Four months ago I joined the WooCommerce development team and I loved it. Lots of time to program cool extensions like Coupon Campaigns, Give Products, Ninja Forms Product Addons, updating the email functionality in WooCommerce, and auditing all of the extensions that go in the catalog. I loved every second of it. Working with awesome people, learning new things, and creating code that’s used by hundreds of thousands of websites. My path however is changing a bit. Instead of a developer I’ll be the WooCommerce Product Manager.
One of the most complex parts about writing e-commerce software is creating shipping options that are configurable enough that people can create the shipping costs they want but the functionality isn’t too complex that people are confused. That’s why with WooCommerce we include Flat Rate Shipping because it’s perfect for people just getting started and isn’t so complex that you can’t launch your store.
If people want even more shipping options after having set up the rest of WooCommerce then it may be time to look at Table Rate Shipping. It is by far one of the most configurable extensions and it allows you create a table of shipping rates in hundreds of different combinations. You can create zones to target your shipping costs for a particular geographic region, you can group products by similar shipping sizes, you can use the product weight to determine costs, and you can create a table of rates where depending on where the order appears in the table determines the rate. Let’s jump in.
Choosing the Right E-Commerce Platform for Your Needs. This was presented at WordCamp Dallas Fort Worth.
Before you get cold hard cash in your bank account you need to make a decision about which e-commerce platform you want to use. We’ll go over all of the options to help you determine which e-commerce platform is the right choice for your project.
I love writing code snippets, plugins, and tutorials on my site. But no matter how good you make them there will be someone who wants to change it. Unfortunately it’s just not possible to customize a snippet for every single person. So for that reason I’ve always recommended various WordPress agencies like Codeable. But in the last couple months I’ve had more and more requests for custom work so I thought I’d reach out to Codeable to really get to know them so I know that I’m recommending the best service.
You’ve probably heard about startup weekends but have you heard of a startup week? Here in Colorado we have Denver Startup Week where instead of building a startup over a weekend you hear from local established startups about all of the lessons they learned along the way. A startup weekend is the act of creating something and the startup week is the abstract fundamentals about building something. Having gone to a startup weekend I really appreciated all of the fundamental lessons behind creating a startup. I went to a handful of sessions throughout the week and I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned in case you don’t have your own startup week to attend.
If you’ve read this blog for a bit you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Ninja Forms. Every couple of months I release a new extension which adds even more functionality to Ninja Forms and makes it even more powerful. What you might not know is that I’m also an affiliate. Every time someone follows one of my links to the Ninja Forms website and purchases something I get a small cut.
The way the affiliate system works is that I have a special link so the WP Ninjas know who referred the customer. Unfortunately, in most cases the links aren’t intuitive, they’re long, and sometimes they change which is a big pain to update. Instead of using the link as is you can cloak the link making it look like any other page on your site. Doing so makes it easier to read, they’re easy to change, and there aren’t any negative SEO affects on your site.
Best of all cloaking your links is actually easier than you think and can be done with just one WordPress plugin which you might already be using.
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.
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.
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.
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.