Case Study: YoYoBESTBUY

Written by Mark Forrester on June 19, 2012 Customer Stories, News.

This week we have a case study by Johnnie DelValle, world champion yo-yo player, on his experience running a large product inventory site with WooCommerce!

Tell Us More About Yourself & The Site

YoYoBESTBUY was built to serve the niche yoyo market of the west coast and provide high end premium yoyo’s all around the bay area (even though we’ve grown way beyond and ship worldwide frequently). Most people don’t know it but yo-yoing is what I consider a really unique growing sport. I started yo-yoing as a bored kid and just have never been able to put it down, 15 years later I still can’t, after winning the regional, national and world yoyo contest in the same year; I became really active in the yoyo scene and wanted to give back to something I loved so much. I do that with my store YoYoBESTBUY, running yoyo contests and doing product development with my sponsor YoYoJam. I also have a day job where I’m a web and Brand Manager for a cancer diagnostics company in the bay area.

Why did you go with a WooTheme?

I originally launched my store on November 11, 2011, running a platform I’m sure you’re all familiar with: Magento. After working with Magento, I really found it cumbersome, slow, tedious and really taxing on the server with its sql queries. Every time I opened it up in a browser it just felt like a pain. After 3 months of Magento I knew that I needed to make the switch (and fast) into something I really enjoyed working on.

I knew what I needed: something that could be a great news publishing platform, good for SEO, a store that could manage inventory well and have an array of plugins at my disposal with an active community to bounce feedback off of and see how others are utilizing the platform.

I had a lot of experience with WordPress and loved the way it operated. I spent many hours researching all of the e-commerce options that were available and then I found Jigoshop, I discovered it was good, but the community seemed slow and my research on Jigoshop lead me to WooCommerce. I don’t know how many questions I asked the WooTeam but every time I asked a question, they answered, and in a hurry. I knew this was going to be a great company to work with and it’s community was strong which was perfect for my needs.

So I dove in headfirst with WooCommerce – I was in a hurry to get moved from Magento onto the WooCommerce platform I decided to run with their SMPL theme, I needed a platform to build on top of that looked good and worked great and the SMPL theme appeared to be like the clean based Canvas just for e-commerce.

The YoYoBESTBUY homepage.

I changed the layout quite a bit from the original SMPL theme, as I wanted to look more like a traditional e-commerce store (with an edge) and have a full width 100% design. The SMPL template also worked in em’s and percentages making it great for responsive layouts (mobile layout). All of the templating was really straight forward when it came to customization – well documented and commented so it was easy to find where things were and tweak away.

The YoYoBESTBUY homepage on a mobile device.

I only created one extra template and that was for how the news was structured on the homepage, which was really easy to do. I just took “content.php” duplicated it and renamed it to “home-content.php” (Figure 1) and then changed the template call in index.php to “home-content” and the total number of posts displayed to 3 (Figure 2)

Figure 1:

Figure 2:

I think what’s unique about our shop is that we have over 250 unique products running from WooCommerce which blows my mind when I think its all done on WordPress and within a year I think it will be closer to 500-600 products.

There are definitely some critical plugins that we think are necessary:

YoYoer’s are very particular about their own unique preferences so we used the plugin “WooCommerce Advanced Ajax Layered Navigation” to categorize the yoyo’s by how much they weigh, the brand, and the style of play and skill level they are used for.

Since we have so many products I wanted to have something to calculate my net profit per order; we have an extra field in the product entry section called “wholesale cost”. This wholesale cost is subtracted from the sales price to display the net profit per order. Eventually I’d like to develop this out further so that it could be exported to quickbooks.

Net Profit Calculator

Another plugin that is essential to managing a large volume of orders and products is the “SmartManager Pro” plugin.

Our customers are also really particular on getting tracking numbers right away for their orders so the “Shipping Details” plugin was a critical aspect for us.

Our secret sauce for SEO is the Yoast Plugin, which integrated really well for SEO with the WooCommerce product pages. It allowed us to specifically target keywords we knew were valuable organically and have seen a good increase in traffic from our organic keyword placements.

A few things and tips we’ve noticed about WooCommerce:
“Pending” orders that don’t switch over from “Pending” to “”Processing” until payment is received so we treat them like abandoned cart reports, we email the customer and say something like hey we noticed you were interested in such and such product and it really does help close the deal.

Google Analytics Conversion tracking isn’t always 100% accurate with Paypal/Google Checkout. With Google the conversion tracking is installed on the order receipt page, which is presented before redirection to the payment gateway page. Google will then count it as a conversion even though the customer hasn’t paid yet.

Do you have any feature requests / possible improvements?

Getting the layout of the Product Page is a little bit of a study but for the SMPL theme its in themes/SMPL/includes/theme-woocommerce.php – it isn’t a standard layout page, it actually uses hooks to determine layout. We hope one day that the layout will be more like a template instead of using hooks, but over-all we are pretty satisfied.

The YoYo Product Page.

How has WooCommerce changed how you do business?

WooCommerce has really changed the way we do business because it allows us to be both a news platform and a store in one single place.

Products, industry news and contests drive our market, so to have a powerful publishing platform and a store in one allows us to focus on the fun part of business. Content is always king when it comes to working in a niche market and WordPress with WooThemes and WooCommerce it allows us to focus on our industry and loving what we do, we really can’t get enough of it!

Would you like to be featured on our blog? Share your experiences working with WordPress and our themes and if we believe it will benefit our community we’ll publish it. Contact us.

13 Responses

  1. Chris
    June 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    Great write-up this really spurs me on to build my own shop (Even though I don’t have anything to sell) I just want to play with the software.

    The Wholesale cost plugin sounds interesting too, turning WooCommerce a full eCom suite.

    Again great writeup more success stories are needed 🙂

    • Ryan Ray
      June 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

      We’re always on the lookout for great modifications that have led to great success. 🙂 We plan to bring you more stories like this one!

  2. Johnny
    June 19, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Really good to read “real” case studies. In the middle of using Woocommerce so good to read about others using the system. Johnny

    • Ryan Ray
      June 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

      Looking really nice thus far Johnny!

  3. Jon
    June 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Was an interesting read, though I checked it out on my android phone. In both the stock ICS browser and in the chrome browser and it looks like this:

    • pj1s
      June 20, 2012 at 8:53 am #

      Same on the iPhone.

  4. CM
    June 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    This is a really well done write up – it includes specifics and examples as well as recommendations for critical plug ins. It’s technical for those who are currently working on a site and not just empty hype about the system because it includes specifics and comparisons from other competing products. He describes how he uses the tools and features for others to consider when building their site and find that helpful as well.

    • Ryan Ray
      June 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

      Glad you approved of the case study, we’ll definitely be looking to do more of these!

  5. JD (Johnnie DelValle)
    June 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    Thanks for the comments guys! I loved doing the Case Study with Woothemes! Hope you all get something out of it :).

  6. Matt
    June 19, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Great story.

    I agree with him regarding the product page templating. There are way too many bits, pieces and hooks that go into Woocommerce templates. I would love to see something similar to Shopify’s way of templating. Simple, powerful and doesn’t rely on an insane amount of individual components.

  7. Garett
    June 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    Excellent case study! The most inspiring Woocommerce installation I’ve ever seen. This really ups perception of capability.

    PLEASE do more of these!

  8. Michael
    June 23, 2012 at 2:55 am #

    This was a great article!

    Interesting take from a first hand user, WOO I would love to see more entries like this.

  9. chris
    July 21, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    soooo where can i download the Net Profits plugin.. i reeeally need this