Posts

The new Aelia website is live, and we have great news!

We launched our new website, with a new look and new features

At the beginning of October 2021, we went live with a new website, completely redesigned. The work took significantly longer than we expected, but the important thing is that we finally made it. The new website has a more modern look, a colour scheme that’s easier on the eyes, and it’s also significantly faster. Our tests indicate that it’s up to 30% faster than the previous one, but we will still work to optimise it, to offer you the best experience.

In addition to the look, we made an important change to how we distribute our products. We partnered with our friends at Freemius, and moved all our solutions to their platform. From now on, the Freemius service will take care of handling sales, licensing and distribution for all the Aelia plugins, giving us more time to focus on improving the solution that our customers grew up to know and trust over the years.

The advantages for our visitors and customers

The series of improvements we applied to our site will bring significant advantages. It would take time to list every single change, therefore we prepared a short summary, for your convenience.

New design

We improved the look of the website, using softer colours. This will make it easier to navigate the content and find the information you need. The new layout also includes better support for mobile devices. Mobile browsing is a key aspect of the Internet and, although most of our visitors and customers reach our site via a desktop, we wanted to cater to our “mobile friends” as well. As a further cosmetic touch, we replaced the old, ugly icons with much better ones.

Freemius integration

We moved all our products to an external service, called Freemius, to offer you a better user experience, right from the moment you choose to purchase one of our solutions. To explain the reason behind this decision, we would like to share a bit of “background story”.

As soon as we launched our first premium product, the Aelia Currency Switcher for WooCommerce, we faced a challenge that turned out to be harder than we thought. It was 2013, and neither WordPress, nor WooCommerce offered a reliable, scalable solution to manage software licences and distribute updates for our products. We tested some of the available plugins, but none of them worked too well for us. In some cases, we even received a disgruntled response from the author of a plugin, when we asked about the feature set, so that was a clear roadblock.

Our first solution – The Aelia Licensing System

Due to the lack of a suitable solution, we opted to implement our own licensing system, starting from scratch. For the last couple of years, our Aelia Licensing System has been handling licences and serving automatic updates to thousands of our customers. This worked fine for us, until we had to face some important challenges:

  1. When we first designed our licensing system, we deliberately left renewals as a manual operation, because that was what our customers asked. That request changed fairly quickly, and nowadays most of our customers would like to have licences that renew automatically.
  2. Our customer base grew faster than we expected. Our in-house licensing system, which was still working fine, risked not to be able to handle all the traffic it received.
  3. An increasing number of our customers asked us to provide trial versions of our products. We are not fans of the idea of offering limited versions of plugins, that don’t reflect the true capabilities of the paid product, therefore we had to find a way to implement some sort of “time limited trial”.
  4. In 2021, Brexit finally became effective, introducing new rules to sell to UK consumers (i.e. customers who are not registered for VAT). Merchants are required to charge VAT to all UK customers who don’t have a valid UK VAT number. At the same time, the same merchants can’t charge VAT unless they have a UK VAT number, which we don’t have. Registering for VAT in the UK would have introduced a significant amount administrative costs, that we could not sustain. Due to that, the only viable option left to us was to block sales to UK consumers. Needless to say, this caused us to be unable to offer our products to such customers.

Our new choice – Freemius

With so many different aspects to handle, we realised that we could not longer rely on our own resources. Due to that, we tested the Freemius platform, and found that it allowed us to address all the above, automatically. Their service handles automatic renewals, is fast, and it can serve customers from the EU, the UK and abroad. This allows us to reach a broader audience, remain fully compliant with VAT regulations and save a significant amount of paperwork.

The Freemius platform offers our customers a modern, responsive and performing user interface. Thanks to that, our clients can find what they need, quickly and easily. On top of that, the work we did for the integration can also benefit our fellow developers!

If you’re a plugin developer interested in Freemius, we have something for you

The Freemius platform offers a simple integration guide. We could have just followed the instructions anded add a purchase link on our website, manually, on each product page. However, as Engineers, we like to automate these aspects, so we came up with a solution. We prepared a Freemius Integration plugin , which allows to link a WooCommerce shop to the Freemius service. Some of the key features:

  1. Manage product prices, from WooCommerce, and update them in Freemius automatically. This feature also works with WooCommerce’s variations to allow you to configure as many prices as you like, in any combination. For example, you can create monthly, annual, lifetime payment options, for one site, or multiple sites, and link each one to a variation.
  2. Manage and synchronise product prices in multiple currencies. The Freemius Integration is also fully compatible with our Aelia Currency Switcher. This feature allows you to synchronise, and keep up to date, the product prices all the currencies supported by Freemius. You can enter the prices manually, directly in WooCommerce. or let them be updated automatically whenever exchange rates change.
  3. Display a smart widget to allow your customers to purchase your products. You can use the shortcode provided by the Freemius Integration and let it take care of showing the available options, with each price, to your prospective customers. Simp
  4. ly drop the shortcode anywhere you like, and it will display a user friendly purchase interface to your customers.

If you wish to see the Freemius Integration in action, you can simply visit one of our product pages. You can find the purchase widget towards the bottom of the page, or simply click on the “buy plugin” button to scroll right down to it.

Interested in the Freemius Integration for WooCommerce?

If you would like to know more about the Freemius Integration for WooCommerce, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to share more details about it, and collect your feedback and feature requests, in preparation for its release to the public.

 

Happy new year! Time to update VAT rate for Romania

Happy new year to you all! We hope you had some great Christmas time, and that you are ready for a great 2017. Considering how 2016 went, it can only get better!

The new year starts with a good news for our Romanian friends. As announced last year, the Romanian government reduced the standard VAT rate from 20% to 19%, from the 1st January 2017.

This means that your products will be slightly cheaper. It would be a good idea to update your tax settings as soon as possible.

How to update the tax rates

Updating tax rates is a simple operation:

  1. Go to WordPress Admin > WooCommerce > Settings > Tax.
  2. Click on the tax rate you would like to update (e.g. “Standard“), at the top of the page.
  3. Change the rate in the row with the country code “RO” to “19”.
  4. If needed, update the tax rate description.
  5. Save the changes.

Now all that’s left is double checking that all tax rates are correct. Our plugin updates the rates related to EU countries, therefore you will have to check the rates that refer to countries outside the European Union. If you don’t have any, then you’re done. WooCommerce will now use the new rates for orders placed from now on, and our plugin will collect the tax data automatically.

Again, best wishes for an incredible 2017 from the Aelia Team. May the new year be full of joy and, of course, business opportunities!

The Aelia Team

EU VAT rate update – Greece

We have recently been informed that the standard VAT rate for Greece was changed on the 1st June 2016, from 23% to 24%. Some changes were made to reduced VAT rates as well.

We would recommend to take the opportunity to update the VAT rates configured in your system, to make sure that you are using the correct ones.

How to update the tax rates

Updating tax rates is a simple operation:

  1. Go to WordPress Admin > WooCommerce > Settings > Tax.
  2. Click on the tax rate you would like to update (e.g. “Standard“), at the top of the page.
  3. Change the rate in the row with the country code “GR” to “24”.
  4. Save the changes.

If you are using our EU VAT Assistant plugin, you can update all EU tax rates with a single click. Simply select the rate type at the bottom of the page and click on Update EU VAT Rates. Make sure that you select the appropriate rates (Standard or Reduced), the plugin will do the rest.

WooCommerce Tax Rates Settings - Screenshot

With our EU VAT Assistant you can update all VAT rates with a single click

Once the operation is completed, review the tax rates, to ensure that they are correct, and click on Save Changes. WooCommerce will now use the new rates.

Quick and easy! 🙂

The Aelia Team

Remember to update your EU VAT rates!

If you didn’t do it already, it’s time to update the VAT rates on your system. From the 1st of January 2016, Romania cut its standard VAT rate from 24% to 20%. This quite good news, as the change will make your products cheaper to your Romanian customers, therefore we would recommend to update your tax settings as soon as possible.

How to update the tax rates

Updating tax rates is a simple operation:

  1. Go to WordPress Admin > WooCommerce > Settings > Tax.
  2. Click on the tax rate you would like to update (e.g. “Standard“), at the top of the page.
  3. Change the rate in the row with the country code “RO” to “20”.
  4. Save the changes.

If you are using our popular EU VAT Assistant, you can also refresh all EU tax rates with a single click. Simply select the rate type at the bottom of the page and click on Update EU VAT Rates.

WooCommerce Tax Rates Settings - Screenshot

With our EU VAT Assistant you can update all VAT rates with a single click

All tax rates will be updated automatically to their most recent value. No risk to forgetting any of them behind!

Now all that’s left is double checking that all tax rates are correct. Our plugin updates the rates related to EU countries, therefore you will have to review the rates that refer to countries outside the European Union. If you don’t have any, then you’re done. WooCommerce will now use the new rates for orders placed from now on, and our plugin will collect the tax data automatically.

It couldn’t be easier! 🙂

The Aelia Team

Prices by Country now allows regional sale restrictions!

Prices by Country can now restrict sales per region

We have released an update for our WooCommerce Prices By Country plugin (one week ahead of schedule), with the new selective availability feature. The plugin now allows you to make products unavailable for specific regions, while leaving them available for other regions.

Rather than writing a long explanation on how this feature works, we prepared some screenshots that can quickly illustrate it.

Products’ regional availability

Great feature! How can I get it?

The feature is already included in the latest version of the Prices by Country plugin. If you have already purchased it, simply download the updated plugin using the link you received with your order. If you don’t have the plugin yet, you can buy it now. Don’t forget to use our New Year discount coupon to get 15% off the price!

Prices by Country plugin will support selective availability

Selective availability for products is coming!

We are extending our Prices by Country plugin for WooCommerce so that it will allow to make products unavailable for specific region. This new feature will finally allow shop owners to make some products available only to specific countries, while still allowing customers to buy other ones.

A creative use of this feature would be the creation of split and mixed catalogues. For example, a shop could be configured as follows:

  • Product A, B, and C available to Europe.
  • Product X, Y and Z available to the US and Canada.
  • Product Common1, Common2 and Common3 available to all regions.

With such setup, visitors from Europe will see all Common products and products A, B and C, while visitors from the US and Canada would see all Common products and products X, Y and Z.

Another use of such feature would be restricting the sale of some products to customers within the European union, to avoid having to deal with the new EU VAT MOSS regulations. Simply configure a region containing all EU countries (except your own, if you live in the EU) and customers from the EU won’t be able to purchase the “unavailable” products. Of course, if you would rather become fully compliant, our free, premium WooCommerce EU VAT Assistant plugin can help!

Sneak peek

The selective availability feature is still in active development, but here are a few preview screenshots to give you an idea of how it will work:

I can’t wait to use the feature! What’s the progress?

The feature is now working correctly for simple products, and we will have to implement it for variable products. We hope to release it officially by the 15th of January. Of course, feedback and suggestions are always welcome! If you would like to drop us a line, please feel free to contact us.

The Aelia Team