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How to Successfully Sell with Social Proof

April 14, 2015 - 1 Comment

Social proof means that potential readers, customers, or followers will make a decision based on a larger group’s previous decisionsFast Company states that you can narrow down the topic to five different types of social proof:

  1. Wisdom from your friends
  2. Wisdom from large crowds
  3. User social proof
  4. Social proof from famous people
  5. Social proof from a credible expert

Through the careful use of these different types of social proof, you can reach more potential customers, sell more products online and improve your retention rates.

Let’s take a look at some ways you can use social proof to sell more, along with a few tips for finding the right type of social proof to use for your company.

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5 Ways to Gain Free Press Coverage for Your Online Store

April 9, 2015 - 2 Comments

Finding Free Press Coverage for Your Online Store

A little bit of press coverage can boost your sales within a few hours, but keep in mind that you can’t build a business based on press coverage alone. If you ever watch Shark Tank, you’ll sometimes see how Mark Cuban tears apart entrepreneurs who spend thousands of dollars on publicity and press coverage.

Why is this the case? It’s because a business that plans on striking it rich with press coverage is one that doesn’t have a clear plan on how to gain customers. Or perhaps the product isn’t that scalable. The list of potential problems continues.

Regardless, press coverage is still a nice thing for a business, but you can’t focus your entire marketing strategy around it. That’s why finding free, or low-priced, press coverage is the ideal route.

With that said, let’s have a look at how you can find free press coverage for your online store.

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How the Twitter Buy Button Could Revolutionize Your Online Store

March 7, 2015 - 5 Comments

Last year, Twitter announced that they would be releasing a feature that allows businesses to post tweets about products and services that include a “Buy Now” button. The button would include an image, description, and link to your payment processor. Snazzy.

The program has already started, but only a few companies have had the privilege to try the system out. It sounds like the program is going well with the initial testers, but I still think that more small businesses and online shops need to get their hands on it to really see how powerful it is.

That, of course, is the problem: you can’t access the Twitter Buy button for your online store right now, but I wanted to outline some of the ways this new button could help revolutionize your online business — so that you’re ready to get in the game as soon as it’s open to the wider public. The key is obviously to make more sales, and I truly believe that the Twitter Buy button is a way for smaller to mid-size businesses to compete with the big dogs. Let’s take a look at how the Twitter Buy button could revolutionize your online store.

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How to Build a Brand Image That Pulls Customers to Your Online Store

January 2, 2015 - 3 Comments

I’m going to name a few design elements. Tell me what companies come to mind.

  • A red and white color scheme.
  • A smiley face.
  • Two black circles overlapping a larger black circle.
  • Product names beginning with the letter “i.”

I’m willing to bet that you can figure out at least two well-known brands from those elements alone.

It’s no coincidence that the biggest, most influential companies often have the most iconic brands. That’s the reason why branding is universally considered one of the most important parts of running a business, and why people who can create iconic brands are often the biggest influencers in the business world.

Your brand is comprised of a story and an image, so before we get into the “image” part, we really recommend this post we’ve previously done on how to write the story. Your brand image is directly tied to your brand story, in fact, you could say it’s a visual complement to it, and it’s very important that you have one worked out if you’re going to work on the other.

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How To Complement Your Online Store With a Powerful Social Media Strategy

December 22, 2014 - 3 Comments

Social Media StrategyCustomers have more opportunities than ever to engage with stores they love, and you’d do well encouraging your customers to take full advantage of all the opportunities they have to talk to you.

However, most retail stores are missing the boat when it comes to connecting online shoppers with offline information. They display their locations and hours on their websites, but less than 4 out of 10 provide information on their products and services on social media.

It’s a shame, since the e-store owners who do effectively use social networking have found that it is a very efficient way of discovering what their customers want. They also enjoy more control over their businesses’ reputations, as they can respond to complaints and controversies instantly.

So today, we’ll show you how to leave the first category and enter the second.

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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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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.

brand-story-featured

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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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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