WCPay 1.0 Launch

Case Study: form•function•form

Written by Joel on December 10, 2013 Blog, Woo news.

Today’s case study is quite unique as we get to hear from Amazon Payments who interviewed one of their favorite WooCommerce users, FormFunctionForm. Later in this post, we will hear from Shawn -the owner of FormFunctionForm– and discuss the decisions he made when creating his stunning WooCommerce-powered website.

Origins

When you look at the quality of the Architect’s Wallet, it is hard to believe they were designed and crafted by an economist. Shawn Reed is not your ordinary economist. After a childhood spent moving around the country, Shawn settled in Orlando where, for ten years, he worked as a landscape architect and town planner. While his business was thriving, Shawn felt there was something missing and decided to pursue a graduate degree in economics. After completing his degree, Shawn set out to start his career as an economist, until one simple shopping search changed his life.


Shawn was in the market for a men’s bracelet, which he thought would be fairly easy to locate online. What he discovered was a market flooded with sub-par products, bundled with a poor shopping experience. Shawn decided to leverage his creative side to design and assemble his own quality bracelet. When Shawn’s friends saw what he had created, they immediately recognized his talent. With their encouragement, Shawn began working on a few products inspired by his own life interest, including the Lure Bracelet he designed as an avid fisherman.  Each item was crafted with painstaking detail. As a testament to quality, Shawn selected only the finest materials, including Horween leather (which he continues to use today), to produce his bracelets and wallets.  Proud of his creations, Shawn then sent his masterpieces to several well respected men’s fashion blogs for review, and awaited the results.

The feedback was overwhelming.  People loved the style, look, feel, and above all the quality of his work. The time had come for Shawn to set up shop and make his products available to the world. At that moment, Shawn faced a challenge many aspiring entrepreneurs face; how do I get started online? Shawn researched a number of e-commerce solution providers, and ultimately decided on WooCommerce. Commitment to quality is very important to Shawn, as he says; “my brand is me, I am the brand… I do what it takes to make my customers happy.”  It was essential for Shawn to align himself with top brands, which is why he chose Horween leather, WooCommerce, and ultimately why he added Amazon Payments. When Shawn saw that WooCommerce was offering Amazon Payments integration for free, he jumped at the opportunity to be “associated with another great brand.” Prior to integrating with Amazon Payments, Shawn’s checkout flow averaged 90% credit cards and 10% alternative payment methods. Since adding Amazon Payments, nearly half of his orders come from Amazon Payments.

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Building on an Idea

When selecting a platform for my brand, I went to a blogger I’d had interactions with in the past, Barron from http://barroncuadro.com/. When we went over my initial ideas for the site, he suggested WooCommerce as a relatively simple, expandable system that had a good stable of plugins developed specifically for e-commerce. We looked through the themes that were available, and chose one that was closest to what I’d blindly sketched out as a concept. Barron proceeded to work up a child theme that modified what I wanted, predominantly stripping away a lot of extra graphics/borders/thicker lines to get down to a clean, minimalist site that was in line with form•function•form’s brand identity.

And then my obsessive need to understand and tweak things started. Things had to look a certain way on the site, and rather than pestering Barron continually, I just figured out enough css and limited php to do what I wanted (with some extensive googling and woo help forum searching).  When things really started moving, I learned quickly that no matter how much cacheing and backend management I could put in to it (instead of designing and making products), a WordPress site with more than just the bare minimum of plugins would slow down to a crawl on a shared web server. So, after trying a switch to a VPS with my then-host, I ended up making the move over to managed WordPress hosting with what was then Zippykid and is now Pressable, and it has been an incredible time saver.

On the front end of the site, one of the most crucial elements has been displaying photos for the many variations that are available on individual product pages—I have been incredibly happy with the a3rev ‘dynamic gallery’ plugin, which has allowed us to have a gallery that updates products shown based on attributes selected in the pickbox.  Their ‘email inquiry and cart options’ has also allowed us to remove the ‘add to cart’ functionality on a specific product page (rather than site-wide), to allow our new ‘button-stud premium’ watch combos to be handled on a case-by-case basis through individual emails (Rolexes can’t be shipped and sold quite the same way as a simple Timex http://formfunctionform.com/product/button-stud-weekender/).

Dynamic

Useful Plugins

  • Woo ShipStation by HANDeband (shipstation is highly recommended; it’s an incredible time saver, and works incredibly well once it’s all set up and automated).
  • WooCommerce email validation from Hugh Lashbrooke (get one or two bad email addresses, and good luck asking a customer a question about their order).
  • WooCommerce Facebook like share button from Terry Tsang (very simple implementation).
  • WooCommerce Product Photos Tab from Sebs Studio (nice for people to be able to see everything available in one glance, rather than scrolling through the gallery one at a time).
  • WooCommerce Product Add-ons by WooThemes (allow ‘gift messages’ instead of our standard thank-you note, include options to add a second product at a reduced price).
  • WooCommerce Product csv import suite by WooThemes(with the VAST number of variations on the site, this has been invaluable in managing products/updates in a spreadsheet, rather than through the slow wp interface).
  • WooCommerce USPS by WooThemes (we’ve tweaked this a bit to offer flat shipping rates in three tiers for both domestic and international, including free domestic shipping).
  • Yotpo social reviews plugin (has driven an excellent amount of reviews back to the site, and offered reviewing customers up to a 15% coupon for sharing their review on Facebook/Twitter to spread the word. We’ve had some issues with our particular implementation, but Yotpo is working hard to resolve the problem and get the whole thing automated.
  • Payment Gateways: authorize.net AIM, Paypal Standard (built-in to WooCommerce), the free bitcoin (by bitcoinway), and the very-popular-with-customers Amazon Payments Advanced have provided a good variety of payment options.

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Special Offers

Get your WooCommerce Amazon Payments Advanced extension free for a limited time.

Use coupon code: woonderfultimeoftheyear for  10% off your next purchase at form•function•form, sale ends friday at 11:59pm EST. (not applicable on the Button-Stud Premiums).

Wrapping Up

It is always a pleasure for us to hear success stories from our partners and customers. WooCommerce is enabling thousands of businesses to sell unique products and goods.  Feel free to post questions for Shawn from form•function•form or for the Amazon Payments team. As always we would love to hear about your journey with WooThemes & WooCommerce.

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2 Responses

  1. Justin Butlion
    December 11, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    Thanks so much Shawn for including Yotpo in your list of useful plugins. We are very happy to hear that we are bringing you value and that you are generating a lot of reviews with our solution.

    All the best.

  2. redcore
    December 18, 2013 at 3:09 am #

    Great story. I envy people who’ve found a way to make a living making something like that! Very creative stuff! He’s right, too, there just aren’t enough cool GUY stuff out there. Great job!

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