WooCommerce has emerged as a key tool for eCommerce businesses. As an open-source plugin, it provides a free means to transforming any WordPress website into a functioning business platform. Using WooCommerce for your business comes with a number of pros and cons. One of the difficulties lies with the initial web development; WooCommerce doesn’t contain everything you need to run your business, such as inventory management. Because of this, you’ll likely need to use some plugins to get your business up and running. As we mentioned in a previous post, this may include setting up a Stripe payment gateway.
Another plugin that helps with both functionality and efficiency is a WooCommerce connection to Zoho for inventory and transactions. Such a connection can help you automate your inventory and bookkeeping, eliminating manual data entry. Manual data entry has two main drawbacks:
- It is time consuming, requiring you to spend time creating and recreating inventory lists as often as daily, depending on your specific use case.
- It is error prone, which can adversely affect your business operations and cost you further time when you need to correct errors.
By automating your inventory and transactions, you can save time and avoid errors. Moreover, given the powerful tools in Zoho’s customer relationship management (CRM) platform, connecting WooCommerce and Zoho Inventory allows you to leverage additional tools to take in information from customers and advance them through deal. You can utilize Zoho’s accounting software and marketing platforms as well.
Connecting WooCommerce to Zoho Inventory
The connection you setup will depend on your specific use case, as well as what systems you already have in place. If you have a simple use case, it’s relatively easy to setup a WooCommerce connection to Zoho Inventory. But with more complex use cases, it’s safer to bring in experts to make sure you don’t wind up automating inventory or bookkeeping errors into your day-to-day business operations.
Here are 3 steps to follow when setting up a WooCommerce to Zoho connection, as well as some things to watch out for while doing so.
Step 1: Install the Plugin
The first time a client approached us about connecting WooCommerce to Zoho Inventory, there was no ready-made solution. Fortunately, due to requests from customers, there now exists an easy integration plugin, WooCommerce Zoho Plugin by CRM Perks. All you need to do to get started is connect your Zoho account using the API token and map the WooCommerce Order fields to any Zoho Object fields. From there you can customize the connections.
Step 2: Set Up Connections
After installation but before setting up the feeds, it’s important to set up the connections between WooCommerce and Zoho Inventory. The connections are used to send information to different Zoho services, which include but are not limited to Zoho Books, Zoho CRM and Zoho Inventory. Setting up the connections is very straightforward, and as simple as signing into your desired Zoho service and accepting the permission request.
Step 3: Set Up Your Feeds
The next thing you’ll need to do is set up your contact and order feeds. The contact feed determines what information is sent from WooCommerce into Zoho. Essentially, what information do you want from your customers? You may want to send all of the contact information, bits and pieces of it, or you may want to setup a singled dedicated customer on Zoho. The plugin allows you to customize the contact feed to your specific needs and use case.
After you setup your contact feed, you need to setup your order feed. Again, how you set this up will depend on your use case and this is where things can get complicated. Depending on exactly what you’re doing and who your customer base is, you may want just one order feed or many.
When we recently setup the connection for a client, they only wanted two order feeds: a Canadian dollars feed and a US dollars feed. This allowed them to setup the respective price books and the associated sales taxes. On the latter front, WooCommerce and Zoho Inventory handle taxes in different ways and you need to make sure the taxes align across both systems.
Finally, you can set up your order feed to handle orders as invoices or sales orders, which are treated differently in Zoho. How you set this up will depend on your use case.
Step 4: Testing
Next, you’ll need to test your connection. This is extraordinarily important as you need to make sure the information is being transferred correctly between WooCommerce and Zoho. If the information is incorrect, it can throw off your inventory and bookkeeping.
There are a number of things to test:
- That the right quantities are coming across.
- That discounts are properly included.
- That the shipping charge is included.
- That the correct taxes are applied.
- That the correct price book is applied if they’re being used.
- That single products aren’t appearing multiple times in an order (i.e. that a single line item includes more than one product quantity, rather than including that line-item multiple times).
When testing, make sure to include as many of the products as you can, including bundling and varying the products that you test.
RFDM and WooCommerce to Zoho Connections
Connecting WooCommerce to Zoho has major benefits, saving you time and avoiding the types of errors that come from manual data entry. If you’re experienced and have a relatively simple use case, this might be something you can do on your own. But with more complex use cases, the connection can be quite difficult. This is when you need to bring in experts to help out.
As certified Zoho Consultants with years of experience in eCommerce, RFDM has the experience to help with the most complex of use cases. For more information on setting up a WooCommerce to Zoho connection, contact us for a free consultation.