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How to Set Up a New WooCommerce Store

July 20, 2018 - Leave a comment

This week we’ve been looking at some of the thing business owners should consider when choosing an eCommerce platform. To close things out, let’s walk through how to set up a WooCommerce store — a two-part process.

If you are starting from scratch, head to WooCommerce.com/start to get a basic site in place. If you already have a self-hosted WordPress site or a WordPress.com site with a Business plan, head to the Plugins section of your dashboard to search for, add, and activate the WooCommerce plugin.

Let the WooCommerce Wizard be your guide

Every new installation of WooCommerce starts with a setup wizard for key questions like what kind of currency you’ll use, whether you sell physical or digital products, and more.

It will also prompt you to add services relevant to your country, and you’ll also be asked to select a payment processor.

Select bank transfer, check, or COD. Additional payment gateways can be added later.
Select bank transfer, check, or COD. Additional payment gateways can be added later.

Next, you’ll be asked to choose a shipping option:

You’ll be asked to identify weight and dimension units to use for shipping cost estimates.
You’ll be asked to identify weight and dimension units to use for shipping cost estimates.

WooCommerce supports flat-rates shipping, free live rates, and at-home label-printing for the U.S. and Canada through a free service called WooCommerce Shipping.

Next up is the “extras” section, where you’ll see if the theme you installed — you may have done this when you first set up your WordPress site — is compatible with WooCommerce. You’ll also get some additional recommend extensions (free):

You can choose to install WooCommerce’s default theme, Storefront
You can choose to install WooCommerce’s default theme, Storefront

Finally, if you’re in a country where any of WooCommerce’s cloud-based services are offered to automatically calculate shipping rates and calculate tax at checkout:

If you’re in the U.S., you’ll want to enable this given the new laws.

Once you’ve completed the setup wizard, you’ll land in your newly eCommerce-ready WordPress site. Head to the Settings tab to review your information:

Make sure a SKU is created for each product — you will need it for data collection and inventory management. Read more about why you should use SKUs for WooCommerce, even if your store is small!

SKUs can be added in the Product Data area of any WooCommerce product page
SKUs can be added in the Product Data area of any WooCommerce product page.

Differences between WooCommerce and WordPress Pages

If you’re already familiar with WordPress, you’ll notice that WooCommerce has some differences, particularly with pages.

Page layout. For most WordPress veterans working on WooCommerce for the first time, the most startling feature is where to put content. That main editing panel you see on a fresh new WordPress page is not where you put the content viewers first see about the product featured on that page. That very important piece of writing goes in the “short product description” field further down the page.

That large field at the top is where you put in details about the product, like its construction, components, country of origin — whatever you think will interest buyers enough to scroll down and get more information. 

Attributes and Variations. Since WooCommerce is an online store, it includes items that may be unfamiliar to those accustomed to using WordPress simply for blogging.

On each WooCommerce page you set up, you’ll see a place for attributes and variations.

  • Attributes are details about each product. This includes individual sizes, different colors, v-neck versus scoop neck, and so forth.
  • Variations combine attributes and simplify choices you present to the customer. Instead of listing colors and sizes separately and making a customer tick lots of boxes, you can list each size with a drop-down list of available colors.

Read more about the difference between attributes and variations.

Extensions play a similar function to WordPress plugins, but are add-ons for WooCommerce (itself a plugin). I have my favorite ones for shipping, marketing, and payment, or you can browse the WooCommerce marketplace.

Finally, I do think it’s important to make sure you don’t get carried away with extensions. Too many can slow down your site. Remember to focus on extensions that boost the user’s experience, which should always be first and foremost.

Once you have create your store, be sure to check out our New WooCommerce Store Owner Guide with content to help you in the early stages of your store build.

Join the WooCommerce Community and share the journey

As you build up your expertise with WooCommerce, you’ll probably want to learn more about other tools and functions. This is where things can get fun (really!). Because there are a lot of friendly WooCommerce and WordPress experts out there who are ready to lend a hand.

This concludes our introductory series to eCommerce for WordPress, we hope it has been helpful!

An Introduction to eCommerce for WordPress – WooCommerce

July 16, 2018 - 4 Comments

New to WooCommerce? It’s a free plugin that transforms WordPress websites into customizable eCommerce stores. First released in 2011 by WooThemes, a WordPress theme development agency with roots in Norway, the United Kingdom, and South Africa, it was later acquired by Automattic, makers of WordPress.com and Jetpack. In the U.S. alone, WooCommerce powers a whopping 55% of all eCommerce sites and nearly 2.3 million online stores.

Over the next few days we’ll look at some key questions and topics, starting with an introduction to eCommerce for WordPress. Welcome to Woo!

An introduction to WordPress and WooCommerce
The WooCommerce plugin is available for free on WooCommerce.com and WordPress.org.

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WooCommerce Sales Tax for the US: How to Enable Automated Calculations and Filing

June 26, 2018 - 24 Comments

The US Supreme Court decided this week that each state can now require sales tax to be collected on internet sales. This ruling opens the door for states to do something that they haven’t been able to before: tax a lot of internet sales.

tl;dr: Enable free, automated, single nexus tax calculations with WooCommerce Tax, or for additional nexus and more complex tax scenarios, and auto-filing, try TaxJar.

While WooCommerce can’t advise you on which taxes your business needs — that’s a question for your accountant — you can configure settings in WooCommerce to either manually or automatically calculate taxes based on the requirements of the new rules.

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Six MailChimp Tools to Build Your Brand and Sell More Stuff

April 12, 2018 - 10 Comments

At this very moment, your store is loaded with data, and that data is fuel just waiting to grow your business.

It provides invaluable information about your customers: what they enjoy buying from you, how often they make a purchase, and when they last made a purchase. Once you integrate your WooCommerce store with MailChimp, our powerful marketing tools – including automations and reporting – put that data to work to personalize your marketing and sell more stuff.

Here are 6 tools that’ll help you on your quest to build your brand:

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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

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 - 9 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 - 14 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 - 9 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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The Five Most Popular WooCommerce Product Types

June 21, 2016 - 9 Comments

With WooCommerce, you don’t have to limit yourself to physical goods — you can easily sell digital products, your time, access to events, and more.

Let’s have a look at the five most popular types of product people 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.

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5 Different Ways to Take Payments with WooCommerce

May 20, 2016 - 6 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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