WooCommerce – How to Understand User Roles and Capabilities


On your WordPress site there are different roles and capabilities assigned to users. This is to give the site owner control over who can access what on the site. Accordingly, different aspects of the site is assigned to different users based on the site-owner’s discretion. Read our other article to understand the capabilities of WooCommerce better.

Additional User Roles in WooCommerce

First when you install WooCommerce, it registers two additional user roles. These are:

  • Shop Manager
  • Customer

Furthermore, it gives additional capabilities for the Administrator to:

  • Manage WooCommerce Settings
  • View WooCommerce Reports

Now let’s look into the two specific roles for WooCommerce.

Customer Role

Any user who registers using the checkout or signup option is defined as a customer on your site. Presently, the capabilities of customer role are as follows:

  • Have read access, similar to a blog subscriber
  • Can view orders and order history
  • Is able to edit own account details

Shop Manager Role

If you hire someone to manage your store, you have to give them access to your site’s back end. This is where Shop Manager role comes into picture. This role has the same capabilities as customer role, along with the option to edit WooCommerce settings and products. In addition, this role is capable to view WooCommerce reports as well. The shop manager role is actually similar to the Editor role in WordPress.

Plugins modifying user roles in WooCommerce

There are no in-built features in WooCommerce to modify or create a user role. However, you can get the help of a suitable plugin for this functionality. To help you with it, here’s a list of plugins that you can use:

  • Capability Manager Enhanced – Using this plugin, you can modify the capabilities of specific roles, create new roles, copy the already-existing roles to new ones, and add additional capabilities to existing roles.
  • Groups – This is a group-based user role management plugin that supports unlimited groups. Also, users can be assigned to any groups.
  • Members – With this plugin, you can create roles and capabilities. In addition, you can give multiple roles to the same user, or deny specific capabilities to a particular user.

Did you know you can structure your WooCommerce store based on user roles? Learn more!

Existing User Roles in WordPress

WordPress defines user roles as below:

  • Administrator
  • Editor
  • Author
  • Contributor
  • Subscriber


Admins have complete access to all administration aspects of the site. Some of the unique capabilities that define admin role include deleting other user’s pages and posts, updating the core, creating and deleting users, etc.

In multi-sites, there is a user role known as Super Admin. This role has all capabilities by default. However, in a single site, the administrator role is equivalent to super admin.


An editor role allows you to get access and editing rights to other users’ posts. Editor role would be best for the person who is managing the blogs and other posts on your site.


Authors can create and publish their own posts. However, this role won’t have access to other people’s posts.


A contributor is a user who can write and edit posts on your site. But these users won’t be able to publish posts. Hence, an Editor has to review and publish the posts written by Authors. This is exceptionally useful when you employ freelance writers to generate content for your site.


Those in Subscriber role has only read access on your site. in addition, they can manage their own profiles on the site.


  1. I want to tag a customer so I know they are a “beta user” this way I will know they get special discounts because they signed up early and supported me from the beginning.

    How do I segment/tag them so I know who they are?