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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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How to run a top-notch WooCommerce-powered food store

March 25, 2016 - 2 Comments

Are you using WooCommerce to sell meal kits, tasty treats, or locally grown produce? Whether your food store ships internationally or caters to a thriving local community, WooCommerce is the endlessly extendable platform that makes it all possible.

Owners of online food stores can sometimes feel like they’re at a bit of a disadvantage, though, because food is naturally sought out and purchased offline. Customers also tend to have the perception that online food orders will be pricier due to higher quality or shipping fees.

There’s no reason to struggle or fight for your sales, though. With some smart tweaks to your store, pricing, and product pages, you can convince more shoppers to place an order — and try your food.

Here are a few ways you can make your WooCommerce-powered food store top-notch, plus some examples from stores that have already cooked up a ton of business.

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First things to consider with WooCommerce & speed

March 23, 2016 - 8 Comments

Humans want things to happen fast. We expect short waits in line, fast food, entertainment on demand — all in all, instant gratification.

It’s this mindset that leads us to anticipate websites that load and deliver content quickly. If we don’t get what we want, we can always go somewhere else and find the same thing.

This means that your WooCommerce-powered store has to be fast to gain as many paying customers as possible. If your site is sluggish or its pages take a long time to load, visitors will abandon it for your competitors, and you’ll miss out on countless sales.

To help you achieve the necessary goal of having the fastest, most efficient online store possible, we’ve compiled these first steps to speeding up WooCommerce. From image compression to up-to-date extensions, these are a few ways you can streamline your store for optimal performance.

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How to improve your WooCommerce-powered electronics store

March 18, 2016 - 9 Comments

Consumer electronics stores — those selling items like smartphones, tablets, cameras, audio equipment, and so on — are flocking to WooCommerce. Thanks to the strong backbone of WordPress and the limitless potential provided by extensions, it’s no wonder store owners choose this platform.

If you already have an electronics store up and running, your next step might be up in the air. Should you invest in some form of marketing, or is it better to improve your product photos? And how good is your copywriting, anyway?

If this sounds familiar, you’re in luck. For this post, we’ve collected multiple tips to help consumer electronic store owners improve their stores, from adding downloadable documentation to potentially revising the design of your website.

Let’s take a look at how you can take your store to the next level with just a little more effort.

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The elements of a successful subscription business

March 17, 2016 - 6 Comments

According to a cross-channel marketing report conducted by Responsys and Econsultancy, 70% of companies find it’s more costly to acquire new customers than it is to bring back existing ones.

This is undoubtedly one of the reasons that subscription models have become so popular in the world of eCommerce. Subscriptions keep those hard-fought customers on the hook for automatic repeat purchases, plus they create a reliable source of recurring revenue.

However, starting a successful subscription-based business, or adding a subscription to your existing store, isn’t easy. It takes careful planning, knowledge of your customers’ needs, willingness to try new things… and then some.

If you’re considering trying the subscription model for yourself, here’s what you should know and do to bolster your chances at long-term success.

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10 types of sales to try (and the extensions that make them possible)

March 15, 2016 - 14 Comments

If you’re trying to get potential customers to pay attention to your store — or repeat customers to come back — your thoughts will naturally gravitate toward a sale. And why not? Promotions make you look generous while making shoppers more likely to buy.

Simple sales and 10% off coupon codes aren’t always what visitors to your store are expecting, however. Sometimes you need to think outside of the box and try creative strategies to get those sales to work.

Let’s give you a head start on finding the types of promotions that work best for you. Today we’ll look at different types of sales you can try in your online store, plus the WooCommerce extensions that make each one possible.

From product bundles to flash sales to members-only discounts, here are 10 ideas chosen just for you.

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What you should consider when switching payment gateways

March 10, 2016 - Leave a comment

When you started your store, the payment gateway you chose was likely a great fit for your needs… at the time. But as you’ve grown your business, you might have found yourself in the situation where that gateway no longer fits your needs.

The good news? You’re not stuck in your current situation. Nothing is permanent in eCommerce — your store’s design and components can be upgraded, improved, or switched out at any time.

But if you’re thinking about changing your payment gateway, there’s a lot more to consider than “how fast can I switch?” There are a few aspects you should carefully consider before making the leap to a new gateway, including the impact on your payment options, your finances, and your customers.

If you’re pondering whether or not a payment update is right for you, keep reading to find out what you should evaluate before making any big changes.

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Deciding when it’s right to require an account

March 9, 2016 - 1 Comment

In the world of eCommerce, the idea of forcing a potential customer to do anything fills us with dread. We use calls to action and marketing messages on the time, but the thought of demanding an action from a visitor… that’s just too much pressure, isn’t it?

This thought process is likely why so many online stores shy away from requiring an account at checkout. Why risk losing out on a sale? Why demand something that isn’t required if it might cause you to miss out on an opportunity to make money?

The thing is, sometimes you should be requiring your customers to create an account — perhaps even long before they get to the checkout page. While forcing registration might sound like a bad idea, it’s not always something you should actively avoid. In fact, getting those accounts created can benefit some sites.

Today, we’re here to help you decide when it’s right to require your visitors to sign up and log in — whether that’s right away, during checkout, or not at all. Read on to learn more.

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Ways to improve your fashion-focused WooCommerce store

March 4, 2016 - 3 Comments

Are you selling clothing or fashion accessories with WooCommerce? By now, you’ve probably tackled all the basics — adding photos of your products, writing descriptive copy, setting up a payment method or two, and so on.

With these tasks out of the way, it’s time for you to take your fashion-focused store to the next level. By placing top priority on stylish design, making use of compelling content, or trying out powerful extensions, you can improve the experiences of your shoppers and get more sales.

Let’s explore a few ways that store owners using WooCommerce to sell clothing or fashion products can reach new heights, starting with (appropriately) visual appeal.

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