How was the talk "Improve your web: Connect your physical business with WooCommerce"

The numbers

  • Aimed at the talk: 34 people.
  • Assistants: 15 people.
  • It was held on July 29, 2019 in the space that gives us ULab, the co-working center of Alicante.

Important: We remind you that in the tool Slack have a channel registered to organize and to share the management of the meetup, specifically the channel we use is #wpalicante of Slack WordPress Spain. If you want to lend a hand, contribute ideas and become more active part of this community follow the instructions on the following page->

Connect Your Physical Business With WooCommerce: The Talk

Despite the heat, wpalicante does not rest to offer the best of WordPress in Alicante for free, so here we are one month more. In this hot July we bring you an issue that is of great concern lately to those small entrepreneurs who are thinking of having both physical and virtual store: How do I connect both stores to be able to control the stock, for example? To do this, both Flavia Bernárdez as Joaquín López C.our dear hosts, have put their batteries to bring us a compendium of proposals with a clear winner that will solve the problem. You can check the presentation on how to connect physical store with WooCommerce in order to follow this post, and we include at the end the complete video of the presentation.

As in all meetups, we had at the end the classic round of questions at the end of their talk. And to end the day we also enjoyed networking accompanied by refreshments at the kiosk in the Plaza de San Cristóbal thanks to our sponsors: Professional Hosting , your trusted hosting, and Weglot, the plugin to translate your web to the language you want.

We will then remark some points that have been interesting to us.

Problematic: The scenario

  • In a physical store we can have one or several POS to make sales, although it is normal for payment to be made in cash or by card. In order to be able to pay with this last option in a physical store, you use the dataphones.
  • It is very common that stores do not have all the stock of products sold in the store itself and have to ask that the requested material is brought from some storeroom which is located nearby and which is the one that supplies them with certain products.
  • The stores can have a virtual store implemented so that customers do not have to travel physically and can buy from home.
  • The main problem with having a store with a point of sale physical and a virtual store is the real control over the stock.
    For it the ideal thing is to have synchronized the existing stocks (the physical one and the one that we have virtual).
  • This situation can be reached both by having a physical store and wanting to start a virtual business and vice versa, having set up a virtual store and wanting more local presence by setting up a physical store.

Advantages of synchronization between physical and virtual store

Let's see what are the main advantages we find to encourage us to synchronize sales between a virtual store and a physical point of sale:

  • Avoid stock errors between points of sale. This way we avoid the sale of a product of which we really no longer have stock.
  • Save time by counting stock. This avoids having to close for inventory.
  • Automate sales and purchase flows. This is achieved because increases in stock on entries can be made automatically by checking with the code reader gun each product and decreases with each sale can also be made automatically in the moment.
  • Analyze and get to know our business better. By having everything computerized and synchronized we can have a lot of useful information about our business, such as from which channel the best sales are made or which products are best sold in physical store and which in virtual store, you can make forecasts of when you will need to make new purchases of a particular product ...
  • Make Business Scalable. Once you have synchronization of stock between stores, regardless of whether they are physical or virtual, you could already open new stores or create a website for abroad because they will be synchronized with the same procedure that you already have implemented.

How to synchronize

We know four ways to synchronize the data, which are the ones that we will explain briefly, although we already tell you that the last one is the one that we consider optimal and therefore the one that we will clarify in greater detail in the following point.

  • Synchronizing a CSVThere are a lot of different TPVs and each one with its specific software. In order to be able to synchronize them manually, a download can be made at CSV format to be able to unify all the downloads in a single DB or content manager. You have a script with the steps to do in the case of WordPress in the meetup of June 2018 entitled Improve your web: Google Sheets synchronization with WordPress. The problem with this option is that it is manual as well as unsafe (especially if imports are stored in the cloud) so the human work that requires its maintenance does not make it operational.
  • WooCommerce POS PluginInstall a POS on your computer. So, we have WooCommerce on the hosting server and a TPV on our machine to mark the sales we make. The problem is that it is an American software so the issue of Unique and consecutive numbering for each invoice does not take it into account and we can complicate the existence of the Spanish making our billing impossible. Perhaps it could be useful for small shops with little movement if it is accompanied by some small printer to print tickets. Another general problem of WooCommerce at the time of sales is that the VAT breakdown does not handle it well. Therefore, as a suggestion, even for people who only have an online shop in WooCommerce, do not use any WooCommerce billing plugin, use any other billing software outside of WooCommerce, such as direct invoice, holded Or glop.
  • Software ERPThe main problem with this type of solution is that they always limp about something, for example, they don't usually have online POS. The information they usually have in the cloud and as they usually work is with one payment a month to use all their services. Another problem is that it is an "as a service" solution that means that you pay for the use and when working in the cloud, if you don't have internet you find yourself with a serious problem because you can't sell. This topic is also looking at how to fix it and some now offer an extended plan to synchronize data locally from time to time, although this brings us back to the problem of the lack of instant synchronization.
  • Software and POS terminalThis hybrid solution (cloud and physical stock) is what we understand as optimal and solves all the problems we have seen in the previous points. This is a POS terminal with its software that has programmed a module that can be connected to WooCommerce. This way you can synchronize WooCommerce with your physical business. Of course, the solutions that exist in the market of this type still have a long way to go, but the first pitfalls have already been overcome (synchronization in real time and without connection). The main drawback is that the installation is not easy so it requires a technician specialized in installing both hardware and software.

Implementing the solution with

This is the example of the last typology commented on in the previous point: software and TPV terminal that synchronizes in real time the cloud and the physical stock.

The purpose of this software is that the shop owner works all the stock from one place. In the end, the online store is considered as if it were just another physical store to work with, in this case the only difference is that it is located in the cloud. Thus, when the articles are registered, it will be done in a single place (the physical POS software) that will be in charge of uploading all this information to the cloud, thus feeding the virtual store and minimising the effort involved in product registration.

As the two worlds are synchronized, from that moment the stock is also synchronized and therefore it is the software and its synchronization that is in charge of maintaining the correct stock of any product at all times.

At the time of invoice any sale in the cloud, is made from the POS softwarenot from WooCommerce, so the software is able to control the correct numbering of invoices. In other words, the software uses WooCommerce as a purchasing gateway but billing is centralized.

Customers are therefore also centralized. Thus, we have in a single site both customers who buy in physical stores and those who buy online, and if an online customer occurs at some point pass through a physical store we will be able to recognize it. This is the concept of omnicanalitywhich is gaining strength lately thanks to new technologies. This is allowing new ways of communicating with customers even in the physical store. For example, you could go to a store with your mobile phone, see the product, try it on and buy it through your mobile (paying with paypal, wallet ...) and then show the ticket payment to the clerk and take the product.

The great challenge of this type of software is to bring omnicanality to the hotel industry. In this sector a lot of companies have appeared with purchasing platforms that are bleeding the hoteliers, because each one has a significant commission for bringing customers to the restaurant and each one has its own specific software, which for the hotelier is both an economic and management problem. And let's not say the box square at the end of the day, having to square the sale with each company. The goal for the hotelier would be to get the following sales done through their own software (their own online store) rather than through these third party companies. For this, it is vital this type of software as glop.

Thanks to this software we are able to register products in a single site and achieve omnicanality both at the level of stock and customers, as well as billing.

Right now they only have this in big stores. The goal is to democratize these systems so that small businesses can also have it at an affordable price.

The main advantages of these systems is both real-time synchronization and the ability to work offline. In that case, if we lose the connection with Internet for some reason, we could continue working and in the same instant that we recover it the synchronization would be resumed in an automatic way.

They also offer the famous dashboards. These are a series of very visual reports, which can be consulted via mobile or computer, and that give you the information you need from all channels, through graphics or other means. It is very useful to be able to see at a glance very quickly how the sale was the previous day, or compared with other days, with the previous month ... For the realization of such reports is used the stored information and an application (web service) called Zapierwhich allows you to connect different web applications and automate tasks between them. Thus, we can have a mail manager application, another billing application, another customer management application... and with Zapier we unify them all and automate communication between them.

Glop is based on modules. It has an affordable base license with the basic functionalities and then additional cost according to the modules you need.

Final networking questions and issues

QUESTIONSuppose there is only one item left in stock and it is in the physical store. A customer is buying it online right now. We understand that this management takes some time. How does the system work if another customer is going to pay for it in the physical store?

RESPONSEThe system is very configurable because you have many ways to do it and many needs. It is not the same to have a single physical store to have 10. We may want the online store stock to be the total stock of all physical stores. Or we may want to have only one stock of the online store and another for the physical ones (like Zara does, for example). Therefore, we can configure our system so that at the time the order is placed, it deducts it from stock and blocks it, or deducts it from the stock of a particular store or several (if more than one item is sold). The normal thing is that when you receive an order online, in the same TPV you receive an alert and you can see the order from the menu->web orders. We may want to have the ability to refuse the order if we go to the backroom at that time and see that the item is broken and cannot be shipped. Therefore, we may be interested in you not deducting it from stock until we make sure we can send it. For physical sales we are usually interested in discounting at the time of sale.

QUESTIONIf a person wants to start a company with online sales only, what system of comments is suggested to set up the store.

RESPONSEFrom the WordPress meetup we recommend WooCommerce, and more if we are talking about a medium sized company. Being such a large community of developers, you will always find more and cheaper options to develop your online store than with other systems because they catch up with what's on the market very quickly. For example, there is a furniture company in Barcelona that has an option on its website for you to send them a photo of a piece of furniture you like and they suggest what other furniture they have in stock similar to the one you sent in the photo. WooCommerce already has something similar (although it still has a lot of room for improvement). Obviously, if we are betting on a large multinational company, it is usually better to look for customized solutions.


  • DataphoneDevice for making payments using a debit/credit card or any other device with NFC associated with a card (mobile phone, smart bracelet...). The payment is indicated directly by typing it into the device itself. It is sometimes mistakenly referred to as TPV. We must begin to discard this bad meaning. To do this, see the next item in the glossary.
  • Point of Sale Terminal (POS)Physical device (terminal) through which any product can be sold.
  • StockIt is the number of elements that a company has of each product it sells.
  • WarehouseThis is the physical place where the stock is kept. The same company could have different warehouses to store the same product.
  • Point of SaleIt is the concrete place where a sale is made and where the sale is located. POS. The same company can have several points of sale distributed by geography (one store for each provincial capital) or several points of sale in the same store, for example, the Corte Inglés, where there are several POS in each product section. Therefore, the concepts "store" and "point of sale" cannot be synonymous because they are not.
  • CSV FormatComma Separated Values" in Spanish. It is a text file where each row corresponds to the values of a record. For example, if we have a board of shoes, we could have as first data the model, as second the price and as third a discount. Therefore, each row of the file will have three data separated by comma. Each row will correspond to one of the models of shoes available in our database. Being a text file and a standard format is easily understood by virtually any database program or spreadsheet where we want to import that information to work with it. Currently, not only the comma but also the semicolon or the tab, for example, can be used as a separator.
  • ERPEnterprise Resource Planning: An acronym for Enterprise Resource Planning. It is a software that allows the integration of the most common operations for a company, especially in logistics, sales, accounting and inventory. They don't usually have TPV online.
  • Omnicanality/omnicanalIt's a customer management strategy. It must be taken into account that nowadays there are many ways for the customer to interact with a store (physical store, internet, mobile, wallet, contact center...). If we only worry that a client can contact us through several of these channels, we are in front of "multichannel". The difference between multichannel and omnicanal lies in the fact that the latter is concerned that all these channels are interconnected in such a way that if the same customer interacts in several of them we are aware. That is to say, in an omnicanal system, all the channels are interconnected with what we can exploit the information of what happens in all of them in a more efficient way. For example, we could offer a discount to those physical store customers who make their first purchase on the Internet, or to those Internet customers who come by the store to pick up their order (so you can humanize the sale, you put face, learn more, offer them some other product you see that may interest them ...).

Connect your business with Woocommerce: The video

Some photos


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