WooCommerce Is Open Source
The biggest benefit of using the WooCommerce platform is that it is open source and there are a large number of plugins available for it. IT experts can build a fairly robust eCommerce solution without generating a ton of software costs using Wordpress, free or inexpensive plugins and other open source materials. WooCommerce offers flexibility, versatility, hundreds of extensions, analytics tools and tutorials.  However, B2B websites, storefronts, marketplaces, etc. typically have different needs than retailers such as quantity-based pricing, multi-location inventory, warehousing, creating pick tickets, group discounts, and customer-specific pricing. Some actions can’t be completed automatically without approval based on credit history, customizations and approvals from multiple decision-makers. That’s why integrating software and WooCommerce is so important. This strategy automates many business processes, speeds completion of transactions and triggers automated alerts to staff members who must approve certain sales, returns and quotes.
What Makes WooCommerce Integration Possible?
Clarity has their own integration platform, called Clarity Connect, that we’ve used for many years to integrate hundreds of back-office applications and databases with our Clarity eCommerce platform for our B2B customers. Until now, WooCommerce didn’t have enough modules and functionality to be customized to the level that a typical B2B client would need. But with the addition of new functionality and the many 3rd party plugins that are now available, Clarity’s had a number of clients with some pretty heavily customized WooCommerce installations that wanted to integrate to their back-office line of business apps. So Clarity wrote a WooCommerce Integration Connector, which talks directly to the WooCommerce API. With that in place, a WooCommerce integrated solution, using Clarity Connect, can now speak to virtually any and all ERPs, CRMs, EHRs, databases, EDI interfaces and much more. On one such recent project, a Clarity client had tried unsuccessfully to integrate any of their web properties to Epicor Eagle, with a significant portion of that caused by the lack of technical documentation and support from Epicor. Clarity’s background with Epicor and integration platform allowed us to create an Epicor Connector, paired with the WooCommerce connector, which created a single integrated B2B solution. Their WooCommerce front-end can now allow users to view and split ship products to multiple locations, while the back-end can now properly route each item within an order to the closest fulfillment location, automatically calculating individual shipping for each line item, something that they’ve been unable to do for years.
What Can We Do With the WooCommerce Integration Connector?
The WooCommerce API is a fully integrated-with-WordPress REST API. The Clarity Connect WooCommerce connector integrates with exposed endpoints, or functionality, that we can call from outside the WooCommerce system to create, read, update and delete information using a JSON format over REST API Authentication methods or calls. Endpoint calls may be over HTTP or HTTPS, but you must be on WordPress 4.4 or higher, WooCommerce 2.6 or higher and change the default Permalinks setting in WordPress so that custom endpoints are supported.
With the above environment, the WooCommerce API and Clarity connector provides us access to most data within the system (i.e. coupons, customers, orders, refunds, products, variations, attributes, categories, shipping classes, tags, reports, tax rates, and more). This means that we can push orders automatically into your fulfillment process, as well as web-initiated refunds and much, much more. As you can see from this list above, there are a number of key items missing, such as inventory, locations, payment terms, tiered pricing, etc. which are usual fields needed for most B2B implementations. Most of these custom fields need to be added to WooCommerce via a 3rd party plugin that would provide that B2B functionality. From there, we can use the webhook endpoint exposed by the API to access that new information in the database and pass it back and forth to the back-office application and business process. This means that we can do real-time inventory validation, split shipping, location-based shipping estimates and inventory, multi-tiered pricing for customer types and much more.