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How to Get Started with Dropshipping

June 3, 2015 in Blog, How to sell online. 7 Comments

Dropshipping is a fulfillment method that’s becoming more popular — but it’s not just for large businesses. Thousands of people run successful online marketplaces that utilize it.

Anyone with an Internet connection and a few hours a week can easily get started with dropshipping. Whether you’re new to the world of eCommerce or an established retailer looking to add to your product catalog, dropshipping can play a role in your business.

Today, we’ll go over what dropshipping is, and what types of businesses benefit the most from it. We’ll also talk about the product and market research process, how to find reliable dropship suppliers, and what you should know about order fulfillment and customer service.

Let’s get started!

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Introducing the New WooThemes Support System

June 2, 2015 in Blog. 22 Comments

Over the years, we have improved our support system countless times. There have been many, many, many, many revisions to how we package and provide support to you, our dear customers.

But it’s not because we’re crazy or want to drive you crazy. It’s because here at WooThemes, our ultimate, defining purpose is to provide you with the best experience possible.

We don’t want you to have a great experience only when you purchase your first product or enter your billing details. We don’t want you to have a great experience only when you’re browsing our extensive catalog or activating your license. We want every single interaction you have with us and our products to be positive. In a few words — we want you to be happy.

With that in mind, we’re excited to bring you our new, easier-to-use support system. You can watch a quick video walkthrough below, or read on to learn more about the motivation behind it and some of the new features we’ve included.


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The Store Owner’s Practical Guide to Being Search Engine Friendly

May 29, 2015 in Blog, How to sell online. 5 Comments

There are hundreds of guides out there on the topic of search engine optimization. From beginner’s guides that aim to get you started from scratch to more advanced guides that talk about complicated-sounding topics like .htaccess files and server log analysis, they all promise to educate you on SEO so you can rank better and sell more.

The problem is, as a store owner, you only have so many hours in your day. You’ve got enough to worry about without throwing SEO into the mix. Guides that recommend investing an hour or two per day into copywriting, on-page optimization, link building, or content creation seem practical enough… but only if you can grow another head and an extra set of arms.

Rather than invest all your time and effort into additional forms of optimization — some of which may not even be practical for your niche or current growth stage — it’s best to shift your mindset to simply being search engine friendly at all times. By establishing basic SEO groundwork right up front, and creating best practices for your store that you follow for all changes and additions, you can drastically cut down on the amount of time you need to spend on future optimization.

This isn’t to say that additional SEO isn’t or won’t become necessary for your store. But by following this guide, you can be confident that your store is always optimized for search because it meets Google’s very basic best practices.

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How to Properly Showcase User Generated Content

May 27, 2015 in Blog. 7 Comments

Your customers are creating content about you every day. It may be as simple as a photo on Instagram or a review on your website. Or it may be as complex as a blog post detailing how to accomplish a task with your products. These customer creations are called user generated content (or UGC), and they are highly valuable for brands.

You probably know much of this content exists, but what you don’t know is how — or why — to use it. The last thing you should do is ignore it. UGC is one intensely powerful form of social proof, and it can make your brand look trustworthy, popular, and much more interesting than companies that don’t highlight any user or customer content at all.

Today, we’ll be showing you several ways that you can properly identify and showcase your user generated content. Whether you’ve got a small startup or a booming eCommerce business, these methods will help you engage with your fans and attract new ones, all while boosting confidence in your brand.

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Onboarding New Ninjas with Sensei LMS: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

May 26, 2015 in Blog. 11 Comments

While WooThemes was still a small company, it was easy to share necessary information with new team members (who we call “Ninjas”) as needed. However, this onboarding process gradually became more difficult as the team grew.

Several years ago, some of our team members started compiling a Google Doc with some of the most relevant information: our mission and focus, the most important tools we use, administrative details, and so on.

This solved several problems we had with onboarding. Most importantly, we didn’t throw people in at the deep end anymore — they now had a resource to review upon joining. It was also easy to edit. If some tools changed or some information needed to be added, anyone in the team could do it. Finally, we were already using Google Drive as a company, so our team members could consult the doc as needed.

A screenshot of what our original Ninja Manual looked like

A screenshot of what our original Ninja Manual looked like

However, there were also a few downsides. The most important one was that it got quite bulky. There were so many links in the document, and following that link often resulted in finding another document with more links. Before the new Ninja knew it, they had opened a dozen new tabs with different information, and that made it difficult to get back to the core.

It was also extremely challenging for supervisors and mentors to keep track of what was happening. Had the new Ninja read through everything or not? Did they need some assistance?

One of my first projects at WooThemes was addressing these challenges while still retaining the advantages of the Google Doc. Together with a small team, I started looking at our options. After a short while, we decided that we should use Sensei.

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The 5 Things to Try When Your Brand Joins Instagram

May 21, 2015 in Blog. 10 Comments

If your brand isn’t yet marketing on Instagram, now is a good time to start. This photo sharing platform was the fastest growing social media network last year, according to the Pew Research Center. About half (49%) of its 300 million monthly active users log in daily, and 53% of adults ages 18-29 say they use the app.

There’s a lot of advice online about using Instagram as a marketing tool, but it can quickly get overwhelming for brands who are brand new to the platform. A huge list of 20 tips might not be very helpful if you’ve just signed up and are staring at a blank screen, unsure what photos to post or how to tie this growing social network into your existing marketing plans.

If your eCommerce company has just joined Instagram and is looking for guidance, we’re happy to help. Here are the five things you should try right off the bat, from posting your very first photo to linking your content to your website.

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WooThemes joins Automattic: The beginning of an exciting chapter

May 19, 2015 in Blog. 263 Comments

Today marks the beginning of the next exciting chapter in our journey as WooThemes. The short and sweet of it – we are joining the Automattic family! Read more about this from WooThemes co-founders, Mark and Magnus and from Matt Mullenweg of Automattic.

WooMattic

What does this mean for our customers? If you’re using WooThemes products (extensions, themes, or other) your licenses and experience will continue as before and there is no reason to worry. In the coming weeks and months you can expect business as usual from WooThemes, now with the added power of Automattic behind everything we do. For support, continue to reach out to us in the same way you always have done.

What does this mean for our team? The Woo ninjas are not going anywhere! They’ll continue working all around the world, with exciting opportunities for learning and growth through the cross-pollination of Automattic’s and our engineering, support and marketing teams.

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Big Data: Why it Matters and How to Get Started

May 18, 2015 in Blog. 1 Comment

In the past year, while remodeling my house, I’ve spent approximately 80 percent of my time and 140 percent of my patience dealing with a home improvement store. As one example of this journey, when I called to check the status on my windows order, I was told they weren’t sure where in the US it was.

During the two week process of locating the order, I had to call and re-explain the situation to nearly everyone in the windows department. I even tweeted their corporate office, who told me to email them, and they then provided incorrect information via email. The process convinced me that this business truly did not care about my experience with their brand.

But the truth is that it’s not really the company’s fault. Here’s how information and data would have had to flow for me to get the experience I wanted:

Graphics_DataFlow

How data would have had to flow in this situation.

Just to fulfill my purchase to my expectations, my order information had to travel from the local office systems to the manufacturer’s, the delivery company, and the corporate headquarters. Then feedback about the physical goods and my interactions with different levels of customer support had to flow back through all these systems.

As a digital marketer, I see why this is hard. But as a customer, I still expect the company to know my order and use that knowledge to provide timely service — and your customers likely feel the same way.

That’s where the joys and pains of Big Data comes in.

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4 Consumer Electronics Brands with Amazing Social Media Strategies

May 14, 2015 in Blog. 1 Comment

You likely already know that social media is important for marketing your consumer electronics brand. But what you may not have realized is just how much your presence on networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest matters to your customers.

According to data provided by the Consumer Electronics Association, approximately 24% of consumers looking to make an electronics purchase “always or almost always” refer to social media before they buy. For consumers in the “high engagement” category, who spend 13.5 hours or more per week on social, their reliance on these networks for purchasing decisions jumps to 65%!

With this in mind, it’s crucial for your brand to have a strategy that makes you look good, sets you apart from your competition, and makes your customers happy. This may sound easier said than done, but we’ve tracked down four companies with amazing social media strategies that will teach you to do all that (and more).

Keep reading to find four ways you can boost your social media marketing and motivate more customers to choose you over your competition.

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WooThemes Goes to LoopConf

May 13, 2015 in Blog, Team news. 8 Comments

Did you know that the entire WooCommerce development team attended LoopConf this past week? LoopConf is a WordPress development conference held in Las Vegas, Nevada, and we had the privilege of attending the very first one.

We had an amazing time at Loop. There were great presentations, plenty of time for people to talk to us at our booth, and a fun afterparty. And of course, being in Las Vegas, the hotel was gorgeous.

hotel

Look at that view!

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How Personalized Product Recommendations Work

May 12, 2015 in Blog. 2 Comments

With personalized product recommendation engines like WooCommerce Recommendations, eCommerce stores can immediately deliver product suggestions powered by industry-leading recommendations technology. Rather than providing users with pre-defined related products, highly relevant products can automatically be recommended on any page of your choice, from products to the shopping cart.

We wanted to give you a closer look at how Graphflow’s machine learning technology tracks, stores, and analyzes data so that the WooCommerce Recommendations plugin can deliver both product and user recommendations to customers. We also wanted to more closely explore the advantages of these personalized recommendations over pre-defined related products. So today we’re going to do just that.

Let’s dive into personalized recommendation engines and explore how they learn from customers to deliver highly accurate product suggestions, and take a look at how one store has used our plugin to meet their specific needs.

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Social Media Takeaways from 5 Formidable Fashion Brands

May 11, 2015 in Blog. 4 Comments

Social media has given brands seemingly endless ways to connect with, inspire, and delight their fans. Whether they’re highlighting specific customers or sharing special deals and discounts, brands have been using social media platforms to create goodwill, loyalty, and — ultimately — more sales for several years now.

But with these endless possibilities come just as many difficulties, especially for fashion and clothing companies. With an industry that has long been focused on the retail experience, where the brand’s presentation and messaging can be carefully controlled, the uncontrollable nature of social media can present as much of a challenge as it can an opportunity.

If your fashion brand wants to use social media successfully, but aren’t certain how to connect the dots while still staying true to your ethos, we have some tips for you. Today we’re going to look at five different types of fashion companies, from independent retailers to classic manufacturers to high-end designers, all of which are using social media successfully. We’ll examine what they’re doing well on their networks, what makes them so successful, and what your company can learn from them.

Ready to learn? Let’s get started!

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How to Motivate Customers to Share Your Products

May 7, 2015 in Blog, How to sell online. 8 Comments

If you have social media buttons on your product pages, you probably added them because you wanted your products to be shared more frequently on networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. You know that more shares = more publicity, and more publicity = more new customers making purchases.

However, increasing those valuable shares isn’t always as easy as sticking a few buttons on your store and calling it a day. Your customers need motivation to share your products, and it’s up to you to give it to them.

There are a few methods you can use to motivate a customer to spread the good word about your brand before, during, and after their purchase. Let’s take a look at some ways that you can boost shares of your products on social media and attract even more shoppers.

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Get Personal: How Your Store Can Benefit from Personalized Product Recommendations

May 6, 2015 in Blog, How to sell online. 4 Comments

Customers love that personal touch, whether it’s being addressed by name in an email, a shop owner remembering their birthday, or being able to customize a website to their needs. It can make them feel like they’re your single most important customer.

With personalized product recommendations, you can suggest highly relevant products to your customers at multiple touch points of the shopping process. Intuitive recommendations will make every customer feel like your shop was created just for them — and you’ll enjoy a natural boost in conversions and order values.

Let’s take a look at what we mean when we say “personalized” recommendations, explore how implementing these recommendations can help you improve your store, and review how to decide if a recommendation engine or plugin is the right choice for you.

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The Month in WordPress: April 2015

May 5, 2015 in Blog. Leave a comment

April has been a particularly busy month in the community — we’ve got a new WordPress release, a whole lot of security concerns and some interesting business developments.

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Customer Story: PagePink

April 30, 2015 in Blog, Customer stories. 5 Comments

PagePink is a beauty and wellness portal for women in Singapore. It offers local shoppers access to the top salons, spas, and wellness studios, and allows vouchers and appointments to be purchased online for future redemption.

The website lists beauty and wellness service providers in Singapore, and allows users to write reviews and provide useful information for others. Consumers can purchase beauty and wellness services online through a gift voucher, as well as book appointments. The website also provides editorial content related to beauty and wellness trends and tips.

pagepink

PagePink was created when its two founders realized that there was a need for better information related to beauty and wellness service providers in Singapore. After all, no one wants a bad haircut or a massage that causes an allergic reaction! This is what led to the original website, which provided reviews and information on local salons and beauty services.

However, PagePink wanted to make it easier for consumers to discover, buy, and gift these pampering services. They wanted to do this through the use of convenient virtual vouchers or online bookings. This led to the discovery and implementation of WooCommerce on their site.

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