Archive | woocommerce

Is Shopify Better than WooCommerce for eCommerce?

Recently, a website platform seemed to claim responsibility for a celebrity’s online success (web traffic, voluminous sales and market domination).  But what made that celebrity’s site successful?  Was it the platform they chose?  Or was the site’s success being driven by the celebrity themselves and the brand they represent?  In all likelihood that celebrity could have used any platform and still have had a successful site. They were responsible for their own online success, and the platform had little to do with it.

Your website is an extension of who you are.  It is an expression of your vision.  It is a result of hard work and creativity. And if you have an ecommerce site, then it is also a revenue source.  If you are selling something, the website platform you choose has to have your back because you have a lot invested in, and a lot riding on, the virtual space you’ve created.  You can’t choose a platform based on what a celebrity, or any successful site, uses.  You have to dig deeper.

There are two kinds of people in the ecommerce world: those who need a website and those who already have a website.

If you need an ecommerce site, the first questions you should ask are: What is my website’s intent? What am I trying say, do, express, and accomplish?  The second questions are: What am I selling and will the platform I’m looking at support the sale of my product or service?

If you already have an ecommerce site, then you are (hopefully) regularly evaluating the platform you are using to ensure your site is being taken care of in the best possible way.  You should always be asking: Is the platform I’m using reliable and are my content and business safe?

When choosing a platform, you have many decisions to make.  Will you need ongoing support, or can you be independent?  Do you need a highly customized site, or can you use one straight “out of the box”?  Do you anticipate having high volume sales, or will your site be more specialized with less traffic?

The answers to these questions will guide you through the pros and cons of many platforms. No platform is perfect, and many might meet your needs.  But if you are selling something, whether you are new to ecommerce or have an active store, there is one overriding question that must be addressed: What are you selling?

Not all platforms are ideal for all types of ecommerce.  Platforms can be tied to specific payment gateways.  If a payment gateway decides that it does not want to support the sale of a specific product or service, then your ability to sell could be denied and your store could be closed. If you plan to do, or already doing, online sales, it is in your best interest to choose a platform whose payment gateway is reliable and flexible.

Let’s get specific.

In Shopify’s Payments Terms of Service, prohibited businesses are listed in section B5.  That’s right: prohibited businesses.  If you sell or offer anything on this list, your store will likely be closed in the near future.  And remember – this list can change at any time, which means your ecommerce venture may not be safe if you use this platform.

Here is a partial list of businesses that are currently prohibited on Shopify:

  • All cannabis related businesses and products
  • Any business selling products that claim to have health benefits
  • Travel reservation businesses
  • Timeshare services
  • Flea markets

So, what’s the alternative?  Using an open source platform like WordPress with WooCommerce.

WordPress allows users to choose from any number of payment gateways and WordPress is not held hostage by the whims and demands of those gateways. Unlike Shopify, a publicly traded company that is required to meet certain criteria from its financial partners, WordPress has no such financial obligations; WordPress clients are free to choose whatever payment gateway fits their needs.

So, if you have a cannabis business with products to sell, WordPress with WooCommerce is a platform that will support you.  If you sell vitamins or health improving products, WordPress with WooCommerce is the platform for you. Whatever your business is, WordPress will support it. This is the beauty of using an open source platform.

It’s hard work to prepare, create, and maintain a virtual business. Be sure you select a platform that offers you choice and does not limit your vision.  WordPress with WooCommerce is a platform you can trust.  It has your back.

Contact us today for more information.

business solutions, ecommerce, how to, woocommerce, wordpress

Behla Design Hosts Two Upcoming Meetups

Join us for two exciting and important Meetups for WordPress and WooCommerce in January and February.


West Valley WordPress Meetup Group

Compliance Traps & Trolls

We’ll be focusing on multiple topics of compliance, including: PCI, GDPR, Accessibility and what it could cost you to ignore these.

Our speaker, Sumner Davenport of Sumner Davenport & Associates, LLC,
creates, manages & protects the online brand & reputation of her clients. Compliance is her specific area of expertise.

With the updates and changes in online privacy laws, ADA Accessibility, Federal, State and local industry rules it has become essential to make sure your website is compliant and what you post everywhere else is also compliant.

Sumner will cover these specifics and also provide handouts with recommended resources that may help you with your compliance issues.

Location, Date & Time:

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Total Wine
The Village at Topanga 6232 Topanga Canyon Blvd #1380 · Woodland Hills, CA

Total Wine is inside Westfield Village mall, within the parking garage corridor on the South end. Meeting room is to the right when entering the store.

And yes, there will be a free wine tasting for all attendees courtesy of Total Wine.

Click here for more information and to register.


WooCommerce Los Angeles Meetup Group

Code Snippets Plugin, DevOps, and Store Hosting Panel Discussion

Join us for the first WooCommerce Meetup of the new year in Santa Monica at WeWork.

Interested in brushing up on the best practices for customizing WooCommerce stores? Sean Conklin from Coded Commerce will give a presentation on the Code Snippets plugin as an officially recommended alternative to child theme bloat or template file forking. Sean will also cover some DevOps topics for making your agile development workflows more efficient, also reviewing your version control and deployment options so you can improve launch confidence.

Following that talk we will have an informal panel discussion on WooCommerce store hosting types, costs, features, and tips. You’ll come away with a better understanding about choosing the best hosting for your WooCommerce store.

Special thanks to John Goss for helping us to organize the Meetup at WeWork Santa Monica.

Location, Date & Time:

Thursday, February 7, 2019
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

WeWork
520 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA

We will meet in suite 210 on the second floor. Check in is required on the first floor lobby. Please bring a valid photo ID.

Click here for more information and to register

 

business solutions, ecommerce, how to, woocommerce, wordpress

CBD Online Stores: Shopify Out and WooCommerce In!

Selling CBD Products with WooCommerceShopify has notified CBD related store owners who use their service that if their stores are found to be selling items that are high-risk, Shopify will close them.

Due to the complicated legalities and disparate state and county regulations inherent with CBD related products, all CBD related products sold online are considered high-risk.

So, what will Shopify do if you have a CBD related store?  Your store will be closed.

How can Shopify do this?  Shopify partnered with a payment processor that has strong ties to national banks.  Because federal banks won’t work with CBD related products, the processor Shopify uses won’t work with them, which means Shopify, in turn, cannot work with CBD products either.

Additionally, Shopify is a closed system; you must use their default processor or get charged an extra 1-3% in order to use the third-party processors Shopify works with.  However, if these processors find an issue during their underwriting vetting they may add your company to the TFM (Terminated Merchant Account) list, which is a public record of invalid accounts.

If you have a website on Shopify, and if you have high-risk CBD items for sale, you don’t have a lot of choices if you want to protect, sustain and grow your business…if you stay with Shopify.

What choices do you have?  Many!  The first step is to back up your ecommerce files. The second step is to move to another ecommerce software ASAP.  Choosing an open source solution like WordPress with WooCommerce shopping cart software is our recommended solution.  With an open source environment, you can choose from a variety of payment gateways that specialize in high-risk product sales. You can also have the freedom to host the site wherever you choose.

Zodaka is an example of a payment gateway that is willing to take the risk with online CBD retailers.    Carson O’Connell of Zodaka explains how their product works:

“Zodaka does not utilize credit cards at any point in our process. Users sign up by connecting their bank account to our system, then our software prompts a direct payment from the user’s bank account to the merchant’s bank account. Our system uses a streamlined version of a transfer solution, which is regulated exactly like cash.”

Zodaka is similar to PayPal, but Zodaka does not require reserves, even though the CBD industry is high-risk by nature, unlike most comparable solutions. And unlike most other processors that offer high-risk services, Zodaka is not located overseas.   O’Connell explains this point and other benefits:

“We are entirely domestic and your money never leaves the U.S. during a Zodaka transaction, which is something that most of our competitors (and anyone offering a high-risk credit card solution) cannot say. We charge fair rates (between 3% and 5%) for our services while many high-risk payment systems can charge as high as 10% or more. We also have virtually no chargebacks, and maintain a highly secure system with bank-level encryption/cybersecurity.”

If you want to grow your online CBD retail business, make a move to protect your store and ensure your revenue stream.  Our team at Behla Design can help move your store from Shopify to Word Press with WooCommerce and help find the best payment gateway to meet your needs.

Keep your online store doors open before Shopify closes them.  Support your business and be pro-active. Contact us today.

business solutions, ecommerce, woocommerce, wordpress

Why WordPress is the Best Solution for Your E-commerce Store

More and more people and companies are turning to the Internet to sell merchandise or services. E-commerce stores have become so popular that in just three months in 2005, sales from e-commerce stores totaled $22.3 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

With an e-commerce site, you can sell practically anything from clothes to food, vitamins to art, even services, such as translating or writing. All you need to do is to make a great, easy-to-use and functional website.

For our clients, we always turn to WordPress – a great option for both novice and seasoned web designers. WordPress is very customizable to all your needs and has thousands of forums with discussions on how to navigate the site.

Read this blog for our advice or reasons why WordPress is the best solution for your e-commerce store and find out why Mashable said that “today, e-commerce on WordPress is ready for prime time.”

Three Reasons Why WordPress is the Best Solution for Your E-commerce Store

WooCommerce

WooCommerce

One of the best reasons why WordPress should be your first choice when it comes to e-commerce is “WooCommerce.” It’s a free, popular toolkit for your WordPress site.

WooCommerce is a platform that’s perfect for e-commerce startups because it can expand in many ways. With its huge flexibility, WooCommerce can be capable of selling downloads, physical products, virtual products, subscriptions, and more. Additionally, your products can be categorized and given sale prices. All these can help you grow your business sans the trouble of having a number of plugins and solutions to maintain.

This plugin also works seamlessly with PayPal, the number one way to accept payments online, as well as UPS, USPS, FedEx, etc. Even though you may be just one person packing and sending out your merchandise, you can be as efficient and trustworthy as a big retail giant, such as Amazon, with all the tools that WooCommerce provides.

WooCommerce also lets you run great promotions on your WordPress e-commerce site with specials, coupons, sales, promotional codes, and even gift certificates. Furthermore, the plugin keeps track of all your visitors, sales, turn around, etc. to provide you with an accurate picture of how your business is doing. You can see what your most popular products are, how many people come to your site and leave without buying anything, and how promotions affect your sales.

Digital Downloads

If you are selling photographs, music, books, or other digital downloads, WordPress is a great solution. WordPress has various plugins to sell your downloads without your customers ever having to leave your store. For example, Easy Digital Downloads lets you sell e-books and other downloads free of charge. The best part is that as long as you have an active WordPress e-commerce site, you can set up this plugin and start selling in minutes. They have over 190 extensions to truly set up your website to your needs and preferences.paypal

PayPal for Digital Goods is another reason why WordPress is the best solution for your e-commerce store. PayPal makes it just as easy to sell music as it is to sell shoes. The best part about using PayPal is its top of the line security. Clients feel safe entering their bank and credit card information, and you, the seller, feel safe knowing that PayPal will protect you from fraudulent attempts.

Affiliates

If you want to start an e-commerce site, you can start to make money without having any merchandize to sell. The way you can do that is through affiliate networking. Read our blog about the best WordPress affiliate plugins for more information. This is how an affiliate program works. Say you want to sell products from Amazon. You sign up to Amazon’s affiliate program, which gives you the right to sell their merchandise on your e-commerce website. When you make a sale, Amazon ships the item for you, and pays you a commission of the proceeds. This is a great way to make money online, as you don’t need to invest in any items to sell; you simply make money every time someone buys something from Amazon from your site.

The team at Behla Design, Graphic Design & Web Development, is dedicated to creating visual experiences that effectively tell our clients’ stories while engaging, exciting, and enticing their customers. Our firm consists of top web design, web development, WordPress, search engine optimization (SEO), and copywriting professionals that had worked in the graphic, print and web design industry for over twenty years. Contact us today to find out how we can help your next project.

business solutions, ecommerce, how to, woocommerce

How to Customize Shipping Options On WooCommerce

Selling items online has significantly increased in the last decade. “E-commerce B2C product sales totaled $142.5 billion, representing about 8% of retail product sales in the United States,” according to Wikipedia. Fielding the expense of having a retail store, employees, and other costs associated with a physical location makes having an online store very inexpensive. If you have a WordPress online store, consider using WooCommerce as your e-commerce toolkit. In a previous blog, WooCommerce Payment Gateways and Shipping Options, you can read more about how to use this plugin as a payment gateway, and, now, I will go into detail about working with WooCommerce to set up your shipping options.

Here are the steps to set up WooCommerce shipping options:

1. Pick a shipping provider – WooCommerce works with USPS, UPS or FedEx to ship your items. You can sign up with your preferred shipping provider online and create a login and password.

shipping options

UPS –  You can use WooCommerce to set up a UPS shipping calculator based on shipping location and weight.

IgniteWoo offers a UPS Shipping Pro extension for purchase. Once you figure out which shipping methods you want to offer clients, the prices will be shown to customers, and they can choose the option that works best for them. The price starts at $40.

WooThemes also offers a UPS Shipping Method extension that you can purchase. The price starts at $49.

*Tip: You can offer free shipping through the UPS shipping plugin for customers who purchase a certain amount on your e-commerce site. This can be a huge incentive for buyers and drives up sales (look at Amazon.com, for instance).

shipping options

USPS – The United States Postal Service is the largest delivery network in the United States. They offer both domestic and international shipping options. This method will only work if your site accepts US dollars, and the package sizes are quoted in inches and pounds, although sometimes other measurements will work. By using USPS delivery as your preferred shipping method, you have the option to ship packages first class, priority, or even parcel post. Here’s a link to USPS prices. You can purchase the USPS Shipping Method extension on WooThemes for $49.

Shipping options

* FedEx – FedEx is another great choice among shipping options for small businesses. The company claims to save you money and satisfy more customers if you use their services, along with providing you discounts with their alliances.

WooCommerce offers a plugin called Fedex Shipping Pro for a starting price of $40. The site claims that “you control which shipping options to offer shoppers will easy-to-use configuration settings.”

2. Figure out weight and dimensions of each item – Once you have picked your preferred shipping provider, and registered online for an account, you need to decide how you want to set up your shipping options. “The fact is the cost of shipping has for a long time been one of the leading causes of shopping cart abandonment as buyers realize that the cost of the shipping has made the item too expensive…72% of website visitors abandon their shopping cart because shipping charges were higher than expected,” reports Proimpact7. Do you want to offer a flat rate shipping rate, like the website, Overstock.com? Although their promotions sometimes change, this giant e-commerce site often offers a flat rate shipping fee of $2.95 with any purchase. Other sites, such as Amazon.com, offer free shipping with a minimum purchase. Their “Prime-eligible” items are shipped free of charge with a purchase of at least $25. This incites customers to purchase more items so that they don’t have to pay for shipping. While sites like Nordstrom.com offer free shipping with any purchase, this is usually impossible for small WooCommerce shopping sites to offer as paying for shipping items to customers takes a big chunk out of the profit.

This is why most small e-commerce sites charge for shipping depending on the size or price of items using a shipping calculator. To do so, you need to figure out the weight and dimension for each item that you offer for sale.

3. Figure out box sizes  – Do you want to purchase boxes to ship your items, order customized boxes with your store name or logo, or use flat rate shipping boxes from UPS, USPS or FedEx? You need to make these decisions and write down the sizes of the boxes you will use. This is so that you can combine products into one box so that WooCommerce will use the shipping calculator to add up the dimensions of each item and add it to the box. You will need the inner and outer dimension plus the box or package weight.

4. Fine tune the shipping options – Once you know the dimensions of the items you are offering, and know the sizes of the boxes you have to ship your items in, you need to fine tune the shipping options. For example, do you want to use the shipping calculator and offer your customers to pay the exact fee that your shipping provider will charge? Keep in mind, that on top of the shipping fees, you will also need to pay for boxes and packing materials, such as bubble wrap, tissue paper, etc. to keep your items from getting wrinkled or damaged during the shipment. Additionally, consider the time it will take to prepare the items for shipping, wrapping them, putting them into boxes, and either getting them ready for pick-up by the shipping provider (which often requires an additional fee) or using gas and time for dropping the packages off at a shipping location. Will you do this yourself, or will you pay an employee to do this for you? This will either cost additional time or money to get done.

Once you figure all those options out, you can set up a shipping calculator to add any possible shipping and handling fees that can be applied as either a flat rate or percentage of the total. For example, you can add $10 to the shipping price of each order, or add 15% to each order to account for all work of shipping out orders. Also, you can add special promotions and shipping discounts, if you so prefer. As discussed above, you can offer discounted or free shipping with a minimum order, which can incite your customers to purchase more items. If your site offers items that clients frequently use, such as food, vitamins, or diapers, for example, you can offer a special subscribe and save program, such as Amazon.com does, where you offer free shipping as long as clients sign up to receive the items on a regular basis, such as every month, or every few months. Although you will have to pay for shipping each time, you will sell more inventory than through a single sale.

The team at Behla Design is dedicated to creating visual experiences that effectively tell our clients’ stories while engaging, exciting, and enticing their customers. Our firm consists of the top web design and development, WordPress, search engine optimization (SEO), and copy writing professionals. Our founder, Andrew Behla, has worked in the graphic, print and web design industry for over twenty years.

For more information about making your site mobile friendly, contact Behla Design.

ecommerce, how to, woocommerce, wordpress