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How to Prepare for Post-holiday Returns

October 19, 2018 - 6 Comments

Once the holidays are over, you can breathe a long sigh of relief. Things can finally settle down and go back to normal, right?

Well… not exactly. With projected record-setting holiday sales come record-breaking returns in January and February. This past year, UPS alone expected to process 6 million returns in the week after Christmas.

After the holidays end, your top priority needs to be satisfying the customers who have ill-fitting, unsuitable, or defective merchandise that they’d like to send back to you. An estimated 25 to 30 percent of online purchases are sent back! This means you have to have a plan to handle post-holiday returns — and handle them so well that these gift recipients turn into bonafide customers.

Let’s take a look at how you can handle these returns and exchanges smoothly. We’ll start with what you can do now, before the season starts, to get your website ready. Then we’ll look at how to properly handle returns and unhappy giftees.

Ready? Let’s get a move on.

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How to Handle Common Holiday Shipping Issues

October 17, 2018 - 14 Comments

If you run an online store, shipping is the one area where everything you do becomes tangible to your customer. At no time is this more critical to a positive customer experience than the holidays, when the product your customer is touching is likely to be a gift from a friend or family member.

But there are obstacles. If you don’t prepare, you can ruin someone’s holiday with a late or damaged shipment. Holidays offer opportunities to build your brand, increase customer loyalty, and acquire new customers…but they also offer benefits that will improve your bottom line.

The best way to ensure your business’s success is to learn how to prepare for some of the most common holiday shipping issues. In this post, we’ll cover how you can get ready for everything from lost shipments to weather delays to the general rush caused by an increase in packages.

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Styling, Lighting, and Camera Settings for eCommerce Photography

June 15, 2018 - 12 Comments

When shoot day arrives, there are a few steps you need to keep in mind when it comes to styling, lighting, and camera settings.

Styling and backdrop

Traditional product images are shot with a seamless white or neutral backdrop. This simplifies the editing process and gives the product a clean and focused appearance.

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Four Clever Ways to Personalize Your Products

January 14, 2018 - 5 Comments

Attracting new visitors to your store is a tough task. Motivating those visitors to buy — even tougher.

Store owners who feel as if they’ve tried every method under the sun to bring in new customers and increase purchases might wonder “what else can I do?” For you we have a new, clever suggestion: personalized products.

Shoppers who have the ability to personalize their products tend to be more engaged, purchase more often, and spend more per visit than those who can’t customize their goods in any way. If you feel stuck in a rut, personalization might be the perfect way to get your shop moving again.

Curious about personalization? Let’s cover some of the benefits in more detail, then look at four clever ways you can offer customized goods in your own store.

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How Cured creates personal connections between customers and food

March 22, 2017 - 1 Comment

Venture to either end of Pearl Street in downtown Boulder, Colorado and you’ll find one half of the same treat: Cured, a shop that has set its focus on “preserving a personal connection to food” through the sale of fine meats, cheeses, wine, and other unique grocery items.

Opened in 2011 by Will and Coral Frischkorn, a former competitive cyclist and graphic designer respectively, Cured has grown from a single store to a multi-channel business. Their team of 24 now operates two physical locations, an online store, and even offers catering plus courier delivery to hungry locals looking for same-day snacks or party supplies.

Meet Will and Coral, the proud owners of Cured, who were kind enough to share their story with us.

We sat down for a chat with Will and Coral about how they’ve grown from a single store to a veritable meet-and-cheese empire, and their story is truly inspiring. Have a read to learn about how Cured began, how they successfully began selling online with WooCommerce and Square, and what it’s like to run a business as busy as theirs.

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Top extensions for physical goods stores

February 8, 2017 - 14 Comments

We’ve written in the past about how WooCommerce can be used for unique store setups — memberships, nonprofitssubscriptions and more. But a lot of you choose Woo because it’s a great platform for a simple store selling physical goods.

WooCommerce gives you a fantastic way to start selling and shipping your products fast, no matter what you sell or where you want to sell them. Sometimes, though, you might need a few more tools to take your store to the next level.

In this post, we’ve collected some of our favorite extensions for stores specializing in physical goods. Have a look and see if you find a new favorite!

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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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4 ways to add physical goods to your store

July 15, 2016 - 11 Comments

If you don’t already sell physical products, adding them to your existing online store can present a fantastic opportunity to grow your revenue — and your relationship with your customers.

With limited time, resources, and budget, however, adding physical goods might sound like a good idea, but seem difficult to actually accomplish. Not everyone can store physical stock, rent a warehouse, or juggle the logistics of shipping.

So what’s a store owner to do? Start at square one: add simple physical products that compliment your existing business and don’t require you to drastically alter your store to sell.

Whether that’s through small treats for customers or dropshipping goods, there are a few ways to go about this without breaking the bank. Let’s take a look at some of them.

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How customer expectations should impact your shipping options

May 18, 2016 - 1 Comment

Are you considering your customers’ wants and needs when choosing the available shipping options for your store?

We’ve spoken before about how important it is to consider your customers when setting up your store’s navigation, writing copy, and creating a return policy. But when it comes to shipping, you might do (or have done) what you think is best, never realizing there’s a mismatch present.

Spending just a few minutes thinking about your customers’ expectations can help you pick the right shipping methods, speeds, and options the first time — or, if your store’s been up and running a while, just in time to keep all your interested shoppers from walking away.

Here’s why you should keep your potential customers in mind when it comes to shipping, and how to best consider their expectations as you’re setting up your options.

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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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How to Charge Your Customers the Correct Sales Tax Rates

December 28, 2015 - 4 Comments

So you get that as an eCommerce 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 nexus. All states have a slightly different definition of nexus, but most of the time states consider that a “physical presence” or “economic connection”, based on sales into that state, creates nexus.

Even after you have done the research to understand where you have nexus, then how much do you charge? Does it vary from customer to customer? And why does this have to be so complicated?

And more importantly, is there a solution that can automate everything so WooCommerce customers don’t have to deal with any of this? The good news is, yes there is!

First, we’ll explain a bit about how sales tax works, and then we’ll show you how you can use TaxJar to automate the entire process so you never have to stress about sales tax again.

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.

If you’re a growing eCommerce business with multiple sales channels (WooCommerce, Amazon, Walmart, etc.), and want to take advantage of fully automated sales tax and filing services, we recommend you choose TaxJar.

Let’s get started.

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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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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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Consider these 7 things when setting up shipments

July 30, 2015 - 13 Comments

You started your eCommerce business and it’s taken off. Products are selling and customers need to receive it all. How are you getting everything from point A to point B?

Shipping can get frustrating fast. But it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Having worked with thousands of store owners like yourself, we’ve seen the pitfalls both new and experienced businesses make when it comes to shipping.

We’ve collected the top seven things you need to give love and attention to when you’re getting started with shipping to save you time, money, energy, and stress. Read on to find out what they are!

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8 Shipping Options to Consider for Your Store

July 16, 2015 - 22 Comments

Shipping is often the “make or break” point of a consumer’s online purchase. If it’s too costly, not offered via their preferred carrier, or perhaps even inconvenient in some way, a potential customer is more than happy to abandon their shopping cart so they can find what they want elsewhere.

There are plenty of ways to avoid losing your shoppers over a mere shipping setting, though. Plenty of add-ons and extensions are available that can help you expand your store’s shipping options, and they go far beyond simply adding another carrier or switching to flat fees. With the right extensions, you can charge more accurately, split up orders, and even skip the shipping process entirely.

To help you grow your store and make your customers happier, today we’re presenting eight somewhat more advanced shipping options to consider when you’re selling online… and the WooCommerce extensions that make them possible. From location-based fees to local pickup, these extensions will give you the power to expand your options exponentially and convert more of your shoppers into paying customers.

Read on to get some insight on shipping options you might have never considered before now!

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How to get started with dropshipping

June 3, 2015 - 7 Comments

Dropshipping is a fulfillment method that’s becoming more popular — but it’s not just for large businesses. Thousands of people run successful online marketplaces that utilize it.

Anyone with an Internet connection and a few hours a week can easily get started with dropshipping. Whether you’re new to the world of eCommerce or an established retailer looking to add to your product catalog, dropshipping can play a role in your business.

Today, we’ll go over what dropshipping is, and what types of businesses benefit the most from it. We’ll also talk about the product and market research process, how to find reliable dropship suppliers, and what you should know about order fulfillment and customer service.

Let’s get started!

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