The plugin WP eCommerce (WPEC) by default provides regions such as states or provinces for only a few countries, for example Canada and the US. This means that for countries like Australia which have no regions in WPEC, the user has to manually type in their state or territory name at checkout.

WPEC Checkout Without State Dropdown

Checkout form without drop down list

The follwing post describes how we added regions for a country not provided for by the WPEC plugin. After these changes have been made we can select the state or territory name from a drop down list at checkout. It also appears to now be possible to set individual state or territory taxes – although we did not explicitly test this as it’s not applicable to the country we are configuring here.

In the example below, we’re adding the eight state and territory regions for Australia to the WPEC plugin. All database queries and updates were performed by logging into our web hosting cPanel and using the phpMyAdmin application to access the database.

(1) The first step is to make a backup of the website database.
The changes below include manual updates to the WPEC database tables so we need to ensure there’s a regression path if something goes wrong.

(2) Find the two digit region codes for the country to be updated.
Some countries have two digit region codes and some don’t seem to. We couldn’t find on the internet any for Australia so we used the 6 digit codes we found eg AUS-NS for New South Wales and just dropped the leading ‘AUS-‘ part.

Using this approach our two character region codes are :-

Australian Capital Territory = CT
New South Wales = NS
Northern Territory = NT
Queensland = QL
South Australia = SA
Tasmania = TS
Victoria = VI
Western Australia = WA

(3) Find out the ‘country ID’ for the country being updated.
Using phpMyAdmin to look in the table wp_wpsc_currency_list shows that the country ID for Australia is 137.

(4) Add the states and territories to the database.
Using phpMyAdmin the table wp_wpsc_region_tax needs to be appended to with 1 new row per state or territory. The table structure is:-

id – an incremental counter (in our installation was currently up to row 64)
country_id – the unique number allocated to each country in WPEC
name – the state name
code – a two digit region code
tax – defaults to 0

We entered data for the 8 new rows manually in alphabetical order (just in case WPEC doesn’t sort the table on selection). Here’s the sql that was generated by phpMyAdmin to add the Australian states and territories to the table.

INSERT INTO `enter-your-database-name-here`.`wp_wpsc_region_tax` (`id`, `country_id`, `name`, `code`, `tax`) VALUES (’65’, ‘137’, ‘Australian Capital Territory’, ‘CT’, ‘0’), (’66’, ‘137’, ‘New South Wales’, ‘NS’, ‘0’), (’67’, ‘137’, ‘Northern Territory’, ‘NT’, ‘0’), (’68’, ‘137’, ‘Queensland’, ‘QL’, ‘0’), (’69’, ‘137’, ‘South Australia’, ‘SA’, ‘0’), (’70’, ‘137’, ‘Tasmania’, ‘TS’, ‘0’), (’71’, ‘137’, ‘Victoria’, ‘VI’, ‘0’), (’72’, ‘137’, ‘Western Australia’, ‘WA’, ‘0’);

(5) Set two flags in the region table so WPEC knows to use the regions.
The wp_wpsc_currency_list table was updated so WPEC will use the new regions.
Changed the field `has_regions` to 1 (was 0)
Changed the field `visible` to 0 (was 1)

(6) Change the layout of the checkout forms so country comes before state.
On the checkout page the billing and shipping addresses usually (by default) show State followed by Country. However, state drop down selection is only available after a country is selected so we reversed those fields. In the WPEC back end (WP Admin, Settings –> Store –> Checkout) we moved the country field up above the state field and saved the change.

(7) Set the tax regions for the updated country.
In Australia the GST tax rate is the same in every state and territory so no region changes were needed in the tax settings. We just needed to save the Tax rate as 10% for ‘All Markets’ in the WPEC backend (WP Admin, Settings –> Store –> Taxes).

After the above changes were made Australian shoppers can now select their state or territory from a dop down list.

WPEC Checkout With State Dropdown

Checkout form with drop down list and Country moved above State

When we first made these changes they didn’t seem to work. Looking at the tables it seems that somehow the `visible` field in table wp_wpsc_currency_list was still set to the old value of 1 (i.e. don’t display). We changed that back to 0 and this time it all worked ok.

Like any change, we didn’t make this to a live system. We created a staging site where the changes were made and tested. They worked for us but that’s no guarantee they’ll work ‘as is’ for everyone. The changes were made and tested on a system running WordPress 4.2.2 and WP eCommerce (WPEC) 3.9.4.

It’s potentially possible our database updates might conflict with a WPEC upgrade at some later point if they (WPEC) decide to add regions for the country we’ve configured. We always test WPEC upgrades in a staging service so any problem should become apparent there and the manual updates removed if necessary.