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How to prepare your WooCommerce store for any release

May 25, 2016 - 21 Comments

With the release of WooCommerce 2.6 on the horizon, we imagine you’re all excited to explore the newest features available for running your online store. And a bit apprehensive, perhaps, to go through the update process once more.

The beauty of the open source world of WordPress development is that it allows virtually anyone to create virtually anything for this platform we call home. The downside is that it’s nearly impossible to predict what will happen when you put any given combination of those thousands upon thousands of creations in different environments under different circumstances.

We pride ourselves on thoroughly testing WooCommerce and its extensions, but the unfortunate reality is this: conflicts still happen. That’s why we recommend being prepared in advance for releases and major updates, so in the event of an issue, you can roll right back.

“But how do you get prepared?” We’re so happy you asked. Here’s how to efficiently set up backups and testing for your WooCommerce store so you’re ready for anything.

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It’s here: a simpler way to connect services to your store without leaving WooCommerce

May 4, 2016 - 26 Comments

TL;DR: We’re building a way to connect services to WooCommerce that makes use of hosted components to simplify the process and create a better experience.

If you’d like to get involved in testing, join us now.

If you want to know more, read on or check out our post on the developer blog.

A few weeks ago at WooConf, Matt Mullenweg gave a sneak peek at a project we’ve been excitedly working on. Now, we’re ready to share it with the world.

woocommerce connect

WooCommerce Connect is a big part of our vision for the future of WooCommerce. Right now, Connect has just started alpha testing as a feature extension. If all goes well, we hope to make it part of WooCommerce core and available to everyone.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into what we’re trying to accomplish with Connect, how it all works, where the feature currently stands and how you can get involved.

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WooCommerce security: the 7 things you should do first

February 15, 2016 - 12 Comments

In all the frenzy and excitement that accompanies setting up a new WooCommerce store, it’s all too easy to miss little details. After all, we do live in a “move fast and break things” culture — why slow down when you can get your store live now and fix the problems later?

But security isn’t exactly a “little detail.” Yet it’s often overlooked by new shop owners, who unknowingly use weak passwords or skimp on site security, assured that everything will be fine and they’ll never be unlucky enough to be attacked.

While security measures are built into WordPress and WooCommerce out of the box, there are a few basic things new store owners should be doing to keep their customers, team, and data safe in the event of those worst-case scenarios. It’s certainly true that you might never encounter a hacker… but if you do, it’s still best to be prepared.

Here, we’ve compiled seven introductory steps to WooCommerce security that all new store owners should take. Read on to learn what they are.

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Tips for selling digital products with WooCommerce

February 4, 2016 - 7 Comments

Not all eCommerce stores specialize in physical products. Some — perhaps yours? — sell digital goods, like audio files, books, PDFs, video tutorials, games, or even stock photography.

Stores with digital products might not look different from those with physical ones, but they aren’t exactly the same. In fact, they require careful handling, and attention paid to different aspects that may not even need considered otherwise.

If you have or are starting a store with digital or downloadable products, following a few specific guidelines can ensure that your customers are happy with their purchases. It can also help you create a shopping experience that converts more shoppers into paid customers, and even draws more searchers to your store.

Let’s take a look at some tips that can help you create a stronger digital store using WooCommerce.

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WooCommerce 2.5: Dashing Dolphin means speed

January 18, 2016 - 21 Comments

TL;DR: WooCommerce version 2.5 is here – update via your WordPress Dashboard. To make the process as smooth as possible, make a backup, update your extensions, view our update guide, and then update WooCommerce.

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

It’s a new year and we have a new version of WooCommerce for you. The last version of WooCommerce focused on the onboarding experience to help store owners get up and running quickly.

This latest version focuses on getting the store itself to run quickly, and is aptly named Dashing Dolphin.

Let’s take a closer look at WooCommerce 2.5.

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10 free WooCommerce extensions for new stores to consider

January 13, 2016 - 24 Comments

Starting your WooCommerce store is a thrilling experience. We know that heaps of hard work goes into each launch, whether you’re selling a single subscription service or hundreds of unique items sourced globally.

With so much to consider during setup, from payment gateways to promotional opportunities, it’s not unusual to worry about costs. You certainly don’t want to break the bank before you’ve even sold a single product.

As you likely already know, part of the beauty of WooCommerce is that it gives you a free platform that can be added and expanded upon with nearly endless extensions. In the interest of getting you up and running quickly — and saving you money — we’ve collected ten solutions you should try when you first start your store.

From plugins to monitor your traffic to add-ons that will improve your emails, here are some of our favorite free WooCommerce extensions for new shop owners.

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The future of Woo support: how we’re planning to grow and improve

December 15, 2015 - 23 Comments

tl;dr: Woo support has struggled in recent months to keep up with demand due to the rapid growth of WooCommerce. We want you to know that we are committed to improving, so we fulfill our mission of helping customers be successful.

Woo support has struggled in recent months to keep up with demand. This has led to long ticket response times, and our customers have been expressing frustration about this.

Because we believe in open and honest communication, we want to explain why this is the case, and show you in detail what we plan to do (and are doing) about it.

Read on to learn what’s going on and what we’re doing about it, and to see details on the four-point improvement plan for Woo support that is already in action.

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10 WooCommerce extensions for holiday success

October 30, 2015 - 1 Comment

We’ve been talking about the holidays quite a lot lately. We’ve stressed the importance of being prepared, how to find out what your customers want, and the actions you should take to have a stress-free season.

Having said all that, if you don’t already have the wheels in motion for some holiday sales or events on your WooCommerce store, it’s not too late! In fact, you’ve still got plenty of time to come up with some stellar holiday tactics, thanks in part to WooCommerce’s flexibility and hundreds of easy-to-add extensions.

To give you the push you need to start your planning — or just to help you along, if your plans are well underway — we’ve collected ten of our favorite extensions for holiday success. From shipping add-ons to kind gestures, these extensions will help you attract more shoppers, ship more packages, and have the best holiday ever.

Interested? Have a look at what we’ve picked out just for you.

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WooCommerce reaches 10M downloads, powers 30% of online stores

October 2, 2015 - 9 Comments

It seems like yesterday that we reached 7 million downloads of WooCommerce. Actually, it was a few short months ago that we hit that big milestone. “How long would it take us to hit 10 million?” we all wondered.

Well, now we know: almost exactly four years.

That milestone arrived this week, much sooner than expected. And with it came another: WooCommerce is powering 30% of all online stores.

Woo for Woo!
Woo for Woo!

One of our co-founders, Mark Forrester, had this to say about the pair of momentous milestones:

This represents a hell of a lot to us.

Countless lines of code, including many community contributions, and much hard work from our core developers constantly improving the WordPress eCommerce experience. Tens of thousands of support tickets from all sorts of users with all sorts of queries, helped by our superbly knowledgeable Ninja squads. And mountains of data and interactions ensuring our growth team get WooCommerce in front of the right people, providing all the tools and content for them to sell all the things.

Looking back at our milestones on the blog, together with all WooCommerce stats, it signifies fast and colossal growth. A trajectory we plan to continue.

Woo!
30% of online stores are now powered by WooCommerce, earning a big thumbs-up from Hiro.

Let’s take a closer look at our rapid growth, plus a peek at what’s next for all things Woo.

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Tips for starting an international WooCommerce store

September 29, 2015 - 10 Comments

Planning to start your own online store is a big move. It’s an even bigger move when you’re doing it outside of the US or Canada, or in a country where English isn’t the language of choice.

If you’re an international WooCommerce user, or will have international customers, there are a few special things you’ll want to consider as you build your store. These impact everything from your language to your accepted currencies to the taxes you charge. While it’s going to require a little more work up front, the end result will surely be worth it.

Here are our best tips for those of you about to start up your very own worldwide WooCommerce store — or expand into international territories.

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12 ways to show kindness to your customers with WooCommerce

September 21, 2015 - 14 Comments

Kindness is a wonderful and powerful thing. It’s also sometimes completely unexpected in online stores, where the shopping experience is so often reduced to “is it in stock?” and “how quickly can I get it?”

Your customers’ wants and needs are complex, however. In the long run, far more matters to them than finding the store with the fastest shipping. Loyalty isn’t just inspired by efficiency and price — it can be dramatically influenced by how well you treat the people who shop with you.

Today, we’ve compiled 12 unique ways you can show kindness to your customers with your WooCommerce store. From being more flexible to staying connected to doing small, simple things that will put a smile on your face, these are methods that will give you the power to fulfill the greatest unspoken need of your customers:

Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated. — H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Read on to learn about all the ways you can show a little more kindness, and the WooCommerce extensions you can use to make this possible.

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Lessons learned from releasing WooCommerce 2.4

August 26, 2015 - 19 Comments

Just over two weeks ago, we launched WooCommerce version 2.4, the Helpful Hedgehog. From our standpoint, we thought the release went well. However, while we thought this was a pretty good release, we think we can do better.

In the interest of openness, we thought we’d share some of our observations from this release. We also wanted to share what we learned as we deployed 2.4, and we’re planning to do better for the next release.

Let’s start with what went well.

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How to evaluate a plugin for your WooCommerce store

August 21, 2015 - 7 Comments

Plugins are awesome — that’s a fact. They make incredible things possible with WordPress, and can take your website or WooCommerce-powered store to new heights.

But plugins can also be problematic. A rogue update, an untested bit of code, an incompatibility between two extensions… in the blink of an eye, you can go from fully functional to completely inoperable. And let’s not even talk about how easy it is to get caught up in the desire to install more plugins, which has its own drawbacks.

Before installing any plugin, you should evaluate it against a list of pre-established criteria. This evaluation doesn’t have to take long, and your can set your own criteria, because what matters to you might not be important to someone else. But doing a few minutes of due diligence could prevent hours of headaches, not to mention customer complaints and lost sales.

Today, we’re going to share a few of the things you should do when evaluating a WordPress plugin for possible use with your WooCommerce store. Keep reading to learn more about this process and the steps you should take.

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Storefront 1.5 arrives, brings Right-to-Left support

August 19, 2015 - 15 Comments

TL;DR: Storefront version 1.5 has arrived – upgrade via your WordPress dashboard or try it for the first time by downloading a copy here. Enjoy!

The last major release of Storefront saw us add many accessibility improvements and achieve the “accessibility ready” tag on wordpress.org.

That release went a long way towards making Storefront a more rounded solution for store owners looking to make their online shops accessible to the widest audience possible. Storefront 1.5 carries on that theme of enabling, and achieves another coveted tag on wordpress.org.

sf1.5
Introducing Storefront 1.5

Here’s a look at some of the biggest chances in Storefront 1.5.

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Woo and SIDEKICK bring WooCommerce training to your website

July 15, 2015 - 14 Comments

Important update: As of August 2016, the SIDEKICK extension is no longer available for WooCommerce. However, you can still access the walkthroughs for WordPress and WooCommerce for free by visiting the SIDEKICK website or downloading the SIDEKICK plugin from WordPress.org.

Please contact support if you have any questions about this change. Thanks for your understanding!

At WooThemes, we believe in empowering users with our software. Together with our users and developers, we want to build the best possible eCommerce plugin with the best possible UX and UI. However, it’s not always easy for someone new to eCommerce to learn to use our plugin.

We’re always aiming at making it easier to use WooCommerce, whether it’s through improving the onboarding process or creating helpful educational content. At the same time, we are aware that there is a lot to learn, especially if you are new to selling online.

That’s why we’ve now teamed up with SIDEKICK to make WooCommerce walkthroughs available right on your store. With SIDEKICK, you can be fully trained on using WooCommerce and its extensions without ever leaving your office.

Watch the video below for a quick overview, then keep reading to learn more about why we decided to partner with SIDEKICK, and how these new walkthroughs can help you sell online faster than ever before.

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Launching Apollo: behind the scenes of our data-driven redesign

June 25, 2015 - 10 Comments

Every now and then, website owners get an “itch” — an unignorable urge to redesign their site. Maybe they think they’re falling behind on current trends, or maybe they just don’t like their layout or theme as much as they once did. So they start over, change things until they’re satisfied… and then wonder why their customers don’t seem excited by the updates.

It’s one thing to want to redesign your website, but it’s another thing entirely to need a redesign. That itch strikes us all, but it’s crucial to only scratch it when you have data to support your desires. That data can come in the form of anything from visitor comments to website analytics, but it’s what you need to make smart decisions that will increase your conversion rates while decreasing bounce and exit rates.

Today, we launched a redesign codenamed “Project Apollo,” a data-driven rethinking of our WooCommerce landing page and the launch of our new audience-specific pages, WooCommerce Meetups, Download, and Extensions overview pages. It’s also another step in the direction of creating a beautifully-designed site that is primed for our upcoming responsive redesign.

We’d like to take you behind the scenes to show you how we used customer data to guide our redesign process, and offer some important takeaways for your own future redesigns or website updates. Keep reading for more!

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