Shopify Vs WooCommerce
We have a great episode where we go into some detail about the things you should and need to know about WordPress eCommerce and Shopify Vs WooCommerce when you are thinking of setting up an eCommerce shop. We then talk about what are the strengths and weaknesses of either going for an entirely enclosed hosting system like Shopify or deciding to use a self-hosted open-source system like WooCommerce. We also go through some of the leading additional WooCommerce third-party plugins that help you set-up a successful eCommerce website.
Here’s A Full Set of Show Notes
JD: Well we’re live. Hi there folks, this is WP-Tonic, episode 102, with myself Jonathan Denwood and my beloved co-host.
Say hello John.
JD: He’s gone to hello folks.
I never know what he’s going to say to that. So in this episode folks, we’re going to be talking about e-commerce. And we’re going to start the first part of the show talking about some of the basic pitfalls that you should understand around eCommerce. About fully hosted solutions and not fully hosted – more like WooCommerce comes to mind. And then in the second part of the show we’re gonna talk about some of the extensions that John’s used that he’s found really useful when it comes to WooCommerce. How does that sound, John?
JL: Sounds amazing.
JD: It does doesn’t it? So let’s start this conversation off John.
So what is the basic difference between a fully hosted solution? – let’s say we’re choosing Shopify – and a solution that you’d host yourself, like with WooCommerce? What’s the difference, John?
JL: Sure, so there’s solutions out there for like e-commerce like Shopify, Big Commerce – various ones. They’re basically software as a service where you pay a monthly fee and you can, you know, throw up some products on your site and you can customize it to a degree. But as long as it’s within their templates – their kind of range of how the site’s going to look.
So you pay them each month, and you can get a certain amount of products. And they take care of processing the payments, and you don’t need to worry about hosting. And the limitation with that is – there’s a degree of flexibility that you’re giving up with that. It has to kind of fit within what they offer for either the layout for the solutions or products – any of that.
So, with a hosted solution – say if you’re hosting your own – whether it’s through WooCommerce on top of WordPress – whether it’s Zencart, Magento or any of the other e-commerce platforms out there – you’re responsible for the hosting. But you get a lot more flexibility with these types of shops. You can make it whatever you want, if you have someone to develop that solution for you. But the drawback is, again, you now have to have someone on hand that’s going to be able to keep up with updating software, and making sure that you have adequate hosting, and coding your solution to begin with.
JD: Yeah, that’s great, John. I just want to point out to folks I’ve got experience – not as much experience as John when it comes to WooCommerce, but I’ve done a few. And I did quite a few Shopify about a year or two years ago. Which is like five years and in web design, I suppose.
But one thing I want to point out is that with Shopify, a lot of the functionality you get from third parties, and when Shopify has updated, sometimes there’s a problem because the third party Shopify plug-in doesn’t get updated so some of these problems crossover with one another. So it’s not certain that you’re going to have more problems with a fully-hosted solution than with Shopify. It’s a bit blurred.
Would you agree with that, John?
JL: Oh! Well see that’s very interesting. Because that’s a common thing – not so much in WooCommerce because most of the extensions they handle themselves. But there are a lot of third party plugins that don’t always get updated [on] the day that WooCommerce gets updated. So it’s interesting to hear that Shopify has a similar kind of problem. Even in a – what do you call it? – like a SaaS. Like as software-as-a-service like type solution. So, yeah.
JD: I think they would argue that it’s not quite as comparative a situation to a fully hosted [versus] a self hosted solution.
So, let’s move on. So, obviously if you’re going to take payment apart from if you’re going to use PayPal, you got to have a secure socket certificate, haven’t you, John?
JL: Yeah definitely. So opening an e-commerce store online – definitely you’re going to have to set aside a little bit bigger budget. Like monthly and even initially. More than [you would for] just a straight-up brochure site or marketing site, because you’re going to have to have things like a SSL certificate to keep people’s information encrypted. And also some payment gateways. Like the Stripe extension on top of WooCommerce requires it.
You know, that’s just one of the expenses for sure. You’re going to want to have adequate hosting foryour eCommerce solution – whether that’s WooCommerce or what have you.
‘Cause the one thing to understand is these eCommerce plugins, they aren’t JUST plugins. They are fully fledged web applications. And that cheap shared hosting, that’s like five dollars a month, ain’t gonna get it done. You have to have adequate hosting in order for this stuff to work.
JD: Yeah, we did in a previous recent episode folks covering the hosting options, if your memory can go back that far. What kind of price are you looking at to get something that’s going to work with WooCommerce?
For hosting, are you looking at between $15 to $29+ hosting per month?
JL: Sure, so I would recommend for most people, something like WP Engine, which is twenty nine dollars a month. If you buy it for a year, it’s like $290 a year.
Flywheel is the same price. You could definitely get something like Siteground. That would be like the bare minimum hosting I’d recommend.
So those three I would definitely recommend.
JD: Yep. So, like I say, InMotion, Siteground, WP Engine, Flywheel – there’s quite a few. But we have them listed in that episode, and I will put a link in the show notes. So you can get those resources there, folks.
But you’re going to need decent hosting if you’re going to go down the WooCommerce route. When it comes to Shopify, folks, it starts at around $29 a month and goes up. They do sound a bit less but that’s only for actually selling on Facebook.
They include the Secure Sockets Certificate in their twenty nine dollars as well.
The other thing I’d like to point out to folks is when you’re going – it’s a little bit confusing actually. Actually I should ask John about this.
There’s a lot of options when it comes to SSL certificates.
A lot of hosting providers do charge a fair whack. But there’s a lot of choice as well. But I would suggest you don’t actually go for the cheapest. Go for the next one up. What would you say to that John?
JL: Yeah, so definitely…so the SSL certificates – there’s a way you can get a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt, and that’s going around right now. But I wouldn’t recommend that for your eCommerce store. A lot of people are saying that that’s still kind of a nightmare to get configured with hosts.
For even regular sites I would definitely opt into getting something that’s state-of-the-art security and encryption. You know, try and future-proof this stuff as much as possible.
JD: But there’s a wide span of prices. What kind of price range do you think somebody should be looking at?
JL: You know, it varies because you can get – you can get like a SSL for as little as sixty or seventy dollars. And it can go up to like 200 or 300 dollars yearly, depending on what you want to have. Do you want to have the whole or just a little part of the browser bar turn green? And have the highest level of security?
You know, maybe not that – but I would plan somewhere between a hundred and two hundred dollars there for your SSL. That’s about what you should budget out for the SSL.
JD: Yeah, I would agree with that, folks. So you need your Secure Sockets certificate – with Shopify or with WooCommerce. You are going to be buying some third-party plugins as well, because it just goes it just goes with the territory, folks. There’s always additional functionality that you really need, and it’s a lot cheaper to buy third party plugins then to get something coded up for you. It’s going to be a lot cheaper.
So the three areas where you normally end up buying additional plugin functionality. Well, you also need to plan out – the three I would say is shipping, sales tax – not always additional plugins, but you need to think things out.
I apologize, folks. It’s shipping, sales tax, and if you need integration with your accounting system. Would you agree with that, John?
Those are the three things you’ve got to start thinking of.
JL: Yeah definitely. So, shipping is a big one. Because most people – most eCommerce stores are going to be for physical goods, which go through the mail. You know, sometimes its virtual products, but not always. You’re going to need to know the sales tax laws in your state. Every state has different laws in regards to who was responsible for the sales tax at the end of the year.
So, know about that. Do your research. And integration with your accounting software – something like QuickBooks or whatever it is – definitely do the research into that, too.
And find out if you have integration that’s possible – to where you can pull those sales directly down into your spreadsheet.
JD: Yeah, it’s great stuff. When it comes to starting off folks, this is only my advice. But if you’re just trying the concept out initially, and you’ve got an initial group of products that you’re going to put on the site and just try out – I would try and keep it as simple as possible and I would be interested to see if John agrees with this.
But if you just trying it out, keep it simple and I would suggest you work out what you mean average is to ship out those starter products, and say to people you are doing free shipping, but include the mean average put on top of the price of the products. Would you agree with that idea?
JL: Ha-hah, I’ve got first-hand experience with this, actually.
JD: I thought you might.
JL: Yeah, I do actually.
So in theory, free shipping and building it into the price is a good idea. And that can work as long as all your products are similar size and weight.
JL: Now if you’ve got products that are different sizes, different weights, or bulky – where they’re large items – you can average that out. But you’ve got to average for the farthest place that you’ve got to possibly ship it to, and build that into the price. Because otherwise, you can end up eating a lot of the cost yourself.
But the reason that you would might want to build the shipping costs directly into your price, and just do free shipping is because if you do, ship bulky items, a lot of people are going to be turned off by seeing the shipping price being really huge. And again, it depends on what you’re shipping through the mail.
If it’s like smaller or medium sized products, it’s not a big deal. If they’re bigger products, you should really research, because again, you can eat a lot of the cost right away.
JD: Yeah I might suggest – like I said, folks, everything John just said is totally correct.
But I’m only suggesting this as a start-off policy. And you’ve really got to know around what your margins are. Like what John said, you know, have you got those initial products to the size? And weight? Are they very diverse?
If that’s the case, then what I’m saying probably isn’t going to pan out. But if you can do it just to start off with, it will just save you a lot of working out with pen and pencil and calculator. And I just think it’s the simplest way to start. But sometimes you just can’t do that, folks.
So I think we’re going to pause, folks. And we’re going on to our first break. And when we come back, we’ll talk about the other two major things. We’ll talk a little bit about WooCommerce, and then, this probably is going to be a three-parter.
This is quite a large subject, and we’ll get back to you in a minute.
We’re coming back folks. We’re going to talk some more about e-commerce and about some of the things you’ve got to understand and some of the pitfalls that catches out a lot of people. And if you understand these before you start on your journey of e-commerce domination, then things will go a bit better for you.
So let’s go on to sales tax now. There have been changes, and I might be a little be out of date, but I know John isn’t. There are some states where the actual districts are allowed to put additional sales tax on. And funny enough, Nevada is one of those. Nevada is broken out into 16 districts that makes Southern and Northern Nevada, folks. And there is a sales tax. But each district have the right – and DO – for additional surcharge on the sales tax.
I don’t know about WooCommerce, but when I was working with Shopify, it couldn’t handle that, and there wasn’t a third party that did. What you had to do was work out the mean average again.
You worked out the mean average of the 16 districts with the addition. And some you lost a little bit on, and others you gained on. And I think Florida and New York are similar.
Also, it used to be, if you were based in the state and someone who’s buying from that state, or you had warehousing facilities in the state, but somebody was buying from you, you had to charge them tax. But I don’t know if that situation’s changed. Am I out of date a little bit, or roughly right, John?
JL: No, what you’re talking about is the sales nexus. And basically, the the rules of whatever state you’re in – and I can share links with this later – I think there’s actually an article about the nexus, e-commerce and state sales tax on my site – that links to another site that talked about this extensively.
Depending on what state you live in, either the person who’s buying from you, or you – the person who’s shipping – is responsible for the sales tax. In California, you’re responsible for sales tax. And each county has a different tax rate, and each city has a different rate.
Here in Sacramento, I think it’s – I want to say it’s like 8.75% is the rate. I have a client who’s down near Orange County and I think there it’s 9 percent where he’s living.
So yeah, it is going to vary.
WooCommerce does some of that calculation on its own – of knowing where you’re at and what state you’re in.
JD: Because it changed, didn’t it? They brought out this [legislation] to deal with Amazon.
And I’m not sure if it’s national or state by state. Where if you buy something online, you’re supposed to – if you’ve got state tax, you’re supposed to actually tell the state what you bought, and pay the tax, or something like that, isn’t it?
JL: Yeah, your out-of-state purchases – that’s like state tax and so, with Amazon, I think at the end of the year – l guess the merchant has to figure the state tax. As far as that goes.
And again, depending on what state you live in, or you do business in – that sales nexus could be anywhere that you have a warehouse or an office. Basically, that’s your nexus of operation. You have some sort of physical presence there, that could be considered like your home state.
JD: Because when it comes to Amazon and your order, they know your home address and work it all out, at Amazon. And then you get charged and they pay it. But if you’re buying off a website that doesn’t charge you the extra, you’re supposed to be declare it at the end of the year, is that right?
JL: Yeah, you have to. Say, if you’re like the person selling goods – if you’re the merchant, you have to declare how much you sold, and you get taxed based on whatever the tax rate is for your city & state. And depending on how much you sell, – basically, yeah.
JD: But the good news is, folks, there’s a lot of information up out there about this. We’re just giving you a little inkling that you have you got work this one out.
Because especially if you’re based – now I’ve been told this – I don’t know if this is true, John – especially if you’re based in California. Because I’ve been told by certain individuals that the California Franchise Tax Board are even less friendly than the Internal Revenue Service. Is that right, John?
Are they even less happy people than the IRS?
JL: Uh, I don’t know. I think they’re about equal.
JD: Let’s hope so.
So we’ll get off that one, because I don’t get myself into trouble. So John was being very diplomatic as usual. So it’s just a little bit complicated, but like I said, folks, the good news is there’s a lot of information. And we probably have some links in the notes on the website.
JL: Although I want to tell you – I just want add this for the people at home. WooCommerce does allow you to enter the prices either inclusive of tax or exclusive – either with the tax or without – and you can calculate the tax based on either your address, of your shop – or for the customer, their shipping or billing address.
And so depending on what state you’re in, once you KNOW what laws adhere to your state, you can set up your cart to adhere to those laws, to where it’s not a big sticky mess at the end of the year.
JD: Yeah, that’s great. So, I’ve probably totally confused the audience. John’s trying to trying to clear my verbal mess up. Thank you, John. But folks, it is a little bit complicated. We’re going to move on before I confuse you even more.
So let’s go on to the other thing that kind of turned up periodically about halfway through the actual project. Until I learned to bring it up on Day One and give the clear options to my clients. And that was integrating with your accountancy.
And a lot of clients got on a high horse about this, and I always say to them, “You know, let’s get some customers first. Let’s get this thing rolling. And you’re making little bit of money. And THEN maybe worry about it.”
But they said, “What happens when we get inundated. You know, we get inundated straight away?” Which would be great, if it happened. I never knew a client who didn’t have an enormous online marketing budget.
He was buying for traffic. Didn’t get inundated. So I always thought it was best to get the ball rolling, and then have some concerns about this. The other thing was that Shopify or some of the WooCommerce didn’t have fantastic integration with the with the leader which is QuickBooks.
What’s the situation now when it comes at the present? Got any knowledge of that, John? About integrating with QuickBooks?
JL: So there’s a lot of different ways you can integrate with QuickBooks with WooCommerce. WooCommerce itself has an extension called QuickBooks Online Integration. And so you can integrate with them anywhere within the US, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. So you can sync your customers, inventory, and products. So that’s definitely one way that you can do that.
There are other third party plugins that will do that.
I believe that QuickBooks has one of their own, so there’s definitely that.
There’s other people that make products that will do that. You can also integrate using a Zapier – you know using their system of – basically, if this happens, then make this happen over here, and then make the applications talk to each other.
JD: Yes, so I just want to say about Zapier, folks, that it’s a kind of – they provide a kind of little micro applets – kind of a hosted solution. They have made little applets. (The best way I can describe this).
They make kind of third-party applications able to talk to one another. They do some of that. Have you
used any of these at all with QuickBooks? Is there any kind of that integration that you’ve been recently happy with, or not really?
JL: No, I can’t [really say] – I haven’t actually done this particular integration. I’ve done other integrations that are mind-boggling, but not this particular one.
Why don’t you share your experiences with us?
JD: Oh, they were nightmares, trying to integrate Shopify with third-parties that were pretty expensive.
I got the blame for it. After that, I never went after, never went back down that route, and couple that with dissatisfaction with some of the third party [Shopify and Quickbooks plugins] – but it was a couple years ago.
I don’t know what happened to the time, [in the meantime] because I’ve been building my SaaS, my maintenance companies are all. I’ve not being building eCommerce websites. I’ve been doing [website] maintenance.
JL: Can’t say I blame you.
JD: So we maintain normal packages but some of our clients that we built very tight relationships with, we do support eCommerce, but it’s not through our normal packages. But they haven’t got integration with QuickBooks, so we don’t have to deal with that.
I don’t actually. Now they’re the three [things that need to be addressed] that came to my mind. Are there other things that when people start on this road of e-commerce domination, that people have got to keep in mind, John?
JL: Definitely. There’s a lot of things – there’s a lot of questions that need to be answered when you’re going to build an e-commerce store. And number one, I think, with that is what type of payment gateway integration are you going to need?
Now WooCommerce comes with PayPal integration straight out of the box, but most people are going to want to take credit cards. And so you’re going to need either Stripe or they’re going to need Authorize.net or some other means of credit card payment support. Maybe you want to take Amazon Payments.
Basically, there is an extension for everything underneath the sun with WooCommerce. But it’s just getting whatever third party payment gateway you’re using – whether it’s Stripe or Authorize.
JD: I’ve heard on the news – I just wanted to know if you have ever heard – I’ve heard some really great stuff about BrainTree – about their integration. Anyone – anything to do with that? Integrating with BrainTree?
JL: I have not had any integration with BrainTree. Most of the people that I deal with either go with Authorize or Stripe.
JL: So one or the other. Stripe seems to be a little bit easier.
JD: Yeah, well I like Stripe, but some people would say that below a thousand [dollars per month in sales] you’re paying a little bit high. But I think it’s worth it, because I think it’s a bit like the other things I said, folks. Just to get started, if you’re looking to get started, I think Stripe is one of the easiest ways to go. If you want to take Stripe and PayPal at the same time on the same check out – does WooCommerce do it, or are there kind of third party plugins that allow you to have both options on the check out?
JL: So are you saying you want to check out part with this, and then part with that?
JD: Yeah, given the option, you know – given the option to either pay with credit cards which would go through Stripe or pay by PayPal?
JL: OH, ok so that that’s pretty simple. Like I said, with Stripe, there’s a Stripe extension for WooCommerce, and as of a few months ago it’s like, totally free. It’s right after I bought a license. But, it goes to show.
Basically what you’re going to need: Say you’ve got either Stripe or you’ve got Authorize or you’ve got BrainTree – you’re going to need an account with them – with that payment gateway. And then you’re going to need the extension that allows your site and WooCommerce to talk to the payment gateway because this is what people don’t understand…
Why eCommerce sites – they think it’s really that super simple to set up. See, here’s the thing – all these parts have to work together. And if any part of these – like anything in the chain – either the hosting, or WooCommerce, or the extension, or your payment gateway, or the bank – if anything like that – any little piece comes unhinged – it can be a disaster and things don’t go as expected.
So yeah, basically you’re going to need an account with whatever your payment gateway is [going to be]. You’re going to need the extension.[Then] get all your credentials set up with your payment gateway account. Put those into the extension on WooCommerce and usually you’ll do some some test runs – like sandbox transactions. Make sureeverything is working correctly and THEN you take it to production (which means it’s live) and you’re actually taking transactions. It’s probably good to do a few test transactions make sure things are going nice. And then push it outlive.
JD: Yeah, that’s great John.
Time’s flying. Like I said, this is going to be a three-parter, folks.
And and so we’re going to go for a second break, and we’ll be back to kind of finish off this. And then maybe talking about some of the WooCommerce extensions that John recommends and has used. Back in a minute, folks.
We’re coming back folks: Talking more about e-commerce and dominating your market.
So we were talking about gateway providers – like we were saying, I think Stripe is the easiest way to go.
So another thing I wanted to say to you: when we discussed this also last Saturday, we had to abandon Blab for technical reasons, but we had a great Google Hangout and it will become, hopefully, going live tomorrow on the WP iTunes.
But we had a great discussion about e-commerce, folks, and those little bit – one of our great panel [members] kind of disagreed with me, but I think when you’re really really starting out on this, it might be worthwhile looking at something like Shopify. But there was disagreement with my position, and I’m I’m fine with it but one thing I would say about it is, I would try Shopify but I wouldn’t invest a lot of money with it.
What I mean is making some really – that really fits everything you want there and then for future plans, I would just use it as a way of testing the waters really to see if there’s a demand, so at your marketing message.
And just try it out, but don’t spend a lot of money on third-party extensions with Shopify, and spending a lot of time on a personalized custom design. I would get going and then at some stage I would hire somebody like John, and get a really truly custom theme that meets all your requirements. And get somebody like John to help you build something that’s truly customized to the uniqueness of your business.
Would you agree with that, John?
JL: Well yeah, I definitely agree that you should hire me to build your custom site.
If you go back and listen to last Saturday’s discussion, there was some disagreement, but there was some of the panel that said Shopify is good for a temporary solution. But what you’re saying, I’m completely on board with. Before you sink a whole bunch of money into a custom site, and before you drop thousands of dollars on building out this custom or self-hosted WooCommerce site – test and make sure that your product ideas have a market.
Shopify is good for a temporary [solution]. It might not be great for a permanent solution.
JD: Well, some people would disagree with that, wouldn’t they? I agree with you but we’re WordPress junkies, aren’t we?
But I think we try and be balanced – John and myself – we try to be balanced. But some people just really love Shopify. But I think there are tools, and they have the right place at the right time, don’t they John?
JL: Sure, everything has its place, and you know some tools are better for different things.
But the big thing is to test your idea and make sure that your minimum viable idea is, you know, out there. Make sure that your products – there’s actual demand for them and if there is and then go ahead and scale up. Do your custom site. But it’s good – you can test it [product demand] on something like Squarespace or a Shopify, before making a big commitment.
JD: I’ve never used SquareSpace. It’s okay, but I would prefer Shopify, because of all the extensions.
But like I say, the problem with that is you can get very sucked into it and then when you do need to move to fully custom solution, it’s become a bit of a nightmare. And you spend a lot of money, so it’s a balance.
I would start with Shopify, but have the key things that I need – buy those, and have a cut-off point where you’re just going to get the key things. You might have to buy some extensions, but then [you are] going to stop and then you’re planning [the site].
I would say for the fully hosted solution, compared to some of the others, I’m going to butcher them – I can never pronounce the names John – Magento?
Compared to Magento, is another [eCommerce solution]. They offer two flavors actually, folks. They offer a fully hosted solution and one that you have on your own server.
I would NOT use the hosted solution because you get sucked into their [ecosystem] and WooCommerce, as compared to their [fully hosted] hosting is a lot easier to use. And don’t get me wrong, if you got a really enormous e-commerce shop and you’re really doing a lot of turnover [in sales] – I’m talking $50k, $100k, $200k+ in a week, you’ll want to look at it, [Magento], but the list – there’s not many people doing that.
So I think WooCommerce is the most flexible and easy. It’s not easy, but compared to some of these other fully / self hosted solutions, it offers the most flexibility, the biggest development community, the biggest community of third party plugins – would you agree with some of those statements, John?
JL: I would say it’s definitely the most flexible, its most extensible, there’s the most high-quality third party plugins to make it do what you want. And I think if you’re in that [range] – anywhere from just starting out to just below the enterprise level, then that’s a good solution [WooCommerce]. I think when you start getting to the enterprise level, you can definitely start looking at Magento as well. I know that there are some enterprise shops that are on WooCommerce, but then you’re getting into more a complete solution, looking at hosting and all kinds of tweaking.
JD: It never stops when you get to that size, folks. But it means you’re doing very well, as well. So that’s the right side of it, isn’t it, John?
JL: It’s a good problem to have.
JD: Yeah I thought it was a nice problem. So shall we look at some of- quickly – some of these third party extensions? And you started off with Stripe as your first 3rd party plugins for WooThemes. What is this plugin about? It’s about Stripe basically, isn’t it?
JL: So basically, this is a payment gateway. If you have a Stripe account, WooCommerce very generously made this extension completely free. You can use it up for to 25 sites totally free. This used to be – I think it was like 99 dollars for one site and I think it went up to like – I want to say it was $299 after that.
JD: It was a quite expensive third-party plugin, wasn’t it?
JL: Any of them are going to be, but you can take basically all major credit cards with this. I think Stripe – it’s a little bit easier to set up than Authorize.
JD: Which is the next one. The Authorize.net extension comparison –
So is this the one that integrates Authorize with WooThemes? Is that it?
JL: So there’s different ones. There’s at least three different extensions for WooCommerce for Authorize integrating with WooCommerce.
There’s a SIM solution, there’s DPM, and AIM. And basically the big difference is with these is do you want Authorize to handle the PCI compliance or do you want to capture stuff [payments] directly on your site?
A lot of people use the DPM because it basically what happens is they go to process the payment, it hands off to Authorize, they handle all the PCI compliance, where you’re not storing people’s personal information or the credit card information on your site, it does the transaction, then it hands it back to WooCommerce.
JD: So I’m rushing you a little bit, cause we’ve got about six minutes.
JL: So let’s do it: Six minutes, Doug E Fresh you’re on.
JD: Table Rate Shipping, what does this do?
JL: Ok so Table Rate Shipping: a lot of times you’re going to want to have different shipping rates and different shipping tables, depending on where you want to ship – I know that WooCommerce is changing their core functionality very soon – to integrate different shipping zones directly into that plugin. It’s going to be a major change coming down really soon. But basically, this allows you to make different shipping rules and different shipping zones, to where if you’re shipping out to different places, you can have specific rules apply to products.
JD: Rather important, isn’t it. Then we go on to Gravity Forms Products Add-Ons.
JL: Okay, so people who develop [websites], they know that Gravity Forms has conditional logic and stuff like that. So I have used this before. Basically you can make different options for different products. Gravity Forms integrates with the product itself.
You can set up different product rules and say, like on this like specific product, add these different form items, and you can make check boxes or radio boxes.
This is all items to where you can, for example – I used this on a website before, where people were ordering different coffee beverages, espresso drinks and stuff like that, and smoothies. And [using this] they could add protein powder, or they can add an extra shot of espresso or whatever [to the order].
So this allowed people to order online with different form fields in there without having to tweak out WooCommerce too much. It just builds right in.
JD: So it sounds rather important actually, folks. Sounds really tasty. Add-on really. Next one: WooCommerce Subscriptions. I suppose we could have a whole episode about this really – couldn’t we?
JL: Yeah really. So basically this allows you to have recurring payments. Say if you’ve got protected content or something you’ve given people access to, you can collect recurring payments month after month, and set that up to where people enter their [credit] card, and it’s just almost like a membership [site]. There is a plug-in for that, like WooCommerce Membership – that you can use those two in conjunction. And this gives you a way to charge people on a recurring basis.
JD: Yeah. On to the next one: WooCommerce Tab Manager.
JL: So in the default WooCommerce product setup you’ve got different columns. You’ve got one for Product Information, and then you’ve got one for Write a Review, and here’s Additional Details. With the Tab Manager, I’ve run into cases where I’ve had to add extra tabs with variable information. So you can change very easily without having to go in and change the actual WooCommerce templates. You can just change the headings of each column. You can add new tabs that you can control – like what’s in there, very specifically, without having to do a bunch of override templates. So this this can be really useful.
JD: And I think the last one is WooThemes documentation. Go on, what would you like to say about that, and in general do you think the documentation has got a lot better? Is it really good – what do you feel about it?
JL: WooThemes, or WooCommerce, there’s a lot of documentation for it. It is pretty developer-centric. I mean, as long as you understand WordPress actions, hooks, and filters you can pretty much develop anything with WooCommerce – as far as custom templates.
There’s definitely people that do custom plugins as well. Shop Plugins by Daniel Espinoza is one of those.
He’s putting out some good stuff so check that out. There’s a ton of documentation, but it is easy once you understand how WordPress works.
Like a newbie person, maybe not so much, but if you understand how WordPress works, it’s extremely useful.
JD: Yeah, this is why – there’s another suggestion why you might be better off, if you’re just looking to try the concept, and you still might hire someone. I would advise you to hire a consultant like myself or a true developer like John. True – he’s a unicorn. He’s one of those horrible unicorns who designs and develops. There’s not many of them around actually. And he’s good at both of them. But it might be a good idea to hire a consultant if you’re even going to go with Shopify route, because you do need – you can waste a lot of time in it.
The thing is to get this up and running and get the initial concept up and running and seeing if you’re taking cash. Right? Is the online shopping cart ringing and then, yeah, I would suggest to give it six or seven months, and then you look at moving to WooCommerce. You know, a lot of people would disagree with me folks, but that’s my honest opinion about it.
Try it on something like Shopify, which I think is the best and easiest to get going kind of focused ecommerce platform. And then look look at WooCommerce.
So that’s my bit. John, so how can people get hold of you John, to find out more about this or get some consultation or some help, John?
JL: Sure, you can find me at my site, LockedownDesign.com and you can also follow me on twitter : @Lockedown_ . How do the fine people get a hold of you Jonathan? If they want to hire you or use your services at WP-Tonic?
JD: We are a website maintenance company, folks. You pay a monthly subscription, It starts at $29.99 a month, for which we include two small jobs in per month for that starting price. Then our medium is $69.99 and we – if you have got a small job and maybe your developer – your initial developer can’t help you because they are too busy or they moved on – whatever. Instead of you having to go on Fiverr or some freelance web site and deal with somebody you’ve never dealt with, you pay us a monthly subscription and you get my support, and you get my team support.
And you send us a ticket and the problem is dealt with. And we’re doing full backups, security and if that’s of interest, then I think our offering is a fantastic service. I honestly do. Go to WP-Tonic, and we’ve got loads of information or you could email me at [email protected] wp-tonic.com or you can go to Twitter [email protected] . And I’m on there almost every day checking and people out. So you can get hold of me on that.
So I think one thing I want to ask you folks to show your support to the show is to go to iTunes and subscribe to show, and leave us a review. The reviews are really important. They will help more people find the show and I would really – me and John would appreciate it if you could leave a review, that would be great.
JL: Five Star.
JD: Yeah, five stars. So, I think we covered a ton of stuff, haven’t we John?
JL: Yeah I believe so.
JD: All right then, so we’re going now, folks. See you next time on WP-Tonic. Say goodbye, John.
Here list of the third-party plugins we discuss during the show.
1 – https://www.woothemes.com/products/stripe/
3 – https://docs.woothemes.com/document/table-rate-shipping/
4 – https://www.woothemes.com/products/gravity-forms-add-ons/
5 – https://www.woothemes.com/products/woocommerce-subscriptions/
6 – https://www.woothemes.com/products/woocommerce-tab-manager/
7 – https://docs.woothemes.com/document/woocommerce-color-and-image-swatches/
8 – http://codecanyon.net/item/woocommerce-amazon-affiliates-wordpress-plugin/3057503