The Dorothy & Theodore team approached me with an existing multi-vendor marketplace website built on the CS Cart platform. They were having difficulties with a few technical things but making no progress on getting them fixed. After chatting about their problems, and their ongoing requirements, we put together a re-platforming plan to move the site away from CS Cart and across to WordPress and WooCommerce, utilising an existing WordPress plugin to provide the required marketplace functionality.
Taking advantage of the platform migration, the Dorothy & Theodore team also opted for a redesign. We designed a fresh new WordPress theme to accompany the WooCommerce development, featuring existing branding assets and colours but with a more consistent look and feel across the site; the redesign brought together both the e-commerce and community/blog elements, solidifying the browsing and buying experience as one continuous journey.
Migrating from CS Cart to WordPress wasn’t without its pitfalls. CS Cart repeatedly fell over when we tried to extract vendor and product data from it, which left us having to export information in tiny batches bit by bit. To process this data in a format that WordPress, WooCommerce and the multi-vendor platform understood meant writing a custom import utility and gradually feeding our data in.
To give the same level of product customisation to customers that the vendors were used to and expected from WordPress, I wrote a bespoke WooCommerce add-on to provide the ability to create “custom fields” on products, allowing them to choose product personalisation options that were independent from price-affecting WooCommerce-based variations.
Late in the development I realised that the multi-vendor platform we’d chosen was impacting upon WooCommerce filters, preventing the bespoke personalisation functionality from working, so re-platformed again to an alternative multi-vendor solution. This additional work meant the project didn’t meet its original deadline, but overall gave a much better experience for the vendor, the customer and the admin team and meant the bespoke WooCommerce plugin development worked as it was supposed to – a worthy trade-off.