Integrating WooCommerce with BuddyPress at BuddyBoss.com
Sep 04 2013 - 4 MINS READ

Prior to launching our mobile BuddyBoss 3.0 theme, we switched our payment system on this website from PHPurchase to WooCommerce, and it has been a pleasure ever since.

I would like to explain why we switched, how we integrated BuddyPress, and what the main benefits have been.


Why we switched to WooCommerce

woocommerce

This website acts as both an eCommerce store and a social network. We have customers who purchase the BuddyBoss theme on our website via WooCommerce, who then go on to ask questions and suggest features in our support forums – using a combination of BuddyPress for the community functionality and bbPress for the forums.

The Problem

In the past we had a fairly significant problem. We were using an old eCommerce plugin called PHPurchase. When customers bought the BuddyBoss theme via PHPurchase they would not get a user account associated with their purchase. These customers wanted to access our support forums, so they would create a new BuddyPress profile that had no absolutely no association with their purchase. We obviously needed a better method. Our ideal shopping cart plugin would be able to create a WordPress user during checkout, and would allow that user to log into his or her BuddyPress profile to quickly access their purchase histories and product download links.

The Solution

We had been looking at WooCommerce for some time and decided to finally make the switch. Now, new customers automatically get a BuddyPress account created as soon as they make a purchase. If they already have a BuddyPress profile, they can make new purchases while logged in. At any time they can log in and download their purchases from within their BuddyPress profiles. We were able to configure all of this via WooCommerce and its extensions.


How we switched to WooCommerce

We’ll be writing up detailed tutorials and videos soon about how to integrate WooCommerce with your own BuddyPress sites, but for now I will provide a brief overview. We were able to set up the basics within a day, and as we’ve worked more with WooCommerce we’ve been pleased to find out how powerful and extendable it is. We liked it so much that we decided to build in out-of-the-box support for the plugin in BuddyBoss 3.0.

Installing WooCommerce

The initial install was actually incredibly easy. We just downloaded free WooCommerce plugin from the WordPress plugins directory, and then configured it to our liking. It allowed us to set up virtual downloads, coupon codes, and to link multiple downloads to a single order. Linking multiple downloads to one order was particularly useful, as we package a child theme with the BuddyBoss purchase now.

woocommerce-settings

Integrating with BuddyPress

Part of what makes WooCommerce so powerful is that it has its own ecosystem of extensions to the plugin, much like BuddyPress. There are over 270 extensions, some available at their official marketplace and some sold by 3rd parties.

One very useful 3rd party extension, built by ThemeKraft, is called WooCommerce for BuddyPress. This plugin allows you to integrate WooCommerce purchases with your BuddyPress user profiles. Then any user who has made a purchase can log into the site and see their purchase history, and even download the product right in their purchase history. On BuddyBoss.com we have integrated this via the “My Downloads” link at the top of the page, if you are logged in. See screenshot →

Allowing users to pay on-site via PayPal

WooCommerce supports out-of-the-box integration with PayPal, but users get sent over to PayPal to make the purchase. We wanted users to be able to make their purchases on-site using either a PayPal account or a credit card. Easy enough. We just purchased and configured the WooCommerce PayPal Pro payment gateway plugin. WooCommerce has an entire system for managing payment gateways and you can purchase plugins for integration with all of the major payment gateways.

Migrating old customer data

Currently our old customers are still using the PHPurchase system. But we will soon migrate all of the old purchase data into WooCommerce. Luckily they have made that easy too, with their Customer/Order/Coupon CSV Import Suite.


Why I recommend WooCommerce

Basically, I think WooCommerce is a boss plugin. It has officially made it to the list of my favorite plugins right up there with BuddyPress, bbPress, and Gravity Forms. What do these plugins all have in common? They’re all incredibly powerful, mature, well-documented, and have ecosystems of 3rd party plugins to extend their functionality. These are the core plugins I would recommend for most business-oriented community sites.

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