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The importance of accessibility for your online store

November 15, 2016 - 33 Comments

Everyone who shops online does so a little differently. We make decisions at our own pace, use different devices, and interact with stores in ways that feel most comfortable to us.

For some shoppers, the process of viewing or buying a product is vastly different than you might expect. Their internet connection may be slow due to living in a developing country, they may rely on a screen reader due to visual impairment, or they may navigate with a keyboard due to the inability to reliably use a mouse.

These differences create the need to design and maintain a store that is accessible for everyone. That’s the goal of accessibility for eCommerce: creating an online store that everyone can use, no matter their age, skill level, location, or presence of a disability.

Today we’re going to take a look why you should make your WooCommerce store more accessible, and some resources you can use to improve its design and functionality for all your shoppers.

Ready to learn? Let’s start with a closer look at what we mean when we talk about accessibility.

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3 WooCommerce stores with awesome product customizations

November 11, 2016 - 11 Comments

You want, we’re sure, every customer who purchases a product from your store to have an enjoyable shopping experience. You want to avoid broken links, slow pages, and abandoned carts.

The stakes get even higher for the shoppers who aren’t just browsing, but are creating the products they plan to purchase. Custom-created or personalized products can increase sales dramatically, but with their presence comes a need for product pages that go above and beyond the standard image gallery and add to cart button.

Whether you’re already selling products with optional personalization or are considering adding some custom creations for your store, we thought a little inspiration might prove useful. And, thanks to the WooCommerce Showcase, inspiration is never hard to find.

Here’s a look at three stores with some amazing customization options on their product pages, plus tips and extensions that will help you pull this off on your own store.

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A developer’s checklist to optimizing your store for the holidays

November 4, 2016 - 6 Comments

Holiday Tips 2016

The holiday season is the most important time of year for store owners. Retailers acquire between 29% and 59% more customers during the holiday months, which makes this season a make-or-break period for you or your client’s overall sales.

It’s essential to ensure that your site can handle the increase in traffic and new orders. As an on-demand WooExpert, we have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to poorly optimized sites during the holiday season… and we want to help you avoid the latter two.

There is no simple cure-all solution, but we’ve assembled a short list of proactive improvements you can make to your store right now now. The more people that hit your site, the more noticeable the effect of these optimizations will be.

Let’s get started.

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Post-purchase emails to send to holiday customers

November 3, 2016 - 6 Comments


Today’s guest post comes to us from Danny Wong at Conversio (formerly Receiptful). Conversio is a marketing platform that allows you to supercharge customer interactions and maximize your customer lifetime value — give it a try this holiday season for amazing emails and more. Take it away, Danny!

If there’s any time of the year to pull out all the stops, it’s the always exciting holiday shopping season. Online purchases for holiday gifts are rising exponentially, as more consumers begin to recognize the futility of sitting in traffic, fighting for parking, and waiting in long checkout lines at physical stores.

In 2015, eCommerce holiday spending grew to $70 billion, and it seems a foregone conclusion that online sales will continue to account for an increasing percentage of all holiday consumer transactions.

comScore’s 2015 holiday spending estimates.
comScore’s 2015 holiday spending estimates.

As a store owner, your job is just getting started when the customer completes the checkout process. The post-purchase period is an opportune time to further engage your customers and work on building a strong relationship that will lead to repeat purchases.

Post-purchase email marketing is crucial to accomplishing this, and your strategy for creating these emails should be given as much attention as your pre-sale marketing tactics.

Let’s take a look at some post-purchase emails you should aim to send this holiday season, and why they’re such an important part of your holiday marketing strategy.

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How bundled products can boost your holiday sales

October 31, 2016 - Leave a comment

Holiday Tips 2016

We’ve talked a lot lately about tactics to improve your store in advance of the holiday season, from checkout optimization to tweaking your navigation. Today we’re going to shift gears and focus on a tactic that will help you actively make more money.

There are plenty of things you can do to bump up your earning potential, but quite a few of them involve adding new products or bringing in more inventory. What we’re going to look at today will allow you to earn more with simple “packaging” changes to the products you already have.

Let’s dive into how you can set up and promote product bundles this holiday season, and a few ways that you can ensure they help you make more money.

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How to prepare for post-holiday returns

October 30, 2016 - 12 Comments

Holiday Tips 2016

This holiday post is brought to you by ShipStation. ShipStation will help you get your holiday shipments — and returns — in order so you can breathe easier. Thanks for the advice, friends!

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. According to the Wall Street Journal, the USPS handled 3.2 million post-Christmas returns a few years ago. And that’s just one carrier.

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. This means making 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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Optimizing your payment process for a successful holiday season

October 28, 2016 - 1 Comment

Holiday Tips 2016

Today’s post comes to us from Sabrina Papini, the Manager of Partner Marketing at PayPal. She’s here to tell you what you should be thinking about when it comes to payments, checkout, and the holidays. We hope you enjoy!

As the winter holidays approach, one of the best ways to maximize your revenue is to ensure your checkout process and payments are optimized for the most sales possible. To best appreciate this, think of your checkout process as a funnel to understand where you are losing sales.

Here’s what we mean by a funnel, where customers are seen “leaking” from it at various stages of the process:

This funnel has "leaks" at every stage of the sales process.
This funnel has “leaks” at every stage of the sales process.

In the graphic above, I’ve listed three common reasons for cart abandonment according to SalesCycle, but depending on your own store, you might have some other areas you can quickly address.

In this post, we’ll talk about five key ways you can improve your payment process for the holidays:

  1. Build trust in your online business
  2. Remove checkout obstacles to streamline checkout
  3. Invest in mobile
  4. Expand your market to include international customers
  5. Give customers more payment choices

Let’s get started.

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Helpful tips for holiday landing pages

October 27, 2016 - 1 Comment

Holiday Tips 2016

When a new visitor comes to your store, you have just a few seconds to convince them to buy. This goes double for holiday shoppers, who are likely stressed, pressed for time, and seeking out that perfect gift.

Over this busy season when attention spans are limited and competition is rife, smart optimization of your store’s landing pages could give your store an edge. If a shopper has two seconds to choose between a store with a busy homepage and another with a targeted page that speaks exactly to their needs, well, that single page might make all the difference.

In this post, we’ll take a look at what landing pages are, how to optimize them for holiday shoppers, and explore a few new pages you might need to convert more of those clicks into solid sales. Let’s dive in.

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How to handle common holiday shipping issues

October 24, 2016 - 2 Comments


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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How to prepare for the post-holiday tax season

October 23, 2016 - 1 Comment


Today’s guest post comes to us from Jennifer Dunn at TaxJar. Try a 30-day-free trial of TaxJar today and eliminate sales tax compliance headaches from your life!

Please note that this post applies primarily to U.S. store owners or those who collect U.S. sales tax.

Do you ever watch old Charlie Chaplin movies? Every time things are going great, the poor guy gets knocked down. (Often literally.)

Watching those movies reminds me of the January sales tax “perfect storm.” In Q4 everything is gravy – you’re making sales, gaining new loyal customers, and watching the dollar bills pile up. Then January rolls around and you have a sales tax filing due. Suddenly all those sales translate into exponentially more work as you attempt to fill in your tax forms.

Here’s part of an example California sales tax form:


If you’re completing this form, you’re required to figure out where each of your sales was made and how much sales tax you collected from your customers. It can be a long, intimidating process — and pretty annoying if you’re riding high from collecting those Q4 profits.

Here’s how you can prepare now so the post-holiday sales tax perfect storm doesn’t catch you unaware.

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How to prepare your store for holiday traffic

October 21, 2016 - 3 Comments

Holiday Tips 2016

As we recently discussed, the holiday season is a major boon for your annual income, and if you’re handling your marketing right, you’ll be seeing lots of holiday traffic to your WooCommerce store this season.

All of the research on how site visitors behave suggests that you have fifteen seconds or less to capture their attention — or lose them. With so much income on the line during the holiday season, you literally cannot afford issues that will drive away your customers.

Today, we’re going to walk through a few ways to prepare your store for holiday traffic and guarantee that you’re ready to handle the hoards of customers coming your way.

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Why process is key to providing memorable holiday support

October 19, 2016 - Leave a comment


This post comes to you from Greg Ciotti at Help Scout. Help Scout makes customer support tools that will help you keep customers happy as your store grows. The floor is yours, Greg!

While the holidays bring about a lot of personal and professional joy, they’re also a time a year when customer support is firing on all cylinders.

As Walt Disney used to say, quality service is the end-goal, but “process” is the engine that makes it happen. If you don’t prepare for a hectic time like the holidays — and the curveballs that come with it — you won’t be delivering any holiday cheer, and you could end up losing sales and customers.

So let’s talk about the process that powers support. When prepping for one of the busiest times you’ll face, here are a few things that should be top of mind. We’ll also explain how creating processes can help you provide memorable — and high quality — support for your shoppers.

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How to get holiday shopper-friendly site navigation

October 17, 2016 - 1 Comment


The holiday season can have a profound impact on the behavior of your customers. Shoppers that might usually wait patiently for deliveries become annoyed with delays, and the stress over picking the perfect gift can cause otherwise polite people to send rude emails or cancel orders on a whim.

This change in behavior can also lead to a change in the way that customers navigate your store. If someone knows exactly what they want, they’ll probably turn to site search — but holiday shoppers may be more likely to use your menus, widgets, footer, and other navigational options to browse what’s available and learn more about your business.

If your store’s navigation isn’t useful for holiday shoppers, it can lead to them ditching you for a competitor. Shoppers just don’t have the time or the patience to struggle with confusing menus or missing pages this time of year… which means that your mistakes here could be costly.

Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to prepare your store for the upcoming holiday season, and how you can get navigational options that are better suited for these busy shoppers.

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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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WooCommerce extensions to try for holiday sales

October 12, 2016 - 7 Comments


Your customers expect a lot of things during the holiday season — giftable goods, fast shipping, maybe even the option to gift wrap their presents — but above all else, the one thing they’re going to be looking for are those sweet, sweet deals.

Bringing shoppers to your store isn’t as simple as making a coupon or slashing a price. It takes smart marketing to get the word out about what you’re offering, first of all. And in many cases, you might find that creating attractive deals for your specific audience takes a little more than “here’s a code for $5 off.”

To help you prepare your store for bonafide holiday success, we’ve compiled a selection of six WooCommerce extensions that will help you create, distribute, and promote successful holiday offers.

From multi-purpose coupon extensions to add-ons that turn your store into a marketing machine, these solutions will give you everything you need. Read on to find out what they are and how you can use them.

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How to make your WooCommerce store stand out during the holidays

October 10, 2016 - 7 Comments


According to the National Retail Foundation, the winter holiday months (defined as November and December) are the biggest time of year for stores of all shapes and sizes, and can account for 30% of your annual sales.

If you’ve been running your own WooCommerce store for a while, we don’t need to tell you this. You already know the holiday season is a big deal for your store. Making sure you take full advantage of the boost in sales — and standing out from the competition — is absolutely crucial.

We’ve put together a few ways you can make your WooCommerce store stand out online during the holiday season. Keep reading to find out what they are so you can get your slice of the holiday sales pie.

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