Automatically update user roles after purchasing a product in WooCommerce


Do you want to assign your customers with different user roles when they purchase certain products? In this article, I’ll show you how to automatically set the user’s roles after making a purchase depending on which WooCommerce product(s) they’ve bought.

Why update user roles after checkout?

One of the main reasons that you might want to automatically assign user roles to customers after they check out is if you’re running a membership site or store.

In this case, users would join your site by purchasing a membership plan, which is simply a WooCommerce product. For example. a user purchases your ‘Gold’ membership plan so would be allocated the ‘Gold Member’ user role after checkout.

Having the ‘Gold Member’ user role would then entitle them to certain benefits on your site, like being able to access restricted content or getting a discount on certain products.

To allow you to automatically update user roles after checkout, you’ll need Members Only, which is a WooCommerce membership plugin:

WooCommerce Members Only

Create a membership site by restricting access to your content and selling members only products

Find Out More

For more information about WooCommerce user roles, please see this article.

Assigning user roles automatically after purchasing a product

To automatically assign one or multiple user roles to a customer after they purchase a product, just follow these steps:

  1. Edit the product
  2. Click the ‘Members Only’ tab
  3. Enter the user roles that will be assigned to the customer after they purchase the product
WooCommerce automatically assign user roles after purchase

Now, whenever a customer purchases that product, they will be assigned the additional role(s) you’ve specified.

Automatically assign roles to new customers in WooCommerce

The method described above works perfectly for both existing customers and new customers.

If you want to ensure that customers are registered and logged in before they check out, you’ll need to disable the ‘Guest checkout’ option in WooCommerce.

Go to WooCommerce > Accounts & Privacy and deselect the ‘Allow customers to place orders without an account’ checkbox.

WooCommerce disable guest checkout

Removing user role after specified time period

If you’re using user roles as part of your membership site, you might want to limit the period that a membership is active for. To do this, you can set an expiry date for user roles that are automatically assigned when a user purchases a product.

WooCommerce user role expiration date

Just enter the period that the roles should be assigned to the user. After that period, the roles will be removed and the user can be invited to extend their membership.

How to automatically create an account for new WooCommerce customers

However, you can also automatically register an account for new customers in WooCommerce. This will ensure that user roles will get allocated to all customers, even if they haven’t previously created an account.

To automatically create an account for new users in WooCommerce, go to WooCommerce > Accounts & Privacy and check the ‘When creating an account, automatically generate a username from the customer’s email address’ option. You can also check the ‘When creating an account, automatically generate an account password’ option if you wish.

WooCommerce automatically create account new user

WooCommerce user roles

WooCommerce Members Only is a fully-fledged user roles plugin. Not only does it allow you to automatically assign roles after purchase, it is a user role manager.

With Members Only, you can create, edit and delete user roles. You can also assign or remove capabilities from roles.

How to create and edit user roles in WooCommerce Members Only

To create a new user role in WooCommerce:

  1. Go to WooCommerce > Settings > Members Only > User Roles
  2. In the ‘User roles’ field, select a user role to duplicate
  3. Enter the name of the new role in the ‘New role name’ field
  4. Click the ‘Duplicate role’ button
WooCommerce create new user role

To edit the new role:

  1. Select the user role to edit from the ‘User roles’ field in the ‘Edit Role’ section
  2. A list of capabilities will be displayed. Select or deselect capabilities for the role as required
  3. Click ‘Update Role’
WooCommerce edit user role

Tell the user their role has changed

A great way to ensure your customer knows that their role has been updated is to use the WooCommerce Thank You Pages plugin to add some custom content to your Thank You page.

There’s a tutorial on creating a WooCommerce custom Thank You page here.

How to set product price by user role in WooCommerce

Once you’ve assigned a user role after purchase, you might want to provide some benefits to customers with that user role.

A typical benefit would be to get a discounted price. You can see how to set prices by user role in WooCommerce here.

You can also find out how to hide products by user roles in WooCommerce.

You should also read this article for more information on WooCommerce user approvals.


That’s a pretty short and sweet look at how to automatically set user roles in WooCommerce after purchasing a product. You just need the WooCommerce Members Only plugin.

WooCommerce Members Only

Create a membership site by restricting access to your content and selling members only products

Find Out More

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