TLDR; I’m leaving Automattic. My last day will be August 25th. I’ll miss working with this incredible company – mostly because of the incredible people. 🙂
Why I’m Leaving
Let me start with Automattic is the best job I’ve ever had. By far.
Anytime there is a merger or acquisition there’s bound to be some restructuring. And gradually over the last year I did less and less of the things that I like to do.
I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing. I just know that I need to be challenged to continue to grow. I’m keen to dig more into product management & product marketing.
A week ago we released Square for WooCommerce. Dozens of people worked on the product and after 18 months the launch was successful.
I’m documenting this process both for myself and for other product people who want to see how we at WooCommerce go about building a product.
At the very first WooConf Cyndie Shaffstall talked about some of the conversion rate optimization (CRO) techniques. One of those techniques was to add an arrow to the Add to Cart button. The arrow helps people find the add to cart button and should increase conversions as it did with many of her clients. So with that knowledge I thought I’d document how you can do that with WooCommerce.
One of the best reasons to use WooCommerce is that it’s a fully featured e-commerce platform and it’s open source. That means you can customize every. single. line of code. If you don’t like the way something works you can change it or you can hire a developer to change it for you. It’s great knowing that as your business grows your software will grow with you.
There are two ways of changing the way WooCommerce works:
- Overriding templates
- Adding & removing hooks
Both of these methods are good at different things so I’ll share when is an appropriate time to use each of them.
WooCommerce has plenty of shipping options. You can use USPS, FedEx, UPS, flat rate shipping, free shipping, or even create your own table rates. Lots and lots of options for you. If you want to give your customer the choice between these options it can be a bit difficult. WooCommerce will lump the different services together which is nice if you want to see all the USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc. options together. But it doesn’t help you if you want to sort by cost and that’s how most users want to see things. Either by cost or by delivery time. With a bit of code you can sort the options by cost.
The WooCommerce shipping methods in the default order.
In WooCommerce when you add a product to your cart the product page refreshes with a little banner confirming you added the item to the cart.
The “added to cart” notice in WooCommerce
This is useful for big e-commerce stores like Amazon where users are likely to buy multiple items with every checkout. But this isn’t useful for every retailer. Some retailers sell very different products and users rarely buy more than one at a time. For example if you sell computer desks like Rebel Desk (yes they totally use WooCommerce) it’s unlikely that someone will buy more than desk. And in that case it may help your users to redirect them to another page. Maybe the shop page, maybe a specific category, or maybe directly to the checkout. With a snippet of code you can do that in WooCommerce.
Being able to organize your store however you want is one of the best parts about using WooCommerce. You could stick with the default ordering functionality or you may want to customize it a bit for your store. Maybe you want to remove the option to sort by price, or you want to remove the sorting all together (because you only have 5 products), or you want to add a whole new way to sort. That’s all possible with WooCommerce.
Removing Sorting Options
The default sorting in WooCommerce
The other day I received this question from a WooCommerce user:
I have virtual products in my store but I still want to collect the shipping information from my customers so that I can mail them a card at the end of the year. But a cart with virtual products automatically hides the shipping information on the checkout page. How can I force it to show up?
In my last post I talked about customizing the style of WooCommerce emails. But brands are more than just logos & colors. A brand is a combination of every experience from each of your customers. That includes the text they read on your site.
There are 269 free WooCommerce themes on WordPress.org which is amazing. And many of them are absolutely gorgeous. And while many of them are gorgeous there is one aspect that developers leave out. And that is making sure that WooCommerce email styles match the theme. As a store owner you want to have a unified experience. Unfortunately in most cases no matter what colors your theme has your emails tend to look like this:
The standard New Customer email for WooCommerce
That won’t work well if your theme is like my blog’s theme: big header, a vibrant purple, and my face in the header. The emails don’t resemble that at all.
Luckily there are two good solutions to this problem. The first is a plugin and the second, for savvy developers, is to use custom code.