Website Migration & Setup using WordPress & WooCommerce

How We Built a Comprehensive eCommerce System For a Tea Company That Caters to Both Retail and Wholesale Customers

Introduction

teahouse

Established in 1997, The Tao of Tea is a pure leaf tea company based in Portland, Oregon. With their wide variety of select teas, blends, and archaic Tea-houses, this company is all about bringing their fellow ‘tea people’ an authentic and complete tea experience. 

Here’s a story of how we collaborated with these tea experts and took the amazing experiences ‘online’.

How it all began...

This company’s core values run much deeper than their love for tea. ‘The Tao of Tea’ is one of the leading companies in the industry to offer certified organic teas. They believe in caring for the soil and sustainability of the surrounding ecosystems. 

On that note, they always do their bit to raise awareness for sustainable tea farming methods. In fact, they’ve built the oldest of their tea-houses with natural materials like bamboo, reclaimed wood, and raw stone. 

 

Teahouse

“One of the most enjoyable aspects of The Tao of Tea working environment is its multiculturalism. It is a place where Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, African Americans, Somali refugees, Caucasian Americans, Nepalis, Indians, Hispanics, and other individuals come together to work, drink tea, share meals and build relationships. We have learned through tea that celebrating diversity and mutual respect are essential rules for workplaces."

Mr. Veerinder Chawla, Founder of The Tao of Tea
TaoofTea

The Problem

Back in the day, ‘The Tao of Tea’ used a custom PHP website that was built from scratch. As the company grew, they needed this website to become more than just their digital presence. 

The existing system, however, was primitive. It became difficult for the team to manage and upgrade the site. For instance, even a basic addition to the reporting module meant that the new feature had to be built from the ground up. Juggling between efficiently managing orders, logistics, the website, and its feature additions just weren’t feasible anymore. The team would rather invest more time in creating more value for its patrons. 

Our Solution

Enter: WordPress, WooCommerce, and WisdmLabs

WHAT ‘THE TAO OF TEA’ NEEDED WAS CLEAR AS DAY:

  • A simple way to manage the website 
  • Quicker addition of new features 
  • A reliable eCommerce system that supports their business efforts

Going ahead with WordPress and WooCommerce was a complete no-brainer! WordPress, as we’re all well aware of, enables easy site set up and administration for novice users. 

WooCommerce offers a whole lot more than a comprehensive eCommerce solution. It brings together an entire ecosystem of add-ons and plugins. Plugins that help seamlessly extend the functionality of any WooCommerce website. After working with WooCommerce for years now, we at WisdmLabs knew one thing for sure. Business was about to get a whole lot better for the good folks back at ‘The Tao of Tea’!

The Game Plan

There was a lot that had to be done. We had to simplify the management of their products, stocks, and customers; streamline their packaging and order processing system; upgrade their reporting module; secure payments and set up everything in between.

Before we got to the fun part of building an awesome eCommerce website, there was one critical task to handle first. We were to ensure a smooth transition onto the new WordPress. Over 1,500 products, 23,000 registered users, and data of 47,000 placed orders were to be migrated

Conquering Milestones, One Feature at a Time

Once we migrated all the data and had all the basics set up, the best way forward was to build one module of this eCommerce site at a time. 

To really succeed at building an effective eCommerce system, the key was to follow a laser-sharp user-centric approach. In other words, we mapped every element of these modules back to the two main users of the system

  • The store ‘Managers’ or site ‘Admins’
  • The Retail and Wholesale ‘Customers’

Let’s find out more about these custom eCommerce modules. 

Module 1: Custom Shipping and Payments Module

THIS FUNCTIONALITY INCLUDED THREE CRITICAL ELEMENTS:

  • Custom shipping rates depending on the weight of the order & the delivery location 
  • Tax calculation which is again dependent on the delivery location 
  • A ‘multiple shipping addresses’ option

The custom shipping module would let the buyers send the purchased products to different locations. The customer would be allowed to shop for several people at once. This turned out to be a great incentive for shoppers to buy more items in one order. 

Using this feature as an ‘easy gifting tool’ is another way to nudge customers to make a bulk purchase. 

Module 2: Dynamic Product Pricing

We built a ‘use-role based’ or ‘category based’ pricing functionality that adds custom prices for each product depending on who the buyer is. I’ll explain. It isn’t always feasible to have a sale or offer discounts to your customers. On the other hand, if you’re looking to foster customer loyalty, you need to be able to provide that little ‘special’ treatment to the regulars. 

A ‘dynamic pricing’ functionality allows the team to do just that. They can display product prices based on the category or group that your customer belongs to. The prices can also vary based on the number or type of product being purchased. 

Module 3: Category Based Points and Rewards System

This system proved to be an excellent way to retain customers for ‘The Tao of Tea’. The functionality is pretty simple to understand. The more purchases a customer makes, the more points are assigned to him or her. Your customers can then choose to redeem these points at a later time. This company had two types of buyers:

  • Retail Customers, who place small orders, and
  • Wholesale Customers, who’re store owners and purchase in bulk 

The company provides its wholesale customers with special access to the website. These customers have a curated offering that’s more relevant to their shopping needs. 

For example, the wholesale users get a ‘pay later’ option as they’re more trusted and regular clients. Or in some cases, there are certain products that are available only to retail customers, but not to wholesale clients. When you have many categories of users, small tweaks in your system and personalized offers could go a long way in creating more value for them.

Module 4: Quick Order Functionality for Wholesale Users

As I mentioned earlier, ‘The Tao of Tea’ has managed to conquer both the retail and wholesale markets. The wholesale orders are, of course, very different in nature from the retail ones. To give you some context, the magnitude of a wholesale order is HUGE.

Let’s say, someone is trying to purchase 250 units of a particular product. Would you have them click the ‘+’ icon 250 times? Of course not!

While it makes sense to let the wholesale buyer type in the ‘250’, it’ll be a comparatively more tedious task for your retail customers to type in the small quantity. In this case, clicking the ‘+’ option a couple of times or using a drop-down menu is a lot more workable.

Cart UX

To handle this very situation, we created a dynamic form with an intuitive settings interface, auto-fill options, and easy management for the website admin. We also used AJAX to provide rich user experience and reduce page load time. 

Module 5: The Order Processing and Tracking Unit

There’s a reason we’re such huge fans of WooCommerce. It’s in-built features and extensions helped us easily set up and streamline the order processing module. This module included features like ‘custom packaging details‘ and ‘automatic generation of invoice PDFs’.

We added a custom widget to an order tracking plugin that provides easy access to the site admin and allows users to track their order just by providing the ‘Order ID’ and ‘Billing Email Address’. In simple words, the customers can track their orders without logging in.

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Moving Forward

‘The Tao of Tea’ host traditional Chinese music events at their beautiful Tea Houses, to create an authentic experience of the Chinese tea culture. The registrations and management of these events are also taken care of by their website, of course.

Tao of Tea
icon About

Having collaborated with ‘The Tao of Tea’ for years now, what we admire most about working with them is that they’re always committed to improving their site with time and trends, as any growing eCommerce business should. We certainly love being a part of their inspiring journey as they go onwards and upwards!

– Akshaya Rane, Expert WooCommerce Developer at WisdmLabs

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