The Logistics of an Online Store:
We love WordPress (WP) and we love WooCommerce (WC). If you want to quickly setup a powerful, adaptable, beautiful store online, WP + WC is the way to go – it is no wonder 41 million + use this combination to power their online sales. With most hosts (including us!), you can use a one-click installer to install the newest version of WordPress with a free SSL certificate (required for most transactions/a really wise idea), and it takes an additional few minutes to install the WooCommerce plugin and go through the automated setup. We recommend setting up JetPack as well, for some additional tools. It takes a matter of minutes to get this going, but there are two crucial steps involved in setting up your store: how will you ship your items and how do you want to get paid. We will discuss why these logistics are important, and help guide you through what to do.
Woo includes a ton of built-in ways to get paid – they are called payment gateways. When a customer goes to checkout, they will be presented with the payment gateway or gateways to pay. You can give the client a few different options to allow offline payments for local pickup or choose different online methods. There are lots of options you can choose from or you can add additional gateways through plugins (some are paid), but most of our clients opt for PayPal or Stripe, both free to install. They are our current go-to for payment processing – each has their own rates you can investigate and possibly negotiate.
PayPal has built a strong brand image of trust, so even with users who don’t have an account, most will recognize PayPal as a safe place to transact. PayPal standard is free, but sends users off-site for a moment to complete the transaction. This is very secure, but may interrupt the checkout flow, which might not be the best business idea. This payment gateway is very easy to configure and does not require a user to have a PayPal account to pay. If your business is just getting started and you are familiar with PayPal, the ease of use of this gateway we recommend.
Best Practices: Make sure within PayPal to select “PayPal Account Options” to allow non-PayPal users to use a debit/credit card at checkout, and auto-return to send the user back to a landing page on your site. We recommend a customized “thank you” page with a unique URL for tracking conversions.
Stripe is one of the most adaptable and powerful systems for payment, and is fairly new to the arena compared to others available. We love Stripe because the technical abilities do anything we need it to do, and it’s ease in using international banking accounts and transactions. We also recently used Stripe + WooCommerce subscriptions to setup ongoing payments for one of our clients. Our biggest pro for using Stripe is that it does not require a user to leave the webpage to checkout. Users will input debit/credit card data right on the checkout page, feeling more like a methodology many customers would be used to. The card is transacted right on the checkout page then goes to a thank you page with a detailed confirmation and overview. The WooCommerce to Stripe plugin has a lot of options for notifications and customer abilities like cancel a subscription or get refunded through the site if you want to grant these options. This system is so adaptable and has so many options that it doesn’t seem as easy to setup or work with. It can be confusing at first, but we found it was easy to understand with just a few weeks of operation.
Best Practices: This is the go-to for subscriptions. We highly recommend this system if you offer ongoing products to your clients! It is worth reading the Stripe Docs and getting familiar with the system before using it. It can seem cumbersome but it interfaces well with WordPress
Read more: https://woocommerce.com/products/stripe/
Now that we’ve setup the store and decided how to get paid, what is the best way to ship your product? If you have a digital product, it is really easy to set an automatic download in Woo, but for those with physical product, deciding what shipper to use is more of a business question and less of a technical question. Do you want the shipping company to come to you or do you want to drop off shipments at a local store? What companies are available in your area? Do you want to for packaging? Etc.
In the US, we have three primary shipping companies: USPS, UPS and FedEx. All three have plugins that interface with WooCommerce. You can purchase the official plugins for UPS and FedEx through Woo, or you can use the free versions from XAdapter, we have had good experiences with this company. All of these offer free live rates and shipment options for your client. This company offers paid versions that offer label printing straight from your webpage, with email shipment updates with the tracking number for your client.
For the USPS, WooCommerce through JetPack (called WooCommmerce services) has free live rates and print-label from your webpage. Depending on what you are selling, this last option through the USPS is quite desirable.
One major consideration: One recommendation we offer for our clients is the use of flat-rate shipping through USPS and WooCommerce services, or the user of USPS priority mail. In an era of 2-day shipping, thanks Amazon, priority shipping is a great way to get the product safely and quickly to your client. Flat-rate is particularly desirable because there are several options for free packaging. You can get free supplies here through the USPS.
Flat-rate boxes also include $50 of insurance and tracking, and you can get this set to print labels through your webpage as well. We recommend this method, even though shipping rates are not the cheapest, because of the easy of use, the speed, and the low setup cost in time and dollars. If you can’t use the smallest flat-rate boxes, consider subsidizing the cost of the shipping through adding a few dollars onto the price of the product. So rather than charging the $13.65 for a medium box, you can charge $9.99 for shipping or less, and add a few dollars to the price of the product to prevent the shipping charge from looking too expensive.
The fastest and easiest way to get going with WooCommerce on your WordPress site is to use PayPal standard and offer flat-rate or live rates through USPS. But if you need anything else, WP + WC is still the right platform, all you need to do is find the right plugins.
We have setup many E-commerce stores using the methodologies above. If you don’t want to setup your store yourself, our experienced team can quickly get you setup and ready for sales!