Thinking of starting an online store? There are a lot of variables to consider when deciding which e-commerce platform is right for you but one system that can cover quite a large number of online stores is WooCommerce. WooCommerce is a great all rounder and have personally been using it on my side project TGI Found It for almost a year now and have found it to be perfect and very flexible. I’ve also used the system for client projects and have found it to not only easy to implement and manage but also have found it to be really easy for the client to add, remove and edit products on the site.
With all those nice things being said, one of the downfalls of WooCommerce is that a few of the features which generally come inbuilt on other e-commerce platforms require a plugin or of course some coding of your own. The top 10 plugins that I’ve come across that I have used to help add functionality to WooCommerce are listed below.
The plugin that starts it all, WooCommerce. This will setup your e-commerce site within a few clicks and setting changes depending on your theme of course but is the basis of this post so you would need this first.
This plugin allows customers to subscribe to your newsletter. A handy part of this plugin is that it adds a “Subscribe” check box on the checkout page of your website so customers can easily subscribe on their way out. You can preset the check box so it’s automatically checked or not. This plugin works great with MailChimp.
Setting up the shipping part of any e-commerce is a difficult task and this plugin will help make it a lot easier and customisable. Table Rate Shipping plugin allows you to define multiple shipping rates based on location, weight, price or the amount of items in the cart. I’ve used this plugin mainly for shipping options by weight, e.g. If the total order weight is less than 500g then the price will be $X.
Product Enquiry Form plugin is a handy plugin that will add an enquiry form in a new tab to your product page allowing customers to quickly email you about the product that they are currently viewing. It will automatically add to the email the product details so you know which item they are referring to.
Every store is different so the information that you need to collect when someone is purchasing an item can vary and this plugin will allow you to add / edit or remove fields on the checkout page through an easy to understand user interface. I’ve used this field to add a pickup date picker so the shop manager knows when the customer wished to pickup their order.
This plugin is great for customer relations. It goes one step above a normal coupon system, it allows you to allocate a customer by their email address a coupon of a set credit value and allows them to use the value of the coupon over more than one order. e.g If a customer is given a $100 coupon they can use $50 on one order and the remaining on another order.
The default WooCommerce system doesn’t really have an option to print out a Delivery Note or an Invoice for internal or external use, the only option you have is to print out the order emails which will always have the email header on it. This plugin allows you to print Delivery Notes and Invoices per order.
Expanding your audience is always hard, this plugin allows you to easily add products to eBay, opening your store up to a whole new crowd. Products are easily added and managed through your WordPress Dashboard.
Another plugin to help expand your audience is the Google Product Feed plugin. Google shopping is new to Australia, only being opened this year (2013), and this plugin has similar features to the eBay plugin allowing you to managed your Google Shopping products through your Dashboard.
This plugin is a bit different, it will actually remove the “e-commerce” part of WooCommerce. What’s the point you may ask? WooCommerce is a great plugin to display products on your website, it allows you to manage a catalogue style website for the public. You will still need to hide a few features just to make it easier for your client to managed products on the backend.
Fil is Studio Culture’s Design and Development Director.