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How Passion and Innovation Became a Profitable Business and Online Store

January 11, 2018 - 2 Comments

It’s a one-of-a-kind tool that Drake producer, Noah “40” Shebib, raves about and Diplo can’t live without.

Fans of Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Kanye West, Coldplay, and Justin Bieber have already heard Output’s work, whether they know it or not.

So what is Output? Think innovative software and tools created for musicians, composers, producers, and sound designers across all genres. The user base is large, and their products are so pervasive that it’s hard to believe the company is only four years old.

It all started because composer and music producer Gregg Lehrman wanted a reverse-sound engine he could use in his own musical compositions.

We sat down with Gregg, founder and CEO of Output, to discover how he turned his passion project into a thriving company that is simultaneously punching well above its weight and revolutionizing the recording industry.

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What’s new in WooCommerce Stripe 4.0: European payment gateways and a new credit card form

January 9, 2018 - 72 Comments

Stripe is a popular payment service provider for eCommerce stores worldwide, and we’re pleased to announce we’ve shipped a major release with a multitude of new features to enhance your experience of working with WooCommerce and Stripe.

  • Payment acceptance using European and other non-U.S. payment gateways
  • Fully PCI compliant credit card form on your checkout
  • Improved support for Apple Pay and the Web Payment Requests API
  • Simpler way to connect your WooCommerce store to Stripe

To ensure this update is stable, we’ve done a lot of testing on our side: Releasing beta versions, testing with our own library of extensions and themes, and testing with the most popular extensions used alongside WooCommerce Stripe. 👏

WooCommerce Stripe 4.0 includes lots of code improvements and should be fully backwards compatible with 3.1 and 3.0, but it’s still best to perform a backup before updating.

We recommend viewing our documentation on how to update, making a backup, and updating extensions before upgrading WooCommerce Stripe via WP Admin.

Read on for full details of what’s new in WooCommerce Stripe 4.0!

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How to Price Your WooCommerce Projects

January 4, 2018 - 3 Comments

Everything starts with the story you’re telling.

One of the most overlooked aspects of pricing is the fact that it never happens in a vacuum. Pricing is always contextual. And to that end, the context for a WooCommerce project isn’t just the work that needs to be done. It’s about the customer, how they define success, the freelancer or agency doing the work, and their experience. Context drives the pricing discussion.

And context is driven by the story you’re telling.

Stories can take a lot of forms, but just imagine the following three opening lines:

  1. I’m so excited to finally work on an eCommerce project.
  2. If this project is anything like the last 40 I’ve worked on, we could be done in 8 weeks.
  3. We have a team of 30 people we bring onto every project. We’re excited to get started.

Each statement tells us something different. In one case, we’re aware that the person will be learning on the job. In another, we know about experience and even some sense of timeline (and maybe cost). And in the last statement we might feel extra confident or extra worried, depending on whether we think we need 30 people on the project – a small store might freak out, and an enterprise organization may feel thrilled.

Use the first meeting to anchor context

When we meet with a prospect, we get the chance to create a first impression or reinforce what they may have already heard about us. That first phone call or meeting allows us to make sure that we set the right context.

  • We can reinforce our experience by telling stories of past projects.
  • We can build trust by predicting common challenges and how we overcome them.
  • We can shape our conversation by hearing what they think are success criteria.

And when it comes to pricing, there’s one other thing we can do. We can create some price anchors by articulating various projects of different complexities (features, sizes, etc.) and the prices associated with each.

As we do that, we’re helping them get grounded in the context of what it might cost to work with us, and it helps set some of their expectations.

The bottom line is that the better you get at listening, the better you’ll get at knowing which stories to tell, which projects to highlight, which risks to articulate and mitigate, and which price points to anchor to.

This is what separates folks that are great at pricing discussions and those who are just getting started. Thankfully, it’s something that you can practice and get good at.

Below we’ll look at several factors that go into the pricing calculus and ways you can use this information to help you in initial and further pricing discussions.

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Top-Selling WooCommerce.com Extensions in 2017

December 28, 2017 - 7 Comments

We’ve had quite a year at WooCommerce, including three major core releases, launching new extensions such as Facebook and Fulfillment by Amazon, kick-starting WooCommerce Services, upgrading WooCommerce.com account management, hosting WooConf in Seattle, re-igniting our Affiliate Network, and more!

Also this year, we shared more about the customers that typically find their way to WooCommerce.com. They are:

  • Building sites for themselves
  • Creating complex stores with multiple product types
  • Residing all over the world, across industries.
What does a WooCommerce developer look like?

Developers choose WooCommerce.com for its openness and the option to customize to their heart’s content, often with stable and well-supported extensions. We’re grateful to everyone who put their trust in our platform this year and continue to make the journey alongside us.

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The Three-Headed WooCommerce Project: Your Agency, The Freelancer, and Your Client’s Developer

December 19, 2017 - Leave a comment

With predictions of online shopping phasing out retail outlets in the next decade, people are increasingly jumping on the online store’s bandwagon. Developing a WooCommerce project requires time and expertise that sometimes might not be available at your agency when you need it, forcing you to look for help elsewhere, like freelance developers.

If you have come to the stage where you need to call in a specialist, what are the things to consider? How do you make the new “additions” as smooth as possible? But also: what if your client has already some in-house developers available?

If things aren’t planned and executed very thoroughly, it could be a real mess with so many people involved.

Let’s dive into how you can manage such a tricky working scenario and turn it into your advantage!

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9 Things You Should Know In Advance To Estimate On A WooCommerce Project

December 12, 2017 - 10 Comments

It’s probably one of the most common questions you’ve been asked in your professional life: “How much would a new WooCommerce store cost us?”. Any of its variants count as well: “how much will you guys charge us to build that extension?”. If you’ve worked on a WooCommerce project, you get the gist.

9 Things You Should Know In Advance To Estimate On A WooCommerce Project
Credit: Sticker Mule

As someone who’s making a living delivering code, and web solutions, you’re often faced with clients who think that coming up with a price is the easiest thing for you to do. Many have product-oriented minds so that they fail to see what’s behind a price for a new WooCommerce store or anything that relates to code. Because of this, many clients reach out to WooCommerce specialists with loose project briefs, or just without having put some additional thoughts into why they’re even embarking in that new project.

That’s why I sat down and dug deep into this key topic with WooExpert and Codeable expert Mitchell Callahan of SAU/CAL who walks us through nine key elements to both gather insights from the client’s mindset and allow the hired developers to chalk out a correct estimate of a project with not fully specified requirements.

Ready to know them? Let’s dive in!

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Selling to international customers? How to cross borders with ShipStation.

November 28, 2017 - 1 Comment

Expanding product sales to a global customer base can be a great avenue to increase volume and revenue. But selling across borders brings a host of questions. One of the areas most impacted is shipping. Let’s dive right in!

Quick WooCommerce settings

General settings
In selecting locations, you can choose to sell to all countries or to specific countries. Similarly, you can choose to ship to only those countries you sell to or to specific countries.

Shipping zones
WooCommerce 2.6 introduced shipping zones: a geographic region that allows you to customize shipping methods and options based on a customer’s location. Each zone can contain multiple shipping methods.

For example, you can offer free shipping for a domestic zone and flat rate shipping for an international zone. Learn how to set up zones at WooCommerce Shipping Zone.

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Preparing WooCommerce for the arrival of Gutenberg

November 15, 2017 - 13 Comments

Dedicated WordPress users have probably heard about Gutenberg, the revolutionary new editor currently in development as a feature plugin and scheduled for inclusion in WordPress version 5.0. It transforms the way we edit content of our WordPress websites by providing a richer “block”-based experience.

Put simply, a block is any single element of content – an image, a paragraph or a YouTube video – and blocks can be quickly configured and built into immersive page layouts and designs. This is a comprehensive maturation of the visual editor as we know it and creates a truer WYSIWYG experience.

Gutenberg will transform the way we edit the content of our WordPress websites by providing a richer “block”-based experience.

One thing that isn’t yet 100% clear is how complex plugins like WooCommerce will work with Gutenberg.

Our design team has explored and experimented with adding product Blocks (recent products, featured products, etc.) to posts and pages. But as you’re well aware, publishing products should be a very different experience to authoring a blog post.

How adding a product block in Gutenberg might look
How adding a product block in Gutenberg might look.

As a release candidate approaches, Gutenberg will enable us to mimic that rich blog authoring experience for products. How might that look?

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Three things we hope you take away from WooConf 2017

October 30, 2017 - 9 Comments

A little over a week ago, I traveled to Seattle along with designers and developers, freelancers and agencies from across the wide world of Woo, for WooCommerce’s annual gathering at WooConf.

For me, it was the culmination of 10 months of work that started early in January, when I came on board to plan the content. From 15 Skype calls to chat about what different people wanted from a conference to two days of talks, demos, and workshops, I hope that together we delivered on what I heard our community ask for.

Read on for three things we hope those who joined us onsite or via the live stream took away from WooConf 2017.

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From day 1 to successful homeschool bookstore on WooCommerce

October 26, 2017 - 7 Comments

Charlotte Mason revolutionized education 100 years ago and is still having an impact today, especially in homeschooling. A British educator from the late 1800s, she left an impressive legacy in the form of extensively documented materials for home education.

I think Charlotte Mason would have loved simplycharlottemason.com, the passion project of two homeschooling families and an online hub for homeschooling books, lesson plans, discussion forums, and more.

In a nutshell, the openness and flexibility of WooCommerce enabled two homeschooling families to build a thriving online bookstore and subscription business that impacts both their local community and thousands of families worldwide. Their vision is far greater than selling books and the bottom line.

I spoke with Doug, one of the site’s founders and the person who built and maintains the site. Read on for the full story, including the list of extensions and plugins that power their store.

Simplycharlottemason.com hompage

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What’s new in WooCommerce 3.2: Improved coupons and extension management

October 11, 2017 - 36 Comments

Since our last minor release back in June, we’ve been working on a multitude of improvements to improve the WooCommerce admin experience:

  • Apply discounts to orders using coupons, without the chore of doing manual calculations.
  • See which versions of extensions are tested with new WooCommerce updates, before updating.
  • Improved management features for WooCommerce.com extensions.
  • A simpler, unified shortcode for listing multiple products on pages.

To ensure this update is indeed stable, we’ve been doing plenty of testing on our side; releasing beta versions, testing our own library of extensions and themes, working with customers to do managed updates, and running 3.2 on WooCommerce.com. 👏

WooCommerce 3.2 is also a minor release, meaning it should be fully backwards compatible with 3.1 and 3.0. However, it’s still considered best practice, and recommended, to backup before updating.

We recommend viewing our documentation on how to update, making a backup, updating extensions, and finally updating WooCommerce via WP Admin.

Here are some more details on what’s new in 3.2!

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Get up and running faster: Product importer, shipping service, extension management

June 28, 2017 - 20 Comments

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

Looking for technical details? Read “ WooCommerce 3.1 has landed” at the Develop WooCommerce blog.

Since our 3.0 release in April, we’ve been working on a slew of improvements to make it faster and simpler to get up and running with WooCommerce:

  • Save time with the new, built-in import/export feature to add and update product information
  • Manage WooCommerce.com subscriptions directly in WooCommerce
  • Ship products more easily in the US and Canada by setting up WooCommerce Shipping

Existing stores also have new features to enhance their online storefronts — inline ‘Terms and Conditions’ in checkout, embedded videos and more in short descriptions — and improve their workflow — assigning an order to a customer for payment, updating stock status for all variations at once. And we added search helpers for developers.

That’s a lot!l Let’s dig into details.

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Four ways to make managing your store’s updates easier

May 19, 2017 - 6 Comments

One of the most common things we hear from customers contacting us for support is that you really, really hate updating your store.

We get it. It’s not fun. It’s kind of nerve-wracking, right? You don’t always know what things are going to look like on the other side of the update.

But updating WooCommerce, its extensions, and WordPress itself doesn’t have to be a pain in the you-know-where. It might never be a pleasant experience, but if you know how to handle it, you can all but eliminate those “my product pages look weird” and “this plugin isn’t working right” experiences.

Today we’re going to show you four ways to better manage updates to your WooCommerce store, and how handling updates in these ways can save you time, keep your store running smoothly, and completely eliminate the pounding headache you seem to get every time you see the phrase “an update is available” in your WordPress dashboard.

Let’s get started.

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Announcing WooConf 2017: get all the details and reserve your spot

May 2, 2017 - 18 Comments

The last two WooCommerce Conferences were a treat, bringing the WooCommerce community to San Francisco and then Austin for multiple days of talks, workshops, and invaluable impromptu chats between sponsors, developers, and our support team.

We’re excited to announce that we’re bringing WooConf back for a third round in October 2017, this time in Seattle, Washington. And with this iteration we’re narrowing our focus to provide the best experience we can for developers, from agency owners to freelancers.

Keep reading to get more details on this year’s WooConf, plus find out how you can save $200 by buying your ticket now.

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WooCommerce 3.0 brings an improved product gallery, treats for developers and more

April 4, 2017 - 222 Comments

TL;DR: A major update is available for WooCommerce! When you’re ready, 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.

Looking for technical details? Read the 3.0 release post on the Develop WooCommerce blog here.

It’s hard to believe it’s been so long since our last major WooCommerce release, but sometimes good things are worth waiting for. 😉

WooCommerce 3.0 has arrived – read on to learn what’s new.

Today we’re proud to unveil the WooCommerce 3.0 release, which includes:

  • An updated product gallery with new zoom, gallery view and mobile features
  • Multiple speed and performance improvements
  • The addition of CRUD classes
  • A new CLI powered by the REST API

These are some important additions, and there’s even more to explore in the Bionic Butterfly, so let’s get right down to business!

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WooCommerce.com now requires a WordPress.com account

January 31, 2017 - Leave a comment

Some of you might have spotted a change to WooCommerce.com made last week, on Thursday to be precise. WooCommerce.com now requires a WordPress.com account to manage your purchases, tickets and subscriptions.

tl;dr: We believe this change brings many benefits, and are dedicated to improving the account management experience for developers. If you need help merging a WooCommerce.com account reach out for help!

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