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

May 4, 2016 - 5 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 - 2 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 - 1 Comment

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 - 2 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 - 10 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.

Ad caption lalala
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 - 9 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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How ELEVEN vélo became world leaders in cycling wear

April 13, 2016 - 4 Comments

Road cycling is not a sport for the faint-hearted – or the casually dressed. Enter Gerard Thomas of ELEVEN vélo, who we met via his insightful comments right here on our blog. Gerard runs a WooCommerce store specializing in bespoke merino cycling wear for the discerning and experienced cyclist.

In chatting further with Gerard, we discovered him to be a rather brilliant Australian entrepreneur with over fifteen years experience in eCommerce. That’s about as long as an eCommerce CV gets.

Read on for the story of how ELEVEN vélo became a leading online destination. You’ll also get Gerard’s tips for selling online, including less-is-more SEO tweaks to double organic traffic, product page advice and an innovative approach to content involving Instagram mash-ups.

jerseys
Superb cycling jerseys are just the start of what this brand has to offer.

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Post-launch security steps to take in WooCommerce

April 11, 2016 - 2 Comments

As we covered in this introduction to WooCommerce security, creating the groundwork for a safe, well-protected store only takes a few steps. But most of the tips we offered are things you’d do before launching your store, or perhaps immediately after.

Security isn’t something you can think about once and never again. If you don’t keep your store up-to-date, pay attention to security trends, or harden your defenses as you grow and scale, you could be putting yourself in a very vulnerable position… and also putting your customers at risk.

Because we believe the topic of security is crucial to store owners, we wanted to come back and visit this topic again, this time for those of you who already have your WooCommerce-powered site up and running. So today, we’re going to offer five intermediate level security tips for stores that have already launched.

Let’s explore a few more ways that you can make your store virtually immune to attacks, and keep things safe even as you grow and expand.

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How to get started with post-purchase email automation

April 6, 2016 - 8 Comments

Getting started with email marketing can be challenging, but experienced store owners agree: email is one of the best opportunities you have for connecting with your customers long-term.

To avoid spending too much time on email right out of the gate, it’s wise to look into automation. Post-purchase email automation allows you to write, schedule, and automatically send relevant messages to your customers. Write your emails once, and they’ll do the work for you forever.

Let’s explore how you can get started with automated post-purchase emails that will turn your first-time customers into devoted superfans. Ready to learn? Read on for all the details.

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How to run a successful bookings-based website

April 4, 2016 - 6 Comments

If you play your cards right, selling your time online can be just as profitable as selling physical goods. But much like eCommerce, creating a successful bookings-based website doesn’t happen overnight — it takes hard work and a lot of creativity.

If you’re running (or planning to start) a website where customers can make appointments at your physical location, book time with you, or even reserve a room in your hotel or lodge, we have a few tips just for you. These ideas will help you improve your website and, in turn, the relationship you have with potential customers.

Keep reading to learn how you can use a few simple strategies to take your bookings-based website to the next level.

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How to level up your store’s category pages

March 31, 2016 - 18 Comments

Much of the eCommerce advice you’re going to find online will talk about improving your product pages, your shopping cart, or some crucial element within. And why not? These are important aspects of an online store that determine whether a purchase is made or lost.

But we often see some of the other pages and moving parts of stores overlooked, even though they also play a huge role in the sales process. And one of those oft-neglected items is the category page, which some stores use to classify multiple similar items into one landing or destination page accessible from the homepage or navigational menu.

Though they may seem like little more than a temporary destination between the homepage and “meat” of your store — the product pages — well-utilized category pages can play an important role in your long-term success. With a few tweaks, they can improve your search engine rankings, make your store look better, and boost your sales. What’s not to love?

Here are a few ways you can take your category pages to the next level with just a little creativity and elbow grease.

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Optimizing the checkout flow with WooCommerce

March 29, 2016 - 6 Comments

Everything you do on your store leads your shoppers to one final, critical experience: the checkout. And this final experience is so important, yet so sensitive, that one wrong move could send those potential sales down the drain.

It’s crucial to get your store’s checkout “flow” — the transition between one field or page to another, from the start to the finish — as smooth as possible to avoid losing sales. The default WooCommerce checkout goes a long way toward making this happen, but depending on your store, industry, or products, there’s still more that could be done to make the process simple and pain-free.

Let’s take a look at how you can optimize the checkout experience for your shoppers, from removing excess fields to opening terms & condition links in new tabs.

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The first 5 email strategies to start with

March 28, 2016 - 6 Comments

Email marketing is a tactic that’s recommended for stores of all ages and sizes. The reason for this is clear: it’s typically rated by businesses themselves as the strategy with the best ROI, and the cost of creating and sending to a list is relatively low.

The advantages of email are clear: it’s inexpensive, it’s effective, and it opens a direct line of communication with your customers. However, what’s not always clear is how to get started with this tactic so you can reap its many benefits.

Instead of diving in and creating dozens of campaigns right away, your first foray into email marketing should consist of a few select strategies that have proven benefits for your store. This approach will keep you focused, lower your costs, and make things easier overall.

Let’s take a look at the first five email strategies you should try for your online store, from basic recurring “what’s new” messages to targeted requests sent to specific customers.

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