TAM 069: WooCommerce with Jason Kadlec
WooCommerce is a strong contender for the top spot when looking for options to create a traditional online store. It is a WordPress plugin that can handle all requirements for an eCommerce site . In episode 69 I talk with Jason Kadlec from ActiveWoo, who shares his insights and experiences with WooCommerce and specifically how it integrates with ActiveCampaign.
This episode is a continuation of payments series which was started in Episode 63. The payments series is designed to help you nail down your requirements and pick the best online payment platform for you business. So if you are in the market for a new shopping cart, make sure you listen into to all of them before you make your choice.
What we chat about
- WooCommerce background
- Other product types where WooCommerce can be used
- Flexibility of WooCommerce carts especially with taxes and shipping
- Comparison with other shopping platforms
- What is ActiveWoo and the ActiveWoo extension
- Interfacing with ActiveCampaign
- What is a “customer value field”?
- How “refunds” are handled
- Starting with WooCommerce
- Must have extensions for the new WooCommerce
If you want to give ActiveCampaign a try, you can set up a free trial account here.
Links Mentioned In The Show
- The Active Marketer Academy
- Gravity Forms
Other Payment Series Episodes
- Episode 63 – How To Choose A Payment Platform
- Guide To Online Payment Processors
- Episode 64 – ActiveRelay
- Episode 65 – SamCart
- Episode 66 – Simple Payment Platforms
- Episode 67 – Listener Questions
- Episode 68 – Shopify With Kurt Elster
Barry: All right. I'd like to welcome to the show Jason Kadlec from ActiveWoo. Jason, welcome.
Jason: Thank you.
Barry: I've got a lot of questions from the listeners about ActiveWoo. I want to get you on to talk, first of all, about WooCommerce as a shopping cart solution and then secondly, about what ActiveWoo can do to help you integrate WooCommerce directly with ActiveCampaign. Maybe we just start off with the WooCommerce bit. I used it a while back, but I haven't touched it in a year so I'm not the expert at it and what it can do and can't do these days. Maybe for those listeners who aren't terribly familiar, you could give us a little bit of a background on WooCommerce?
Jason: Yeah, WooCommerce is the WordPress-based shopping cart. If you have a WordPress site, for me anyway, it always made the most sense if you're going to use a shopping cart to just use WooCommerce because the two are already inherently and natively integrated with one another. Very similar to WordPress, WooCommerce is now owned by Automatic, which is the company that owns WordPress, but similar to WordPress, it's an open platform meaning anybody who wants to can create and extend the functionality of WooCommerce. ActiveWoo is a perfect example of that where WooCommerce publishes how to interact with it and if you're a developer and you want to extend the functionality of WooCommerce, then you're free to do so, which is awesome because a lot of things that you might want a shopping cart to do such integrate with ActiveCampaign, somebody's probably built a plugin to do it or an extension to do it. In addition to WooCommerce having it's own library of extensions, there's also third party developers like myself who make both free and paid extensions to enhance the functionality of WooCommerce.
Barry: Back in the day when I was playing with it, it was mostly for the traditional kind of shopping cart where it's like you grab product A and you put it in your cart and you grab product B and product C and then, you go to the checkout. Obviously, it's probably still strong at that, but are there other places you could put it into use like if you're selling subscriptions or if you want to do one-off product sales with an upsell or downsell. Is WooCommerce good at that?
Jason: It is and I hesitate to say that because whenever I answer a lot of these questions, I have to answer it either from my perspective or from maybe a listener's perspective. Being a developer, I love it because their documentation's so easy to follow and it's clear. When anyone asks me can WooCommerce do this or that, my instant reaction's always yeah, of course it can.
Barry: Yeah, sure.
Jason: Is it easy to do that? It's easy for me to make it do that. Is it easy for everyone to do it? Subscriptions, certainly. There's a number of or at least two subscriptions plugins that I'm aware of and have worked with that I find to be really, really simple to set up and make recurring billing really, really simple and doing all kinds of the fancier recurring billing to just straight up, this is a monthly membership, you buy it and we'll charge you every month, ship something every month or have a digital style subscription where you get charged every month. Certainly, subscriptions is easy.
Actually, the activewoo.com site's an example of how you can create a one-page order form. My site skips the cart page because I'm only selling a single product from a single page so there's no sense in adding that to your basket and then, going from a basket page to the final checkout page. There are plugins that do that as well. It's just the little tricks of making WooCommerce do these different things so that you can, for example, just add the cart button somewhere and someone clicks that and you just go directly to a checkout page.
It's also possible to create with a plugin like a single product checkout page so you can have it set up so that you have the shop, your store, someone goes to view a product, and the checkout is right underneath that product details for example. Again, it is good at putting things in the basket, but in terms of what a lot of marketers want to do is to create these singular checkout pages where you might have the squeeze page with all the benefits of your product or your offer and then, a big buy button and someone clicks that buy button and it just goes directly to the checkout page. It is possible to do that with WooCommerce and it's a smart thing to do if you're creating a sales page like that.
Barry: Yeah, so most of the carts we've talked about in the payment series so far have been the SamCarts or Activerelay or ThriveCart where it's you're just selling a single subscription or information type product. If you wanted to put multiple things in the cart and check out altogether, you really don't have that functionality with those other platforms. It's nice that with Woo, you have the flexibility of doing that if you want, having multiple products in the cart, but if you don't, if you want to follow the more traditional internet marketing style product straight to the cart and go, you can do that.
Jason: Yeah, it sounds super obvious of how to do that out of the box. It does take maybe a couple searches on Google to figure out how to do it. Now, I can't even remember off top of my head if you have to add one little thing to [your theme's 05:32] functions file or if you have to instal a free plugin to do it. If you were to go to the site and you actually hover your mouse over the add to cart button, you just to the end of the URL, it's just you add the question mark and then, add to cart equals and then the ID of the product and that's the workaround. That's probably WooCommerce's greatest benefit or the thing I love most about it, but also what people might hate about it is that stuff is not so intuitive. It does take a few Googles to be like how do I just create a button and then skip the cart page that just goes straight to the cart.
So many times, that's just a simple thing. I just have this one product and I just want to sell this one thing, but really quickly people often start to get more complicated without realising it. I want to offer this product, but I want to offer it as a one-time payment or as a multi pay with the subscription or I want to add this product, but I want to create a bundling page where I can create the small, medium and large offer that contain different things and sometimes, those things are digital and physical and when you do those things, again, the flexibility, that's what I like about WooCommerce is I find it is easy to create a product bundle. Then you're still adding that cart product bundle so that the same workaround is what you use where you create a bundled product and then, you just add that bundle to the cart and then, that makes it easy if you do have to integrate digital and physical goods together.
Barry: Yeah, where those other platforms fall down like SamCart or whatever is when it comes to those physical type products. They seem mostly geared toward online digital or nonphysical type products, but if you have to physically ship something out to somebody, they really seem to fall down in that regard. I think that's where WooCommerce started its life was the traditional shopping cart where you're delivering physical goods. I know, too, there's tonnes of plugins around shipping and taxes and all that kind of stuff. Is that right?
Jason: Yeah. It's very deep how much you can configure those things and you need to run all the different tax rates. I've set up WooCommerce carts where we're selling in the United States and in Canada, that clients used ShipStation as the middleware between us and Amazon Fulfillments so Fulfilled by Amazon, which was the way to go. We were shipping palettes of the product through the border into Canada and then selling in Canada so that our shipping and handling didn't have to be more than the cost of the product itself, right.
If we were going to try to ship that from the United States into Canada, if you're doing significant enough volume, it does make more sense to just have somebody like Amazon do the fulfilment for you. You ship the stuff into Canada. At the border, they basically check to see if your business is in good standing, if you've been paying your various sales tax back to Canada. Yeah, Canadian sales tax, you have your provincial level sales tax and then, there's a couple other things. It's actually pretty easy to just upload a CSV file and again on Google, you'll find people who've already just published these things and then, you just upload that into WooCommerce and then, you're ready to go in terms of charging sales tax and then being able to calculate all that stuff and remit that to the Canadian government.
Same thing, selling and shipping in the United States, sometimes you, depending on the state that you're based in, you have to charge state and then also local sales taxes. I'm not a super expert in setting, in the bookkeeping and accounting side of that, but if you are selling physical goods and you are using something like Fulfilled by Amazon, then you should definitely check with a bookkeeper or someone who knows what to do with that information, but you still have to charge that if you are selling physical goods in the United States, you got to charge sales tax.
Barry: Yeah, if you think it's expensive to ship to Canada, have a look at Australia sometime.
Jason: Yeah, I'm sure. Fulfilled by Amazon is pretty amazing though. You can really just use that and their fees were very low for what we were shipping. It goes up and down, but we found it to be a very, very a reasonable service, especially if you're already selling that same product through an Amazon store. If you're not, then it's kind of trivial if you're going to ship a bunch of inventory into Amazon, then you can just tick a box and then, all of a sudden that product is now available on the Amazon market place. If someone's searching on Amazon for your product, they didn't search it on Google, they're just in Amazon looking for it, you could still sell it there. You could also sell it from your own site bundled with digital product. WooCommerce is definitely, if you're going to do physical product and you already have a Word Press based site, then to me WooCommerce is the no brainer. That's what you should be using.
Barry: Yeah, unfortunately, Amazon still doesn't know where Australia is either so …
Jason: I didn't know that-
Barry: It's lonely down here. Talking about that, how would you compare it to the more dedicated shopping platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce or something along those lines?
Jason: The experience that I've had with WooCommerce has always been involved with people who are also doing some kind of digital or membership-based fulfilment and for those reasons and because of the customizations required, my first major WooCommerce set up was they wanted to use WooCommerce to bundle ticketing an event, but they needed to acquire a bunch of information about the person as they were selling the tickets. That level of customization, they wanted it to all be through their site. Perhaps it's available through Shopify, but I'm primarily a WordPress developer and so I tend to look for WordPress based solutions because it's what I know. In terms of when I had to judge these different platforms against one another, for me it wasn't so much what's the best platform, but what can we do that's going to make this happen quickly and affordably and that's always been WordPress and WooCommerce for me.
That's not necessarily a fact, but again, because I don't want to come up the learning curve of how would I ever do that on Shopify and then push all that information into something like ActiveCampaign or push all the info into InfusionSoft. With something like a Gravity Forms integration with WooCommerce, it was possible to essentially pull in all this information, set tags, and set up various followup based on the purchase. When I was just trying how to figure out how to do things, it just seemed like there was a lot more information on how to get that all set up when you look at WooCommerce than Shopify or BigCommerce or anything else.
Barry: Yeah, fair enough. You just sparked a little question in my mind there as well. Can you do events? Can you sell tickets to events with WooCommerce?
Jason: Yeah, absolutely. Again, it's all done through various extensions, but one calendar that I'm aware of is called the [Tribe 13:09] Events Calendar and I know they have a WooCommerce ticketing integration that's specific for that where I think they might even now have like iPhone-based app where you can actually scan people's tickets in and it's going to let you know if people have arrived or not arrived. Otherwise, you can just sell the ticket as a digital good and tell people to bring their print out with them. There's a lot of different ways you can get around it, but yeah, you can definitely sell tickets and again, because you could set a limited quantity or you could make it like a physical good with a quantity.
Really with WooCommerce, the sky's the limit. Anything you could think of doing, it's worth a quick Google search to see if anyone's already written a plugin or an extension that does that because again with WooCommerce being completely open source, you don't have to necessarily wait for the people at Shopify or the people at BigCartel to open up that particular API to make that available. You can either do it or you can hire someone to just custom build or again eventually, there's going to be a limitation to what can be done with Shopify or with BigCartel based on what they're willing to let their APIs do.
Barry: Yeah, fair enough. Which is a perfect segue talking about extensions, you came into my circle of awareness via ActiveWoo and some of those [inaudible 14:33] members using that to interface WooCommerce with ActiveCampaign. Obviously, when you're selling your products, you want post-purchase followup sequences and welcome sequences, and if it's some sort of expendable product, you want to get them back to reorder, etc. Interfacing with Active campaign or your marketing on [inaudible 14:53] platform is super important. Maybe you could tell our listeners a little bit about ActiveWoo and what's possible with that ActiveWoo extension?
Jason: Sure. The plugin got its start when actually I wanted to migrate a client from a more expensive CRM over to ActiveCampaign. The basics of what we were doing were the same, the expensive one versus ActiveCampaign, which is that as soon as someone purchases, we want to wait a couple … Actually first, we wanted to start with an abandoned cart where, and actually the inspiration for the abandoned cart came from wanting to simplify the checkout process down so that when you arrive at the checkout page, all you see is first name, last name, email and then a continue button. I don't like that just because I don't like to see a tonne of fields and that was actually modelled after what BigCartel does. Her shop had originally been on BigCartel, then it went to another platform and she wanted to just lower her costs down and also move the whole site from BigCartel to WordPress. One of the things she loved about BigCartel was this slimmed down check out process where you start with just first name, last name, email and you click the next button and then the rest of the billing and shipping info loads and just so you don't have this overwhelm of oh, I've got to fill out all these fields.
With ActiveWoo, if you enable the cart recovery feature, then this will do that to the WooCommerce checkout page where you'll see step one, your contact information and then step two, billing and shipping and stuff. You put in that and you hit continue. What that does is it pushes the contact into ActiveCampaign with some tags. The tags are built off of the skew in WooCommerce. Another sync between WooCommerce and the CRM that I've used required you to go in and specify product by product which tags would go into the CRM and I found that to be cumbersome. If every product has a skew, why not just use the skew as the tagging convention because most people already have skews set up on their products and know what the skew is just by site. I chose to use that for ActiveWoo.
Whatever's in the their basket, they arrive at the checkout page. They put in their name, their email, they hit continue, that contact's now been added into ActiveCampaign with whatever tags are associated to whatever products are in the basket. Then essentially, you can use that to then send followup emails if they don't complete the purchase within a given amount of time. If a customer completes the purchase, then another set of tags are added again based off the skew. Also, you can use the product category and the product tags in WooCommerce to basically put the contacts into either different lists or into different followups.
Good example of that would be let's say that you're selling laptops. If someone buys a laptop, but they don't buy a laptop bag so you could use ActiveCampaign after a bit to send a followup to say, “Hey, we noticed you bought a laptop. Do you want to checkout a coupon code on some laptop bags?” right. You could use the product categories to do that, right. If they buy a laptop and any product, any laptop, you could put, and your laptops would probably be in some kind of laptop category so that laptop category tag would then put that purchaser, the customer into a followup sequence which then suggests a laptop bag would be one example of how you could do that and how ActiveWoo would help that.
Barry: They buy something, you just have an automation in there that says all right, any purchase in category X will look to see if they have tag product Y, if they don't, then we'll try and upsell them. Is that how it goes?
Jason: Yeah, exactly, right. The amount of rules and stuff you can do is pretty exciting because in addition to tags, I'm also sync-ing the total revenue spent and the last date purchased. You can use those custom fields to do all kinds of different rules. For example, if every time a purchase happens, ActiveWoo has a default tag. You can use that default tag to start an automation on every purchase. That automation could do something like check their total revenue field, check what tags they have or don't have and then based on that, send different followup emails, right, so be more targeted with the followup.
You can also just do that in terms of if you wanted to do a mass email at some point. Hey, let's find everybody who's bought a laptop, but not a bag and tell them we've got new laptop bags. Give me a different product category and I'll come up with a better analogy, but that's the idea, right. If you know in ActiveCampaign what people have purchased and you know that based on what tags they have or don't have, then you can be a lot more targeted about your marketing.
Barry: Did you say that you instal almost a customer lifetime value field? Is that what you meant?
Jason: Yeah, exactly. You can track the total amount of revenue spent by a customer over their lifetime. What I did was also create a backwards sync because a lot of people who've been using WooCommerce, maybe they've been using it a long time and they've just maybe discovered ActiveCampaign and how much easier it is to use ActiveCampaign versus something like MailChimp or [inaudible 20:42] to do these different segmentations or to do emails that have different content in the email based on what tags you have or don't have, but they've already got a tonne of orders. In WooCommerce, you can go back and re-sync all those and in doing so, it will accrue in a custom field the total amount of revenue spent by each customer.
Barry: Very cool. How are you doing that additive total in ActiveCampaign … ?
Jason: It's just a custom field. The in and out of it is when the customer's purchasing, an API call happens where we fetch that contacts custom field if they're an existing contact. If they're not an existing contact, then we just get ready to set the total of the cart into that field. As the purchase is happening, we grab their email address, the billing email. A call goes out to ActiveCampaign, essentially says hey, does this contact exist and if that contact does exist, we pull back some custom fields and one of those would be the total revenue field. Then we're going to take that total revenue number, we're going to add the current cart total to it and then when the tags are pushed, we also push all the custom field data.
In addition to total revenue field, you can optionally also sync the customer's billing address so again, ActiveCampaign by default starts with just a couple of fields like for first name, last name, email, but there's actually I think unless you're using the CRM part, it doesn't really collect their actual physical mailing address so in ActiveWoo, if you enable that, I want to track billing addresses, then ActiveWoo will add custom fields to your ActiveCampaign for billing street, city, state, country, zip code and then with purchasing, all that information's going to get synced along with total revenue.
Then also ActiveWoo can integrate with the WooCommerce custom checkout fields. There's an extension for WooCommerce which allows you to add any checkout field you want to your checkout. Let's say that you wanted to have … I'll give you an example of where that might be useful would be the order notes. I love standup paddle surfing and I recently ordered a standup paddle from a company and I had to tell them where I wanted the paddle cut so that could be something where that might be a custom field at the checkout, “Where do you want your paddle, tell us the length and number of inches of where you want your paddle cut” or something like that.
At the moment, that's also what some people are doing to create a opt-in box. You can either just assume that people want to be opted into your newsletter when they make a purchase or you could do something like just send an email out say, “Hey, thank you so much for making a purchase. You've been added to our newsletter. If you don't want to be on our newsletter, click here to opt out.” Different countries have different rules about how you want to approach that. Some countries will require that there is an actual opt-in box. Currently, you would add that, “Also tick this box if you want to be added to our newsletter.” Otherwise, you're only going to be using this for transactional emails. That said, in a pretty soon upcoming version, I'm going to make that just a default where you can check that and not require the extra extension [and want to 24:17] surface a checkbox like, “Yes, add me to the newsletter or no, don't add me to the newsletter.”
Barry: Very cool. That total revenue box, does that update too if someone does a refund or cancel or whatever?
Barry: Very cool.
Jason: Refund syncing is actually not yet built in. Right now, it's in drive only. There's no reverse gear to un-sync those tags if you purchase something and then refund. Do I remove those tags? Do we back out the number? It's a little confusing because WooCommerce does allow for partial refund. If you bought three products and got refunded for one out of the three.
Barry: Yeah, of course.
Jason: How does that get handled? It gets very complicated very quickly. I've run it by a few of the users of ActiveWoo and polled them on what they would expect and what they want and so far, everybody's told me that they don't actually use the partial refund, that if someone's going to get refunded, they get refunded all the way. That's what the plugin will do is in WooCommerce, you can set a status of the order and the order statuses are things like processing, on hold, complete, refunded, cancelled. In this case, once the order status goes to refunded, then ActiveWoo will assume a total refund and it's going to …
I prefer tags to be additive. I hate removing tags actually and it's something that just is that's been my experience using CRMs in conjunction with membership sites that if there's a tag history like oh, they purchased this thing and then, here's the tag so there's a purchase tag and then here's the refund tag. You can see from the tags oh, yeah, that's what happened. This is the date they purchased. This is the date they refunded because both tags are present. I probably wouldn't remove any tags, but you'll see the tags of what they purchased and then those same tags as refunds. Then I would also, yeah, back up the amount of that purchase from the total revenue.
Barry: That's cool. The other cool thing I was thinking about when you were talking about the total revenue thing is you could for those post purchase automations and stuff, you could also set up leads going in there. Every time that total revenue value changes or every time there's a purchase or whatever, they get some expiring lead points that expire after whatever, 90 days or something, so you could have an instant lead score for who your best customers are and then that could trigger sending them some sort of coupon special as well. Some groovy shit you could do with that.
Jason: Absolutely. You can even just sort your list, right. You can just sort your list by revenue just to figure out where you want to draw the line and say, “All right, yeah, everyone who spent over this gets a free upgrade,” or whatever you want to do, sure.
Barry: That total revenue, with the leads growing, you could take into account recency as well.
Jason: Yeah, there's a date of last purchase.
Barry: Cool, very cool.
Jason: It's also being created and synced through ActiveWoo. Absolutely, yeah, you can factor recency into there as well for sure.
Barry: Nice, nice. All right, Jason, if someone wants to get started with WooCommerce, what's the best way, where's the first place they should go?
Jason: Right. WooCommerce is “free,” it's inexpensive. I think it's a far shot to really call it free. You get started for free and if you only wanted to use PayPal. Actually interestingly enough Amazon checkout, you could use both PayPal and Amazon checkout and then it would be free because you're going to need a payment gateway, right. WooCommerce is your shopping cart and not your actual payment gateway, right.
Every shopping cart is those two components, the cart meaning organising your products, setting how much they should cost, whether they should add tax or not add tax, whether they should add shipping or not add shipping, what shipping methods you want to offer, all that kind of stuff. That's the job of your shopping cart, in this case WooCommerce.
Then the second part of every cart is the billing gateway or gateways which is if you're going to process credit cards, you could use something like authorize.net, Stripe or a number of different merchant gateways that will actually build a customer's cart and then transfer that money, put it into your account, but also send back to the shopping carts and back to WooCommerce to signal that yeah, this person, we were able to clear the money off their cart. Now take them to that next step, which would be a thank you page or in ActiveWoo's case, it's listening for that payment completed message from the biller. When that happens, then the sync happens. It waits for the payment complete message to fire.
Your next step after installing WooCommerce is going to be to figure out who you want to use to process credit cards. They may also now be offering a free Stripe integration. I'm not 100% sure about that. When I set up ActiveWoo, which also obviously uses WooCommerce, I ended up using a product called Subcriptio, which I got off of CodeCanyon because for $17, I got a Stripe integration, which is cheaper than at the time WooCommerce was selling I think Stripe integration either for $49 or $79. I chose to just spend $17 and just used that. Subscriptio is my interface or extension that hooks up my WooCommerce to my Stripe account and I chose Stripe just because it was again it was very inexpensive and ridiculously easy to get set up. I just went to stripe.com and just put in my name and details. I don't even think I even talked to a human. I think I was accepting credit cards that same day.
Barry: Yeah, that's pretty cool.
Jason: That's pretty much it. If you're just selling digital goods, you instal WooCommerce. You figure out what extension you're going to use to accept credit cards and then, you're pretty much done at that point if you're just selling digital products or you're just selling simple physical products or some kind of combination.
If you're going to sell subscriptions, it was unfortunate, I chose to integrate ActiveWoo with the WooCommerce subscription extensions, which is quite a bit more expensive than the CodeCanyon one. I did that because pretty much everybody who has been buying WooCommerce and subscriptions tends to stick with the WooCommerce official extensions because they're kind of supported directly through WooCommerce, but they're also kind of not. In reality, if you ever really ask for support, usually what happens is someone at WooCommerce basically is an intermediary with whoever developed that extension if WooCommerce didn't build it in house. Most of the extensions sold through the WooCommerce marketplace are developed by third parties that are not owned by WooCommerce. It's like as long as you're there and supporting your product, then it'll continue to be sold through the marketplace, otherwise … I think that's what keeps people providing support there I guess. I chose not to sell through the WooCommerce marketplace because they at least at the time that I started selling ActiveWoo, they wanted 50%.
Jason: I was really unwilling to both give up the 50% and also give up … I don't want to have to go through an intermediary. I prefer to speak directly to my customers and be able to respond more quickly to [inaudible 31:55] requests or anything that or whatever's going on, I want to make sure that I have direct contact with my customers and also just to keep the price in the WooCommerce pricing model, I just didn't see the value of giving automatic 50% of every sale.
Barry: Fair enough. Are there any must-have extensions that the new WooCommerce-ite should be aware of?
Jason: It really depends on what you're selling. If you're going to sell a physical product, then I love the fact that you can … I actually am thinking about all the different products I've done. I set up a site for a standup paddle board company and it was really awesome because they ship really, really big stuff, right. Some of these standup paddle boards are 11 and 12 feet long and they do ship international and have had for years an account with FedEx. We were able to use the FedEx API. There's a FedEx extension for WooCommerce and you basically tell it through WooCommerce. You say, “Okay, these are the boxes that I have and these are the size of the products.” Then it does the math in the background on the fly. When someone's putting together from that company so that would be …
Let me see if I can remember the domain properly. Give these guys a plug, too. They're really cool, a surfboard company out of Santa Barbara. Yeah, supsports.com, supsports.com and you can buy a paddle board, your paddle, maybe a surf mat, whatever stuff you want. Then it's going to figure out of all the things you just bought, how big a box or how many boxes do you need, and you can tell it this product always ships in its own box. These things can be boxed up together. Then it runs that against the FedEx API and you give it your FedEx account number. If you've done whatever you need to do to get better shipping rates or whatever your shipping rates are from FedEx, and we tested it a bunch and every single time we did any combination of products, then we punched in the same thing directly into their FedEx account, the shipping was always the same. That's really nice because basically it calculates your shipping on the fly using whatever FedEx is currently charging.
If you don't ship with FedEx, you can do the same thing with UPS and you can do the same thing with the US Postal Service. All of these offer real-time API access. Then if you want to add on to whatever UPS is going to charge you, you can also go in there and put additional handling fees. It's just I mean, again, it's one of those things where if you want flexibility and control over these things, WooCommerce is I feel like the best solution out there versus some of the other things. If having too many options is bad for you, then it may not be the best solution because it is so flexible. Yeah, some kind of shipping plugin.
You can also do flat rate shipping. Again, it's one of these. I always love tools that can be incredibly simple and for some clients, we don't have any shipping plugin. It's like if you buy this thing, either shipping's free or shipping's always $5 anywhere you are in the US or international, it's $15 or whatever. You can set up flat rate shipping without an extension, but if you want to do and you are going to pass off your shipping and handling costs, then you do need to look at one of the integrated shipping plugins. What other must-have plugins?
If you're going to be working with any kind of fulfilment centre, then ShipStation is a really nice way to do that or if you're going to ship and have Amazon do your fulfilment or if you're ready to scale it beyond kitchen table fulfilment, I do like Amazon, Fulfilled by Amazon. What's nice about that WooCommerce to ShipStation to Amazon Fulfilment string is someone orders through WooCommerce, ShipStation is then, you do have to log into ShipStation everyday and basically when you do that, it'll fetch all the orders and then it checks to make sure that it know that if someone's entered an address, but not their apartment, it'll give you a little warning or if it's an address that's known where UPS can't ship to that like a PO box, it'll tell you that before you then push those orders over to Amazon. Then ShipStation packages all the data up for you, pushes it all over into Fulfilled by Amazon.
Amazon then packs and ship your stuff. Then once the thing has gone out for shipment, Amazon will then send the tracking number back to ShipStation which then sends it back to WooCommerce which then fires an email off to your customer with a tracking number. That's all automated. It sounded like a lot because I was just talking a lot and fast, but after it's all set up, it's incredibly like click, click, push button, done for the day and everybody's getting emails with tracking numbers and stuff and Amazon's going to be the one who's responsible for fulfilling it and so usually, they can get a much better rate from UPS or USPS or whoever than you can. Usually, their stuff is pretty competitively priced versus trying to ship it yourself using stamps.com or something like that. Yeah, and then again you don't have to get up every morning and stick things in boxes if that's not your thing.
On the flipside, if you're someone like, what's the guy's name, Johnny Cupcakes. His huge thing was inserting something really special and boutique in every box and making every shipment different and being weird about that kind of stuff so, there's something to be said for shipping it yourself, including a handwritten note if you're trying to be very boutique about it.
Barry: Very cool. All right, we might wrap it up there, Jason. Thanks so much for coming on and sharing all that killer WooCommerce knowledge with us. The best place for people to reach out to you and find more information about what you do and about ActiveWoo?
Jason: Activewoo.com, there's a little help link at the bottom. This should load up a little Zendesk chat thing. You can just pop that in there and it'll create a ticket for me. I'm happy to answer any additional questions there. Thank you so much.
Barry: Awesome. No worries. Thanks so much for coming on and look forward to seeing you online.
Jason: Thanks, Barry.
Barry: All right, cleared.