Remove Contact First and Last Name in Cart

We get a lot of requests on how to remove the first and last name from the contact information when a user is checkout out for the first time. To do this we need to complete two steps: 1. Hide the two rows of first and last name in the layout file. 2. Remove the check for these values in the javascript file.

remove_contact_box

 

1. Hide the first and last name rows: I like to add the code ‘style=”display:none”‘ for each row. This is to make sure we do not mess with the core functionality, but complete what we want on the display side. The file we are editing is her: wp-content/plugins/wp-easycart-data/design/layout/{my layout}/ec_cart_contact_information.php

hide_contact

 

2. Remove the javascript that requires the first and last name in the contact information section. This file is available here: wp-content/plugins/wp-easycart-data/design/theme/{my theme}/ec_cart_page/ec_cart_page.js.

hide_contact_js

 

Now your users can checkout without providing another first and last name for their account information.

2014 Outlook for WordPress Websites

Well 2013 has come and gone and 2014 is rolling along quickly.  Many WordPress users are looking forward to the new year as we continue to pull a country out of a recession, put new innovations on the shelves, and pushing their online content to the masses.

We are here to tell you the future looks good, and we are optimistic with the path we are taking with our technology on the long term outlook.  WordPress has always been a major blogging platform, but has recently taken hold as a great website development tool.  Easy themes, easy plugins, lots of features, but more importantly an easy to use platform all together has developed it into much more than a simple blog tool.

cms-chart

Compared to joomla and drupal, the leading competitors, it looks like WordPress is pulling favorably ahead in popularity and usefulness.  Good news for many of us who have used WordPress as our platform of choice, and for our piece of mind as we all continually look for the best CMS software we can.

WP EasyCart looks to leverage this base as well.  We are seeing increased trends in theme development and plugin development for WordPress, all supporting the increase in this popular platform.

2014 Predictions:

I will go out on a limb and throw out a few predictions for 2014.

1.  WordPress will continue to develop quickly, and gain more market share compared to it’s counterpart CMS systems.

2. Theme spaces such as Theme Forest will grow in size as designers begin to leverage the growth of user base in WordPress and the theme architecture it provides.

3. More users will begin to capitalize on their websites and leverage plugins such as EasyCart to add e-commerce to their simple websites and blogs.

4. Social Media has plateaued, Facebook, Twitter, and other programs may become less relevant as people bring on entire websites that present themselves, their businesses, and their image.

social-chart

5.  Apps, plugins, and mobile game development will increase as tablets, TV’s, and other devices stream internet content and developers see the gains in market share and profit in these areas of development.  (think more people playing candy crush than Facebooking)

6.  I also feel online security will continue to increase, retailers and site owners will have more regulations and strict security standards that we must adhere to to ensure we have safe online e-commerce.  In WordPress, limit those unknown small 3rd party plugins and use SSL certificates to secure traffic.

Do you have a prediction for 2014?

 

 

How To Securely Process a Credit Card in HTTPS

The only time you are required to secure your store through HTTPS encryption is when you plan to use a live payment gateway to process credit cards directly on your site. To do this, complete the following steps:

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  • Contact your hosting provider and ask for them to setup an SSL Certificate on your server for your website. This is typically around $100/year.
  • Download and install the “WordPress HTTPS (SSL) plugin, located here.
  • Edit your cart and account pages and check the “Secure Post” box.
  • Save the pages and you are done!

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https

Matching the Store Page Setting for a Kriesi Theme

If you haven’t already taken a look at the site www.kriesi.at, you should look now. This  site has some of our favorite themes out there and all use the “avia framework” to help you and your client build outstanding content using some really nice visual editing tools. The one problem we run into is that the WP EasyCart theme is that this theme is not setup to use custom post types and their visual editing tools. For example, if you set your store page to use a left sidebar, but your default sidebar on the right, then all your product and store items will appear using the default. For many of us, this is a pain, but no worries, there is a way around it!

  1. Have the WP EasyCart version 2.0.16 or greater.
  2. Go to your WordPress Admin -> EasyCart Admin -> Store Setup -> Advanced Options and turn the “Match Store Page Meta” to “On”.
  3. You now must find the array that holds the “boxes” setup values for the avia framework. In this array, add the value “ec_store” to the ‘page’ types that are allowed to use the avia options. The file in the Choices theme is located in choices/includes/admin/register-admin-metabox.php, right at the top of this file. Image below for your reference.
  4. Go to your store page, adjust the avia settings as needed, then update the page. If you do not need to make adjustments, still hit the update button to update all store posts.

avia-update-file

 

If you are using the enfold theme, this file according to the Kriesi site is located here: /enfold/config-templatebuilder/avia-template-builder/config/meta.php.

Once you have updated this file, saved, and uploaded back to the server, you should begin to see the store page match up to your products.

Second Method Using Custom Widget Sidebar

Some of you may find it easier to use a custom page sidebar. This allows you to have a custom sidebar only for the store pages. This setting is available in the theme settings (this was completed in the Chioces theme) in the sidebar section.

store_custom_sidebar

 

Once you have this created, go to your widgets section and add the appropriate widgets to this new custom sidebar.

store_widgets

 

Now that you have your widgets, you need to ensure this custom sidebar shows up for all store items. This requires some custom code. To do this, open your “sidebar.php” in your Krieisi Theme. Look for the place where it sets the following variable:

$custom_widget_area = avia_check_custom_widget( ‘page’ );

Below this line, add the following:

if( get_post_type( $post->ID ) == “ec_store” ){
$custom_widget_area = “store”;
}

You need to exchange the text ‘store’ for the name of your sidebar. This will be the name above labeled “Page: store”, e.g. Your site might be “Page: shop my store” and in this case, use the $custom_wwidget_area = “shop my store”.

WP EasyCart gets version 2 released!

With the new year, we are happy to release version 2 that has a huge list of improvements in both usability and in stability and features.  We have been listening hard to each and every customer and putting in new features that many of you have been asking for.

New Streamlined Look

In version 2, we replaced the entire administrative area with a new make-over that will help improve setup and usability as you manage your shopping cart.  Now you can view current orders right from WordPress with our new dashboard, or check the store status against a variety of checks to quickly diagnose a problem.

admin1

We have a new colorizer that is a one click stop to change the entire skin of your store.  Version 2 also includes better payment gateway setup and design file management.

New Admin Console Software

Version 2 also includes a complete redesign of the administrative console software to make it easier to add new options, products, and settings.  The WordPress admin plugin, desktop applications, iPad, and android software were all updated with a vastly better user interface to help you get products in quicker and manage orders smoother.

admin2

 

A Large List of New Features

With the latest version, we now have an advanced option system that allows you to have unlimited options to a product.  Not only that, but you can now add check box systems, radio groups, file uploads, text input, text area, combo boxes, image swatches, or price changing grids to a product.  This provides virtually unlimited ability to customize a product and have customers the ability to add attributes to a product.

Several New Templates

All of our current templates have been upgraded to the latest version and feature list, plus we went a step further and added some new themes.  One of our latest great themes is the ‘Replete’ theme by kriesi.at.  This new theme is available at theme forest, and our store can be purchased with a completely matching theme to integrate for a uniform look.

replete1

 

For a full list of our demos and themes, be sure to check out our demos section and view our feature list.

 

5 Helpful Tips for E-Commerce Startups

 

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We here at WP EasyCart have been in the business of online selling and e-commerce for many years.  And as a developer of a WordPress Shopping Cart system, we can tell you from experience we have seen it all.  We have seen start-ups struggle in the e-commerce world, and sometimes failing, because of unrealistic expectations, poor planning, or sometimes the lack of knowledge in what is available.  Often times a small tweak to what a business is doing can push them from struggle to success!

So we thought we would release some helpful e-commerce tips for those looking to make their mark in the world wide web of online selling.

Rule #1:  Sell something that people want

It seems like common sense.  It seems like something you have probably thought of already.  But many online business sell goods and services that just don’t have demand.  This is a hard question to answer, because deep down you know people want your goods, otherwise, you would not try to sell your goods online, right?  But take a deeper look at how large that pool of customers might be and see if the risk to reward is there.

Rule #2:  Customer or Consumer?

Do you know which is which?  Who is your website going to target?  Your customer might not always be the consumer, especially in the case of children.  We have seen many website owners build websites for children, when the actual customer will always be the adult purchasing the item.   Don’t confuse your consumers with the customers of your website.  If they are going to be the same, then you can design as such a shopping system that treats them as one.  If they are separate entities, be sure to cater to your online shoppers and customers in the shopping areas, while giving the consumers a good place to view and ‘Read-Up’ on your business.  Often the consumer is the one influencing the customer to buy the product, so both need space and both need to be impressed with information and flow.

Rule #3:  Keep it Simple

Yes, you have a wealth of knowledge to give on your store, website, blog, and social sites… but resist!  To much information is a turn-off for people visiting your site to look for goods and services.  If you must have a lot of information, technical or otherwise, make sure the site flows well to that information, rather than smothering your home page with 10 pages of information because it’s important.  Get a technical document repository somewhere in your site so IF people want to read it, they can.  A good rule of thumb is to write your home page as you would like it with all the text, graphics, bulleted lists, etc… Then cut it in half!

Rule #4: Market Competition

Be sure to analyze your market place competition.  If you sell goods in a neighborhood brick and mortar store and are looking to go online, be sure to compare the two market places.  You may have a complete monopoly on a local brick and mortar environment, but venture online, and you now compete against thousands of online shopping systems.  Will you stand out?  Will you have something unique to offer?  There certainly are ways to do this.  Will your loyal brick and mortar customers buy online?  will they continue to walk into your store?  So be realistic about your expectations when entering a larger arena like online commerce.  It is fair to say you can pick up some revenue streams, but it may not be fair to say you will dominate like a brick and mortar might.  Be objective and be clear what your goals are before you begin.

Rule #5: Analyze

The beauty of online shopping systems is you can analyze your traffic patterns much better than any other avenue of selling.  Be sure to tap into the Analytics market and study where traffic is going on your new start-up site.  Make sure you let traffic analysis run for several weeks before making decisions, then change one aspect and analyze again.  It is a long and repetitive process, but making small adjustments and looking for results is the only way to accurately tune your website or online e-commerce system.

In conclusion, be realistic, use good judgment, keep things simple, and analyze results periodically as you go forward in your new venture as a start-up.  Remember, nobody is an expert at everything, so don’t let someone sell you that they are!  We here at WP EasyCart try to follow our own rules as well, always rewriting, simplifying, analyzing, and adjusting to make the experience easier for customers and consumers.

Picking a Payment Gateway

Here at WP EasyCart we deal with payment gateway companies on a daily basis and understand all the pros and cons to each. We consider payment collection as a 3 step decision:

  1. Sales Volume – Will you be selling enough to make the lower transaction fee pay?
  2. Location – Where is your business located? Not all payment gateways server all areas of the world.
  3. Pricing – Do you know all of the added costs for live payment gateways?

Sales Volume

The first thing to think about is sales volume and average transaction amounts. most live payment gateways charge you a setup fee, a monthly fee, a transaction fee, a batch fee, and an additional fee to process cards like discover and american express. We know that most business want to make payment as easy as possible and is why most look towards live payment processing, but if you are not making enough money in a month or per transaction then you will be losing money over a third party option like PayPal Standard! We have seen many companies pay the fees for months on end while they are getting started and all the while they could have just gone with a simple solution like PayPal.

Location

This is a really important factor to think about before starting your e-commerce site. Do your research and ask around before locking yourself into a payment company. The WP EasyCart is setup to have an option for all countries and more information can be found by clicking here.

Pricing

The other important factor, as all business owners know, is the bottom line. It seems simple, but many do not think about how a payment company can effect the business’s bottom line. Issues like setting up an SSL certificate and the yearly cost to keep this current on your site, charge backs and the risk your business takes selling from your own site, and unexplained transaction fees and the reason they are incurred. The following are a few things to keep in mind with pricing:

  • PayPal Standard is a flat rate with no fees and a very low chance of charge backs.
  • Live payment gateways require an SSL certificate which is about $100/year.
  • Additional fees typically apply for Discover and American Express when using a live payment gateway.
  • The more security you implement in your live payment gateway account, the lower the fees.
  • Using a gateway with 3D secure implemented will lower your fees and prevent charge backs.

What is a Charge Back

Many people who have not dealt with a credit card company do not realize that charge backs exist. A charge back is when the merchant is required to return the amount of money made on a transaction that is found to be fraudulent and to protect the credit card owner. In addition to returning the total of the order, the company typically charges a flat rate on top to pay for their “costs”. Also, do not forget, as a business you also lose the product!! This is one of the worst things that can happen as an online store owner and is important to avoid. To do this, try the following tips:

  • Require the AVS/CVV2 value to match in your merchant account.
  • Require the zip/postal code to match from the customer’s billing account (this is also set in your merchant account).
  • If available, require 3D secure checkout on your site.
  • If an order seems out of place or fishy, contact the customer and have them verify their info. If something still doesn’t seem right, simply refund the order and contact the customer. It is always better to be safe than lose the sale and product later and be charged for it.

Shipping Your Product

Getting your shipping pricing just right can be a tricky task. As your business grows and expands where you are shipping your products, so does the complexity of calculating a shipping cost. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when developing a shipping system that will work best for you.

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  • No shipping system is perfect all the time
  • The goal of a shipping rate is not to be exactly correct, but to be an overall net cost of zero over the course of a year
  • Leverage the zone system as needed and create new zones to improve your rate accuracy
  • Choose a rate system that works best for your product
  • Many see the best results from live based rates through UPS, USPS, FedEx, and Australian Post. Keep in mind this may not apply to every one.
  • If shipping rates tend to increase evenly based on weight, choose weight based shipping.
  • If shipping rates tend to increase evenly based on price, choose price based shipping.
  • If a product tends to cost more to ship than all other products, use the additional handling charge option to adjust the shipping rate accordingly.

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How To Find My Layout/Theme

The selected WP EasyCart theme pack and layout pack are available in your WordPress Admin on the EasyCart Admin -> Store Setup -> Design File Management.

choose_theme

Altering Products Per Page

changing the products per page for your WP EasyCart is really quick and easy. Go to your WordPress Admin -> EasyCart Admin -> Store Admin -> Settings -> Products Per Page. You should edit the values here. The default selected value is always the middle value for the EasyCart.

products_per_page