5 Awesome Hacks for Smart WooCommerce Order Management
“Order and simplification are the first steps towards mastery of a subject” - Thomas Mann.
Without order, there would be nothing but chaos. That’s almost certainly a quote from some scholar out there, but regardless of who uttered the phrase first, chaos will consume any business that doesn’t have their affairs in order.
Coordinating a business, especially a product-making e-commerce business, is a difficult gig. This is not including receiving sales and fulfilling orders.
You might be questioning that statement, “Someone’s running a business, and they’re not prepared for sales? Preposterous!”
But, your WooCommerce order management can quickly get out of control if you don’t have the back-end in place to support your growing business.
Let’s take a step back from the National Geographical-esque use of language above and be less intimidating.
Your business is set up, you’re smashing your marketing tactics, and the sales are coming in. But then they start flooding in, and before you know it, you’re swamped and struggling to stay on top of your orders.
That’s why we’ve put together this article to help you understand how WooCommerce order management works, five hacks you can use to make your e-commerce store perform better, and the plugins available to help you get it all under control to take your modern manufacturing business to the next level.
So, let's delve in and become the lion tamers of the WooCommerce order management world.
PRO TIP: WooCommerce order management is just the surface of your product-making business. If you want to fully optimize your WooCommerce store, you’re going to have to dive deeper into The Mariana Trench of the manufacturing world. Check out our article on WooCommerce inventory management to see how you can improve your manufacturing processes.
What Is WooCommerce Order Management
WooCommerce order management is the process of tracking orders from creation to getting it out of your business’s door. Management includes everything involved in the orders lifecycle such as the people, processes, and data connected to the order, covering:
— Inventory availability;
— Inventory promising;
— Fulfillment; and
— Any services you offer.
As you can already imagine, WooCommerce order management can quickly become difficult when handling a huge number of sales and distribution channels when taking a multichannel or an omnichannel approach.
PRO TIP: Obviously, your distribution channels and WooCommerce order management will be affected by how efficiently you handle your inventory keeping. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide on how to devise a simple inventory system for small business which will help you enhance your store’s performance.
So that’s the simplistic way of describing what order management on WooCommerce is. But, let’s jump into the nitty-gritty and find out exactly how it works.
How WooCommerce Order Management Works
First things first, you can view your WooCommerce order management screen by accessing your WordPress dashboard and selecting the WooCommerce plugin:
WooCommerce > Orders
Here is where you can find all the relevant information related to your WooCommerce orders. WooCommerce orders are generated when a customer finishes a checkout process.
Admins and Shop Managers with access to WooCommerce will be able to see all this information, and each of these orders is given a unique Order ID.
Within the WooCommerce order management screen, you can see the status of orders.
The statuses are color-coded by grey, green or red. However, an orders status can be:
— Pending payment;
— Cancelled; or
On top of being able to find the order status, you can also find the order number, customer name, date of purchase, shipping address, and the purchase total.
However, you’re able to edit the amount of information displayed on the WooCommerce order management screen.
You can do this by selecting the Screen Options and clicking which columns and how many of your items you want to be displayed on each page.
Just be sure to click Apply once you’re done.
If you need to search for a particular order, you can easily do so by using the filter feature by searching dates or customers.
You can easily arrange your orders in ascending or descending by the Order, Date or the Total amount by clicking on the heading.
Finally, at the end of the row regarding order information, you can find a shortcut to quickly mark orders as Processing or Complete.
So that's how you navigate the WooCommerce order management screen.
It should be quickly mentioned that if you wish to see more information on your order, without going into it, there is a Preview button which will open a pop-up window, so you can get extra information.
But as mentioned, either through the Preview window or by clicking on the order number/customer name, you’re able to edit order details, update the status of an order, and add notes.
The Order Data panel (accessible by selecting the order number or customer name) allows you to modify the order status, change a customer's order note, and change the user to which the order is assigned to.
But, to be able to edit the order, the Order Status must first be set to On Hold or Pending Payment.
From the Single Order page you can also edit your:
— Order status;
— Edit order items (change the product, prices, and taxes);
— Stock levels;
— Order actions (for example, you need to email order details to a customer because you’re manually creating an order for your customer);
— Modify product information;
— Apply coupons; and
— Add fees (such as delivery).
The Order Items panel on the WooCommerce order management screen gives you a list of the ordered items, including their quantities and prices.
In this panel, you will also be able to edit:
— Tax class;
— Line subtotal;
— Line total;
— Add product information; and
— The sorting.
You can also go ahead and add any additional fees for items by selecting Add Fee and entering the fee name, tax status, and amount.
Once you have entered the values in yourself, in the Order Total panel WooCommerce will automatically calculate (in most cases, but we’ll specify where it doesn’t) the Orders Total by comprising:
— Cart discounts;
— Order discount (needs to be input manually);
— Shipping costs (excluding tax);
— Shipping method;
— Cart tax;
— Shipping tax;
— Order total; and
— Payment method (including the name of the payment method used).
Finally, in WooCommerce order management there is a feature which allows you to leave notes on orders.
Very handy for:
— Storing event details;
— Recording payment results;
— Keeping track of stock levels; and
— Sending updates to customers.
The cool thing is these notes can be either for private use for notifying staff of any changes, or a note which will send a customer an email to let them know something specific about the order (like leaving them a tracking number so they can follow the delivery).
To do this, enter the note panel, then select:
Note to Customer > Add.
As you can imagine, this is a very useful feature for everyone to keep track of any changes which might occur during manufacturing or shipping.
This all might appear to be daunting but navigating and using the WooCommerce order management screen isn’t as intimidating as it might appear in this article, this is just simply how the system works.
However, we’d recommend checking out the WooCommerce document on managing orders if you want to learn more about how to:
--Add an order manually;
--How paying for an order works;
--Removing personal data; and
--Viewing multi-site orders.
Alternatively, check out the below video detailing the streamlined simplicity of handling the WooCommerce order management system.
Is your brain melting yet?
The above was a complete breakdown of WooCommerce order management. However, it’s really not that complicated.
But if you want to get the most out of your order management, you need to know how it works in WooCommerce before you start improving.
So, now you understand how it works, here are five hacks you can use to take your business to the next level.
Five Hacks to Improve Your WooCommerce Order Management
1. Better Communication
A quick way to improve your WooCommerce order management is by making sure you, and your customers, have a clear line of communication. You can easily do this by using the notes feature within WooCommerce.
However, to improve your internal channels of communication, you can implement a collaboration software tool like Slack, which can help you message team members, create project channels, and securely share important documents.
2. Avoid Stockouts
Stockouts means only one thing for your business, trouble!
You can improve your WooCommerce order management by taking the time to calculate your manufacturing lead time to stay ahead of you depleting inventory levels.
Alternatively, simply keeping safety stock can help you avoid stockouts by creating a buffer in your inventory.
3. Self Service
The last thing you want is to wake up in the morning to find a message from a customer asking for help but are now gone forever since they didn’t want to wait around.
By having a slick website design and implementing chatbots to take over during your bedtime, you can improve the customer’s experience, making it easy for them to place an order and for you to fulfill their order once you’re back online.
You might be thinking this, and the previous point, is more of a brand issue or a customer service problem. However, being transparent with your customers helps build trust, and even creates a narrative for your company, making their shopping experience more engaging.
5. Don’t Hate, Appreciate, and Automate!
If you want to smoothly and efficiently improve your WooCommerce order management, the best way to do so is to find a 3rd party tool with the ability to integrate with WooCommerce.
Just like using a collaboration software tool or a chatbot, by using a cloud manufacturing software you can turn your humble workshop into a modern manufacturing powerhouse by centralizing your WooCommerce order management, manufacturing, and floor-level management.
So, what should you be looking for when choosing WooCommerce order management and inventory system?
The Best WooCommerce Inventory Management Plugin
Katana is a WooCommerce inventory management plugin which has been built by manufacturers, for manufacturers.
By understanding the requirements behind running a modern product-making business, Katana is designed to go beyond just being an inventory management system, but is built to integrate with and support your WooCommerce order management.
But how does it do this?
1. Tracks Your Finished Products & Material Availability
Katana automatically takes your available goods and materials, and allocates them to production and sales orders, giving you an up to date, autonomous stock count in real-time.
So, if an order comes in, Katana will immediately let you know if you have the goods or material to fulfill the order, greatly improving your WooCommerce order management by being able to get products dispatched as soon as possible.
2. Stores Your Bill of Materials (Product Recipes)
Have your bill of materials for each product and product variant saved in one place. Best of all, Katana will automatically make inventory adjustments, calculate your manufacturing costs, and give you current stock readings of material availability based on your BOMs.
3. Uses a Priority-Based Production Planning System
Your WooCommerce order management couldn’t be any simpler with our innovative drag-and-drop feature that allows you to prioritize your orders. Better still, Katana automatically redistributes finished goods and raw material based on the new workflow, so you can finish those all-important orders and never miss a deadline.
4. Gives You Multichannel Sales Support
Most product-making businesses leverage their online (and offline) presence by selling through different channels. With Katana, you can manage multiple sales channels and inventory, all from one dashboard.
5. Allows for Improved Manufacturing Floor-Level Control
You can create a prioritized task list for all your team members and workstations. This allows you and any employees to know exactly what tasks need to be completed. Also, you can get an overview of a production's status, as tasks can be set to start, in progress or complete.
6. Automatically Calculates Your Manufacturing Costs
Finally, to make your WooCommerce order management truly automated, Katana automatically calculates your manufacturing costs based on your BOMs and production operations defined for a specific product.
If you’re more of a visual learner, feel free to check out our in-depth tour of Katana below:
Understanding how WooCommerce order management works is one thing, but learning how to optimize your order management process is another!
Following the five hacks listed above in this article is certainly going to help you get more control over your orders. However, if you decide to continue without implementing a WooCommerce order management plugin, you’re going to find that optimizing your businesses performance is an uphill struggle.
Smart Workshop Software has been made specifically in mind for product-making businesses selling direct to consumer, to centralize their entire business into one, easy-to-understand, visual dashboard.
Why not take it out for a test drive? Katana offers a 14-day free trial, so you can connect your WooCommerce store and see for yourself how it can give you the breathing space to scale your business.
And that’s it for today! We hope you found this article on WooCommerce order management useful, and as always, feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.
Until next time, happy manufacturing.