WooCommerce 2.2 Automatic Refunds

WooCommerce 2.2 was released today! There’s a lot of improvements like the new Simplify Commerce payment gateway and extra functionality in the REST API, but by far, the improvement I’m most excited about is the refunds. The order detail page itself has improved and we’ve added an API to allow payment gateways to automatically refund customers instead of forcing store owners to manually refund the customer through the payment gateway. This is a huge time saver for store owners and since it’s my favorite feature for this release I wanted to make a video to show you exactly how the slick new refunds work.

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E-Commerce Platforms Need Customizable Shipping Options

Pizza Delivery Scooter

I’ve had a lot of fun going over some of the most important features you should look for in an e-commerce platform this past week. Content marketing gets users to your site, newsletters sell them, intelligent recommendations increase order volume, and reports will help you refine and optimize your catalog. All of those are really important but they don’t feel that e-commerce-y do they? That’s why I want to talk about a topic that every e-commerce store manager can relate to – setting up shipping costs.

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E-Commerce Platforms Need Advanced Reporting

Circle Graph

The past couple days I’ve been talking about getting more people to your site with epic content, keeping people interested with newsletters, and using intelligent recommendations to increase order size and volume. All of those help you get more orders which is what you need when you’re just getting started. Once you’ve had your store up and running for a while it’s time to take a look through your catalog and refine it. Are any products doing very well or very poorly? Which ones are just bad products and which need a marketing push to make them successful products? You can do all of this with reports.

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E-Commerce Platforms Need Intelligent Recommendations

Camp Sign

On Monday I told you how to write content that will bring traffic to your site. Yesterday I told you how to use newsletter marketing to keep in touch with your customers and to turn on-the-fence visitors into customers. Both of those are pretty easy to do with a content management system like WordPress. Today I want to tell you about a piece of functionality that’s much harder to implement but is so incredibly vital to e-commerce that all of the top 10 e-commerce sites on the Internet use it. I’m going to talk to you about intelligent product recommendations, the kind you see all over Amazon.com.

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E-Commerce Platforms Need Newsletter Functionality

Newsletter Pillows

Yesterday I talked about how your e-commerce platform needs to have a blog because it will bring thousands of visitors to your site organically (without paying for ads). When you start making sales that’s a huge win. Give yourself a big pat on the back and reward yourself (watch a TV show, go shopping, or – if you’re like me – pledge way too much money on Kickstarter projects). After rewarding yourself let’s talk about how you can do even better.

To get more sales you’ll either have to get more traffic (which you should be working on every month by writing new content), or you can increase your conversation rate. One of the best ways to increase your conversion rate is to earn the users’ trust. People want to make sure that after they give you their money you’ll give them a positive return on investment. This is hard to do via 140 character tweets. It’s actually best done through the medium that everyone uses and is often underestimated. I’m talking about email newsletters.

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E-Commerce Platforms Need a Blog

Blogging in Notebook

Last week I wrote about how you need to make sure your e-commerce platform can sell your products. Once you determine that a platform can handle your base needs it’s time to start looking for those extra features that can make the difference between just scraping by or having an avid fan base that buys your products as soon as you release them. I’ll be writing about one feature each day this week. Let’s get started with the first and probably most important feature…

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Choose an E-Commerce Platform Based on Your Products

Packaging

It’s surprising how many people recommend just one e-commerce platform – a solution that should work for everyone and every store. They may be brilliant developers or sales people but they probably aren’t trying to solve your problems. You need to choose a platform that fits your needs.

You should first choose if you want either a self hosted or a hosted platform. After that you should look at your products. The type of products you have will determine the features you need. There are plenty nice-to-have features like pretty reports, order management, & newsletter integrations but you first have to make sure the platform can sell your product.

There are a few questions that I typically ask people about their products that determine what platforms I recommend.

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Hosted vs. Self Hosted E-Commerce Solutions

Servers

In case you haven’t guessed yet from the dozens and dozens of posts on this site I’m a huge fan of WooCommerce. It’s such a great tool for e-commerce. But just because it’s a great tool for me doesn’t mean that it’s the right solution for everyone. There are a ton of other great solutions based on your needs and your abilities.

There are dozens of e-commerce solutions out there (although I’d only recommend a 1/2 dozen or so) but before we get into the specifics of each platform you need to understand the difference between a hosted & self hosted solution.

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