When You Should Capture a Charge in E-Commerce

If you run an e-commerce store you’re well aware that chargebacks on credit card transactions can be costly. You may also occasionally have upset customers if you charge a card right away and take a few days to ship the order. One of the strategies you can use to avoid these problems is to capture the payment when you ship the order instead of automatically capturing it during checkout.

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How to Add a WooCommerce Settings Tab

WooCommerce Settings Page

In my new role as a WooCommerce Developer I’ve been spending a good chunk of time auditing 3rd party extensions. One of the surprising parts about the audit process is seeing where developers put their settings. Some developers put them under Settings, some put them under a custom menu item, and some just shimmy it in wherever they can.

If you’re building a WooCommerce extension the easiest thing you can do to improve your UI is to put all WooCommerce settings where users can find them – on a new WooCommerce settings tab. Sounds pretty easy but you’d be surprised how many people don’t do that.

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Why WooCommerce Order Numbers Are out of Order

Out of Order WooCommerce Order Numbers

22, 23, 25, 39, 40 – What!? Why are my order numbers out of order? If you’ve used WordPress before you might know that posts, pages, and media files have IDs that aren’t necessarily in order. The first one might be 20 and the next might be 43. WooCommerce uses the same ID system to create the order number which is why they’re out of order.

For your average marketing website this isn’t a big deal since you rarely need that number. In the e-commerce world with accounting software, drop shippers, & reports it makes a lot more sense to have consecutive order numbers. The good news is that this is really easy to do with a plugin.

Why The Order Numbers Are out of Order

First it’s important to know why all of these IDs are out of order in the first place. WordPress saves everything as a post. So pages are posts, media files are posts, products are posts, orders are posts, and posts are posts. This makes it really easy for developers to interact with the database since everything uses a similar format. All of these posts (media, pages, posts, etc) use the same database table and because of that they can’t share the same ID. If you want to have a consecutive order number then you have to save a bit of extra data in the database.

The design pattern behind WooCommerce is to try to stay as lean as possible and give people the ability to extend or add onto the existing functionality. If you don’t need sequential order numbers then there’s no point in storing all of this extra information. WooCommerce leaves this up to store manager to decide if it’s necessary.

How to Make the Order Numbers Sequential

Any plugin developer can add a bit of extra data to the orders to make sure they’re in order. In fact there’s already an excellent plugin, WooCommerce Sequential Order Numbers, by the SkyVerge team available for free on WordPress.org. They even have a premium version with a few extra features like the ability to add a prefix ex. MyStore so your order numbers would look like MyStore001, MyStore002, etc.

Happy sequential order numbers!

More Commonly Asked WooCommerce Questions in My Book

If you want to learn more about the commonly asked WooCommerce questions I suggest you take a look at my book. It isn’t out yet but you can signup for the mailing list and get a discount when it comes out.

Denver Bound

Denver Light Rail

There’s been a lot of big changes in my life recently. I announced a book, I changed roles within WooThemes, and I have one more big announcement. It’s something that I’ve been meaning to do since university but it’s always taken a back seat to other priorities. I spent nine years in Green Bay and I love it but it’s time for a new setting. I’m moving to Denver Colorado; I should actually be arriving at my Airbnb just a few hours after this post is published.

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WordPress in Wisconsin

Someone once asked me about the WordCamps and meetups that are going on around Wisconsin and I was only too eager to reply “It’s crazy! There are so many going on” and then there was laughing. This person couldn’t fathom any real IT talent outside of Silicon Valley and that’s a shame. Both for that person and for the innovators here that are doing great work and not being recognized.

I’m probably not the best Wiconsinite since I don’t love the Packers. But I do want to give WI the credit is deserves. We have a lot of innovators, and a lot of activity both in meetups and other events. Here’s some of the amazing talent in Wisconsin. (Apologies in advance if I forgot you there are so many awesome people!)

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How to Create a Pricing Table for WooCommerce

Right out of the box WooCommerce creates a shop page and displays a grid of products which works quite nicely for stores with dozens of products. But what about the stores that only have one or two products? Or just one product with a couple different levels? Sometimes it’s best to have a single page that lays out the pros and cons of each product rather than a grid of products. You can easily add a pricing table to WooCommerce with Easy Pricing Tables freely available on WordPress.org.

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SIDEKICK Releases Interactive Walkthroughs for WooCommerce


To get five star reviews on the WordPress.org plugin repository you either need to plan the plugin perfectly (hint: that’s impossible) or have an effective feedback loop to continuously improve your product. After a product is out in the wild you have to see how people are using it; study what they do right, what they do wrong, and what they can’t possibly do but try anyways. You can make tweaks, add new features, and improve documentation. This is what I’ve been doing for the past 11 months at WooThemes and I love it.

Support isn’t a problem you can solve but it is fun to see how much of it you can eliminate with good documentation and self serve tools for your users. With 100,000+ customers at WooThemes every little tweak we can make to our products affects how many tickets we get. That’s why when I heard about SIDEKICK I jumped right in.

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