WP e-Commerce PDF Invoice 125

UPDATE 06/07/2015: This plugin is no longer being maintained by the developer. It does not appear to work at later versions of WordPress/WPEC so you will need to find an alternative invoicing plugin.

Following on from our previous post on the WP e-Commerce PDF Invoice 1.2.3 plugin we recently installed version 1.2.5.3 on a client site. The reason for our upgrade to 1.2.5.3 is that 1.2.3 of the invoicing plugin does not work at WP e-Commerce version 3.8.8.3. Here are our early impressions of this latest version of the plugin.

WordPress Version: 3.4.1
WP e-Commerce: 3.8.8.3
WP e-Commerce PDF Invoice Version: 1.2.5.3.1
Plugin Author: http://www.split-moon.com/

PDF Invoices for WP e-Commerce 1.2.5.3.1

Installation and setup are basically the same so see our previous post for those details. There is one new Option avaialable in the settings that allows automatic sending of invoices to be restricted to paid orders.

The following changes in the latest version of the plugin have been found:

Pros.
(1) Support for WordPress 3.4.1
(2) The invoice layout has been updated. The key update for us was the inclusion of unit pricing which means we don’t need to customise the invoice any more. SKU reporting is now included and it appears that the individual product level Tax reporting has been removed (although that might be dependent on whether Tax is turned on in your WPEC setup).
(3) The Footer Text input box now supports HTML. We tested it with basic HTML only – font resizing, line breaks, bold.
(4) On previous version we had an issue uploading a logo and having it appear on the invoice. This problem did not occur at this later version of the plugin.

Cons:
(1) The subject line for the automatic customer emails includes the words ‘Tax Invoice’ but our client is not GST reistered at this time so we had to remove the word ‘Tax’.
(2) In the body of the customer email its says “Thank you for shopping at Split Moon!” not the shop/sites own name. This can be changed by editing the language file.

As in previous versions of the WP e-Commerce PDF Invoice plugin we disabled all automatic sending of invoices as our client manually sends personalised emails.

WP e-Commerce PDF Invoice Review

UPDATE 06/07/2015: This plugin is no longer being maintained by the developer. It does not appear to work at later versions of WordPress/WPEC so you will need to find an alternative invoicing plugin.

WordPress Version: 3.3.1
WP e-Commerce PDF Invoice Version: 1.2.3
Plugin Author: http://www.split-moon.com/

Review:

PDF Invoices for WP e-Commerce

The WP e-Commerce (WPEC) plugin despite being a feature packed plugin does have some missing functionality. This provides an opportunity for 3rd party developers to produce plugins to fill in the blanks (so to speak).

One area of missing functionality is in producing customer invoices. The closest thing to an invoice that WPEC has is the packing slip but it’s very basic in it’s presentation. It is however the only emailable document that WPEC produces with the correct details on it – the auto generated emails WPEC sends currently exclude Tax/Shipping – UPDATE: Tax and shipping can be added to WPEC emails at 3.8.7.6.2.

Installation:
WP e-Commerce PDF Invoice is a premium plugin so you need to purchase a copy from the developer to receive a download link. Once downloaded the plugin can be installed in WP using the usual zip unload function.

Options:
After installing and activating PDF Invoices it’s Options page can be found in the WPEC Products menu. In addition to supplying contact details you can add persoanlsed text to the invoice footer and importantly can add your company logo.

Using It:
The sales log pages of WPEC will now show “Download Invoice” and “Send Invoice to customer” links. I only use “Download Invoice” and send it with a personalised email which affords me the option to add specials/updates/banners to the email if I wish.

Support:
The plugin developer is active in supporting users of his plugin.

Why buy an Invoicing plugin:
I believe it’s crtical that I provide my customers with professional looking invoices which have all the correct details on them and WPEC does not provide this functionality. Additionally, as an ecommerce retailer every email I send is an opportunity to market and build my brand so the addition of having my own logo on my invoices is essential. After having previously been hand-writing my invoices this plugin has halved the amount of time I spend processing my orders and reduced my invoice error rate (typo’s/cut/paste mistakes etc) to zero.

Competition:
There are other 3rd party WPEC invoicing plugins available. The other one I looked at was from Visser Labs. I chose PDF Invoices from Split Moon for the reason that I like that the Billing and Shipping sections were side-by-side whereas Printable Invoices from Visser Labs has them stacked on top of each other.

Enhancements:
Here’s a few suggestions I think would improve the PDF Invoices plugin in later releases.
(1) Include the Invoice number in the Subject of auto generated emails.
(2) If the WPEC order status is Accepted Payment or higher then include the word PAID in large caps on the invoice.
(3) Allow the use of HTML in the footer text field.
(4) Provide an option to turn on/off automatic emails.
(5) Include an option to setup the body text for the automatic emails.

My experience:
The PDF Invoices plugin is easy to install and use so I’m happy to recommend it.

There have been a couple of things I’ve contacted the developer about and he’s been quick to respond with solutions. I encountered issues with uploading my logo and getting it to appear on my invoices. The former is fixed at version 1.2.3. The latter required a simple one word code change and is not a problem for everybody – it depends on your web hosting. In the plugin I commented out the filter which enables automatic sending of invoices as I like to send personalised emails.