Online Store for all things Origami: Viereck-Verlag
The small publishing house Viereck-Verlag owns an online shop for all things Origami. But the shop software was outdated and wasn’t maintained any longer. The design and usability did not meet modern standards anymore. It was time for a major overhaul.
The Viereck-Verlag publishing house located in Freising (near Munich) publishes books on Origami and exhibition catalogues. For more than three decades has the publishing house been involved with making Origami better known in Germany. The shop started as a mere side project, in order to be able to offer access to the beautiful papers and books available world-wide.
Today, the shop offers an extensive and well-chosen selection of Origami paper and most beautiful books on Origami.
The shop software was outdated and was not maintained any longer. It was not possible to use a modern version of PHP, which also meant that it was impossible to secure the URL via an SSL certificate. The design did not allow for responsiveness – it was not really fit for the use on tablets or smartphones.
- WooCommerce Shop
- Multilingual (German, English)
After accessing the project, we decided to use WooCommerce and a custom childtheme of Storefront for the new shop website. Storefront is a very basic theme offered by the WooCommerce team. There is no clutter, just the basic functionality necessary for WooCommerce. This allowed for us to develop our custom child-theme on top of Storefront and build a tailor-made shop to showcase all the beautiful products. Using WordPress hooks and filters allows you to customize Storefront’s theme templates fairly well.
On the front page we additionally used the PageBuilder plugin BeaverBuilder. This way the client is able to edit or change all elements on the shop’s home page.
We developed the design in close coordination with the client, using several working prototypes.
The products are rather complex and the shop sends all over the world. We needed to implement different payment gateways and customize shipping options.
- Invoice according to shop language (German/English)
- Stock management
- Customer accounts
- Discounts for different groups of customers, e.g. discounts on specific products for specific customers or general discounts for certain groups of customers, for instance book stores
- Different payment options:
- Instant transfer
- Shipping costs
- Calculate shipping costs according to weight and destination
- Print shipping labels directly when editing the order
- EU-VAT: incorporate the EU VAT-ID if available
- Reduced and regular VAT for different types of products
- Selling tax-free for customers outside the EU
Testing, testing, testing
When there are so many elements and functions that need to work together it’s crucial to test thoroughly, fix bugs, test again. Especially when it comes to processing payments we needed to ensure that the connection to platforms like PayPal and sofort.com works faultlessly. For PayPal, we did extensive tests using the PayPal sandbox. It also helps to test WooCommerce functionality, e.g. to see whether all the emails are sent correctly and if cancellation and refunding works.
After the Launch
Testing will always be an important part in the life of an online store. Since WordPress core and plugins undergo constant changes, it can always happen that things go wrong. Sometimes, a new version of plugin A is no longer compatible with plugin B. This certainly affects all types of WordPress websites, but most websites are not quite as dependent on everything working smoothely as an online store.
Therefore, we normally test all updates in a staging environment, that is in an exact copy of our website, preferably in the exact same server space. Additionally, we conduct automated daily (or more) backups, an absolute necessity for any online shop.
The Viereck-Verlag online store now features a modern look & feel and is easy to use across all screen sizes. The user interface and the order process are a lot more clear now. Even for our client, the owner of the shop, handling orders has become a lot more comfortable. Many processes can be automated and it is easier now, to keep track of stock levels and sales.
“It’s almost impossible to compare our old website with the new one. The order process for customers now feels like a “normal” online store. For us, it has become easier [… to handle things], even though we need to learn a lot now. The presentation of our products is better now, and we have more options to arrange and change elements on the front page now.”
Silke Schröder, Viereck-Verlag
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