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6 steps to take when removing a product

February 11, 2016 - 4 Comments

No one likes to say goodbye. But sometimes, we have no choice.

When it’s time to remove a product from your store, it probably feels a little strange. Adding that item takes so much work, but you can delete it in a single click.

Just because you can delete products quickly doesn’t mean you should, though. In fact, there’s a six step process you should follow every time you remove a product from your store. Doing so can help you avoid potential issues like broken links, confused customers, and breaks in communication with external vendors, just to name a few.

We’ve compiled this quick, easy-to-follow guide you can use each time you’re ready to pull a product from your store. Read on to get the six steps you should rely on for every item you’ve chosen to discontinue.

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How to find the most important metrics for your store

February 10, 2016 - 2 Comments

When you take that first deep dive into analytics for your online store, things can get overwhelming fast. There’s so much data to be explored, so many lessons to be learned, that you can hardly be blamed for not knowing what to do first.

One of the biggest challenges you’ll face is knowing what data is important (and what’s not). You can only focus your time and attention on a few main goals at a time, so the data you review and act on should be chosen carefully.

But how can you tell which metrics match up to what you’re doing? Or, if your store is new, how can you know which metrics you should be tracking — and focusing your efforts on — first?

Today, you’ll learn which metrics you should track for your specific store. Ready to dive into the data? Let’s go.

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Tips for selling digital products with WooCommerce

February 4, 2016 - 2 Comments

Not all eCommerce stores specialize in physical products. Some — perhaps yours? — sell digital goods, like audio files, books, PDFs, video tutorials, games, or even stock photography.

Stores with digital products might not look different from those with physical ones, but they aren’t exactly the same. In fact, they require careful handling, and attention paid to different aspects that may not even need considered otherwise.

If you have or are starting a store with digital or downloadable products, following a few specific guidelines can ensure that your customers are happy with their purchases. It can also help you create a shopping experience that converts more shoppers into paid customers, and even draws more searchers to your store.

Let’s take a look at some tips that can help you create a stronger digital store using WooCommerce.

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10 ways to save time with WooCommerce automation

February 1, 2016 - 1 Comment

As an eCommerce store owner, you’re busy. And not “I have a lot on my plate” busy, it’s usually more like “my day is stuffed to the brim and if I get one more task I’m pretty sure I’m going to scream” busy.

So anything that promises to save you time is a lifesaver for you. Name it and you’ll try it at least once. But some of these promised timesavers just end up adding more time, since there’s a learning curve, so you might be a tad skeptical.

Well, you’re in luck. Automation is a way that you can save time while improving the flow of data to and from your store, and it has a minimal learning curve. With automation, you can do everything from export data to email lists to notify customers in specific situations… and you’ll only ever have to set the processes up once.

Sound interesting? Want to know more? Read on to get the details on ten automations that are worth a shot for your WooCommerce-powered store.

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Best practices for nonprofits using WooCommerce

January 28, 2016 - Leave a comment

While donating time, money, or goods to a nonprofit organization has long been seen as a purely offline act, online giving is steadily on the rise. One survey found that among the top nonprofit organizations, Internet donations rose 13% between 2013 and 2014.

Although this might not seem like much, given how few of your overall contributions might come from online donors, there are things you can do to both increase the effectiveness of your website and your overall fundraising campaign.

Whether you’re already using WooCommerce to power your NPO’s website or are just beginning to get it up and running, there are a few best practices you can apply to turn it into a donation-collecting machine.

Here’s what we recommend for your nonprofit, from collecting funds to keeping in touch with donors.

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What to do once your promotions end

January 26, 2016 - 2 Comments

By now, you probably know that customers love a good sale. Discounts, coupon codes, and special offers are enticing, and often good for business, considering how much attention they can drum up.

When it comes to promotions created by owners of small or new online stores, though, finding the time to walk through every step of the process can be tough. The temptation is often there to “wing it” — to simply set up what sounds appealing and hope it works out for everyone.

Winging it might work for a little while, but the decisions you make should be based on data, not guesswork. After your promotions end, you should be reviewing the results and learning what to do differently next time. Otherwise, both you and your customers could be missing out.

Let’s take a look at what you should review after each sale concludes, plus what you should do to ensure each subsequent promotion is a perfect fit for your shoppers.

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The features every great product page should have

January 21, 2016 - 1 Comment

Whether or not an online store is successful depends on dozens, if not hundreds of individual factors. Success requires that magic mixture of quality products, smart timing, effective calls to action, prominence in search engines, and so on and so forth.

One of the many factors — or, more accurately, one spot that collects many of these factors — is the product page. These pages can literally make or break an online store. If they’re great, they can boost your sales; if they’re subpar, well… you can guess the rest.

Detailed, convincing, and entertaining product pages are necessary if you want your online store to thrive. But making these pages requires much more than a few photos and a line or two of text.

Today, we’ll explain what all these necessary factors are, with some choice examples from WooCommerce shops. We’ll also offer you a checklist to help you get them all in place on your own site, time and time again.

Ready to learn? Let’s jump right in.

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Sitemaps for eCommerce explained

January 20, 2016 - 3 Comments

An eCommerce website is made up of many moving parts: the shopping cart, the order confirmation page, and so on. You might think that every one of these pieces and pages exists to serve your customers in some way, but some of them exist almost solely to serve search engines.

A sitemap is one such page. Your customers will probably never find your sitemap useful, but to search engines, it’s one of the most useful components in existence. Having one can improve how well your store is reviewed by search engines, and how visible each of its pages might be in searches for related keywords or phrases.

If you’re curious about the necessity of sitemaps for eCommerce, how having one can improve your store, and how you might even be able to take your existing sitemap to the next level, we’ve got you covered. Pack your bags and come along with us on a journey into the world of sitemaps.

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WooCommerce 2.5: Dashing Dolphin means speed

January 18, 2016 - 21 Comments

TL;DR: WooCommerce version 2.5 is here – update via your WordPress Dashboard. To make the process as smooth as possible, make a backup, update your extensions, view our update guide, and then update WooCommerce.

If you’re a developer looking for technical details, read the release post on the Develop WooCommerce blog here.

It’s a new year and we have a new version of WooCommerce for you. The last version of WooCommerce focused on the onboarding experience to help store owners get up and running quickly.

This latest version focuses on getting the store itself to run quickly, and is aptly named Dashing Dolphin.

Let’s take a closer look at WooCommerce 2.5.

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10 free WooCommerce extensions for new stores to consider

January 13, 2016 - 24 Comments

Starting your WooCommerce store is a thrilling experience. We know that heaps of hard work goes into each launch, whether you’re selling a single subscription service or hundreds of unique items sourced globally.

With so much to consider during setup, from payment gateways to promotional opportunities, it’s not unusual to worry about costs. You certainly don’t want to break the bank before you’ve even sold a single product.

As you likely already know, part of the beauty of WooCommerce is that it gives you a free platform that can be added and expanded upon with nearly endless extensions. In the interest of getting you up and running quickly — and saving you money — we’ve collected ten solutions you should try when you first start your store.

From plugins to monitor your traffic to add-ons that will improve your emails, here are some of our favorite free WooCommerce extensions for new shop owners.

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Sales tax 101 for store owners: your pressing questions answered

January 12, 2016 - 3 Comments

Missed our Sales Tax 101 webinar with TaxJar? Not to worry: we’ve collected your most pressing questions about collecting and managing sales tax into this FAQ, plus made the slides available for download (for free!). Have a look…

Over the course of the last few weeks, we’ve been lucky enough to work with the folks at TaxJar on a webinar about sales tax for store owners. It’s been an eye-opening experience, to say the least, even for those of us with experience managing an eCommerce store. Who knew tax could be so complex?

We’ve been keeping an eye out for the most commonly asked questions about sales tax, and now we’ve compiled them all into one spot. This post will give you quick rundown of what you should know about state sales tax, plus links to resources where you can learn more.

If you’re new to tax in your online store or just have a few questions about your situation, read on to have all your pressing questions answered — and to get a free download of the webinar slide deck.

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What store owners should learn from the holidays

January 8, 2016 - 1 Comment

The holidays are coming to a close, and with them your online store’s discounts and deals. Things are quieting down and sales are slowing, which means it’s back to business as usual for you, yes?

Perhaps not. You might be surprised to learn that one of the very best things you can do at the end of the holiday season is, well, another deep dive into the holiday season. But we’re not talking about running another big sale. We’re talking about diving in and reviewing some data.

With more customer and order data flowing in than usual, now’s the perfect chance to learn what you’re doing right — or wrong — and how you can improve your store. If you study your sales, returns, feedback, and so on, you stand to learn quite a bit from the holiday experience.

Ready to find out what you should take away from the holidays? Let’s proceed.

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How hotels can make the most of their website

January 6, 2016 - 6 Comments

If you own a hotel, inn, lodge, or any other type of physical location designed to accommodate guests, it should go without saying that you need a website. What better way is there for your business to attract potential customers?

Having a basic website may not be enough to turn that passing interest into a booking, however. Visitors have plenty of choices when it comes to finding a place to stay, and if your site doesn’t convince them that you’re the best option, they’re happy to go elsewhere.

With that goal in mind, there are a few things you should do to set your hotel’s website apart from others, as well as increase bookings from guests. From implementing a mobile-friendly design to allowing guests to easily book online, these tips will help you stand out in a big way.

Here are some ways you can use your site to attract more guests from both near and far.

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Give yourself a yearly sales tax checkup

January 5, 2016 - 2 Comments

Humans like things that are simple. And I think store owners like simplicity best of all. You like to check items off your checklists, or archive them in your project management apps, secure in the knowledge that you’ve dealt with them and can move on.

I talk to a lot of store owners based in the US, and have noticed a few common reactions to the not-at-all-simple task that is dealing with state sales tax. Most opt for the “do it yourself” method. This works great until the business starts to grow and thrive. Then sales tax becomes a time-consuming nightmare that doesn’t fit neatly into a to do list.

Others go all out and hire a sales tax accountant to take care of everything for them. This is expensive, and is also often overkill. There’s also the “bury your head in the sand” method — ignore it and hope it goes away. That just a bad idea all around.

My philosophy is that, with the right combination of education and sales tax automation, store owners can make short work of their sales tax burdens. You can start on the education aspect of this by giving yourself a yearly tax checkup.

Let’s get started on your yearly tax checkup. But first, I’ll explain why this all seems so complex.

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Determining if guest checkout is right for your store

December 29, 2015 - 5 Comments

As our online activities increase, so do the number of online accounts in our names. It seems as if nearly every website out there asks you to “sign up” or “sign in” — and the process is hardly ever simple. Nor are these accounts held to the same standards from one site to the next, leading to forgotten or even insecure passwords.

No one wants to create yet another account unless there’s a clear benefit to doing so. Shoppers will even go to great lengths to avoid signing in to complete a purchase, up to and including completely abandoning their cart in favor of a different store.

In short: customers everywhere are suffering from new account fatigue, and it could be hurting your store.

The obvious solution to this issue is the option of a guest checkout option, which doesn’t require shoppers to create an account or save any personal information to complete a purchase. However, adding guest checkout isn’t a smart move for every online store, and it could actually cause more problems than it solves in some cases.

Let’s have a look at how you can decide if guest checkout is a good fit for your store, based on a few important criteria like order frequency, the possibility of reorders, and the overall benefit of customer accounts.

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How to charge your customers the correct sales tax rates

December 28, 2015 - 4 Comments

So you get that as a store owner, you need to be sales tax compliant. This means that in the United States specifically, you have to charge sales tax to buyers in states where you have sales tax nexus.

But how much do you charge? Does it vary from customer to customer? And why does this have to be so complicated?

While determining the right rates to charge can be tricky, a little reading will help you wrap your head around it in no time. Today, we’ll explain the different sales tax rates in the United States, and help you figure out which rates to charge your customers.

Let’s get started.

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