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WooCommerce - excelling eCommerce
Disappointing Usability (10 posts)

3 stars
  1. blacksuitmedia
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    This plugin might be ok for small sites, but it isn't for much else. They promote it like it is a fully dynamic solution, but it isn't. The only way to get it close to that is to purchase either their $99 CSV-Import-Suite or their competitors Super Manager plugin for $97, either way, it's still not fully dynamic.

    Huge oversights are:
    No ability to dynamically set upcharges on attributes for variations.
    No ability to dynamically set attributes for specific product types
    No ability to mass-import variations (without $$$)
    No ability to bulk-edit product types (to bulk change to 'product_varation'
    Source is not very customizable either

    I've coded ecommerce sites from scratch that handle these kind of dynamics. I had hoped to save time by using this plugin and wordpress... boy was I wrong.

    If you have hundreds of products with hundreds of variations, you'll spend weeks if not months manually entering every price for every variation of every product, every sku for every variation, everything, manually. I can't even express how much time I wasted with this plugin. It's as if the developers have never actually maintained a large ecommerce store before.

    that, or they are questionably pushing their overly expensive $99 extension. But that is just a band-aid, it's not fully dynamic anyway, and if you needed to change a upcharge for a variation across the board, you'd have to do another CSV import.

    They should either drastically lower their CSV import suite cost, or add some decent dynamic functionality. Either way, they don't have my approval.

    Worthless plugin unless you have a small store.

  2. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Please note that this forum is not for reviewing commercial products. Only the free plugins downloaded from http://wordpress.org/plugins/. Please contact the plugin's vendor directly with any comments, or questions, about commercial products.

  3. blacksuitmedia
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Not sure what you mean, I never reviewed the Commercial products, only mentioned that they are available, expensive, and still would not overcome the dynamics issues. IMHO, that is relevant information for anyone about to spend a lot of time with this plugin.

    Secondly, to anyone looking for a better solution, I just got Ready! ecommerce, and it looks like there are a # of ways to apply dynamic pricing and attribute options across the board with it. And on a wonderful note, all of my Products from WooCommerce were automatically accessible in Ready!, probably because they used the same "product" post type in the WP DB.

  4. Mike Jolley
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 1 year ago #

    If you have hundreds of products with hundreds of variations, you'll spend weeks if not months manually entering every price for every variation of every product, every sku for every variation, everything, manually.

    This really depends on what kind of product you are trying to setup. There were two real ways of coding variations, each has advantages and disadvantages.

    1) Sum of all parts (attributes) = a variation SKU. This SKU has stock control, price etc
    2) Attributes + or - a price onto a base SKU

    The second (which sounds like what you were wanting to do) doen't work well when you are trying to stock control multiple SKUs, e.g. if you have blue and red t-shirts with the same price but different stock.

    Also, its not true that you need to set up variations for each and every combo. If you didn't need a separate SKU per combination of attributes you can actually create only 1 variation and leave the attributes for that variation set to 'any'. 'Any' attribute selection would match after doing so.

    If you do need + and - to a base price, there are product add-ons (yes thats an extension) which can help you do this. All bases should be covered. This is all explained in the documentation.

    Just a note before I sign-off, most of your huge oversights can be aided with an importer, as ours does allow merging if you have a huge catalog. There are actually free third party importers out there for those who don't want to buy extensions and are a google search away.

  5. blacksuitmedia
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Both of those options would not work for an application such as mine. What boggles my mind, is how standard my application really is in the ecommerce industry.

    I have our products set up on meijer.com, kmart.com, sears.com, amazon.com, wayfair.com, overstock.com, hayneedle.com and many mom&pop ecommerce sites, as well as a few I have coded myself. All of these sites host all 15,000+ items/variations based of spreadsheets that I have designed to be a university template. There is a standard in the industry for this sort of thing. MAP & MSRP pricing, SKU, UPC, Customs Codes, the whole 9 yards, all very standard.

    Also, normally in ecommerce, they aren't called variations, but parent/child relationships.

    Anyways, using the very product data spreadsheet that I've used for all of these companies and websites, it isn't usable with your plugin. Let me explain a normal load: spreadsheet has well over 15,000 products, for instance our tire covers have 1 parent sku and 34 children skus (17 sizes in at least 2 colors). For all of these websites I mentioned, including my own, you just designate what is parent, what is child, map the columns to the destination table and import CSV. Done.

    It is my understanding that perhaps your CSV import suite *might* be able to accomplish this, but who would honestly feel that $100 is worth it, especially with out trying it first? Not to mention, you have to actually set up all these extra attribute columns... making it very confusing. It would be simpler to set up a "template products", with all relevant variations. Then download a .CSV template based on the sum of all template product variations. That way Woo can determine the extra attribute columns, not the user. Why would I pay $100 for a system that can't determine custom attribute columns on it's own? Or at least have a admin page that allows you to map the columns....

    Secondly, what I outlined up there isn't even the best approach, it's just the most universal across ecomm sites. What I do in my own websites is record the upcharge amount for each option. So then you only have to upload a spreadsheet with the parent sku's, which is significantly less, then assign the options and the shopping cart calculates the totals based on base price + upcharge.

    Stock, if it needs to be managed, is simple enough. Attach a qty to parent or child options and delegate which is more important.

    My only options with this plugin were:
    a) manually "link all" variations on the thousands of parent skus, then manually enter all children skus into the variations, then manually enter all children sku pricing into the variations. months of work.
    b) pay $100 for a CSV-plugin that I haven't seen perform so no guaruntee that it works.
    c)pay for some other plugin that claims to allow for upcharges, again, expensive and no reference on it's performance.

    As for the third party plugins, I have tried countless. None of them allow for variation imports. A few claim they have been working on that for months, but no such luck.

    Forgive my tone, but I'm amazed at how little this plugin understands how large ecommerce sites work. I spent over two weeks trying to get this plugin to do things properly, and I'm just so frustrated. I didn't want to spend a lot of time coding myself or copying my old source, but that's my best option now.

    You also mention all of these oversights are covered in the documentation: I have been all through it in the last two weeks. Some of it is marginally brushed upon, and if it is, it's pushing the majorly expensive plugins.

    Here's my thoughts: why not include the CSV Import suite, and other ecommerce standards like MAP pricing, custom forms and authorize.net API-integration, and offer them at a reasonable price. I could convince my boss to let me spend $30 on a whim for scripting that may or may not work, but $100?? I've purchased plugins in my day but 100 is steep.

    Also, you have some form of validation that keeps people from messing with your data, and that frustrates advanced users. But hey, it works real well. I dissected your code and found where all the information is stored, and how, for product variations across numerous records and tables. Mostly the WP_posts and WP_posts_meta tables. Based on this information, I tried altering my tables myself to mass-import my data in the backend via phpmyadmin. I apparently missed a few spots, because after woo validated it would reset all my entries. Validation is necessary but the level that is present didn't make the platform feel very "open".

    My feeling on this plugin is that it is meant for small stores out-of-the-box. Additional extensions may be available that may pick up the slack, but they are expensive and I personally feel they should be available out-of-the-box, because this stuff is so standard.

    Anyways, I didn't expect a response from one of the devs, so I remorsefully apologize for my tone. Please understand I spent a couple weeks trying to make it work, even trying third party plugins, only to decide that my only real option is to stick with my own source. I grew very frustrated and very remorseful that I ever took the suggestion for Woo, and I hope I might warn others that think could do these things with it too.

  6. Mike Jolley
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 1 year ago #

    It is my understanding that perhaps your CSV import suite *might* be able to accomplish this, but who would honestly feel that $100 is worth it, especially with out trying it first?

    Thats why Woo have a 30 day money back guarantee ;)

    Maybe you can provide some examples/screens of your ideal variation setup - I'd love to take it on board for future versions if its an improvement over anything we have.

  7. blacksuitmedia
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    After Memorial day when I return to my office I will see what my boss is OK with me putting out there, I may have to blur out some columns of data in our spreadsheets, blur out our dealer names,etc. , but what I will do is make a couple infographs of the common setups we see in our work. We've been listing this specific company's products on those websites mentioned above for about 4 years now. Every dealer requires something different, so we have a Universal spreadsheet set up as a product spreadsheet template, pretty standard. You copy all of the info from the template into the clients CSV import template. 1 item per line.

    There are two ways to do "variations" of this sort. We are a vendor for Amazon Fulfillment Centers for instance, and they are one that do the parent/child relationship. List all parent sku's and all child sku's and have a column that defines if that item is "parent" or "child", usually the item says "parent" it is set as the primary display for the item, or it will have the parent sku in that field, which means that item is a child of said parent.

    The other method is much better, but less common. With it, you turn a 15,000 sku sheet into maybe 700 skus. The 2nd method you only list the parent sku's, and have another sheet for options, with ID#, sku modifier & position, price diff., name, and any other columns you might want. In the 700 sku product sheet you just assign option-set ID#'s to each item, and the PHP code within the site calculates the rest. I.E. SKU TICWTDetRedWings has base price = $20 and option-set 1 applied to it... loop through option-set 1 to fill option drop down list; with value for option SKU and value for $$-difference. User selects option Index#2. Base price ($20) plus option diff ($+10) = new total ($30). Within your plugin, you could simplify this even further by in the "Product Category" page if there was an "assign attribute-set & link variations to all products in this category" option. If price-diffs were defined for each attribute, boom. 10,000 items in this category? Boom they all have variations and price adjustment. That is what I do with our proprietary websites when I code them.

    Also, I must commend your professionalism. I originally came here quite hostile (sorry) because of my frustration and didn't expect to speak to a dev. Again I apologize for that, and I admire your ability at keeping cool. I realize my 1-star review was done in anger, and I'm going to attempt to change it to be a bit more fair.

  8. @blacksuitmedia Take a few minutes and read Chris Lema's blog post about plugin prices: http://chrislema.com/wordpress-plugin-prices/ - $100 really isn't steep at all for plugin (assuming it works) that is going to save countless hours of time. And there's no need to worry whether it works because of the 30-day back guarantee :D

    (BTW, I'm not affiliated with Woo or Mike in any way, just a spectator).

  9. chriscct7
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Couple thoughts:

    "Variations" is the term used in WordPress. That's not limited to WooCommerce. All (major) eCommerce plugins in WordPress use that terminology.

    One thing you need to keep in mind here is that this is a WordPress plugin. You mentioned coding these ecommerce solutions by hand. Keep in mind, when you made those, you had the flexibility to add whatever you wanted, regardless of whether or not anyone else using your project needed it or not. In other words, what you made was custom made for your specific needs.

    Given between the 4 WordPress plugins I work with on a regular basis, WPec, Woo, Jigo and EDD, there's over 3 million users, I think you're only the third or fourth user with a use case this large, as far as I can recall (about the last year or so) (excl stats from from WPec).

    That is, you're a pretty far outlier. It's not that Woo can't code features that cater to large scale users like yourself, but in the grand scheme choose (as most do) to cater to the vast majority.

    Besides Chris Lema's post (which Pippin beat me to linking on), if you google "woocommerce csv importer", the first link is a free open source importer. If I'm not mistaken, that one does do variation imports (if not, it is open source; you could always spend a couple hours, add the support and contribute back)

    It also seems you might be new to WordPress. Products, whether in Woo or elsewhere, are posts, and as such are always stored between the posts and post_meta tables. If you're importing right in, that's not Woo doing any validation. Frankly those are the core's tables, and it just sounds like maybe you aren't inserting the right kind of data.

    As for their pricing, well, actually Pippin's article is the best at explaining why everthing isn't free:
    http://pippinsplugins.com/why-extensions/

    (Not affiliated with Woo either.)

  10. twoelevenjay
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I have used WooCommerce Product CSV Import Suite MANY times. It has definitely had it's fair share of problems each time.

    In the end with all of the extra time taken because it did not work perfectly I have still saved an uncountable amount of time using it.

    Referring to the documentation and taking the suggestion of creating one product the way my site requires and then exporting a CSV as an example has minimized the amount of issues.

    If you ask me this extension is the most worth $100 out of any out there. Time = $$$

    (I am also not affiliated with Woo. I might wish I was though lol)

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