Online shopping has had a meteoric rise in popularity in recent years. Even the most traditional high street shops have their own online purchasing options. WooCommerce helps you to turn your website into an online store.
What is WooCommerce?
WordPress is one of the most popular website builders in use today and WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress. It is a tool which creates an eCommerce store, allowing you to sell directly to customers through your website. It is currently estimated that around 35% of the world’s websites are powered by WordPress and approximately 28% of all e-commerce goes through WooCommerce.
The beauty of e-commerce is that you can sell just about anything you want. You can sell anything from physical items such as clothing, electronics, jewellery etc, to digital products like eBooks, software, music, photography, graphic art, and online courses. Selling services such as translating, consulting, proofreading, copywriting etc online has also become popular. WooCommerce helps you receive payment for whatever it is you want to sell.
Linking Your e-Commerce Store to Xero
If you don’t already use WordPress, you’ll need to set this up. Details can be found on the WordPress website. Then you install the WooCommerce plugin and run through the setup wizard to configure it. Once that is done you’ll have an e-commerce store.
The last step is to integrate your WooCommerce store with your Xero account. This is easy because a Xero plugin is available with WooCommerce. The beauty of it is that it requires no coding experience. Once installed and configured to your individual needs, you are ready to go!
What Integrating WooCommerce and Xero Can Do For You
Xero accounting software handles all of the accounting functions a business needs including cash management, inventory tracking and billing, inventory, and Point of Sale (POS). When WooCommerce and Xero are linked, it has numerous benefits for your business.
When an order is placed from your website, it is immediately copied in real time to your Xero account as an approved invoice. Billing details such as customer’s name and contact/shipping details, product details and quantity ordered, shipping costs, discounts, and tax codes etc are all included, according to how you set it up. The invoices are accessible to double-check and amend if necessary.
Invoices can be created as a draft, pending payment, or paid, depending on the payment status. Once payment has been completed, the payment is added to the invoice as paid in full, so everything is kept in balance. The invoice is ready to be emailed to the customer. This makes it easy to keep track of payments. When orders are cancelled, refunds can be sent to a selected Xero account as credit notes.
At the same time orders are completed online, your inventory in Xero is also updated. This information can run in both directions. For example, when stock levels are updated in Xero, stock levels in WooCommerce are also automatically updated. Inventory details such as description, stock code, product notes and pricing are also transferred. This is a handy feature because even if an order is placed by phone, as soon as it is placed into Xero, the inventory is automatically updated in WooCommerce.
Having WooCommerce and Xero linked means your stock figures are always up-to-date and accurate. You not only save money by not ordering stock you already have, but also you won’t be short of the stock you need. This feature becomes invaluable if you have a large business with multiple websites. All orders can be imported directly into Xero.
Another advantage of the system is that all of the ordering and invoicing is handled automatically through a set of ‘triggers’ in the program. For example, when an order is placed online, it ‘triggers’ WooCommerce to create an invoice using the details the buyer has given. At every stage, orders and invoices are easily accessible for you to check so you can make amendments if required.
The integration between Xero and WooCommerce can clearly save you an enormous amount of time by removing the tedious task of manual data entry and duplicating entries in different places. It can also reduce errors which occur with manual data entry, which helps you to keep accurate records for the running of your business and taxation requirements.
When WooCommerce creates invoices in Xero, it does so according to how you have set it up. It is therefore highly individualised and can be set up how your accountant wants it, which saves your accountant time. By reducing the amount of time your accountant needs to spend extracting and reconciling, you are saving on accounting fees.
WooCommerce can also help you to perform sales analysis. It can track and report sales by geography and product categories so you have information on who is buying which products. This information can be used to increase your market share and build your business.
The benefits to your business of integrating WooCommerce and Xero are both numerous and obvious. It is definitely worth further investigation.