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9 Things You Should Know In Advance To Estimate On A WooCommerce Project

December 12, 2017 - 4 Comments

It’s probably one of the most common questions you’ve been asked in your professional life: “How much would a new WooCommerce store cost us?”. Any of its variants count as well: “how much will you guys charge us to build that extension?”. If you’ve worked on a WooCommerce project, you get the gist.

9 Things You Should Know In Advance To Estimate On A WooCommerce Project
Credit: Sticker Mule

As someone who’s making a living delivering code, and web solutions, you’re often faced with clients who think that coming up with a price is the easiest thing for you to do. Many have product-oriented minds so that they fail to see what’s behind a price for a new WooCommerce store or anything that relates to code. Because of this, many clients reach out to WooCommerce specialists with loose project briefs, or just without having put some additional thoughts into why they’re even embarking in that new project.

That’s why I sat down and dug deep into this key topic with WooExpert and Codeable expert Mitchell Callahan of SAU/CAL who walks us through nine key elements to both gather insights from the client’s mindset and allow the hired developers to chalk out a correct estimate of a project with not fully specified requirements.

Ready to know them? Let’s dive in!

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Join the WooCommerce Affiliate Program and start earning for all referrals

November 30, 2017 - 71 Comments

We’re pleased to announce that WooCommerce has now been added to the affiliate program on refer.wordpress.com!

Earn 20% on all referrals by recommending the platform and extensions available on WooCommerce.com to your audience.

Keep reading to find out more, then create a refer.wordpress.com account, and pick WooCommerce to start collecting cash.

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Myths, strengths, and weaknesses of open eCommerce

November 29, 2017 - 3 Comments

This is part of a series of posts highlighting talks from WooConf. Watch the video or read the points below.

 

 

It can be daunting to know where to get started, if you’ve not worked with or used open source software before: “Where do I turn when I have questions? How do I go about setting up this software? Who is building it?” When you’re looking to build a business on top of this software, you want to have confidence that the tools you’re choosing will last, and will be the right fit for your store.

While it may seem like the path towards using open eCommerce platforms is less transparent for a new merchant, open platforms like WooCommerce give merchants unparalleled flexibility, freedom, and sustainability while powering their business.

Let’s take a look at some of the myths of open eCommerce, and its strengths and weaknesses, to learn more about how it can be a huge win for merchants.

But first, a story: In a world…okay, so I don’t have a great movie voiceover impersonation, but I hope the one you heard in your head was good! Let’s start with a story, imagining your very own movie trailer: In a world where you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve built your own successful business selling laptop stands. It’s taken four years to get here, much of which was spent:

  • Designing your laptop stands and building prototypes of the product
  • Sourcing production materials and determining manufacturing cost per unit
  • Figuring out where and how you’d manufacture your product
  • Determining how much inventory you need on hand and replenishment strategies

…all before you could even think about how you’d sell this product and make money from it. Only then you could talk about sales and distribution strategies. You decided to sell via your own online store and Amazon, and now you’ve finally passed a milestone after a year and a half of sales: your company generated $1.5 million in revenue this year.

You’re a model seller on Amazon, with 98% positive feedback, 99% on-time delivery for all orders, and a 0.11% defective product rate. Amazon now generates 80% of your revenue.

However, since you sell laptop stands, your customers are a bit more tech-savvy than most. They know that if they want to try out a different stand, there are two ways to get free return shipping on Amazon: say the product was defective or “not as advertised”, and the seller pays for return shipping. Despite your wonderful track record, it only takes a small amount of negative feedback like this (5-10 instances) to be completely removed from Amazon.

That means that, overnight, your business of nine people must lay off four employees or more, and you have over $350,000 in inventory you can’t sell and are paying to store. Your effective business has been effectively squashed. And by the way, this really happened — you can read about it (different product, same situation).

Based on a True Story

While we could look at this as a cautionary tale about selling in a marketplace, I see this more as a larger concern: Merchants should evaluate their reliance on a platform that can shut down or remove them at any time in terms of acceptable risk factors for their business.

The beauty of open source eCommerce and WooCommerce is they can empower merchants to start their own businesses without relying on the whims of their platform.

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Selling to international customers? How to cross borders with ShipStation.

November 28, 2017 - 1 Comment

Expanding product sales to a global customer base can be a great avenue to increase volume and revenue. But selling across borders brings a host of questions. One of the areas most impacted is shipping. Let’s dive right in!

Quick WooCommerce settings

General settings
In selecting locations, you can choose to sell to all countries or to specific countries. Similarly, you can choose to ship to only those countries you sell to or to specific countries.

Shipping zones
WooCommerce 2.6 introduced shipping zones: a geographic region that allows you to customize shipping methods and options based on a customer’s location. Each zone can contain multiple shipping methods.

For example, you can offer free shipping for a domestic zone and flat rate shipping for an international zone. Learn how to set up zones at WooCommerce Shipping Zone.

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MailChimp for WooCommerce: Holiday Tips

November 16, 2017 - 8 Comments

Pumpkin spice is back in stores, and that means it’s time to get cracking on your holiday marketing plan! When it comes to driving revenue, the holidays are often the most hectic—and most important—time of year.

There are tons of ways business owners can capitalize on the season, from retargeting ads to acquire new customers, to giving your website a festive refresh, to adding product recommendations to your emails. All of these tactics have varying degrees of effort, so focus on what’s best for your business according to available time and resources.

Focusing on email marketing and eCommerce, here’s a list of 10 top tips for the holiday season from MailChimp, along with how much effort it will take you to execute them.

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Preparing WooCommerce for the arrival of Gutenberg

November 15, 2017 - 13 Comments

Dedicated WordPress users have probably heard about Gutenberg, the revolutionary new editor currently in development as a feature plugin and scheduled for inclusion in WordPress version 5.0. It transforms the way we edit content of our WordPress websites by providing a richer “block”-based experience.

Put simply, a block is any single element of content – an image, a paragraph or a YouTube video – and blocks can be quickly configured and built into immersive page layouts and designs. This is a comprehensive maturation of the visual editor as we know it and creates a truer WYSIWYG experience.

Gutenberg will transform the way we edit the content of our WordPress websites by providing a richer “block”-based experience.

One thing that isn’t yet 100% clear is how complex plugins like WooCommerce will work with Gutenberg.

Our design team has explored and experimented with adding product Blocks (recent products, featured products, etc.) to posts and pages. But as you’re well aware, publishing products should be a very different experience to authoring a blog post.

How adding a product block in Gutenberg might look
How adding a product block in Gutenberg might look.

As a release candidate approaches, Gutenberg will enable us to mimic that rich blog authoring experience for products. How might that look?

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WooConf: State of the Woo

November 10, 2017 - Leave a comment

This is the first part in a series of posts highlighting talks from WooConf. You can watch the talk or read some of the points below.

 

 

WooCommerce has been amazingly successful over the last five years. The plugin itself has more than 32M downloads, more than 3M active installs, and over 600 contributors to the open source project. We aren’t just a plugin anymore, we’re a platform with a thriving ecosystem.

Since we have been fortunate to have success, we now have influence. As they say,

With great power comes great responsibility

The WooCommerce team takes that responsibility very seriously. So we’ve been taking a really hard look at the platform as a whole and figuring out how we can make sure it is living up to its responsibilities.

Over the last year, we spent considerable time and energy making WooCommerce robust and sustainable for the long-term for our three user groups: store owners, store builders, and extension developers. I’d like to share some of what we’ve been doing, what we’ve learned, and a hint of where things are going. 

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Insights from the WooCommerce Marketplace: Successful Extensions are Built on Understanding Customers

November 9, 2017 - 4 Comments

When WooCommerce launched in 2011, we launched something alongside it: an online marketplace where builders could buy extensions to customize their stores.

Over the years, the WooCommerce Marketplace grew from the original nine extensions to nearly 400 products, and from a few developers to nearly 40 companies actively creating, updating, and supporting extensions.

For the past few years, the WooCommerce Marketplace has been closed to new submissions and new developers. While the WooCommerce user base grew to 3 million active installs, the options available to store builders through our official marketplace stayed stagnant.

Now, we’re changing all of that and opening the doors to the WooCommerce Marketplace again in early 2018.

While you wait — and because the best extensions are built for real customers — we’ve put together some insights to help you get ready to build your next extension.

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Three things we hope you take away from WooConf 2017

October 30, 2017 - 9 Comments

A little over a week ago, I traveled to Seattle along with designers and developers, freelancers and agencies from across the wide world of Woo, for WooCommerce’s annual gathering at WooConf.

For me, it was the culmination of 10 months of work that started early in January, when I came on board to plan the content. From 15 Skype calls to chat about what different people wanted from a conference to two days of talks, demos, and workshops, I hope that together we delivered on what I heard our community ask for.

Read on for three things we hope those who joined us onsite or via the live stream took away from WooConf 2017.

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From day 1 to successful homeschool bookstore on WooCommerce

October 26, 2017 - 7 Comments

Charlotte Mason revolutionized education 100 years ago and is still having an impact today, especially in homeschooling. A British educator from the late 1800s, she left an impressive legacy in the form of extensively documented materials for home education.

I think Charlotte Mason would have loved simplycharlottemason.com, the passion project of two homeschooling families and an online hub for homeschooling books, lesson plans, discussion forums, and more.

In a nutshell, the openness and flexibility of WooCommerce enabled two homeschooling families to build a thriving online bookstore and subscription business that impacts both their local community and thousands of families worldwide. Their vision is far greater than selling books and the bottom line.

I spoke with Doug, one of the site’s founders and the person who built and maintains the site. Read on for the full story, including the list of extensions and plugins that power their store.

Simplycharlottemason.com hompage

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Saying Goodbye to Canvas

October 24, 2017 - 142 Comments

We’ve come to a difficult decision: as of today, we’re no longer selling Canvas.

  • WordPress is constantly evolving, and Canvas is no longer a good option for site builders using newer versions of WordPress – we don’t want to recommend a theme we don’t think will serve you in the future.
  • We’ll continue to provide support for active subscriptions, and for a year from today for lifetime subscriptions.
  • We’ve created a comprehensive plan for all our Canvas customers going forward. We aren’t simply dropping the theme, we are going to walk this road with you.

We know that this is a big change for you, but we believe it will set your sites up for better success in the future. Read on for more details about how we got here and how we can help moving forward.

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What’s new in WooCommerce 3.2: Improved coupons and extension management

October 11, 2017 - 36 Comments

Since our last minor release back in June, we’ve been working on a multitude of improvements to improve the WooCommerce admin experience:

  • Apply discounts to orders using coupons, without the chore of doing manual calculations.
  • See which versions of extensions are tested with new WooCommerce updates, before updating.
  • Improved management features for WooCommerce.com extensions.
  • A simpler, unified shortcode for listing multiple products on pages.

To ensure this update is indeed stable, we’ve been doing plenty of testing on our side; releasing beta versions, testing our own library of extensions and themes, working with customers to do managed updates, and running 3.2 on WooCommerce.com. 👏

WooCommerce 3.2 is also a minor release, meaning it should be fully backwards compatible with 3.1 and 3.0. However, it’s still considered best practice, and recommended, to backup before updating.

We recommend viewing our documentation on how to update, making a backup, updating extensions, and finally updating WooCommerce via WP Admin.

Here are some more details on what’s new in 3.2!

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Automate WooCommerce with Zapier and increase efficiency

September 26, 2017 - 6 Comments

Business ownership is a steady stream of satisfying milestones and ever-expanding to-do lists. Whether a budding WooCommerce entrepreneur or a seasoned store owner, you’re likely on the lookout for ways to cut a few corners and knock off tasks from your list.

Automation is one surefire way to boost efficiency. Read on for tips on automating WooCommerce with help from Zapier.

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How store owners can automate their online business

September 22, 2017 - 12 Comments

Running a successful business is tough. There are transactions to track, products to update and restock, new customers to onboard, support tickets to manage—and the list goes on. Plus, with your store open for business 24/7, the pressure is on to deliver a top-notch experience for customers around the clock.

Luckily there’s a way for you to take some of that pressure off. With WooCommerce’s Zapier plugin, you can create Zaps – Zapier lingo for automations – that direct routine tasks to automatically run in the background.

You’ll spend less time entering new customer data, sending personalized emails, and managing tasks, and more time on important projects that matter to you and your customers.

Need ideas on how to get started? Below are three popular ways that business owners are using Zaps to change the way they send emails, interact with customers, and organize data.

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The power and purpose of knowing your customers

September 5, 2017 - 6 Comments

“What got us here won’t get us there… I want to have design leading the way. A lot more user research. A lot more mockups.”
– Matt Mullenweg

At WordCamp US 2016, Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word outlined a vision for WordPress being design-led. Since then, WooCommerce has doubled down on our efforts to follow suit.

From growing our one-person design team to five (and still hiring!) to talking more to our customers — hearing what’s most important to them, and how eCommerce fits into their lives – we’re just getting started on our journey to make this transition, and we’re learning a lot!

Our hope is that you can take some of the lessons we’re learning and apply them to your business, no matter how big or small.

It’s never too soon or too late to start talking to your customers, understanding who they are, and how they made their way to you today.

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What WooCommerce developers can expect at WooConf 2017

August 29, 2017 - 10 Comments

Conferences have a few important features, two of them being content and people. Yes, a great venue, beautiful city, and awesome swag all add to it, but at the end of the day it needs to count to invest time and money in going somewhere.

We get this. Excellence has consistently been top priority at WooConfs over the years, and 2017 will be no different.

Our schedule puts the spotlight on the best content delivered by people you’ll be glad you got to spend time with.

Here’s what you can expect at WooConf 2017.

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