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Announcing WooConf 2016 (and the Golden Ticket competition!)

December 18, 2015 - 2 Comments

After much anticipation, we’re thrilled to announce our second conference dedicated to all things WooCommerce, WooConf.

Our team is now running full steam ahead with planning for April 6-8 in Austin, Texas. It’s going to be a great one, and we hope we get to see many of you there.

WooConf 2016 is coming. Join us?
WooConf 2016 is coming. Join us?

If you’re new to WooConf, we’re keen to give you an introduction. We’ll also explain how you can win an all-expenses-paid pass to the conference, our coveted Golden Ticket.

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An introduction to sales tax for WooCommerce

December 16, 2015 - 7 Comments

When I talk to store owners, the reasons they give me for starting their businesses are as varied as their personalities. They seek the freedom of self-employment, control of the future, a legacy to leave family, or a way to get their awesome products out there to the masses.

One thing that never makes that list is dealing with administrative hassles like sales tax. No one wants to deal with that.

Collecting, reporting, and filing sales tax returns is one of the less fun sides of selling products online. If you don’t have a handle on sales tax, it can be a confusing mess every time a filing deadline rolls up. But it doesn’t have to be!

This introduction to sales tax for WooCommerce store owners will explain all the basics you need to know. It will walk you through the five steps of sales tax compliance for sellers based in the United States, and give you some things to think about before you reach your first tax deadline.

Let’s dig in.

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The future of Woo support: how we’re planning to grow and improve

December 15, 2015 - 23 Comments

tl;dr: Woo support has struggled in recent months to keep up with demand due to the rapid growth of WooCommerce. We want you to know that we are committed to improving, so we fulfill our mission of helping customers be successful.

Woo support has struggled in recent months to keep up with demand. This has led to long ticket response times, and our customers have been expressing frustration about this.

Because we believe in open and honest communication, we want to explain why this is the case, and show you in detail what we plan to do (and are doing) about it.

Read on to learn what’s going on and what we’re doing about it, and to see details on the four-point improvement plan for Woo support that is already in action.

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How to make packaging part of your brand experience

December 14, 2015 - 2 Comments

How far does your brand experience go? Does it end at your website, or does it continue further, all the way out into your customers’ hands?

We’ve written in the past about how important it is to extend your branding into every touchpoint that customers have with you, like email receipts and copywriting. These small elements, often overlooked, convey important messages — they say that you are you, and no one else.

If you sell and ship physical goods, your packaging is another one of these crucial, yet typically overlooked, touchpoints with your brand. Could you be overlooking the possibility of using it to connect with your customers?

Today, we’re going to take a look at how you can make your products’ outer “shells,” from your shipping box to the one it’s stored in, part of the overall experience with your brand. We’ll explain why this matters, offer some ideas you can use, and tie in packaging with the other brand touchpoints we’ve already talked about.

Let’s get to work.

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Take a photo tour of Tokyo with this Bookings-powered site

December 10, 2015 - 14 Comments

Visiting Japan anytime soon? Have an interest in photography? Let EYExplore Tokyo be your guide to the wonders of Japan as seen from behind a camera lens. This provider of photo tours and workshops has been delighting tourists since 2014, and they’re doing it all with WooCommerce.

Explore Tokyo and take amazing photos with the help of this creative company.
Explore Tokyo and take amazing photos with the help of this creative company.

With the help of the WooCommerce Bookings extension, EYExplore Tokyo is able to book tours online from visitors who have an interest in photographing Japan’s unique and sometimes unusual scenery. These bookings are quick and easy for customers, not to mention the photographers who guide the tours.

We caught up with EYExplore Tokyo’s founder, Axel, to chat a bit about what has brought them success since they started last year. We also took a look at how they’re using WooCommerce Bookings, plus some other extensions, to offer a seamless experience for visitors booking a tour online.

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Woo heads to Philly for the inaugural WordCamp US

December 9, 2015 - 2 Comments

As you might have heard, the first ever WordCamp US was recently held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Though there have been plenty of local WordCamps in the past, this was the very first one designated for all of the United States.

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The logo for the first WCUS.

True to its name, WCUS attracted attendees from all across the country, and even a few from across the globe. The gathering was made up of nearly 2,000 attendees, volunteers, and sponsors, and we here at Woo were delighted to be part of all three groups.

WordCamp US was a blast for those of us who made it. We had an incredible opportunity to sponsor this brand new event, talk to dozens of WooCommerce customers, and hear their amazing stories. A few of us volunteered as event staff, one member of our group spoke about eCommerce, and we all rolled T-shirts until our hands went numb. And some of us even ended up on the local news!

Here’s a closer look at what went on at the inaugural WCUS, why we wanted to be there, and some of our favorite happenings from the weekend.

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Optimizing your store’s “no products found” page

December 3, 2015 - 1 Comment

A question for you: what happens when a customer searches for something in your store that doesn’t exist?

The default message returned by WooCommerce (and in fact, most other eCommerce platforms) is “no products found.” And the page that follows is empty, a barren wasteland that offers little direction for what to do next.

It’s as if your customers asked you, in person, for the location of something — only to be greeted with a blank stare and a shrug. It’s a bit unhelpful.

As you’ve likely already guessed, it doesn’t have to be this way. A shopper’s journey shouldn’t end when their search returns no results. With a little optimization, you can ensure that it’s only just beginning.

Let’s take a look at a few ways that you (perhaps with the help of a trusted developer) can make the most of your “nothing found” page, transforming this barren wasteland into a lush paradise full of potential.

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How to increase your sales with clever pricing strategies

December 2, 2015 - 3 Comments

Is there a strategy behind the way you price your products?

The obvious strategy is usually something along the lines of balancing the need for profit and the desire to appeal to consumers. Around the holidays, it’s often solely the desire to gain attention, or offer the best deal.

But these aren’t the only pricing strategies out there — not by a long shot. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be mindful of margins, or consider your competition. But you should be thinking about the psychology of your shoppers, too, and what beyond the lowest price motivates them to click “buy.”

It’s not always what you’d expect. Sometimes it’s the context around the price. Sometimes it’s even the fact that you’ve presented multiple options!

Let’s have a look at some clever product pricing strategies you can use to increase sales online. But first, we’ll dive a bit deeper into why having the lowest price possible isn’t always the best idea.

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Last-minute holiday sale ideas

November 25, 2015 - 2 Comments

The holidays are almost upon us. In the US, a great many sales have already launched, and this Black Friday and Cyber Monday are expected to boast the highest spends in history.

That’s all well and good, but if you’ve just happened to realize what day it is and have completely forgotten to set up any kind of sale… well, there’s nothing quite like that dreadful feeling. There’s FOMO, and then there’s that.

Noooooooo...
Noooooooo…

Never fear, however: it’s really never too late to set up a sale, discount, or deal in your store. If you have a few minutes and general knowledge of what you can afford, you too can get in on the holiday action — and even set up some marketing, to boot.

Let’s explore some last-minute holiday sale ideas you can use right now, next month, or even during a different holiday season.

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Developing as a developer at WordCamps

November 24, 2015 - 4 Comments

At Woo, we take it for granted that developers know why they should attend their local WordCamp. For us, the benefits are clear and we find huge value in these events. However, this may not be as clear for everyone.

If you’ve never attended a WordCamp before and you don’t really know why you should, then we’re here to change your mind. Here is why showing up at a WordCamp is one of the single most important things you can do for your career, life, and community as a WordPress developer.

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Creating holiday promotions without deep discounts

November 20, 2015 - 6 Comments

It’s that time of year again. Holiday sales are starting, and the discounts are about to get crazy.

Here we go. (Image credit: jaimelondonboy)
Here we go. (Image credit: jaimelondonboy)

Not every online store can offer deep discounts, 50% off coupon codes, or buy-one-get-one-free deals, though. In fact, for small storefronts or the shops just beginning their journey, it’s hard enough finding the time and energy to run a promotion at all — much less figure out if they have the margin to discount their products.

The truth is, though, that you don’t have to offer an enormous discount to stand out during the holidays. You might not even have to offer a discount at all. The holiday promotion that is the best fit for your store and your customers could be as simple as free shipping, or as affordable as a few dollars off a purchase over a certain amount.

If you’ve been struggling to create a holiday deal that works for your bottom line and still sounds enticing, we have a few ideas for you. Read on to learn about some alternatives to deep discounts that work for everyone, customers included.

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Storefront turns one: how far it’s come, and where it’s going next

November 19, 2015 - 2 Comments

Since we launched Storefront one year ago, our flagship WooCommerce theme has come a long way. It’s seen hundreds of thousands of downloads, plenty of extensions, and even some new clothes in the form of child themes.

Today happens to Storefront’s first birthday. As we like to say, mighty oaks from little acorns grow, and we’ve seen this theme grow from an unassuming — yet sturdy — little nut into a mighty fine oak with plenty of strong branches, leaves, and strong roots in the WordPress community.

Here’s to you, Storefront! Blow out that candle and make a wish.

Storefront’s come a long way in its first year.

Let’s take a deeper dive in and explore Storefront’s impressive growth just a bit more. We’ll also have a closer look at its child themes and extensions (including the newly released Mega Menus!), just in case you missed anything, plus a selection of some amazing shops using Storefront in their own unique ways.

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How to increase conversions on your bookings site

November 18, 2015 - 4 Comments

If you sell products online, your long-term goal will be to sell more products. And if you sell bookings, naturally, your goal will be to sell more bookings.

But the advice that’s given to stores aiming to ship more physical goods won’t necessarily help you sell more spots in your hotel, book more appointments, or fill up more classes at your gym. To do that, you need to make your bookings website the very best it can be — a veritable conversion machine.

You can increase the number of bookings you receive by improving the experience of your users, decreasing distractions, and experimenting to find the factors that make them say “yes!” instead of “no.” You can also find success by creating reliable ways to bring people back time and time again, making them repeat customers instead of one-time-only visitors.

Let’s explore some ways that you can boost conversions on your online bookings site, from basic changes to A/B tests to follow-up email campaigns.

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How to sell subscriptions as holiday gifts

November 12, 2015 - 12 Comments

Recurring revenue is a bit of a pipe dream during the holidays. Many customers will come to you for one specific item, buy it, and vanish… never to be heard from again.

Standing out during this busy season is a challenge, too. Just about anyone can open a store, so you’re likely looking for something new and exciting, something that will set you apart… something that will make even the bored, jaded customers take notice.

There’s something you can add to your store that can potentially solve both of these problems — something that can both create recurring revenue and set you apart from other stores. And on top of that, they make a fantastic holiday gift.

Subscriptions can boost your store’s monthly revenue, attract new customers, and serve as an exciting, gift-worthy product for the holiday season. If you have at least one affordably-priced product category and a little spare time on your hands, you can create, market, and sell subscriptions as gifts, leading to profit for you and excitement for your shoppers.

Let’s have a look at how you can use a tool like WooCommerce Subscriptions to create a holiday gift that will keep on giving, month after month.

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The future of Canvas

November 11, 2015 - 32 Comments

tl;dr: Canvas isn’t going anywhere, and we’re dedicating a team to growing and optimizing it.

Since launching on the 9th of February 2010, Canvas, our all-purpose theme, has been a consistent performer and gathered a large base of loyal users. The styling control panel added by Canvas has proved popular amongst users who aren’t familiar with CSS, yet desire a customized look for their website. Businesses have since been built on the back of Canvas and WordPress, due to the ease of customization afforded by it.

With our 2015 theme retirements happening recently, we retired our collection of Canvas child themes. This action sparked questions from loyal Canvas users regarding the status of Canvas and our view on the product looking forward.

Let's talk about the future of Canvas.
Let’s talk about the future of Canvas.

We’re here today to explain why these child themes were retired, and to give you a look into the future of Canvas. Keep on reading to learn more about the path this theme will take in the future.

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Creating smart discounts for holiday shoppers

November 10, 2015 - Leave a comment

With the holiday season almost upon us, finding ways to appeal to shoppers is likely at the top of your to-do list. This probably means creating a discount or two, or sending out a coupon code to your email subscribers.

Holiday deals take work, though, and quite a bit of time to maintain. If your time or resources are limited, you might be dreading the process of setting up, monitoring, and discontinuing these offers.

The good news? There’s a way to make your customers happy and save yourself some time. This involves setting up and advertising “smart” holiday discounts that automatically apply to products or purchases based on specific criteria.

Today we’ll explore how you can use a solution like Dynamic Pricing to automatically offer discounts or special deals to customers during the holiday season — no maintenance required.

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