction tab. Here, you can set some restrictions for this coupon, including a minimum spend, or excluding items that are already on sale:

The Advanced Coupons WordPress plugin.
(click to zoom)

You can also prevent customers from using the same coupon multiple times. To do this, select the Usage limits tab and enter a value into the Usage limit per user field.

Step 2: Set up WooCommerce user role coupons

Advanced Coupons has lots of additional settings that are well worth exploring. However, we’ve already covered all of the main changes you’ll need to make in order to create a basic coupon.

Additionally, you can restrict this code to specific user roles. For example, you might decide to disable WooCommerce coupons for wholesale customers, since they’re already entitled to a bulk discount.

To start, navigate to the Role Restrictions tab. Then, select the Enable role restrictions checkbox:

Restrictions, applied to specific WooCommerce user roles.
(click to zoom)

You can now use the subsequent controls to specify the roles that can use this coupon. To provide a good experience for all of your customers, you may also want to enter an Invalid role error message. WooCommerce will display this text whenever someone tries to use a coupon from an incompatible user account. 


By default, WooCommerce adds a customer role to your online store. However, if you’re going to boost your profits, then it’s smart to tailor the experience to specific sections of your customer base.

By creating additional WooCommerce user roles, you can provide a better consumer experience. If you sell to wholesalers, you can offer special discounts using the free Wholesale Suite plugin. To attract big-name wholesalers to your site, you can even create a tiered system. Here, our Wholesale Prices Premium plugin can help you offer exclusive perks to the biggest wholesale partners. 

Do you have any questions about WooCommerce user roles and permissions? Let us know in the comments section below!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *