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.
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.
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 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:
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.
Just over one year ago I released the WooCommerce Cookbook and I heard from lots of store owners about how much they liked it. And after hearing the feedback I decided to create something a bit less technical and more abstract. Something that would help people understand the fundamentals of e-commerce. Several months later I’m proud to say that I published WordPress eCommerce on Lynda.com.
The course covers everything you need to think about before you build an e-commerce site for yourself or for a client:
- Understanding Your Market
- Marketing Your Site
- Selling Products
- Shipping & Orders & Taxes
- Securing Your Site
- Using WordPress for eCommerce
- Testing & Optimization
This is a video course so all of the lessons include me showing example sites and visual aids. It’s over an hour long so there’s plenty for you to digest before you make your first e-commerce site. Chapters 3 & 4 go into lots of detail about the types of products you can sell and the best way to do it. Ex. How can I sell a monthly subscription box? And which way is best?
Why I Created This Course
I created this course is because e-commerce is no longer limited by technology. You aren’t spending your time figuring out technical problems. The technology is relatively straight forward and as a store owner or a developer building a store for a client you have to figure out marketing & positioning problems to make sure that your product solves a need and that people can find it.
Only once you know that people really want to buy your product and you can get them to your site do you worry about the technical problems.
If you’re a store owner this course will make you ask questions about your product market fit and what you need to do to sell as many widgets as possible.
If you’re a developer you will learn all of the same lessons which you can pass along to your clients and make them successful. Building a $10,000 site is great but it’s even better if you can build the right site for $10,000 and get more work next year after your client’s product makes a killing. 🙂
If you’re detail oriented you might notice that this course actually came out last summer! I held off on the announcement of this post because it came out right around the time of the WooThemes acquisition and I was quite busy with all of that. Not a good excuse I know but better late than never right?
WooCommerce is a fully featured e-commerce solution and you can do just about anything with it. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Many businesses aren’t ready for run an e-commerce site. Maybe they can’t increase inventory fast enough, they don’t have a good fulfillment system setup, or they just aren’t ready to take their business online.
When this happens WooCommerce can still be really useful to show off your products to your customers. There are categories, tags, filters, multiple tabs, video tabs, 360-degree images, and all sorts of other really useful features you can use to help customers browser your catalog. The only thing you have to do is disable that Add to Cart button and replace it with a Call to Order button. There are two good ways of doing this. The first is to use a plugin and the second is to code it yourself. I’ll show you how to do both.