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What to consider about payments when selling internationally

September 23, 2016 - Leave a comment

Today’s post comes to us from Sue Park, the head of Small Business Partner Marketing at PayPal. She’s here to share some tips for those of you thinking about expanding your business on a global scale. Take it away, Sue!

Global prosperity and mobile adoption are creating opportunities for small businesses to reach new customers abroad. It’s estimated that by 2025, the global consuming class will grow by 75% to a total of 4.2 billion people. These 4.2 billion consumers will spend an estimated $30 trillion annually.

Whether you’re just beginning to consider the potential of opening your shop for business to international buyers, or already testing a few target markets, the stakes are high: checkout is the place where the majority of international shoppers abandon their purchases.

There are several reasons, but one of the main ones is trust. Consumers should have confidence that their payment will be handled securely, and should have the comfort and convenience of paying in a familiar currency using their preferred method.

Here’s what you should think about and take action on before you start taking payments from international customers.

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The impact and opportunity of the sharing economy for eCommerce

September 20, 2016 - 2 Comments

Towards the end of last year I happened upon a massive traffic jam caused by cab drivers who’d climbed out of their vehicles to gridlock central London protesting Uber. Similar protests took place in France and mostly recently in Indonesia. Why the fuss?

Disruption by the sharing economy.

You can rue the day someone bumps you out of the market with their great idea, but you can’t stop them by simply shaking a fist.

A shift in societal values and advances in technology birthed this new way of doing business, and it’s shaking up established practices. The teenage tech wizards with their laptops and bright ideas are coming, and no one can afford to sit back and smile derisively.

A gridlock in Indonesia in protest of Uber.
A gridlock in Indonesia in protest of Uber.

Interested in learning more about the shared economy and the implications for eCommerce?

The world has revealed its voracious appetite for the sharing-based economy, and here’s where this gets interesting for WooCommerce store owners: the means of despatch is most frequently eCommerce.

If you’ve got an online store, there is a way that the sharing economy will or could impact your business. Maybe you need to shape up so you don’t get disrupted, maybe there is a missed opportunity — either way, it’s worth your attention.

Read on as we take a deep dive into the evolution of the sharing economy with lessons from pioneers in the fashion industry, tips for capitalising on opportunity and mitigating risk for consumer goods, and how to apply these learnings to your own store.

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7 WooCommerce extensions for more loyal customers

September 9, 2016 - 2 Comments

After you build your store and open it up to customers, your focus will shift to from generating sales to generating loyalty — and with good reason. As we explained previously, if you can get a customer to come back for a second purchase, the chances of them sticking with your store will dramatically increase.

There are a ton of ways you can make shoppers loyal to one brand over another. Pricing is one angle you can take. An amazing customer support policy is another. But loyalty doesn’t have to rely on cheap prices or friendly emails.

Occasional treats, payment flexibility, and friendly, open communication can turn your newest customers into lifetime ones. And with a few specific WooCommerce extensions, you can add these loyalty-boosters to your store in a flash — no custom code or development needed.

Let’s take a look at seven extensions that you can start using today to boost the loyalty of your shoppers.

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The building block philosophy of Storefront

September 6, 2016 - 4 Comments

Today we released Storefront Powerpack, an extension that allows you to change the appearance of Storefront theme for WooCommerce — without touching a single line of code. Powerpack allows anyone to customize their store without dabbling in HTML or CSS, and the results of those customizations can be seen instantly.

Powerpack in action. Edit any element in Storefront and see the results instantly.
Powerpack in action. Edit any element in Storefront and see the results in a flash.

As we prepared to release this extension, we realized we’d never written very much about the thinking behind Storefront’s development, and why we’ve chosen to break functionality out into extensions instead of packaging it into the theme itself. “Why not just make Powerpack part of Storefront?” we thought you might ask.

Today, we’re setting aside a couple minutes to explain our “building block” philosophy behind Storefront, and how it’s influenced the development of extensions like Powerpack.

Care to learn more? Read on.

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10 WooCommerce stores selling awesome and unusual things

September 2, 2016 - 10 Comments

When we say you can sell anything with WooCommerce, we really do mean anything. Physical products, digital goods, monthly subscriptions, content available only to paying members, event ticketsbookings for hotels or even your time — it’s all possible.

We occasionally stumble across stores that have taken this sell-anything-anywhere philosophy to a new level. Sometimes they’re using one of our extensions in a clever or unexpected way. Sometimes what they’re selling is unusual, smart, or just makes us shout “wow!” at our screens.

To give you a little inspiration (or perhaps an idea for a holiday gift?), we’ve gathered up ten WooCommerce-powered stores selling awesome and unusual things. And believe me — it was hard to choose only ten!

Have a look at how these ten stores are taking WooCommerce to the next level, delighting their customers, and offering something you can’t find anywhere else.

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Smart pricing strategies that inspire customer loyalty

August 30, 2016 - 11 Comments

So you’ve put in time, effort, and hard work to bring new customers to your store. The next checkbox on your to-do list? Bringing those customers back again.

A study on eCommerce buying behavior by RJMetrics found that about 32% of first-time customers came back for a second purchase. That might not seem like much, but listen to this: the customers who did make those second purchases became more likely to return for a third, then a fourth, and so on, on an incremental scale:

The more repeat purchases a customer makes, the more likely they are to keep buying from you. (Chart source: RJMetrics)
The more repeat purchases a customer makes, the more likely they are to keep buying from you. (Chart source: RJMetrics)

Bring a customer back just once and you’re more likely to count them among your most loyal shoppers. But how do you even begin to establish that kind of “I’ll only shop with you” loyalty, anyway?

One of the best ways you can create longtime loyalty is with smart pricing strategies. We aren’t talking about offering coupons nonstop — we’re talking about rewarding shoppers for consistently choosing your store, or offering discounts they can’t find anywhere else.

Let’s explore a few strategies you can try to bring those first-time shoppers back again and again.

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The basic pages every electronics store needs

August 25, 2016 - Leave a comment

Selling electronics online is fun, you have to admit. Adding the newest and best technology to your store and watching customers scoop it up, thinking about what they’re going to accomplish with it, imagining their happy faces when they open the box — how can you not grin at that?

Still, it’s a challenge to get your store to the point where you’re selling to enough of those happy customers. There are a lot of things you can do to market your electronics or spread the word about your shop, but sometimes it all comes down to adding more helpful content.

There are a few basic pages that you can add to your consumer electronics store to drive more interest, increase purchases, and boost customer happiness. You might already have some of these pages, in fact! But some of them might be brand new to you, and worth pulling into your lineup.

Let’s take a look at the pages we recommend for electronics stores, and how a few real WooCommerce stores are using them in awesome and interesting ways.

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Why stores running on WordPress are winning

August 22, 2016 - 20 Comments

According to the most recent report from BuiltWith, 39% of all eCommerce sites are powered by WooCommerce and WordPress — over 1.5 million active stores. Add in the usage of additional eCommerce platforms powered by WordPress and the CMS’s own 17.6 million live sites (over 26% of the entire internet!), and, well… that’s a lot of sites.

Developers and store builders don’t just choose to work with WordPress because it’s free (although it is) or because “everyone else is using it” (although they are). There are some pretty convincing reasons why WordPress has climbed to the top of the charts, and why WooCommerce has soared in popularity right along with it.

Stores backed by WordPress have multiple advantages over those on other platforms. And these advantages allow them to work faster, spend less money, and ultimately become more successful than their counterparts.

Let’s take a look at a few convincing reasons why shops running on WordPress have a competitive edge — and why you should join their ranks, if you’re not already among them. 🙂

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How Woo uses content as part of the sales process

August 16, 2016 - 8 Comments

There are a ton of ways your store to convince shoppers to make a purchase. Well-rounded product pages, quality copywriting, targeted social media advertising, emails — they’ll all get the job done.

But some of your potential customers might not be ready to make a commitment. They might be new to your products or services, or learning what separates your store from another. And that’s why educational content is an awesome addition, because it allows shoppers to learn about you in a natural way, and at their own pace.

At WooCommerce, we’ve ramped up the creation of content, its promotion, and its usage in our marketing over the last 15 months. It’s become a critical part of our sales process, and something that we can no longer imagine operating without.

Today I’ll be pulling back the curtain to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how we produce and use our content with sales in mind, all so you can take away some ideas and inspiration for the content on your store.

If you’re interested in seeing how a business like ours uses content marketing, keep reading!

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How to take payments with WooCommerce – affordably

August 11, 2016 - 25 Comments

Building a store can get costly. Even the most experienced developers can find themselves overspending — a premium theme here, a cool-sounding extension there, and suddenly you’ve blown the budget.

The ability to accept payments is one of those things you almost have to spend part of your budget on. But there’s no reason you should have to waste all your money on preparing to take credit cards online, or cash from local shoppers.

There are multiple ways to take payments from your customers without spending a fortune on setup or monthly fees. From built-in processors to optional extensions, there’s a fitting solution for every budget-conscious store builder that won’t waste your money — or your time, for that matter.

Let’s explore a few ways you can take payments with WooCommerce… and do so affordably. But first, we’ll take a closer look at what it really costs to take credit card payments, and why a “cheap” payment gateway may not be as good as it sounds.

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Why you should use SKUs in your store

August 9, 2016 - 21 Comments

Using item numbers or stock keeping units — better known as SKUs — might seem unnecessary for your store. Stop us if any of this sounds familiar:

“My store’s really small, so I don’t need SKUs — I know everything by sight.”

“I don’t sell to anyone other than my customers, so why would I need item numbers?”

“My products don’t have any variations, so SKUs aren’t required.”

These are valid objections… sort of. But they’re also excuses that could hinder your relationship with partners, cause logistical issues for for your store, or — worst of all — keep you from reaching your full sales potential.

No matter the size of your store, what you sell, or who it is you sell it to, you should absolutely be using SKUs. After all, WooCommerce makes it so quick to add them that you don’t really have an excuse… but we understand that you might need a little more convincing. 😉

Here are five reasons why SKUs are useful for eCommerce.

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Tips for offline stores taking their products online

August 5, 2016 - 4 Comments

Starting a retail store is hard. You’ve got to have the right products, the right location, and the right staff to make it work. Miss the mark on any one of these aspects and you’re bound to struggle.

If you’ve already got a successful store, nobody can blame you for feeling like you can do anything. Or wanting, perhaps, to take over the world a little bit. Extending your reach only seems natural — once you know you can run one store, why not two?

The next natural step for you entrepreneurial brick and mortar shop owners is often a move to an online store. And while a smart move, it’s one that should be made with caution. Taking an offline store online can be hugely beneficial, but there are a few things you need to think about and plan before you set anything up.

If you’re thinking about adding an online store into the mix, whether you’ve been in the retail business for a few months or many long years, read over these tips and steps to take first.

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How to optimize all your eCommerce landing pages

August 3, 2016 - 13 Comments

When you hear the phrase “landing page,” you probably think of a dedicated page on a website. Or you might even think of your store’s homepage.

Most marketing blogs suggest that you use dedicated landing pages to show new visitors marketing messages, or offer a specific audience a deal or pitch crafted just for them. And sure, for some sites, this is an effective strategy — but it’s different in the world of eCommerce.

When you run an online store, landing pages aren’t limited to just a few select spots. The reality is that almost every page on your store can be a landing page, under the right circumstances.

With this in mind, your goal shouldn’t be to set up special pitches or deals limited to certain visitors. You should optimize all of your pages in the same way so that no matter where a shopper arrives, they’ll get the right message.

Let’s take a look at what your landing pages actually are, and how you can make them work harder for you.

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What to consider when taking an online store offline

July 29, 2016 - Leave a comment

If you’ve found success selling your products or services online, you’ve probably given some thought to expanding offline — that is, opening a brick and mortar store.

Switching from a solely online business to a multi-channel merchant is difficult, though. And the harsh reality is that not everyone has the time or resources necessary to do it well… or at all.

If you’re seriously thinking about taking your WooCommerce store offline, there are a couple important things to consider before taking the big leap. If you can sort these factors out beforehand, it’ll give you a better chance of success.

From location to staffing to all things payment-related, here’s the full list of what you should be thinking about before you grow your presence into the “real world.”

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Take payments anywhere with Square for WooCommerce

July 26, 2016 - 67 Comments

TL;DR: Square for WooCommerce has arrived — purchase the extension here and let us know your thoughts.

Important note: at the moment, the extension is only supported in the US and Canada.

Our most requested integration is now available! With Square for WooCommerce, you can take payments online or offline through the same solution, keep your inventory updated, and sync product changes between WooCommerce and Square.

Read on to learn more about what’s available in this new extension, how it works, and how Square can benefit your store.

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How eCommerce was a game changer for an entrepreneurial Lithuanian mum

July 25, 2016 - 2 Comments

They say you can’t have it all. Between building a career, staying fit, nurturing your family, advancing in knowledge, exploring the world and all of the things the world has to offer, one couldn’t be blamed for waving the white flag of surrender.

Mini Learners is a refreshing exception to the adage.

Read on to learn how Egle, an entrepreneurial mother of two, transitioned from a 9-5pm office job and long commute to working from home, and how eCommerce was the game changer in her pursuit of happiness and starting her own business.

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The entrepreneurial Egle at work on MiniLearners.com.

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