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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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How to make the most of email marketing during the holidays

October 7, 2016 - Leave a comment


Today’s guest post comes to us from Brandon at MailChimp. With MailChimp’s integration for WooCommerce, you can connect your store and create targeted email campaigns, send follow-up emails, and recommend products that your shoppers will love. Take it away, Brandon!

The holiday season is just around the corner, and if you sell stuff online, you’re probably already thinking about things like product inventory, special promotions, and shipping deadlines. But, no matter what services you offer, email is a valuable — and powerful — tool for promoting your business, communicating with your customers, and driving sales.

Today, we’ll share a few tips that’ll help you make the most of your email marketing this holiday season. Read on to find out what they are!

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How Ubuntu Baba sells baby carriers with love and WooCommerce

October 6, 2016 - Leave a comment

There’s a saying that a worried mother does better research than the FBI. When it comes to caring for, feeding and clothing tiny humans, the maternal force is strong.

Shannon of Ubuntu Baba recognised an opportunity from her frictional experience trying to find a suitable baby carrier online, and built a beautiful business to serve new mums with a happy solution.

Ubuntu Baba
Ubuntu Baba makes parents happy.

Read on for the story of another entrepreneurial mum who built a successful business — including prototyping, manufacturing, distribution, and setting up and customizing her own online store. Plus learn why she swears by love as a marketing tactic:

If you genuinely care about what you’re doing and how your product can change a life, sales will organically happen. The best marketing tactic is to have an awesome product and to really love what you’re doing.

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Four social media ideas for the holidays

October 4, 2016 - Leave a comment


Social media is a powerful resource for store owners. Channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest can help you attract more customers, increase your sales, and even have better communication.

During the busy holiday shopping season, it’s understandable if making Facebook posts or lining up tweets is the last thing on your mind. But forgetting about it completely isn’t the way to go: if it’s used well, social media can be a huge asset to stores running holiday sales or promotions.

We’ve put together four ideas for four different social media platforms — Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter — that you can use during the upcoming holiday shopping season. From boosted posts to Promoted Pins, these tips will help you draw in more shoppers and increase your sales during one of the most important times of year.

Ready to get social? Keep reading for your first tip.

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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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