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The WooCommerce Blog

Tips, tricks and eCommerce inspiration from WooCommerce experts.

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How to sell online

Start your new store quickly with PayPal Business in a Box

May 1, 2017 - 9 Comments

It’s National Small Business Week here in the United States, a seven day period where we celebrate small businesses and all they do. Over half of Americans own or work for a small business, and about two thirds of the country’s new jobs come from them every year.

This week is a reminder for us that there’s more work to be done to support small businesses. Having a free, open-source platform and hundreds of extensions and integrations is definitely a step in the right direction. But we’re always looking for ways to do more for you and your business.

With that in goal mind, today we’re happy to announce PayPal Business in a Box, a brand new program from PayPal that’s designed to help small business owners quickly start or grow an online store.

Read on to learn what Business in a Box is, what’s included in the “box,” and how it can help you get your own small business up and running.

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How to handle common holiday shipping issues

October 24, 2016 - 2 Comments

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This post is brought to you by Sarah at ShippingEasy. ShippingEasy saves you money through discounted shipping rates and makes it easy to print labels, process orders, and more. Let’s hear what Sarah has to say about shipping easier this holiday season.

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.

Let’s get started!

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Getting your WooCommerce settings right for the holiday rush

October 14, 2016 - 5 Comments

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As you head into the holiday season, it’s common to think big picture — as in, what are the big things you’re going to do to drive traffic, increase sales, and keep your customers happy?

But let’s slow it down and think, for a second or two, about the little things. The little details that go into each aspect of your store, marketing, and support are important, too. And if you go into this busy time of year without thinking about said details, you could run into trouble.

Some of those details include your WooCommerce store’s settings. It’s worth checking on these settings, from your store emails to your low stock threshold to the text in your site-wide notice, before things get really busy. Wait too long and a simple mistake could end up costing you a sale… or worse.

To help you prepare, we’ve put together a list of some of the WooCommerce settings you should check before the holidays begin. Read on to find out what to do, when to do it, and why.

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How to sell to shoppers celebrating international holidays

September 28, 2016 - 7 Comments

With the holiday shopping season on the horizon, you’re likely beginning to give some thought to how you attract, market, and sell your products to customers in the same region as your store.

But why stop there? If you can take payments from international shoppers and ship all around the world, there’s no reason you should limit yourself to sales and promotions for one country or a single holiday.

If you’ve been growing your store internationally, the holiday season is your chance to see the benefits of your hard work. With some research, knowledge of what global shoppers expect, and smart, well-timed promotions, you can reach customers celebrating holidays all around the world — and give your sales a nice boost.

Here’s how you can start selling to shoppers celebrating international holidays, plus a few ways that you can get the word out about your global sales.

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What to consider about payments when selling internationally

September 23, 2016 - 8 Comments

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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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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Crossing borders: trips, tricks & extensions for international stores

June 29, 2016 - 7 Comments

Most new WooCommerce stores start out selling and shipping to their immediate surroundings — the same state, country, or another familiar area. But there comes a time for many store owners when they start thinking about venturing out a little further.

Selling internationally can be immensely rewarding, but there’s a lot to consider before you start doing it. There’s the logistics of shipping, the tax implications, whether or not all of your products can even be made available internationally due to licensing or usage restrictions, and let’s not even get started on the cost of all this.

In short: it takes a lot of work to cross those borders and reach those customers.

But if there’s a clamor for your products in distant countries, you know full well that there’s money to be made and customers to be satisfied. So we’ve put together this list of tips, tricks, and some helpful WooCommerce extensions that will make the process of internationalization a little less challenging — whether you’re selling twenty products or twenty thousand.

Let’s dive in and look at what you should do before you flip the switch and start shipping overseas.

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What you should know about VAT and selling internationally

June 28, 2016 - 8 Comments

Today’s post comes to us from Jennifer Sokolowsky at Avalara. AvaTax for WooCommerce is a seamless integration for Avalara’s tax calculation services. Automatically calculate tax rates, submit documents to Avalara for transactions, and enable address validation at checkout for supported countries. Give it a try today to get tax right no matter where you’re selling.

International markets can offer big opportunities for store owners. Selling across borders can offer growth potential when local sales have plateaued, as well as a way to get an edge on competitors. It can also offer a way to diversify your business.

However, selling internationally can be more complicated than doing business domestically. One of the major considerations to keep in mind is how to deal with taxes — specifically VAT.

Here’s what you should know about the value added tax (or VAT), when and where it applies, and how you can make sure you get VAT right when you begin selling internationally.

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5 types of products you can sell with WooCommerce

June 21, 2016 - 6 Comments

When you think of an online store, the mental image that first springs to mind is likely a traditional model — that is, selling and shipping a selection of physical goods to customers.

But that’s not all you can do.

With WooCommerce, there is so much more you can accomplish with a single online store. You don’t have to limit yourself to physical goods alone — you can sell digital products, your time, access to events, and so much more.

Let’s have a look at the five types of products that you can sell with WooCommerce, and why you should consider adding another type of item to your store, no matter what your specialty. We’ll also give you some amazing examples of stores already selling these products, both in a traditional way and in ways you might not expect.

Ready to expand your horizons? Keep reading.

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5 ways to take payments for your products with WooCommerce

May 20, 2016 - 4 Comments

With traditional eCommerce, the exchange of money and goods is simple: a customer pays, and the store owner ships. Easy, right?

But this doesn’t have to be the only way you accept payments for the products you sell online. Taking immediate payments might not work if you want to offer pre-orders. And taking only one payment won’t be suitable for customers who want to order something via subscription.

If you’re only accepting payments for your products the “traditional” way, you might want to consider expanding your options. Here are five ways to take payments with WooCommerce, and how to add them to your store.

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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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How your payment gateway impacts your customer experience

March 2, 2016 - 1 Comment

The experience that shoppers have in your store can vary from good to bad to somewhere in between. Provide a good experience and they’re more likely to make a purchase; provide a bad one and you’ll probably never see them again.

There’s no single thing that creates good user experience (commonly called UX). There are some common items that probably spring to mind: easy-to-use navigation, clean design, helpful site search, and so on… but ensuring quality UX doesn’t stop at the shopping cart.

Believe it or not, your choice of payment gateway, and how that gateway and its options are presented on your store, can have a big impact on the experience of your shoppers. Choose well and you’ll have more customers; choose poorly and… well, you can guess.

Let’s take a look at how your payment gateway can change the experiences your customers have on your store, and what you can do to lean more in the direction of “good” than “bad.”

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How to find the ideal length of your product copy

February 26, 2016 - 4 Comments

There is a war raging in the world of eCommerce — and perhaps all of marketing. On one side, we find those who insist that short copy is best; on the other, passionate believers in the power of long-form copy.

This split in beliefs has created some conflicting advice for new store owners. You might be told that shorter is better, because customers have limited attention spans. But click through to the next article, and you’ll read that longer is better, that shoppers crave details, and short copy can’t possibly sell well.

And here’s where things get even more confusing: both sides are right.

There is no universal standard for the length of eCommerce product copywriting, and this is because every store has to find its own ideal length. For some stores and products, shorter may indeed be better. But for others, their shoppers really might crave those details that can only be found in longer copy blocks.

Let’s clear up any confusion, shall we? Today we’re going to help you find out what the best copy length for your store is. Keep reading to get started.

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Tips for selling digital products with WooCommerce

February 4, 2016 - 7 Comments

Not all eCommerce stores specialize in physical products. Some — perhaps yours? — sell digital goods, like audio files, books, PDFs, video tutorials, games, or even stock photography.

Stores with digital products might not look different from those with physical ones, but they aren’t exactly the same. In fact, they require careful handling, and attention paid to different aspects that may not even need considered otherwise.

If you have or are starting a store with digital or downloadable products, following a few specific guidelines can ensure that your customers are happy with their purchases. It can also help you create a shopping experience that converts more shoppers into paid customers, and even draws more searchers to your store.

Let’s take a look at some tips that can help you create a stronger digital store using WooCommerce.

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Best practices for nonprofits using WooCommerce

January 28, 2016 - Leave a comment

While donating time, money, or goods to a nonprofit organization has long been seen as a purely offline act, online giving is steadily on the rise. One survey found that among the top nonprofit organizations, Internet donations rose 13% between 2013 and 2014.

Although this might not seem like much, given how few of your overall contributions might come from online donors, there are things you can do to both increase the effectiveness of your website and your overall fundraising campaign.

Whether you’re already using WooCommerce to power your NPO’s website or are just beginning to get it up and running, there are a few best practices you can apply to turn it into a donation-collecting machine.

Here’s what we recommend for your nonprofit, from collecting funds to keeping in touch with donors.

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