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.
You can see how much yo-yoing has evolved by watching my last video release online:
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.
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.
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)
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:
- Woocommerce Google Checkout
- Woocommerce Google Product Feed
- WooCommerce Paypal Gateway
- Woocommerce Sequential Order Numbers
- SmartManager Pro
- Shipping Details (Tracking number on order status page)
- ShareThis (Worked the best for integrating social media on product pages)
- WooCommerce Advanced Ajax Layer Navigation
- Yoast WordPress SEO (Integrates perfectly with Product Pages)
- WooCommerce Net Profit Calculator (Our own custom plugin)
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.
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.
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!