To say that WooCommerce has been widely successful would be a gross understatement. There are currently over 4 million active WooCommerce stores, accounting for 30% of all online stores. There are several reasons why WooCommerce enjoys the success it has. It’s easy to set up and manage, fully customizable, and seamlessly integrates with other solutions and services.
In many of the environments in which it is installed, WooCommerce tends to play a central role. Because of this, its effective and proper administration is of the utmost importance. While managing WooCommerce, the infrastructure it relies upon, and the team that makes it work, is undoubtedly a multi-faceted approach. However, one tool that often does not get all of the love it deserves is activity logging. And for those who maintain sites for clients, it’s even more critical.
What is an activity log?
An activity log is a time-stamped chronicle of activities and events that have taken place on a system. In this case, the system is WooCommerce. The activity log on a WordPress website reflects users’ activity as they interact with the system. It also includes system activity as it runs updates and any such tasks.
Why track WooCommerce store and product activity?
As mentioned earlier, WooCommerce tends to play a pivotal role in the environments in which it is installed. Due to its importance and the fact that usually there is a team of people maintaining and managing the store and products, having the proper checks and balances in place can help you make sure that your e-commerce store remains stable, operational, and profitable.
Activity logs offer administrators numerous advantages. They can help you implement security and accountability controls while ensuring enough oversight to catch mistakes and issues early on.
While there are many different approaches a business can take to become a success, accountability is one characteristic that’s always going to be at the top of the list. This is often misconstrued as directing blame. In reality, however, it means empowering people to make the right decisions for the business. At the same time, it allows them to learn from experiences and become more productive and efficient at what they do.
Keeping a log of WooCommerce user activity can help you implement quality control and oversight mechanisms to catch mistakes early on. In return, this limits the potential fallout of any user errors. It also makes it easier to train new users and assign supervisor duties to team members, freeing up your time to focus on other business areas.
The adage that the customer is always right does not necessarily apply in every situation. This is especially true for e-commerce stores, which are open to shoppers from all around the world. Instances of fraud can be pretty common and can cost you a lot of money. In fact, according to a Shift report, in 2018 alone, some $24.26 billion was lost due to fraud.
Fraudsters will always find creative ways to defraud online shops, which is why a comprehensive toolset is always going to work best. Logs are one such tool, tracking logged customer activity, including any changes to accounts, orders, and other important elements.
Compliance with regulatory requirements such as PCI DSS and GDPR is beyond critical. Failure to comply can result in fines and loss of trust, with severe consequences for your e-commerce business.
In this regard, activity logging can help you reach and maintain compliance by recording system and file changes as part of a comprehensive vulnerability management program. Such a program is generally seen as crucial to maintaining secure systems and applications, which itself is a hard requirement for PCI compliance.
In many ways, your WooCommerce store settings shape how you do business. From payment gateways and taxes to shipping and everything in between – store configurations play an essential role in helping you reach your targets. Due to this fact, keeping tabs on any changes is critical.
Whether a payment gateway has been removed, tax rates changed, or any other important settings, having a record that tells you who changed what can help you ensure enough traceability throughout the organization.
Products and services on offer are perhaps one of the most critical components of an eCommerce website. After all, it’s hardly worth keeping an online shop active if there is nothing to sell. As such, keeping track of changes to products and services sold on your online store can help you make sure you see the bigger picture. It can also help you catch mistakes early before they become too costly.
It’s essential to know about changes such as price updates as soon as possible, which is why activity log plugins such as WP Activity Log can also send you alerts via email or SMS so that you’re notified instantly.
A comprehensive security policy goes beyond fraud prevention. After all, there are other areas of concern that need to be managed to avoid unauthorized access. While no security policy is ever going to be 100% effective, risk needs to be addressed regardless.
The best risk management strategy starts with having a 360-degree view of your infrastructure. This should include everything that is going on in your WooCommerce store. The greater and broader the visibility, the deeper you can assess the situation and the more accurate your view will be.
Activity logs can help you keep track of logins and login attempts. WP Activity Log takes it a step further through the inclusion of users sessions management. This feature allows you to limit and terminate sessions among other things.
How to start keeping an activity log for your WooCommerce store
An activity log has long been one of the most fundamental tools systems administrators use to get a deeper sense of system and user activities on their infrastructure. This is also true for WordPress websites and WooCommerce stores, where several components have to work with each other to make the whole process function.
WordPress does not log activities out of the box, while WooCommerce only logs PHP errors. This makes for a very limited logging scope that’s mostly useful for developers. Fortunately, you can install activity log plugins that can collect this data.
Activity log plugins come in all shapes and sizes. Some are very specific and offer a limited logging scope, while others are able to collect logs from a wide variety of data points.
WP Activity Log also comes with a dedicated activity log for WooCommerce sensor that is designed specifically for WooCommerce stores – helping you stay on top of things with minimal effort.