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Customer Story: Arc’teryx Alpine Academy

Written by Marina Pape on March 10, 2015 Blog, Customer Stories.

DigitalMind are a Swiss development agency that believe in building websites simple enough for their clients – ranging from small online shops to large corporations – to manage themselves. Last year, they used WooCommerce to whip up an online store for the Arc’teryx Academy‘s annual alpine camp in just one week, and here’s how they did it.

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We’ve been using WooThemes for our own media website for a while now and have just recently expanded into the web development market, since several clients where requesting websites, online-shops and digital marketing campaigns.

We gathered some experience during the last two years with Magento and WooCommerce systems. When it comes to user experience – especially if the client wants the flexibility to change and maintain the shop on his own and dive into a great user experience, there is no better solution (in our opinion at least) than WooCommerce. Basically my mom could use WooCommerce and if my mom can use it, everybody can.

Arc’teryx Alpine Academy Course Registration

We were asked by our client Arc’teryx to develop an online shopping solution for their customer registration process of the Arc’teryx Alpine Academy camp in Chamonix. The previous year’s registration website had a couple of problems – such as a server overload due to several simultaneous registrations, complicated handling of reimbursements for people not being able to attend courses and a confusing excel file for the person arranging the different camp teams.

The new shopping solution was required to handle all of these issues additionally offer a responsive design, be in three different languages, have low development costs and of course be finished in the nick of time. Just the usual client request.

WooCommerce + Peddlar Theme

To keep down development, design and set-up time we proposed a WooCommerce Shop with the Peddlar theme. A suitable fit for a sports company. The initial set-up was done in a matter of hours and a full website was up and running after a couple of days. With some slight CSS changes we had a fully responsive and well working shopping cart that looked according to the clients wishes. With the WooSlider the website was also touch enabled.

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WooCommerce and the issues with WPML WooCommerce Multilingual

The client wanted specific information to the camp participants, such as what language they would want to be visiting the course in, what clothes and shoe size they where wearing and what friends they wanted to be in the course with. For this we initially used the Custom Checkout Fields plugin to add custom fields in the check out process, but had to switch to inputting the fields manually. The plugin didn’t synchronize well with the WPML WooCommerce multilingual tool.

We had the WooCommerce multilingual tool installed for the entire language management. Basically it worked just fine but of course we found some issues when digging as deep as we did. For one, the custom emails sent out to users in other languages weren’t hooked right by WPML-Team and we had to change the code in order that French-speaking people would actually receive French purchase notes. (According to WPML this problem should be fixed with the new WPML version.

If you have the same problem here is my WMPL ticket on the issue).

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WPML and Reports

Additionally we realized that orders, which are not placed in the default language aren’t added to the WooCommerce reporting. So if you let out a reporting you will only find out how much you’ve sold in your default language.

The largest issue we had (and only realized late in the process) was, that people who didn’t book a course but had a product in their check-out basket (marked as “processing”) blocked those products. Since WooCommerce doesn’t automatically readjust the stock if you delete one of those “processing” products, we manually had to go though every language and delete the “processing”-orders and re-manage the stock.

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Happy Client

Even though we faced some difficulties, if you pick the WooCommerce-brain long enough and know your way around the WPML maze, you’ll have a multilingual shop set-up in no time. The client was fully happy with the fast set-up and the new found flexibility of handling the entire shop on their own, without the need of any programming skills.

We processed around 300 orders in 2 hours and most of the courses were booked-out within a day. The server/php-gampeplay had no issues and everything worked just smoothly. The client has now full control over the shop and the site and is managing the content on his own.

We love it when a plan does together. Especially when it takes place successfully from A to B in a week! Kudos to DigitalMind, who – when they’re not busy doing wonderful things with WordPress and WooCommerce – enjoy folksy music, milkshakes and chocolate. Good people.

Registrations for this years camp open 17 March, up for an Alpine Adventure?