21 Feb

Already have a Web site? Add WPCommerce as a ‘shop’ sub-domain

A question we get asked all the time at WPCommerce is “can I use WPCommerce if I already have a Web site?”. And the answer is yes and yes, because there are two ways to achieve this.

The "shop" sub-domain

The “shop” sub-domain

The first way is to move your Web site’s content to your new WPCommerce site which is a full WordPress instance with e-commerce pre-installed and supported. Doing it this way consolidates your Web content and e-commerce store under one management interface. No sub-domain required.

Many organisations, however, have existing investments in Web design and content systems (including WordPress-based sites) that they wish to retain for business process and strategy reasons and that is a GOOD thing.

In this blog we’ll show you how you can keep your existing Web site and content (regardless of where it is hosted) and add a WPCommerce e-commerce portal under the example “shop.” domain.

1. Get started with your temporary shop domain

When you subscribe to a WPCommerce online store, you will have a temporary domain name generated in the Linuxpeak (the parent company of WPCommerce) network.

The temporary domain name will take the form of:

http://wpXXXX.sites.linuxpeak.net

With the temporary domain you can begin using your WPCommerce online store immediately. Familiarise yourself with the interface and begin adding products to the shop. You can also change the theme and add content and images and when you’re ready to go live let us know which public domain name you would like to use.

2. Decide which domain the live shop will use

Once you are ready to go live, you will need to decide if your WPCommerce store is replacing your existing Web site, or becoming an adjunct to it.

The live domain will take the form of either:

www.YOURDOMAIN

shop.YOURDOMAIN

[Note: the sub-domain does not have to be “shop”, it can be something else of your choosing like “store” or “buy”]

We will then perform an update changing all links to your preferred domain. This involves changing links from the “wpXXXX” temporary domain to www.YOURDOMAIN or shop.YOURDOMAIN.

3. What you need to do: update your domain name’s DNS

The last, and most complex, piece of the project is updating your DNS (Domain Name System). DNS is what is used by computers to convert names (e.g. ‘wpcommerce.com.au’) to IP addresses (e.g. 192.168.0.1) so client devices (PCs, smartphones) can connect to where things are hosted.

At this point you will need to contact your domain name or DNS provider and ask them how to perform a change to www.YOURDOMAIN or shop.YOURDOMAIN.

Most people use their domain name registrar’s DNS service to point their domain name to their Web site. So it is crucial for you to know who has registered your domain and how to contact them to request a change. If you don’t keep an eye on your domain name then you risk letting it lapse and someone else can register it. Don’t laugh, that has happened to the largest of organisations!

4. We can take care of your basic DNS needs for free

Linuxpeak, the parent company of WPCommerce, offers both domain name registration and managed DNS hosting. If you register a domain name with us or transfer an existing one over, we will provide basic DNS hosting for free. This free service is included with every domain name.

With your DNS hosted by Linuxpeak we will make all the changes mentioned in this post for free as part of the service.

If your DNS is not hosted with us, now is a good time to switch!

09 Feb

Different size or shape? A guide to WooCommerce product attributes and variations

Many products are “standard” in the sense they are or only one type and are sold as-is. For example, a model car may be of a unique type. Many products, however, can have multiple attributes like size, shape and colour. For example, a t-shirt can be of one style yet be available in blue or red.

To support these types of product variations you could create a separate product in your store for every colour t-shirt you have available. This method is not recommended as you could easily have many hundreds of different products to manage in your store, all with minor variations. A more efficient way to handle different attributes for the same product is with variations.

WooCommerce supports both “simple” and “variable” product types where the latter uses “attributes” to allow customers to buy the desired variation of the product, without changing the product page.

In this blog we’ll take you through how to set product attributes and variations so you can give your customers more purchasing options.

1. Start with attributes

Before you can have a product with customer-chosen variations, you need to set attributes which are then used by the products.

Setting a product attribute

Setting a product attribute

Log into the administration area and select Products → Attributes. There you can create attributes, like colour.

  • Name: Give the attribute a name (e.g. Colours)
  • Slug: A unique reference for the attribute (e.g. colour)
  • Type: This is how the attributes will be selected by the customer. In most cases, leaving this as “Select” is fine as it will allow the attribute to be selected in a drop-down list.
  • Default sort order: You can leave this as “Custom order” which will allow you to drag and drop the “terms” in this attribute.

When you are done setting the properties of the attribute, simply click on the “Add attribute” button. The attribute will be created and listed on the right side of the page.

2. Time for attribute terms

Now let’s add the “terms” that this attribute will use. Terms are things like different colours. To add a new term to the attribute, click on the “Configure terms” button on the far right of the attribute box.

Setting attribute terms

Setting attribute terms

  • Name: The term name (e.g. Blue)
  • Slug: A URL-friendly version of the term (e.g. colourblue)
  • Parent: Does this term have a parent? Add a parent if the term comes under another term.
  • Description: A short description of this term. This description might not show up on the site, depending on the theme.

Once you are satisfied with the term click the “Add new [attribute name]” button and the term will be created.

3. Simple and variable products

When you add a product to your store, WooCommerce defaults it to a “Simple product”. Simple products can have attributes, but they don’t support variations. If you want customers to be able to select a different attribute for their chosen product, you need to add (or update) the product as a “Variable product” in the product data.

Set the type of product in Product Data

Set the type of product in Product Data

4. Set your product attributes

It’s time to link some attributes to the product so we can publish variations in the store.

When you create or edit a product you will see the “Product data” option. Select “Variable product” from the list and a new tab “Variations” will show underneath “Attributes”.

Set the product's attributes

Set the product’s attributes

Click on the “Attributes” tab and add one or more attributes (Size, Colour, etc) that you have created to the product. When you add an attribution you will be given options to add “Values” (the terms) to be part of the attribution. Check “Used for variations” to use the attribute for product variations. To add more than one attribute click the “Add” button and to remove an attribute select “Remove”. When you’re finished, click on “Save attributes.

5. Create a product variation on your terms

Now let’s apply those attribute terms we created earlier to create a variation on a product.

You will see a drop-down list with “Choose a field to bulk edit…”. These are not the attributes you just created. The attributes and terms you created are fed into “Variations”. Select the “Add variation” button to add a variation to this product.

Set a product variation

Set a product variation

You will then see a drop-down list of the different terms available for each attribute linked to the product. If there is only one attribute linked you will only see one drop-down box, if there are two you will see two drop-down lists and so on.

Set the product variations

Set the product variations

Select the term and add in a price for that variation. Note, you must set a price for the variation for it to appear as a purchase option for customers. There are other options here like stock status and physical properties like weight and dimensions. You can also set default options to appear for the product.

Once you have all the variations set, be sure to “Publish” or “Update” the product page for the change to take effect.

Then view the product in the store and you should see a drop-down list of the product attribute and its terms (e.g. Colour – Blue).

store_product_attribute_wpcommerce

Variations can be tricky to get your head around, but they are worth understanding as they can save a lot of product administration time in the long run. And, not to mention, they make your store look that little bit more fancy!

28 Jan

WooCommerce settings for Australia: Currency and banking

WooCommerce is a popular WordPress plugin for e-commerce. It takes an existing WordPress site and turns it into a full-on e-commerce portal in minutes.

However, like many WordPress plugins, they do not install with the correct settings for Australia. The defaults are usually set to what is required in the US or Europe (or wherever the plugin was developed).

The good news is updating your WooCommerce settings for Australia is a snap and in a few minutes you’ll be ready to sell to Australian customers.

Currency

First, login to your WordPress administration are and navigate to WooCommerceSettings in the left navigation pane. There you will see “Base location” and “Currency” settings. Update these to your location in Australia and Australian Dollars, respectively.

 

woocomm_local_settings1

Localise your WooCommerce settings for Australia

Bank details (direct deposit)

Many businesses allow customers to make an electronic funds transfer (EFT) payment, otherwise known as direct deposit, into a bank account before delivering the product or service.

WooCommerce supports direct deposits as a checkout option. Click the “Checkout” tab on the top of the settings page and then click on the “BACS” option. Make sure “Enable Bank Transfer” is enabled and enter your preferred title and description. The customer will see these messages when they make a payment so if you have anything specific you want to tell a customer you can enter it here.

 

woocomm_au_bank_deposit

WooCommerce bank deposit settings

Further down the page you will see “Account Details”. Enter in your bank account details:

  • Account name: The name of your account
  • Account number: Your bank account number
  • Bank name: The bank (in this case ANZ)
  • Sort code: The bank’s BSB number
  • IBAN: An international banking code not used in Australia
  • BIC / Swift: An international banking identifier for international transfers. E.g. ANZ’s is “ANZBAU3M”.

With that done you’re ready to start taking orders from Australian customers.

Further localisation and integration

Requesting a bank deposit after an online order is a batch process which can involve manually checking to see if a payment has cleared. We will continue this blog series with more ways to configure WooCommerce for Australian customers and business requirements.

– The WPCommerce admin team