As the eCommerce industry continues its growth, retailers can experience the benefits of selling goods online, particularly if they use a CMS such as WordPress and an eCommerce extension such as WooCommerce. It is the chief eCommerce plugin that can serve as the perfect platform for building a user-friendly online store.
The plugin has more than one million active installs! This is not only because it’s easy to install and use. It also provides you with everything you need to get your eCommerce store up and running and scale it further with an additional set of extensions.
No matter the platform, the principal goal of every eCommerce business should be to bring in more sales! No matter the current state of your WooCommerce store, you’ll find that progressing to each new level of your business is more challenging than the previous one. To help you out, we compiled a set of steps that can help you scale your eCommerce business.
Pick Your Theme Wisely
WooCommerce is effortless to use and intuitive with the power to swiftly transform your regular WordPress site into an online store. However, there’s much more to it, especially when it comes to design and layout of your eCommerce site.
Once potential buyers land on your site, they don’t expect just a selection of products. They need a flawless UX, and nice design to go with it. It’s often the moment whether they decide to purchase from your store or not.
This is why choosing the right theme for your WooCommerce store is massively important. A good shopping experience will keep people coming back for more.
What to Look for in a WooCommerce Theme
Choosing the right theme can be subjective. But, there are some considerations that are definitely no-brainers:
A theme shouldn’t just ‘look good’. It needs to be relevant to your niche and your target audience. For example, a Porsche looks awesome but it isn’t the best car to do your shopping in.
For this reason, when choosing a theme, you must consider your audience, your business, and especially your products. Pick a theme you feel resonates with your target customers. For example, if you sell modern furniture, you need to look for a theme with a bigger amount of whitespace and clean typography.
WooCommerce and WordPress release updates on a regular basis and these updates can cause errors in themes if they have not been fully tested with the latest beta versions. Make sure that you check the theme changelog and see if the developers are still regularly maintaining it. Also, ensure that the theme is compatible with the latest WordPress and WooCommerce versions before installing it.
Most of the WordPress themes and plugins can contain bugs from time to time. If a bug is patched quickly, or the theme support team guides you on how to fix it, then the theme is definitely a consideration. A premium theme can’t be sold without a support policy. If you have a theme from WordPress.org check how active the support forum is.
Custom sliders, shortcodes, widgets, layout managers and content builders are all features that are included on a regular basis. However, you should always be careful when choosing a theme. If you’ve already built your site with a specific theme, and now you decide to switch themes you will lose all of the custom functionalities of that build.
An Interactive Shopping Cart
A regular WordPress theme will lack the shopping cart that a WooCommerce theme has. You can get a WooCommerce theme with an integrated checkout process and a shopping cart, or you can build a custom one by digging in and optimizing the code.
With an interactive checkout experience, along with timely cart abandonment emails, you can reduce the cart abandonment problem that affects almost every new eCommerce store.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be better prepared to find or design a theme that meets yours and your customers’ needs. However, if you’re still not certain:
- Use the Storefront Theme: It’s free and 100% compatible with WooCommerce. There are also countless child themes that are customized to specific niches and store types.
- Contact an Expert: Experts can tailor a theme for you from scratch, and with their knowledge of WooCommerce, they’ll make excellent partners!
Optimize the UX
Your WooCommerce website will be much more effective if the UX is on point! There are many ways to optimize your WooCommerce site and to transform it to a speedy and operational online store, and important aspects that you need to pay attention to when optimizing your store’s design and UX.
Excellent navigation can help your customers to find what they’re looking for easily. Contrary to that, bad navigation annoys the users and can lead them to bouncing off your site.
Your main goals should be to present a clear path from the product page to the checkout. No matter what page visitors are on, they should be able to find their way around your site without asking “How can I access this and that?”
Your most important product categories or pages should be placed in your main navigation, and you need to delegate the less important ones to drop-downs or in the site footer.
Ensure Compatibility with All Devices
The rise of mobile-only shoppers is constant, and this is why more people are online shopping on their devices.
Through responsive design, a site’s appearance is automatically scaled up or down to match the screen size on which it is viewed. This has been the standard for the last decade, thanks to Google considering mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor and responsiveness as the best way to comply with the users and search engine needs.
With more customers using their smartphones for shopping, the design of your store should be paired with the screens on which it’s viewed. If you want to work with developers and build a responsive design from scratch, read this Google guide first that can help you realize what to prioritize when it comes to mobile-friendliness.
Fast Loading Times
Almost 40% of online shoppers will leave your online store if it takes more than three seconds to load. It’s really irrelevant how beautiful your WooCommerce site is, if it’s slow as a snail, your bounce rate will grow and consequently, the conversion rate will be drastically reduced. Your aim should be a fast-loading design. The following tips can help you keep your design and media from slowing down your WooCommerce site:
Images are fundamental for the design of your WooCommerce store. However, many store owners are using poorly optimized images. Large images slow down the entire UX of the pages, and worse, slow page speed will downrank the store in SERPs.
Use a Caching Plugin
With caching, visitors will experience faster page load speeds because time won’t be wasted getting resources (CSS, JS and other files). Instead, the cached version will be served directly to the visitor.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Get a Better Hosting Provider
A fast and reliable WordPress hosting service has the power to significantly improve the speed of your site. Your WooCommerce store requires a hosting provider that provides maximum uptime without disruptions. Your hosting provider should also be able to handle a sudden surge in traffic which doesn’t impact the loading time of your website.
What you need is a managed WordPress hosting provider such as Pagely.
With their managed VPS hosting for eCommerce, you can forget about your WordPress and hosting-related issues, and focus on growing your WooCommerce store.
Eye-catching images aren’t just beautiful: they immediately catch one’s attention towards the call to action.
Images like this, combined with the right CTA, explain perfectly your products or direct your customers to look at a specific page or product. This helps you highlight your product details, and with the right image, you can sell an item as soon as the customer sees it.
Start using beautiful imagery throughout your entire design, and you’ll have a better chance at convincing brand new customers into making a purchase!
Protect Your WooCommerce Store
Running a successful WooCommerce store requires lots of work and attention. You need to add products, fix issues, and perform marketing and page optimization activities. On top of that, you need to think about security as well.
The security of your WooCommerce site must be of major priority, so without further ado, let’s cover the security precautions that you need to take to safeguard your WooCommerce site:
- Update Always: Every four to five months, WordPress gets a significant update. However, security fixes are NOT always scheduled in time, and it’s not advisable to force major upgrades when security is at stake. For this reason the older versions of WordPress still get security patches when certain problems arise.
- Strong Passwords: Websites regularly get hacked because of weak passwords. Today, even alphanumeric passwords are considered weak, and your WooCommerce site may become a victim of a brute-force attack if your passwords are easy to crack.
- No “Admin”: Don’t use the “admin” username. With a strong username and password, you’ll definitely make the job for hackers lot harder, while the default username for the site administrator is the go-to place for any “script kiddie” to try to crack.
- Safe Hosting: Your web host plays a big role in the security and maintenance of your site. A wrong choice of host will result in inadequate protection of your build and your customers. Your customers will trust you only if you can keep their data safe. With Pagely’s WooCommerce hosting solutions, your sensitive data will be secured with a process that’s been tested for more than a decade.
- SSL Certificates: Adding SSL is crucial to the safety of your WooCommerce pages, especially login and checkout pages. A lot of sensitive information has been interchanged between users and the website, and this is why it’s really important that data travels through an encrypted channel.
- Backups: Computers crashes, equipment failing, hacker attacks, you name it! Your WooCommerce site can be susceptible to these factors, and your entire database can get destroyed or utilized for malicious intentions. With regular site backups, you shouldn’t worry if your database is attacked. A quality hosting provider should be able to retrieve your full site in a flash!
Write Appealing Product Descriptions
Content is still the king of the marketing game. When you enhance your copy, the content that you write needs to be persuasive and unique. The description needs to sell your product. Consumers want to be informed about the product, and it’s your job to fulfill that need.
So, how can you take your product descriptions from hero to zero? Let’s find out, shall we?
Focus on the Consumer
Before you write your product descriptions, you need to know who you are selling to! You need to know exactly what makes your buyers tick, what makes them laugh, and what brings them satisfaction when they see and buy the product.
When you write a product description, you have to speak the language of your target customers. Visualize your buyer persona, and make your product descriptions more personal and evocative.
Tell About the Benefits
Each of your products has powerful features and benefits for the users. It’s your job to make people excited about the product benefits through your product description copy.
But, you need to keep in mind that customers are not interested in boring specifications. They need to know what’s in it for them, and how they can benefit, and how the product will make them feel. This is why when you write about the product, it needs to include the benefits of it.
Invigorate the Imagination
When you sell products online, people can’t really try out the product, unless it’s a free trial for a SaaS. Beautiful imagery can help, but the right copy can increase one’s desire and imagination. So, when you write the descriptions, explain how the customer will feel once he/she has the product in his/her hands. Stimulate the senses, and bring the product to life through your description.
For the best SEO effect, you need to tag your product descriptions properly. The H1 tag should be in the product title, and the descriptive keywords that you target should be inserted in the copy, headlines, and subheadings as well. Also, each of your product pages must have a unique meta description.
Use Only Top Quality Images
The product presentation is crucial for bigger sales, however, some of your products are visual, and this is why you need to put extra attention on your product imagery.
Images have the power to not only improve the entire appearance of your WooCommerce store, but they can also influence the conversion rate of your pages, and the way users navigate your site.
Below are some of the proven eCommerce images strategies that can help you to make the products more appealing to your customers.
Have a Plan
Before you create your product images, you must have a plan. You need to consider the effect that will have on your WooCommerce site. Consider the following:
- What are the image resolutions that you’ll need?
- The images sizes?
- What are the best file types to use on your pages?
- Which images will you use as thumbnails?
- Which images do you need for product and category pages?
Keep in mind that lack of planning at this stage can leave customers disappointed with the presentation of your WooCommerce store and its poor UX.
Use Product Videos
Videos are an excellent way to convince people to buy your products. As a matter of fact, 90% of consumers find videos helpful when deciding to buy a product. With videos, you can show what the products can do for the customers, and people will be able to comprehend each aspect of the product, which is near the experience of touching the product in person.
Product videos bring your product to life for your WooCommerce audience, more specifically, increasing conversion rates by helping users understand as well as possible. The most effective product videos are:
- Story-Telling: What’s the point of a video that is only about specifications? What you need is a video that tells a story, enhances the values of the product, and excites the customers into buying it.
- Short: Length matters! The ideal length of a short explanation video should not be more than 90 seconds. It’s always better to have a concise video on your site instead of a documentary about the product.
- Customer-Focused: The videos should not only show product features and benefits, but they also must be customer-focused, to show more emotion and increase conversion rates in the process.
Types of Videos You Can Create
The potential for product videos can be limited only by your imagination. Each of your products can be filmed differently, and each of them can be marketed differently. If you’ve understood what your target customers want, you’ll be able to brainstorm the videos that they love the most.
For short videos, you don’t need the best camera out there. You can film them with a decent smartphone as well. In short videos, you can address the questions that customers have about the products and say what makes the product unique.
People always appreciate it when someone shows them how to use the product, instead of having to read endless manuals and instructions. With tutorials, you provide the buyers with knowledge, and that adds up to their motivation to purchase the product.
Customer Testimonial Videos
Testimonials from customers can be one of the best ways to convince your future customers about the product. Sure, written reviews are great, but it’s much better for others to see that a satisfied customer is a real person that benefited from the product.
Don’t Forget About SEO
SEO plays a big role in web ranking and sales results, especially for eCommerce businesses. So, if you want to be ranked higher and have a bigger chance for future customers to find your products, you need to know how to optimize your WooCommerce store.
Include Product Description Regularly
Search engines deal with product descriptions just like with every other content. Each of your product descriptions covers all the information that the search engine needs, including the keywords that you are trying to rank for and their meta descriptions.
Of course, you can use the description from the manufactured, but it’s much better if you use your own unique ones.
A page title should be detailed enough to tell both users and search engines what your page is about. In most cases, eCommerce sites have category pages and product pages.
Category pages not only assist buyers to find the products they’re looking for, but they also stop separate product pages from rivaling with one another in SERPs.
Each of your category pages can be optimized for broader terms, and product pages for more specific terms. A category could be “Laptops” with product pages indicating the specific model of laptop (“Lenovo”).
Keep the URLs Short
Make sure that you’ll make your URLs are for customers and search engines. To do this, you need to enter your WordPress Dashboard, and go to Settings > Permalinks, and specify the URL structure that you prefer.
With permalinks, the URL of your WooCommerce product should look like the following:
Improve the Checkout Process
Every single thing you do on your WooCommerce store should lead to one thing – the checkout. This is the decisive point of the sale. One thing wrong or misaligned, and you might lose a customer.
You must make sure that your customers follow each stage of the purchasing process properly, with as few clicks and pages as possible. Let’s see the crucial aspects that you need to focus on when optimizing the checkout process of your WooCommerce store.
One-Page vs Multi-Page
One page checkouts are the most popular ones. This is due to their simplicity over multi-page checkouts, however, no one can define which one is the “better” one. The thing is, it’s not about the number of pages. It’s more about the cues that you’re sending to your shoppers.
A one-page checkout can be just as complicated as a multi-page checkout if it includes lots of unnecessary fields, bad questions, and distractions.
No More Forced Registrations
So, a buyer is about to bush the “Purchase” button, and all of the sudden, you block him/her with a request for registration. It’s a real turn off. There are lots of people that are only interested to buy and nothing more.
If you want to collect more info, make an effort to do it after the purchase. Keep in mind that it has to be optional. What they need is a good reason to be a registered user on your site. Consider discounts, coupons, product education, and referral programs that they can use to spread the word for your brand.
Provide More Payment Methods
If you want to cover a larger chunk of your target market, you must provide different payment methods. There are customers that want to pay through PayPal, credit cards, and even with a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. Each of the payment methods can be integrated within WooCommerce.
When a customer buys a product from your WooCommerce store, he/she needs to receive a receipt via email. This is your opportunity not only to confirm the purchase but also to thank the customer and market some of the other products and offers that you have.
You can upsell a related product, provide a discount for the next purchase, ask for feedback, or provide other places where the customer can follow and interact with your brand.
Decrease Shopping Cart Abandonment
So, the customers place an item in the shopping cart, but they either forget about it or abandon the purchase process altogether. The following are the most common factors that cause shopping cart abandonment:
- Impatience: Speed is everything in eCommerce. If you know that customers expect your site to load quickly, you can’t afford to spend more than a few minutes of their time for the checkout process to be completed.
- Chaos: If the purchasing stages are not clear, your customers can’t complete the process easily. Be concise, let them know clearly what to do on each page.
- Hesitation: People are cautious regarding their personal information, especially financial information (credit cards and bank accounts). Customers are more likely to abandon a purchase if anything about your website raises suspicion. Therefore, make sure that everything is legal about the shopping process, and ensure the customer that their data is safe.
Use the Best Payment Gateway
Optimizing your WooCommerce store for sales is vital, but what about the way you accept payments? If you make the payment process difficult for your customers, you can’t expect them to buy a product.
The solution to this problem is using a payment gateway. A payment gateway is a web-based program created for the sole purpose of accepting and processing payments through credit and debit cards.
There are two main types of payment gateways:
- Redirection Gateway: A redirection gateway is the one where a customer needs to leave your WooCommerce store for an external page in order to pay for the product.
- Direct Gateway: A direct gateway processes payments on your site, which means that the customers don’t need to leave your site to pay for the product.
If you go internationally, to cover a broader range of customers, you can combine both redirection and a direct payment gateway, to be able to cover a country where one of the payment gateways is not acceptable.
There are several payment gateways that are among the most trusted ones:
Each of the gateways can be integrated with your WooCommerce store as free or premium version. Take into account that each of them requires you to have an SSL certificate, something that we mentioned in the WooCommerce security section above.
Set up a Proper Shipping Process
Your WooCommerce shipping setup defines the process of shipping your products, your shipping fees, and the fulfillment methods. You need to start by setting up the shipping zones, methods, and rates in your WooCommerce dashboard, and then organize your operation for an efficient shipping process.
Shipping Zones and Methods
The first stage of setting up WooCommerce shipping is to pinpoint your Shipping Zones. WooCommerce shipping zones define the areas that you ship to and allow you to assign Shipping Methods and Shipping Rates to specific zones.
As an example, you can use WooCommerce shipping zones to:
- Ship to all U.S. states, but charge more for orders to Hawaiian islands and Europe.
- Ship to specific international locations, but not everywhere else.
- Ship to certain states and limit the shipping to states that don’t have a license to use the product.
- Create zones by zip code for local cargo and product pickup.
Set Up Shipping Rates
WooCommerce’s built-in shipping rates comprise of the following:
- Free Shipping: No shipping charges for the consumers.
- Flat Rate: A percentage of the total order fee.
- Local Pickup: Customers can pick up the product from your local store if you have one, and you can also include a fee as well.
- WooServices: Estimates the USPS or Canada Post shipping fees and lets you print post labels directly from your WooCommerce dashboard.
WooCommerce shipping classes allows you to group products with equal characteristics. For example, you can utilize them to arrange products that need to be treated with care. You can also separate small, light products from the big, heavy ones.
Order Fulfilment Operation
After you complete the Shipping setup, and before the product orders begin, you need to set up an order fulfillment system for organizing, storing, packing, and shipping your products.
The main elements that you need for an order fulfillment setup are:
- Inventory Storage Area: Shelves, bins, or boxes to quickly categorize and find products. Ensure that you have enough room for packing materials and shipping boxes as well.
- Shipping Station: You’ll need a computer and label printer to set up shipping rates and print shipping labels. If the product orders are different in weight and size, you’ll need a shipping scale as well.
- Receiving and Shipping Area: You’ll need an area for your inbound inventory, as well as an area for your packed orders that await cargo pickup.
If you’re focused on scaling your eCommerce business, and you don’t have the time or resources for physical locations, you can outsource each of the tasks above to a shipping company that integrates with WooCommerce too.
By now, you should be aware of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into force on the 25th May 2018.
Have you made the necessary changes to your WooCommerce store to become compliant? Are you aware how GDPR affects non-European e-commerce websites?
The EU GDPR legislation affects businesses both inside and outside of the EU. A non-EU company that works with EU customers must conform to the GDPR rules.
Terms and Conditions
It goes without saying that you need to have a Terms and Conditions page and also a checkbox that users must click to say that they agree with them.
Additional Resources to Help You Out with GDPR
There are many resources to assist you further with the GDPR compliance of This list should help you get started:
- The Complete WordPress GDPR Guide.
- An excellent blog post on what you need to do to comply with GDPR as an eCommerce site owner.
- The GDPR For WordPress project.
- Mailjet’s GDPR Journal: On The GDPR Track, Our Compliance Roadmap and FAQ.
Wrapping it Up
The competition in the WooCommerce space is ferocious, and you need to know how to implement each of the tips above if you want to increase your chances at succeeding in your marketplace. However, there’s room for everyone that uses the platform properly, and if you haven’t started optimizing WooCommerce, you need to do so, so you can build a substantial eCommerce store.