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How to prepare your WooCommerce store for any release

May 25, 2016 - Leave a comment

With the release of WooCommerce 2.6 on the horizon, we imagine you’re all excited to explore the newest features available for running your online store. And a bit apprehensive, perhaps, to go through the update process once more.

The beauty of the open source world of WordPress development is that it allows virtually anyone to create virtually anything for this platform we call home. The downside is that it’s nearly impossible to predict what will happen when you put any given combination of those thousands upon thousands of creations in different environments under different circumstances.

We pride ourselves on thoroughly testing WooCommerce and its extensions, but the unfortunate reality is this: conflicts still happen. That’s why we recommend being prepared in advance for releases and major updates, so in the event of an issue, you can roll right back.

“But how do you get prepared?” We’re so happy you asked. Here’s how to efficiently set up backups and testing for your WooCommerce store so you’re ready for anything.

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5 ways to take payments for your products with WooCommerce

May 20, 2016 - 2 Comments

With traditional eCommerce, the exchange of money and goods is simple: a customer pays, and the store owner ships. Easy, right?

But this doesn’t have to be the only way you accept payments for the products you sell online. Taking immediate payments might not work if you want to offer pre-orders. And taking only one payment won’t be suitable for customers who want to order something via subscription.

If you’re only accepting payments for your products the “traditional” way, you might want to consider expanding your options. Here are five ways to take payments with WooCommerce, and how to add them to your store.

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How customer expectations should impact your shipping options

May 18, 2016 - 1 Comment

Are you considering your customers’ wants and needs when choosing the available shipping options for your store?

We’ve spoken before about how important it is to consider your customers when setting up your store’s navigation, writing copy, and creating a return policy. But when it comes to shipping, you might do (or have done) what you think is best, never realizing there’s a mismatch present.

Spending just a few minutes thinking about your customers’ expectations can help you pick the right shipping methods, speeds, and options the first time — or, if your store’s been up and running a while, just in time to keep all your interested shoppers from walking away.

Here’s why you should keep your potential customers in mind when it comes to shipping, and how to best consider their expectations as you’re setting up your options.

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How blogging can help your online fashion business grow

May 17, 2016 - 3 Comments

There are plenty of ways that a clothing or fashion business can be marketed online. Social media is a popular choice, and we’ve also talked about how coupons, discounts, or even giveaways can lead to increased popularity.

If you’ve tried a few marketing methods and aren’t yet seeing the increase in reach or sales that you’re hoping for, here’s another option to consider: blogging.

Creating high quality, engaging content can have benefits ranging from better awareness of your brand all the way up to an increase in sales. And consider this: one study showed that businesses with active blogs received approximately 55% more visitors to their website than those without.

If you aren’t already blogging as a way to grow your online fashion business, now is the time to start. Today we’ll share with you why this marketing method is a perfect fit for your store, how you can get your own blog up and running, and some tips to keep in mind as you create your content.

Let’s get started!

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7 options for sales built into WooCommerce

May 10, 2016 - 4 Comments

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: your customers love a good sale. For some shoppers, there’s nothing more motivating than a coupon code, discount, or order shipped free of charge.

Chances are, you already knew this. But what you might not have known was that right out of the proverbial box, WooCommerce has the ability to offer all of these promotions — and then some — to your customers. And all without purchasing or adding a single additional extension.

Here are seven ways you can attract and delight shoppers with sales using options baked right into WooCommerce.

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Welcome Storefront 2.0: mobile design updates, typography refresh & more

May 9, 2016 - 29 Comments

TL;DR: Storefront version 2.0 has arrived – upgrade via your WordPress dashboard or try it for the first time by downloading a copy here. Enjoy!

If you’re using our Storefront theme for WooCommerce, you’ll be excited to learn that version 2.0 has just become available for download. If you’re not using Storefront already, now would be a great time to take a look at our flagship WooCommerce theme!

Storefront 2.0 is a major release and brings various new features including a greatly improved handheld experience, a refreshed design, a new product section on the homepage, full compatibility with the upcoming WooCommerce 2.6 and more!

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Here’s a closer look at what we’ve added to this update.

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Why finding a niche is the key to small business success

May 5, 2016 - 6 Comments

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and every year since 1963 the United States has celebrated National Small Business Week to recognize their critical contribution to the economy. This week we’re celebrating small businesses by offering some advice to help them succeed.

Go out and get it!
Go out and get it!

There are quite a few common mistakes that new small businesses make; the tips offered by the businesses earlier this week covered much of them (for example, don’t think small, don’t waste time on things you’re not great at, make your store fast and beautiful). But there was one tip we felt was missing.

Many small businesses start out trying to be the best at everything — that is, be the best clothing store online, or the world’s greatest home decor shop. And the truth is that it’s almost impossible to do this. Not that we’re trying to dash your hopes, only being realistic.

The key to small business success is finding and choosing a niche. By doing that, you can avoid one of the most common mistakes business owners make: of going too broad with their store’s products and market appeal.

Let’s dive a little deeper into this subject and talk about why you should have a niche, how it can help you succeed, and how to pick one (if you haven’t already).

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It’s here: a simpler way to connect services to your store without leaving WooCommerce

May 4, 2016 - 26 Comments

TL;DR: We’re building a way to connect services to WooCommerce that makes use of hosted components to simplify the process and create a better experience.

If you’d like to get involved in testing, join us now.

If you want to know more, read on or check out our post on the developer blog.

A few weeks ago at WooConf, Matt Mullenweg gave a sneak peek at a project we’ve been excitedly working on. Now, we’re ready to share it with the world.

woocommerce connect

WooCommerce Connect is a big part of our vision for the future of WooCommerce. Right now, Connect has just started alpha testing as a feature extension. If all goes well, we hope to make it part of WooCommerce core and available to everyone.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into what we’re trying to accomplish with Connect, how it all works, where the feature currently stands and how you can get involved.

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Practical tips from small business owners using WooCommerce

May 3, 2016 - 10 Comments

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and every year since 1963 the United States has celebrated National Small Business Week to recognize their critical contribution to the economy. This week we’re celebrating some of the small businesses that include WooCommerce as part of their toolkit.

We love small businesses and we cannot lie.

Something else making a significant contribution to the economy: eCommerce. On Cyber Monday alone last year, the world spent over $3 billion online! Digging out a piece of that pie isn’t always a sure thing though, especially with all the competition.

We asked the WooCommerce community to share their top eCommerce small business tips and they delivered. Read on for our favorites and some learnings you can borrow.

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Essential eCommerce pages you might have overlooked

April 29, 2016 - 3 Comments

When you’re creating a new online store, some pages and destinations are a given. You know you need a shopping cart and checkout page. There are the all-important pages for your products, too. And of course you’ve already created a page for your returns policy.

These aren’t all the pages that an eCommerce website needs to be successful, though. Many stores benefit from a few other pages that are often overlooked. And these pages take little to no time to create or update, so it’s worth your while to put in the effort.

Today we’re going to cover four types of eCommerce pages that you might have overlooked when creating your store:

  1. The “thank you” page,
  2. A shipping information page,
  3. The “no results found” page for your site search, and
  4. Your category pages.

We’ll talk about why you should spend time optimizing these pages, how they can benefit your store, and a few specific things that can be done to ensure they help push your shoppers toward becoming paying customers — the ultimate goal of any eCommerce site.

Let’s get started!

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10 product page features & the extensions to make them happen

April 27, 2016 - 13 Comments

Each component of your store’s website does its part in convincing potential customers to make a purchase. From the content on your homepage to the design of your checkout process, each individual element has a purpose… and can be improved.

Among these components, perhaps none are more important than your product pages. On these pages, shoppers find photos, specifications, and other details that give them a compelling reason to make a purchase.

But sometimes photos and copy alone can’t make the sale. For many stores, product pages need additional features to convince potential customers to take action. For some stores there’s a need to add downloadable guides, while for other stores it’s a matter of offering customization.

Can your potential customers learn enough about your products to confidently make a purchase? If not, we have some ideas for you.
Can your potential customers learn enough about your products to confidently make a purchase? If not, we have some ideas for you.

Today, we’re going to explore ten features that your product pages might need to boost sales — and the corresponding WooCommerce extensions that make them possible.

Ready to make some improvements? Read on.

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Sorting out your store’s navigation

April 26, 2016 - 5 Comments

There’s a lot to think about when you create a new store. You can’t just throw something together in five minutes and call it a day — that’s a guaranteed recipe for disaster.

Navigation is one element of a store’s design that requires careful consideration, experimentation, and likely even future updates. You could create your navigation in five minutes based on what feels right… or you could use advice and insight to make smarter decisions.

Today, we’re going to explain how you can set up your store’s navigation to work well for shoppers. These tips should help you answer any questions you have so you can get every link placed properly (rather than quickly).

Let’s start by taking a closer look at why navigation options like menus matter so much in the first place.

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What we learned from WooConf about selling tickets online

April 21, 2016 - 11 Comments

Our second WooConf took place earlier this April, and what an event it was. We had an incredible lineup of speakers, fantastic lunches and happy hours, and all the networking we could handle.

We’ve already shared some of our learnings from WooConf itself, but we wanted to dive a bit deeper and tell about part of the journey we took to get from “we should do that again” to “oh heck, we’re actually doing it!” And that part of the journey is the ticketing experience.

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When we announced the availability of WooConf tickets, a new extension was already in action behind the scenes — one that we’ve released for you to use, too!

When we sold tickets for WooConf 2016, it was with a solution we’d developed ourselves: the new Box Office extension for WooCommerce. With Box Office, attendees don’t have to go offsite to sign up for your event. You can sell tickets, customize email communications, and check in attendees on-site, all from the familiar WooCommerce interface.

Using Box Office and running our own major event gave us an incredible learning opportunity. It allowed us to understand the extension inside and out, find out what triggered attendees to buy tickets, and glean knowledge that we could use for future WooConfs.

Read on to find out what we learned — and what knowledge we can share with you — about running a successful event website.

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How to start a coffee subscriptions business: the ultimate guide

April 20, 2016 - 10 Comments

Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world. It’s also one of the most popular products sold via a subscription model.

If you’re considering starting an online coffee store, you’re likely wondering what the vital ingredients for a speciality eCommerce website are. Do you need to spend loads to offer monthly subscriptions of your roasts or beans? And which platforms are suitable for selling this specialty product?

In this post, we’ll guide you through setting up a coffee subscription business from start to finish, giving you all the tools and insight you need to start off on the right foot. We’ll cover why coffee sells particularly well by subscription, some key elements to running a coffee business, and make some suggestions for choosing the right eCommerce platform for your new store.

Ready to give it a go? Read on to learn all you need to know about starting your store.

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How to run a successful memberships site

April 19, 2016 - 5 Comments

Everyone wants to feel like they belong. It’s a powerful desire that can drive human behavior, the formation of friendships… and even how people make purchasing decisions.

Offering memberships on your online store or website triggers this same desire to belong — to be part of an exclusive club, to get insider perks and benefits. But offering (or selling) memberships isn’t as easy as making them available — there are a few tricks to making them truly desireable.

If you’re interested in adding memberships to your existing site or are considering building a new store with a membership model in mind, the tips in this post will help you convince more customers to sign up, whether you’re a rookie or an eCommerce master.

From clear benefits to fair pricing to member rewards, here are all the ways you can ensure success with memberships.

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5 major takeaways from WooConf 2016

April 14, 2016 - 11 Comments

Between April 6-8, hundreds of store owners, developers, and ninjas descended upon Austin, Texas to do just one thing: eat tacos.

Okay, so maybe two things: eat tacos, and celebrate the world’s leading eCommerce platform at the second annual WooCommerce Conference (or as we lovingly call it, WooConf).

Between April 6 and 8, hundreds of WooCommerce store owners, developers, and team members descended on Austin to celebrate our second annual WooConf.
Austin, TX hosted our second annual WooConf, an event chock full of learning, networking, and great food.

There’s already been a ton of coverage about WooConf 2016, and in the coming weeks we plan on making even more available, including speaker slides and session videos. But while you wait, we thought we’d give everyone a look at what our team took away from the event — specifically, the five biggest educational takeaways.

Dive on in to get a look behind the scenes at our second WooConf, and to learn a little bit more about the central themes that emerged from our speakers’ talks this year.

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