With the current market for reusable coffee cups saturated by cheap plastic moulds – Two surfing friends decided they could do better job and developed a high end, glass alternative focusing on sustainability and design. After over a year of meticulous product development the finished product was ready to market.
Talented designer, Jimmy Gleeson was enlisted to create all aspects of their branding and packaging, including the design of an ecommerce website. My role was to bring the design to life and develop a website that was functional from the front-end through to the back-end. Enter WooCommerce.
On the surface the website is your standard blog/business/ecommerce setup. But as with every project, some curve balls were thrown in by the client throughout development.
One of the more challenging requests was to configure multiple images per product variation. I initially hacked together a solution using Advanced Custom Fields and toggle techniques with Jquery & CSS but struggled integrating with some of the core WooCommerce functionality. I trawled through the forums but decided to reach out to a Affiliated Woo Worker to get expert assistance.
I was encouraged by the positive response and within 24 hours had James Kemp scope the work and estimate the hours required. The solution put together integrated perfectly and was exactly what I had envisioned. James has now released the work as an extension for the public. The Variation Swatches and Photos extension was also used to replace the colour swatch options with images of the different cup colour options.
Building Blocks & Plugins Used
A lot of work was put into the templates to enable total administrative control over the frontend and it’s content. Feature slides, banners and custom aligned images we’re all configured using the Advanced Custom Fields plugin. In my opinion there is no better tool to work with when developing these CMS features.
Being a new business, contact forms were an essential part of the site. The Gravity Forms plugin makes the contact form development a breeze. From creating a form in the backend to styling it on the frontend the plugin saves you countless painful hours.
Overall the feedback from the public and the initial orders have been really positive. But we’re still experiencing our fair amount of challenges as the website continues to evolve.
- Pay Pal – As Elliot Stocks blogged about, Pay Pal has been challenging to work with for the client. From getting their account approved to interface confusion, nothing has been easy.
- Shipping – Configuring the shipping cost structure for around the world and keeping things simple for the end user has required a bit of configuring. The WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping had been a must-have plugin for this.
- Website Traffic – The initial conversion rate of the website has been high but the low amounts of traffic have made sales challenging. This will obviously build as the brand grows but it has been an initial challenge.
- SSL & Quickbooks Integration – The guys use Quickbooks for backend order and inventory management. There is a great plugin for communicating with WooCommerce but we are yet to fully configure this part. Main issues have been around SSL & matching offline Quickbooks configuration.
- Hacker Attack – Strangely the site has been the target of a common WordPress hacker talked about in this forum topic. The attack only disrupted the site for around 2 hours but caused some expected panic from the business. The loophole is currently being investigated but is thought to be from an insecure database password.