Garper is a women clothing store in Costa Rica with more than 12 stores throughout Costa Rica .
The company already had a Wordpress website that was developed by another company and they were looking for a development partner to re-theme the website, improve the user experience and fix major issues they were having with the business logic, backend functionality and 3rd party integrations.
The company had an ERP in place managing the inventory, pricing, invoicing, notifications and all the business logic, therefore they were looking to integrate WooCommerce with this ERP.
Challenges Faced in Re-Theming the Online Clothing Store
- ERP third party integration using SOAP as connection protocol. REST was not available.
- None of the product information was going to be created using WordPress Backend. Instead everything including SKU, categories, colors, variations and even images needed to be uploaded remotely through the ERP.
- Selecting the right theme according to the clients requirements. The client didn’t want to invest in Custom Theming or Design.
- Implement Search engine optimization.
- Improve the site performance.
- Payment methods for Costa Rica are limited and the one being used was not working properly.
- Chosen theme presented issues.
Our team did a full integration of WooCommerce with the ERP, the theme was implemented using Elementor. The backend integration was made using custom plugins in charge of inventory updates, new products inserts, products updates, images mapping, categories, tags, colors variations, etc. The integration also sends new orders and order status updates to the ERP. The synchronization process occurs on cron jobs with a very precise run schedule.
For the search engine optimization improvements we implemented the product schema markup. The Yoast approach wasn't good enough because the products were going to be created by a synchronization process using the ERP. So it had to be done developing a custom plugin.
We have to be honest and mention that the theme the customer chose was not what we expected once we looked under the hood. Unfortunately some problems we encountered were hard to foresee.
Fortunately we have a team of well-trained and experienced WordPress developers who quickly adapted and fixed any incompatibility and performance issues the theme may have had.
Performance is always important for any website but especially for an e-commerce site. Roughly this was the strategy we followed:
1. Choose the right hosting.
We moved the site to Siteground which is a great hosting provider we have used for many other sites before. Site speed, performance, security, uptime and support is top.
Siteground provides a Dynamic Caching feature which is a full-page caching mechanism powered by NGINX. It is activated by default on a server level although by using the SG Optimizer plugin we added a major level of FrontEnd optimization by enabling the Minification of HTML, JS and CSS resources added JS and CSS combinations to reduce the numbers of requests to the server.
3. Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
We used CloudFlare. Cloudflare caches all static files (CSS, JS, Images) and serves them from the nearest location. This made a big difference for the site performance because it also adds another level of cache and parallelized resources load.
4. Optimize images
It is always important to use images with the right size everywhere. For that we used custom image sizes that were then interpreted on the theme level.
The SG Optimizer plugin also enables a very convenient way to optimize images generating WebP images for newly uploaded images and a bulk update process for old images that were already uploaded.
We delivered a user-friendly e-commerce website, fully integrated with the client’s ERP and business logic and ready to perform at its best.