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When Upselling Hurts: How Too Much Cross-Promotion Can Kill Conversions

December 3, 2014 - 1 Comment

First of all, don’t get me wrong: cross-selling and upselling, employed in moderation, are extremely useful. As you may know, it’s six to seven times easier, and cheaper, to sell more to an existing customer than to hook in a new one.

But it’s crucial that it be done right.

For example, most eCommerce retailers believe that product recommendations will always increase the number of sales and the profits from them. But that’s not always true. According to an e-tailing group merchant survey, 6 out of 10 retailers don’t actually know how recommendations affect their business. It goes without saying that relatively few retailers are testing and optimizing their performance, as well.

The truth is that product recommendations’ performance depends on how and when you display them. And not everyone gets this right. Cross-selling and upselling are the bane of many customers just because they’re so often done poorly, with the focus put on the business’s aim of selling extra stuff instead of the customer’s aim of making sure the extra stuff will actually benefit them.

Here are some ways that tends to happen and how to avoid them, to boot.

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How to Create a High-Converting Email Opt-in Form

December 2, 2014 - 1 Comment

Not everyone who looks at your site will buy something the first time. In fact, 98.5% won’t. However, most people who visit your site without a reason to come back probably won’t do that either.

How do you remind them, then? Well, you could get them to like your Facebook page, but the chances they’ll see any particular status update are negligibly small. You could use an RSS feed, but they’re not that effective, either. Yes, even after twenty years of development in technology, the most effective way is still good old email.

That’s why, in order to retain a significant number of customers, you need to get their email addresses. The form that viewers input their email into is called, straightforwardly enough, the opt-in form.

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6 Tips To Improve eCommerce Customer Retention

November 28, 2014 - 2 Comments

It’s always been cheaper to get your previous customers to make additional purchases than it is to find new customers. This is especially true in eCommerce, where there are more and more sites competing for a finite number of internet users.

Customer profits also tend to increase the longer a customer spends shopping with you. However, retaining customers is also one of the most difficult jobs for an online store owner, so in order to tackle it, let’s look at it from a few angles.

Let’s start with why customers leave.

68% of customers go because they’re unhappy with the customer service. Compared to that, the rest of the reasons seem minuscule with 14% finding the products unsatisfactory and 9% finding a better deal from a competitor. So naturally, the first step would be to…

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6 Ways to Streamline Your Online Store’s Checkout Process

November 26, 2014 - 6 Comments

One of the main reasons people shop online in the first place is convenience, so it only makes sense to grease your online store’s wheels as much as possible.

Your efforts should be focused on your checkout, because that’s the make-or-break section of the buying process. Once the customer has decided that they want to give you their money, your job is to get them through it as quickly as possible, with a minimum amount of pauses that might give them time to reconsider that decision.

The fewer clicks it takes for a visitor to complete a purchase, the better, so here are some ways to start shaving them off.

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How to Find an Audience for Your Online Specialty Store

November 24, 2014 - 1 Comment

online-specialty-storeIf you’re trying to start a new online store, or make over a floundering one, it’s a good idea to find a niche. If you have a niche, you need to know how to market to it.

Most of the ways to market a specialty store online are the same ways you’d market any other one, but applied differently. In short, there’s more of a focus on marketing aggressively to a relatively small community, mostly made up of enthusiasts who can’t find their favorite variety of widget at any other stores.

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10 Design Elements to Avoid for a Professional-Looking Site

November 11, 2014 - 3 Comments

Most online store design rules are common sense, e.g. no music players unless you’re selling music. I think we’ve all got a handle on that one – it’s been a long time since I’ve seen anyone break it.

There are others that should be common sense, too, but some people still don’t follow them. Like the one that says you need to double-check your spelling, because if you can’t get their/there/they’re down, no one’s going to trust you with their credit card information. But those are still simple enough that we don’t need to spell them out again (and again).

The ones we’re interested in are the ones that aren’t intuitive, or that many online businesspeople – especially the newer ones – might not have even realized they’re breaking.

So if your e-store includes any of the following items, remove them immediately. They’re giving your viewers eyestrain, killing your conversion rate, and hurting your attempts to be taken seriously.

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How to Optimize the Mobile Checkout Experience On Your E-Commerce Site

November 4, 2014 - Leave a comment

Optimizing Mobile CheckoutPhablets aside, the average smartphone user will be viewing your site on a screen not much bigger than the standard business card. And when they enter their information, the pop-up keyboard will suddenly eat half of that space. If they turn the phone sideways, that will turn into 7 or 8 tenths.

Shopping in such a small area can certainly be a strange experience, but with some work on your end, you can minimize the inconvenience for your customers. Here are some tips for accomplishing just that:

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How to Generate Sustained Traffic To Your Online Store Without SEO

November 2, 2014 - 2 Comments

seo-site-visitorAs you’re probably aware, over-reliance on one source of traffic can be fatal for a marketing strategy. Google proved this when they implemented the Panda and Penguin updates that ended the eras of “keyword-rich” content mill garbage and threw out a lot of people from the search results who were gaming the system.

Plus, SEO takes up a ton of time and resources that you might be able to put into even more effective methods of drawing traffic. If you don’t have the time and money to build more backlinks and generate more content than your competitors, chances are, you’re not going to pull in the biggest and baddest keywords, anyway.

So let’s explore some other ways to go about it. This article will focus both on how to pull in initial traffic and how to get people to return once they’ve had the first taste of your site.

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Why You Should A/B Test Your Online Store’s Navigation Menus

October 29, 2014 - Leave a comment

ab-test-store-navigationWhen you’re building an online store, you should never settle for just one web design. Instead, you can keep improving appearance just like you’d strive to keep improving products and services.

One way to do this is to continually make incremental changes that improve your design and the most effective way to do this is through A/B testing.

Most online marketers know the importance of A/B testing but today we’re going to talk about how it can be applied to the navigation menu, extremely important in directing the flow of traffic where you want it to go and well worth testing as meticulously as you would any other page.

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How to Use Customer Purchase Behavior to Your Advantage

October 23, 2014 - 2 Comments

customer-purchase-behaviorThis is a tough subject to cover. There are as many ways to use customer purchase behavior as there are customers and potential customers, and as many customers and potential customers as there are people.

Figuring out buyer behavior in general is a huge task. First, you have to draw a difference between universal buyer behavior and any buyer behaviors that may be unique to your field, or even your site. We’ll talk about both in this article. Next, you need to know how different types of customers buy, so when you begin to research your customer base, break it into manageable segments and start by researching a single demographic.

Most of this stuff isn’t exclusive to this topic, by the way. As you’ve probably noticed, marketing as a whole is entirely based in psychology. The whole process is all about manipulating buyer behavior, and using existing trends in it to your advantage. So knowing this information might just help you in all your marketing efforts from now on.

So, let’s start with the most general form of it: The buying process.

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Is Your Marketing Copy Working to Sell Your Products?

October 22, 2014 - 2 Comments

Here on the internet, words and pictures are all you have to sell your product. So your writing is the backbone of your marketing efforts.

However, plenty of people still have misconceptions about it. Despite what many people believe, copywriting is not bragging, it’s not trying to force your product on the customer, and it’s not all about keywords anymore. In fact, it never was.

But enough on how not to write effective copy. Here’s how to do it. Start by asking yourself these four questions:

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How to Create a Compelling Brand Story for Your Online Store

October 13, 2014 - Leave a comment

Your brand story is what separates you from everyone else.  It’s the reason why anyone should care you exist. But what is it, exactly? The simple answer is “your business itself.” Everything you do is part of it. Everything you are is part of it. Why you started, what you do every day, how you treat your employees (that one’s far more important to the story than many entrepreneurs realize), how you interact with customers, the content of your ads, the design scheme you choose to represent it—everything. It’s not just a linear narrative of how you founded your business and how it grew to its current incarnation.

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Your challenge, however, is to figure out how to wrap all that up into a few paragraphs your customers can read and understand. Of course, this isn’t totally possible, but being interesting should take place over being comprehensive, so you don’t even need to put everything in there anyway.

Okay, enough intro. Let’s begin.

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Q&A With Tom Ewer: Beginner Blogging

October 8, 2014 - 2 Comments

We know this guy called Tom who’s really good at blogging. He’s a guest blogger for WooThemes and recently launched a free online course called Beginner Blogging to get people set up for success with WordPress. We chatted to him to find out if it’s true that anyone can blog.

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How to Maximize Online Store Conversions With Compelling Blog Posts

October 7, 2014 - 2 Comments

Remember that the first goal of blogging is not just to get more traffic, but to get a specific outcome. You want more subscribers, more sales, or more people engaging with your brand.

Despite the internet’s collective dream of “going viral,” that’s not the best way to build a customer base. Having a million hits on one post – and no others – won’t do much for your business. Traffic on its own isn’t very useful if it doesn’t convert.

So instead of aiming for massive popularity, it’s better to steadily build interest in your brand among an audience that may be smaller but more devoted.

There’s a process to this, and it’s often difficult to get right, but I’ll take you through the basics you need to get started:

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5 Ways To Build A Better Landing Page for Your Online Store

October 6, 2014 - 1 Comment

Technically, a landing page is any website your customers arrive on.  However, the term is usually used to refer to a standalone web page distinct from your main website that’s been designed for the strict purpose of selling something or gathering information. As such, you might have guessed they’re important. Landing pages are where visitors become leads and where the curious become the interested.

It often takes a ton of trials and edits to craft a good landing page, but all of them have a few things in common. In this article, I’ll tell you what they are and how you can nail them on your first try.

To start with, make sure you…

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5 Need-to-Know Ways Psychology Affects Conversions

September 25, 2014 - 1 Comment

No matter how much e-business technology advances, the psychology behind it stays the same. That’s why, today, I’m taking a break from talking about the former to give you a quick rundown on the latter.

What follows are five simple tips for understanding your customers’ mental processes so you can use that info to better manage your sales strategy.

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