The WooCommerce Blog

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How to decide where to spend your first $50 on marketing

July 6, 2016 - 24 Comments

If you build it, will they come? Not without marketing they won’t.

New online stores often face the same dilemma: they desperately need marketing to increase awareness of their products or services, but have a tight budget with which to do so. Some form of marketing is necessary for even the newest of stores, but finding the right balance between “effective” and “cost-effective” can be tricky.

If you’re building or have built your store with WooCommerce and are aiming to start marketing on a budget, we’re here to help. Here’s how you can decide which marketing activity to invest in first — and how to spend just $50 to get started.

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Winning others over: announcing WooCommerce.com

July 3, 2016 - 51 Comments

Today marks an important milestone for our team: WooCommerce finally has its own home.

We’ve moved our site over from WooThemes.com to WooCommerce.com to provide focus for our team, clarity for our customers and to reflect what has become Woo’s core business.

Read on to learn some of the history behind WooCommerce and what motivated this change in our site.

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Must-have pages for online fashion stores

July 1, 2016 - Leave a comment

Building an epic fashion brand starts with, as you’d no doubt guess, epic products. There’s no fashion-savvy shopper alive who would settle for “decent-looking” shirts or jewelry that “sort of” holds up and wears well.

Building the epic store to match this brand and its products, though — that’s another thing altogether. No matter how incredible your clothing, jewelry, eyewear, or accessories are, a mediocre-looking and poorly constructed online store will drive more shoppers away than it will draw them in.

The components that go into your fashion store’s website have a bigger impact on your success than you might expect. One of those components is the pages you create to hold and convey information to potential customers — for example, details on your shipping times, the history of your company, how to get in touch with you, and so on. And it’s your duty as a store owner to be sure you’re not missing any of these crucial pages.

Today we’re going to take a look at some of the pages we think are must-haves for online fashion stores on their way to building an epic online presence. Whether you’re building a new store or doing a checkup on your current one, keep reading to find out which pages are crucial 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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Tips for customizing your subscription site’s homepage

June 23, 2016 - 6 Comments

If your business is based on the subscription model, or you offer subscriptions on your store, this is a reality you already know: the path to acquiring a subscriber is a long and tedious one.

Shoppers can take a long time to make up their minds about spending money, but that goes double for an investment over many weeks or months. The task of convincing someone that they need your product or service on a recurring basis isn’t easy, either — even if it’s something they really enjoy, like chocolate or coffee.

So what’s a subscriptions site to do if they want to shorten this path to acquisition? For starters: take a long, hard look at your store’s homepage and the role it’s playing in convincing potential subscribers to sign up.

Your homepage is the first thing most potential customers see, after all. And if it’s not making a compelling enough argument about the benefits of your products, a subscription model, or your company, you can kiss the promise of recurring revenue goodbye.

Let’s explore some of the best practices you should follow for customizing the homepage of a subscription site, and discuss how they can ultimately help you secure more subscribers.

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10 surprising things you can do with WooCommerce

June 22, 2016 - 6 Comments

Just starting out with WooCommerce? Or are you a seasoned pro?

Regardless of your level of experience with WooCommerce or eCommerce in general, its potential may surprise you. There are hidden features in the core plugin that may come in handy, powerful options enabled via extensions, and unrecognized productivity hacks you can try out to make your day easier.

The beauty of WooCommerce is that its potential for growth and expansion enables you — either as a store owner or developer — to build amazing things. And the more you know about the platform’s capabilities, the more you can create with it!

Our aim today is to give both you newbies and pros a look at 10 things you might not have known you could accomplish with WooCommerce. From on-page features to automation, here are a few tips and tricks you’ll love to be “in the know” about.

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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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Making magic in Napa with small batch wine and WooCommerce

June 16, 2016 - 7 Comments

Michael Terrien has two private vineyards in Napa Valley and produces a limited quantity of boutique wine each year — chardonnay in the spring, pinot noir in the fall.

His growing customer base meant he needed a more efficient way to manage allocation sales but the existing proprietary platforms were prohibitively expensive. What was a small batch wine maker to do?

Through a Google search, fortuitous friendship, and thinking outside of the box, Michael discovered that using WordPress with WooCommerce for allocated wine sales would save him $4,000 a year. Ka-ching!

With the revenues I get from my little wine businesses […] it’s a bit of a burden to go through these proprietary platforms that are tuned to the wine industry. They do a good job but often have more bells and whistles than are needed for allocating a limited amount of wine.

Read on for the story of how Michael built the Terrien Wines storefront from the ground up using WooCommerce and all that came with using a fully open source platform.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 12.13.18
A glance at the Terrien Wines homepage, built with WooCommerce by Michael Terrien himself.

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How to improve your store with clear taxonomy

June 15, 2016 - 4 Comments

If you look online for advice on improving your store or increasing sales, what you read is likely to range from design tips to general marketing ideas and strategies.

But rarely is the answer to the question of “how do I make my store better?” simple. Nor is it a matter of trying out marketing methods until you find one that sticks. Sometimes the reason your store isn’t effective has less to do with marketing and more to do with the decisions you made at the very beginning of its lifespan.

The categories, tags, and attributes you use in conjunction with your products have a profound effect on the success of your store, believe it or not. If you weren’t intentionally thoughtful about the taxonomy you created and applied during the setup of your store, you could be seeing the results now — that is, frustration, confusion, or a reduction in sales.

Let’s take a look at how you can rework your store’s taxonomy to improve the overall performance of your store, making it easier for customers to use (and, as a result, more likely to lead to purchases).

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WooCommerce 2.6 has shipping zones (and more!)

June 14, 2016 - 93 Comments

TL;DR: New features are available for WooCommerce – update via your WordPress Dashboard. To make the process as smooth as possible, view our documentation on how to updatemake a backup, update your extensions and finally update WooCommerce.

If you’re a developer looking for technical details, read the release post on the Develop WooCommerce blog here.

It’s been a few months since our last major update, and in that time, we’ve been working on a veritable smorgasbord of improvements to WooCommerce. For 2.6, we’ve:

  • Added shipping zones
  • Improved the cart experience
  • Created a new My Account area design
  • Added new options for filtering products
  • Made updates to the payment options available through the onboarding wizard
  • Thrown in some goodies for developers, including a new payment tokenization and the alignment of our API with the WordPress REST API

That’s a lot of stuff for you to explore in the release of Zipping Zebra, so let’s dig into the details.

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How to package your products online

June 10, 2016 - 4 Comments

When we talk about “packaging a product,” your mind likely drifts to thoughts of corrugated cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, and tape — that is, physical packaging. But have you given any thought to how you package your products online?

For some store owners, they display and sell their products simply. Their goods are sold independently of one another, and it’s up to the shopper to pick out the pieces they want to coordinate with, or even the parts that might be needed to make that core item work.

But this can create some problems. What if a shopper forgets the brackets they need to hang a shelf? Additionally, this simple setup doesn’t leave any room for marketing — say, suggesting like items that should be sold together, or even creating goodwill by throwing in freebies or gifts.

It’s worth giving some thought to this topic — whether you should only offer independently sold single goods, or items that are offered as part of a bundle, chain, or other package. Proper packaging, as you’ll learn, can not only increase your sales, but also decrease customer frustration and make your store easier to use.

Let’s have a look at five ways you can package your products online and take your pages from simple to systematic.

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The first 5 things you should customize in WooCommerce

June 7, 2016 - 4 Comments

Starting a WooCommerce store? You’ve got a lot to consider, from what you plan on selling to how you’re going to market it.

Deciding what to start with first is tricky. As you’re setting up your store, you have a lot of decisions to make, and likely not a lot of time to make them in. You may wonder what you should set up or customize first to make the rest of the process as smooth as possible.

To help you properly prioritize, we’ve put together this short list of the first few things you should customize in WooCommerce. These items will get you started on the right foot and ensure you have the groundwork covered before you add products or set up marketing methods.

Let’s take a look at the first five things that should be customized on any new WooCommerce site, plus some helpful articles that will give you a deeper dive into getting these aspects right as you work on building your store.

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How to run a top-notch home goods store with WooCommerce

June 2, 2016 - 7 Comments

We’ve all heard it before: “there’s no place like home.” “Home” means something different to all of us; to some of you store owners, it’s more than a place to rest — it’s also your business.

If you’re selling furniture, wall decor, or other interior or exterior accessories with WooCommerce — or planning to start — there are a few specific tips you should follow to set your store apart from the rest. You already know your products are the cream of the crop, so your store’s design and customer experience should be just as great.

From a business-defining homepage to filtering options to powerful extensions, here’s how you can take any WooCommerce-powered home goods store to the next level, and expertly show your shoppers the potential for beautiful homes filled with your products.

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How your industry should affect your store’s homepage customizations

May 31, 2016 - 1 Comment

What does your store’s homepage say about you?

From the very first moment a visitor sets eyes on that page, they’re developing an impression of you, your products, and your company. They’re deciding, often in just a few seconds, if you can meet their needs… or if they would be better off spending their time looking elsewhere.

There’s no perfect way for a store’s homepage to say “we have what you are looking for.” Rather, stores should aim to customize their experience based on what works for the customers shopping in their industry. This can lead to a much better experience for everyone — shoppers and store owner alike.

Let’s explore why it’s worth taking your industry into consideration when you’re adding or customizing elements on your store’s homepage, and look at a few popular types of stores to see what they’ve done to speak specifically to their customers.

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Best practices for displaying your product variations

May 27, 2016 - Leave a comment

Some stores sell products that are straightforward — a shopper views it, likes it, and adds it to their cart. But for many of you WooCommerce store owners, your customers will be asked to make choices before that “add to cart” button can be clicked.

Whether these choices are simple color selections or multiple options for size and shape depends on what you sell. The one thing that won’t change is your use of product variations to make viewing and selecting the right options an simple task.

Setting up your variations is the easy part. Making those variations easy to view, browse, and buy — that’s where you might need a helping hand.

Let’s take a look at some of the best practices out there for displaying variable products on your online store, all of which will ultimately help you meet your #1 goal of selling more products.

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