3 min read

WooCommerce Phone Orders

WooCommerce Phone Orders

It’s a common question: How can I take a manual order in WooCommerce, over the phone? Unfortunately there isn’t a simple option out of the box.

Every piece of software has to make sure their core offering which only includes the essentials. Otherwise we get what we call bloatware. Lots of obfuscating extras.

That’s why they call it the core I guess.

WooCommerce and WordPress have such a strong developer community that this allows for a whole spectrum of extensions to add functionality that is missing.

That said, this is one area of WooCommerce that we think is essential. It would be great to see it added to the core. There is also no single plugin that completely nails this problem down.

However until then, we’re going to list out some solutions to the problem.

So, what’s the big problem?

dog_phone_wooEcommerce companies need to be able to take orders on behalf of customers, normally when a customer phone up.

If you get a customer ring you up wanting to buy a dozen of your widgets, you want your customer services team to say “No Problem Ma’am” and process that order.

Process is the operative word here. We recommend that each ecommerce business has their own manual. This should go hand in hand with setting up your Ecommerce Team. This is one of those items that should be in your manual. So when you get that phone call, the customer service agent can look up what to do and follow it to the T.

That way you have consistency and reliability. The cornerstones for growing your online sales.

How to process these WooCommerce Orders?

First, let me tell you what you should not do.

Do not add orders willy nilly. By that I mean do not just go through the checkout process with whatever account you are logged in as. You will most likely have a shop admin account. There are a few reasons why this is a bad idea:

1. Data mixing

You run the risk of mixing other peoples personal details. So when you checkout the address or phone or email will be populated from the last person. It’s easy to mix these up in the next order. That’s not going to impress your customer.

2. Skewed purchase data

Understanding how your customers shop is essential in making intelligent marketing decisions. If you have hundreds of sales being processed through a single account you have lost that information and you will have a huge anomaly skewing the data you do have.

3. Repeat business

You have lost the opportunity to create an account for the customer. Ideally you can create an account for the customer who can log in, view their order and easily shop again with you.

Best practices for phone orders

As I mentioned above, there isn’t yet a single, perfect solution. However at the time of writing there are two plugins that look like the best option. They are made by the same developer and the comments indicate they are working on lots of new features. I think they will have a successful product if they do.

Adding order for an existing customer

This plugin is perfect for this. The clue is in the name. The plugin is called: Shop as Customer for WooCommerce. This adds the option in the admin bar to visit the site as an existing customer. You can then go through your checkout process on their behalf.

So, if they phone up you can find the product(s) to add, go to checkout and create the order.

Adding WooCommerce Orders Manually

You can also add orders from the backend.

The WooCommerce documentation is an essential place to double check the correct way to use WooCommerce. Here they state the steps to creating a manual order:

  • Go to WooCommerce > Orders
  • Click Add New
  • Set Order Status to Pending
  • Use Order Actions to email the customer an invoice
  • Customer will receive an email linking to the site. From which they will see their pending order and the option to pay.

Adding an order for a new customer

So the above is fine if you have a user added already. But adding a new user can be clunky. You have to go to the users section, add a temporary password, let the customer know this and then, after all that, you have to then create the order.

One word: Faff!

This second plugin is useful for taking orders for new customers without the faff. It lets you create a new user account from within the new order screen. So you can:

  1. Create a new order in the backend
  2. Add a new user from order page
  3. New user is emailed asking them to set up the password
  4. Once order is created an invoice can be sent via email for payment

You can get the plugin from CodeCanyon here: Create Customer on Order for WooCommerce