Online Store Case Study: Resin Workshops

Online Store Case Study: Resin Workshops

Creating a (very) profitable online store.

Di came to me a couple of years ago when she had an idea for a business – wine art parties. Obviously she came to me because she wanted a website to promote this idea.

Fast forward a couple of years and her original idea has changed slightly. She no longer does wine art parties, she teaches people to make epoxy resin creations (see photos for an idea of what this means).

The workshops she runs have been a runaway success, so much so that she’s been able to walk away from her job and work for herself from home. It’s a dream many of us have – to work for yourself, doing something you love. Unfortunately, very few of us achieve it.

Di came back to me recently because her business was encountering growing pains. In addition to running her very popular and successful workshops, Di sell epoxy resin and colours so that people who have been to her workshops can purchase them and make their own resin creations at home.

Problem is that Di was getting frustrated with the time it took to manually take and process orders. She was feeling a bit snowed under. She wanted to put the products she was selling online and use an online shop to streamline her operations.

Since we had built her site in WordPress, this was relatively easy to do. The obvious choice for ecommerce platform was woocommerce. It’s what I always use when creating an online store.

The main reason I use it is because it is so well supported and has hundreds of additional plugins (some free and some paid) to extend its’ utility.

Di had a Paypal account, so we chose to use the paypal payment gateway. This worked really well for Di. Before she knew it, people were ordering her products and the money was in her paypal account.

I added an Australia post plugin that automatically calculated the shipping associated with the order. All Di had to do now was print out the shipping labels and take the products to the post office for shipping.

Next thing to be done was streamline the booking of Di’s workshops. She called me frustrated one day saying this had to happen as soon as possible, because she had spent 3 hours the day before manually managing booking.

The way Di runs her business presented some challenges, since the workshops have a variable price, depending on which creation the customer wanted to create at the workshops. However, despite the challenges, we managed to create a workable solution and once again Di’s business reaped the benefits of her being able to have customers automatically book and pay for workshops online. No more three hours taking bookings manually.

In Di’s own words “How good is this hey, I just sit here and everyone else does the work, I just add it into my diary and my job is done”. So if you want to be like Di and take hours of admin work out of your day, it’s time to implement a system like Di’s

Retail in Australia is struggling, and one of the reasons it is struggling is the rise of the online store. Di’s business has reaped the benefit of automating her processes and opening her online shop. I think all businesses with an eye to the future should do likewise.

WordPress for Ecommerce

WordPress for Ecommerce

Time and time again people say to me, “Isn’t WordPress just for blogging”. Time and time again I say to the people who say this, “No”.  It is in fact a powerful platform for web sites of of all kinds. One thing I want to focus on in this post is the use od WordPress for ecommerce.

WordPress has it’s origins as a blog platform, that is true. But now one in 6 websites worldwide use WordPress as their web platform, for all type of different websites, not just blogs. WordPress has evolved beyond being a blogging platform to something much more.

The naysayers (there are always naysayers) will say some reason why this shouldn’t be. The argument is usually along the lines of, “But it’s not meant for that”. These people are I guess what you would call purists. Nothing can evolve, everything is a snapshot in time. “This (product x) is a content management system, whereas WordPress is just a blogging platform. You can’t use WordPress as a content management system”.

What arguments like these ignore is that WordPress is indeed being used as a content management system. In fact more than any other platform. Why is that so? Is it because of the massive amounts of marketing put into the selling of WordPress? No. Actually WordPress is free.

So what other reason could there be? Why is WordPress a market leader? Well since there is no profit in the selling of it, there can only be one other reason. It is good at what it does.

So onto eCommerce. What about WordPress for eCommerce? Not a good idea? Well actually once again not true. There are several offerings for eCommerce available for WordPress, but in my opinion there is only one that is worth considering and that’s Woocommerce.

The basic package of Woocommerce is free. I love that. How did it happen that we manage to get so much for nothing these days? An entire website can be built with zero software cost as part of the budget.

Woocommerce does sell premium addons, but these are not really expensive. Also, you can create a fully functional shop without these addons. In addition to this, many other developers have written addons that have similar functionality to the premuim addons sold by Woocommerce that are free.

Of course the big question is, how well does it work? No one wants a site that’s full of bugs – a nightmare to run. Well the answer to that is very well. In the Woocommerce sites I have created, I have had no signficant problems.

A possible issue could be scaling. That is, how big a site can you make with Woocommerce? I must confess I am not sure of the top end, but a bit of research for this post found that there are sites out there using Woocommerce with 20,000 products in their product database. I think that is more than adequate for just about anybody who is reading this article. For really big eCommerce sites, you may want something more robust, but what we are talking about here is companies that have huge IT budgets.

To find out more about Woocommerce, you can check out their website – https://woocommerce.com/

Of course, if you need an eCommerce site created, I would be more than happy to hear from you.