WooCommerce Weekly Review #2: Beta Tests, Customer Support and Usability

Developers and hop operators should always stay abreast of the changes in each new WooCommerce version – no mean feat. At least the relevant test process can always be optimized. Besides: A shop’s success and failure is directly related to its usability. Find out more about these and other topics in our Weekly Review.

Beta Tester Plugin for WooCommerce

Anyone, who frequently does WooCommerce beta testing to avoid nasty surprises when updating to a newer version will know the administrative effort involved. Downloading the zip file from GitHub, manual uploading, the directory with a different name that has to be shortened to “woocommerce” before uploading … all these little things make beta testing a headache for developers and shop operators.

Mike Jolley – developer at WooThemes/Automattic – introduces the new Beta Tester plugin for WooCommerce in a blog post. He interrupts the standard backup process at WordPress.org and uses the WooCommerce GitHub Repository instead.

Our support and frontend specialist Caspar Hübinger (@glueckpress), by the way, was involved in the development of this little – but very clever – tool:

Order number Integration in the contact form

Lots of shop operators utilize the popular WordPress plugin Contact Form 7 for the structured submission of customer support requests. The assignment of the requests to the relevant order, however, can quickly get messy. Even more so if your best customers don’t offer details about the exact order the request or complaint refers to.

The new (free) plugin Contact Form 7 WooCommerce Order brings light to the darkness. Logged in customers can select the order about which they have a question. That order number will then forwarded to you (i.e. the shop admin) in conjunction with all other field content from Contact Form 7.

Read this blog post by wpboxr for more information.

 The field is easily integrated in a contact form. Screenshot © http://wpboxr.com.
The field is easily integrated in a contact form. Screenshot © wpboxr.com.

Offering Online Courses with WooCommerce

It is becoming increasingly popular to sell subscription-based services, content and tutorials. WooThemes have done their part in support of this type of business model with the introduction of solutions like WooCommerce Memberships.

HDPiano.com is a subscription-based service for online courses that will help you to learn to play piano on your own. The portal was created on WordPress and WooCommerce basis, and includes sophisticated functions like trial memberships for new visitors, bonus material and more.

The online music course at HDPiano.com
The online music course at HDPiano.com

Find out more about the technical background, the business concept and the challenges the business model faced in this post on prospress.com.

Online Shops and Usability

Shopbetreiber Blog and etailment are presenting a study here and here that analyzes online shops from the fashion sector. The initial question was: How well positioned are they nationally? The following factors were looked at specifically:

  • To what extent are these shops mobil-optimized?
  • How about the utilization of cross selling and upselling potential?
  • Has the provider fully integrated “online” in his multi-channel strategy?
  • How good is the online customer service?

The pretty unsurprising findings: There is a lot yet to be done in all of the above areas.

Whether or not the end customer really buys while “on the go” or sits at home on the couch with a tablet – it is definitely negligent to do without a mobile shop version today.

rightfully concludes Olaf Gross of Shopbetreiber Blog. There is, however, one factor above all the metrics mentioned in the study, which strangely is often forgotten about: The actual usability of an online shop. (Mobile optimization is of course a big step in the right direction.)

Anyone, who likes to shop online and does so often will know all about that. The online shops of market leaders and smaller traders alike are choc-a-bloc full of nonsensical operating elements, mysterious click paths and incorrectly functioning navigation elements. Or there is a distinctive lack – even when it comes to renowned big names – of easily accessible information like actual delivery time (what exactly does “available” mean in terms of working days?) or shipping costs. These points are definitely part of a user-friendly shop design.

Study results allow shop operators to have a critical look at their own offering with regards to these issues. Even more important is to take note of your own everyday surfing behavior.

What else went on …

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Editor at MarketPress. Passionate blogger, corporate blog expert and book author (e.g. "Blog Boosting"). Co-organizer of WP Camp Berlin.

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