Using the power of reciprocity to push sales online

So what does that fancy word mean? Reciprocity is a form of social psychology which refers to responding to a positive action with another positive action – thus rewarding kindness.

So it is powerful?

In 1974 sociologist Phiip Kunz received Christmas cards. Many Christmas cards actually, 200 in all. They came in different shapes and sizes and all were affectionate towards him and his family.

This is a normal, sweet tale except for one thing: Kunz didn’t know any of them.

As a sociologist at Bringham Young University he had decided to do an experiment to find out what would happen if he handwrote 600 personal Christmas cards to complete strangers.

But why would so many people reply to someone they didn’t know? This is the rule of reciprocity at work. Since he had sent a thoughtful note many recipients felt obligated to return the favor.

For eCommerce, this rule of reciprocity can be seen in promotions such as free shipping, upgrades or discounts for loyal customers when they make their next purchase.

free-gift

This is a common strategy of beauty and cosmetic companies and it works particularly well as an incentive to spend over a certain amount.

WooCommerce Free Gift Plugin

A super little plugin leverages reciprocity and adds free gift functionality to WooCommerce for only $16. It has loads of features including:

  • An option to specify any product as the fixed gift or let the customers select a gift from a specified category.
  • Option to hide the gift products from customers in the shop.
  • The functionality can be enabled for all customers or only for registered customers.
  • Giving a gift to the same customer more than once may be disabled.
  • Basic support for product variations.
  • Giving customers a gift if they apply a coupon can be disabled if desired.
  • The message for notifying customers whether they are eligible for a free gift can be displayed on the cart page or by using a special shortcode on any page or post.
  • The extension is ready to be translated by the standard WordPress localization process.

So check out the WooCommerce Free Gift Plugin and see how the power of reciprocity can help push sales in your store.

Remember you can purchase our WooCommerce theme Captiva today over on themeforest. If you’re a WooCommerce newbie we also provide a free installation service to get you up and running with your own WordPress powered online shop in no time!

Share your purchase with the Social Checkout plugin

There’s a lot to learn from how Amazon does business and one little feature which is often overlooked is its social sharing feature once you’ve purchased from them.

People like seeing positive social proof that trustworthy individuals or followers have made a purchase from your store.

This helps increase brand visibility and as social content becomes ever more indexed and central to search engine algorithms it becomes more and more important for promoting your store.

Amazon's sharing widget appears when you've purchased an item

Amazon’s sharing widget appears when you’ve purchased an item

We’re a fan of the WooCommerce Social Checkout plugin by Lee Willis. It’s not free but at only $19 for a single site licence it’s an easy way for customers to promote orders they’ve just made on your store.

As it displays right on the checkout it encourages engagement while it’s fresh on a customer’s mind.

Plugin Demo Video

You can check out more information about the WooCommerce Social Checkout plugin here.

Remember you can purchase our WooCommerce theme Captiva today over on themeforest. If you’re a WooCommerce newbie we also provide a free installation service to get you up and running with your own WordPress powered online shop in no time!

Drive sales growth on your online store with an Affiliate program

A well structured and credible affiliate/referral sales program can transform your eCommerce store.

If you’re a small eCommerce operation looking to grow your sales, you must give serious consideration to operating an affiliate program. Think of affiliates as your own private army of sales people who have the potential to send you thousands of new customers much faster than you can. Good affiliates are just like good salespeople. That’s because they are salespeople. A lot of us suck at sales, copyrighting and marketing in general. Good affiliates have mastered the dark arts of convincing customers to part with their cash online.

While there are lots of big services for selling one off digital products that have robust affiliate features built in (like eJunkie, DPD et al), the core of WooCommerce doesn’t provide us with any features for managing an affiliate program. Thankfully there some excellent plugins which do exactly that. Today we’ll focus on one in particular we really like.

AffiliateWP

AffiliateWP is the brainchild of two of the smartest WordPress developers on the planet, Pippin Williamson and Andrew Munro, so you know it’s gonna be good 🙂

This is a commercial plugin that extends WordPress into a fully functional Affiliate Sales Management platform. The super news is that AffiliateWP is tightly integrated with WooCommerce.

So now you as the merchant can operate an Affiliate program directly inside WordPress and do the following:

  • Moderate and manage affiliate applications – you can allow people to apply to become affiliates and review and approve each application.
  • Manage affiliate commission rates – each affiliate can have their own rates.
  • Deep integration into WooCommerce – orders in WooCommerce are automatically tracked back to an affiliates referral link.
  • Affiliate coupon tracking – you can provide affiliates with unique coupon codes and define the type of incentive these coupon codes provide (e.g. % discount or nominal discount, free shipping etc.)
  • When an affiliate sale is placed via WooCommerce a note is automatically added to the order in WooCommerce to allow merchants to see at a glance if the sale was referred by an affiliate.

Prices for the plugin start at $49 for 1 site and 12 months of updates and support. Learn more about AffiliateWP pricing.

Rescue orders from oblivion with Abandon Cart Pro

Today we look at a must have plugin for WooCommerce to grow revenue by chasing down abandoned orders before they disappear into the abyss!

On some sites abandoned orders exceed 95% of all order sessions! Newcomers to eCommerce may recoil in horror at the thoughts of such high rates of order abandonment. But abandoned orders are not the exception in eCommerce. They are the norm. Successful eCommerce websites with huge amounts of traffic have a lot of “footfall” or “screenfall” passing by with no or little or order intent. But that’s not to say that we should just sit idly by and watch all those orders disappear into a black hole. No, we’ll fight for them!

WooCommerce Abandon Cart Pro

This is a super little plugin that does one thing and does it really well. This little bad boy will become your abandoned order nerve centre, chasing down abandoned carts like a boss, taking names and offering discounts to get that order that’s rightfully yours.

So how does it work?

  • Customer add products to their cart
  • Customers decides, “nope not ordering this crap today!”
  • Abandon Cart Pro sits in waiting – watching that cart, never taking it’s eyes off the prize. Soon I will have you…..
  • After a few minutes/hours (all of which can be defined by you with different emails to be sent at different emails) Abandon Cart Pro kicks in and goes for the jugular. Abandon Cart Pro will fire off emails to the customer asking them why the fuck they didn’t order the crap in their cart. If this aggressive posture doesn’t work try a more softly, softly approach 🙂
  • What’s more, Abandon Cart Pro will also include a coupon code to let the custom avail of a discount if they can be persuaded to part with their cash.
  • The plugin will then do final act of heroism and track this as a “recovered order” letting you know just how shit hot it is at putting more money in your pocket. Job. DONE.

Not convinced? What is wrong with you?? Watch this video immediately.

There’s a free version of the plugin available in the WordPress plugin repository. Alternatively if you want to unlock all the cool premium features this plugin can do for you get the premium version.

Don’t be stupid. Install this plugin today and reduce your abandonment rates. It’s a no brainer.

 

Switching between a list and a grid view in WooCommerce

WooCommerce Grid/List toggle is a fantastic little free plugin by James Koster which allows users to switch between a grid and a list view of products on the archives page.

This is a common feature on many of the top eCommerce sites and it can be on yours too for free.

  • The list view arranges products in a vertical list and displays the excerpt to give a more detailed overview.
  • The grid view is WooCommerce’s default layout for product archives.

You can choose whether grid or list view be set as the default via the Catalog tab of the WooCommerce settings screen.

User selections persist between page loads via a cookie.

We’re using this feature in our Captiva WooCommerce theme, you can see an example of it in use on a product archive page such as this one.

You can grab the WooCommerce Grid/List toggle here.

Remember you can purchase our WooCommerce theme Captiva today over on themeforest. If you’re a WooCommerce newbie we also provide a free installation service to get you up and running with your own WordPress powered online shop in no time!

Supercharge your shipping setup for WooCommerce

Managing delivery and shipping charges is probably the most challenging aspect of getting started with an eCommerce website. Thankfully there are some great plugins to extend WooCommerce shipping options to cater for just about any business requirements.

Let’s face it – configuring delivery and shipping charges on an eCommerce website is a pain in the ass. It’s also one of the most overlooked aspects of setting up an eCommerce operation that many people new to eCommerce have no idea how to manage. A clients shipping strategy is always very close to the top of my list of questions when we start any new eCommerce project. It can make the difference between a wildly profitable store and a massive failure. For many this will come as a surprise because it is the least visible aspect of the process of setting up an online store. Yet it is one of the most important to the customer. How many times have you been stopped in your tracks from placing an order online because shipping information was unclear, too expensive, not available or just plain confusing?

From the merchants perspective there are two major problems; 1.) not charging enough due to inflexible shipping options in your eCommerce software, or 2.) charging too much because of the same reason or out of pure fear – leading to lost orders.

There are also more fundamental challenges to shipping like deciding where exactly in the world you will ship your products to. Do you want to offer worldwide shipping? Better make sure you know the impact of this on your net profit per order. How will you manage the logistics of shipping a ton of orders all over the world just before the Christmas holiday rush? These are all questions that you need to consider carefully before you end up with a lot of pissed off customers.

WooCommerce and shipping

Out of the box, WooCommerce offers plenty of options on how to configure your delivery and shipping costs. But to be honest I’ve yet to see any open source eCommerce platform cater for all the shipping permutations that you as a customer might require. Nor would it be fair to think that WooCommerce or any other platform for that matter could cater for all scenarios. Every business is different. Every business has it’s own subtle nuances that are important usually for good reasons to that business. The challenge then becomes finding a reliable way of extending WooCommerce to cater for your specific requirements. To that end, there are 2 fantastic premium WooCommerce plugins available that you should study carefully if you need to turbocharge WooCommerce for your shipping needs.

Table Rate Shipping from WooThemes

Table Rate Shipping from is a premium plugin sold via WooThemes. At $199 for a single site license it’s not cheap. But this plugin will pay for itself quite quickly if you need to extend WooCommerce to provide Table Rate functionality. The plugin allows you to:

  • Create zones for target shipping destinations
  • Add multiple tables of rates per zone
  • Several types of table rate calculation: Per order, Calculated per item, Calculated per line, Calculated per class
  • Add rules based on Weight, Number of items, Number of items by class and Price
  • Add costs per row, per item cost, a percentage and per weight unit
Table Rate Shipping overview

Table Rate Shipping overview

Table Rate Shipping for WooCommerce from Codecanyon

There is an alternative (and much cheaper at $21!) plugin available on Codecanyon which provides the same kind of functionality as the previous plugin.

I’ve not had the opportunity to use the Codecanyon plugin as of yet so I can’t comment on how it stacks up against the WooThemes one, but it does have very good ratings over on Codecanyon and is the best selling WooCommerce plugin there so it must be doing something right 🙂

Don’t forget to check out our new WooCommerce theme Captiva

Adding an extra Product Tab in WooCommerce

This really handy free extension from our friends at Skyverge solves a common request from store owners – how can I add an additional tab to my product page?

As a shop owner, you may want to publish more information about your products.

The WooCommerce Custom Product Tabs Lite extension allows you to add one additional tab that can contain text, html or shortcodes (e.g. video). This is very useful if you need to display washing instructions, assembly information or tutorial videos specific to a product.

Because it allows you to add any kind of shortcode to the space it would also be ideal for pricing tables, specification documents or products FAQs.

The custom tab will appear in between the ‘Additional Information’ and ‘Reviews’ tabs.

To add multiple tabs or to change the order the premium version is required but we think this free Lite version will do the job for the majority of people.

Remember you can purchase our WooCommerce theme Captiva today over on themeforest. If you’re a WooCommerce newbie we also provide a free installation service to get you up and running with your own WordPress powered online shop in no time!

Easily customize your WooCommerce product catalog

If you want to make changes to things in WooCommerce like the text in your Add to cart buttons and whether you want to display prices or not there are some great plugins available that make this process very simple.

We spend a lot of time working on the innards of WooCommerce. For those with coding chops, WooCommerce is filled with hooks which make it super simple for developers to easily extend and change just about everything to do with WooCommerce. But what if you don’t have any coding skills – what then?

Customizing your WooCommerce catalog with no coding skills

I you’re lucky, you’ll be using a good theme that’s been optimized for WooCommerce and has some built in options for managing elements of WooCommerce. If not, take a look at one of our WooCommerce themes 🙂 But a theme will only do so much. For more granular control over how WooCommerce behaves you will need the help of some great plugins designed to do exactly just that.

Catalog Visibility Options

Catalog Visibility Options is a super plugin available on WooThemes. If you’re already using one of our themes you probably won’t need this plugin but for some reason not everyone is using one of our WooCommerce themes yet 🙂 This plugin includes the following:

  • Provides the ability to hide prices, or show prices only to authenticated users.
  • Provides the ability to disable e-commerce functionality by disabling the cart.
  • Allows configuration of alternate price content, when prices are disabled or shown only to logged in users.
  • Allows configuration of alternate add-to-cart content, when e-commerce functionality is disabled or only available to authenticated users.

These are some of the most common WooCommerce requests we get asked on a regular basis so it’s likely that you’ll be needing something like this plugin at some point.

WooCommerce Customizer

The WooCommerce Customizer is a fantastic plugin brought to you by the WooCommerce wizards over at SkyVerge. The WooCommerce Customizer is a free plugin that provides a settings page to let you change all of the following with any coding skills:

  • Add to Cart button text for all product types (within the shop loop and on a single product page)
  • The number of products displayed per page
  • Heading text for the ‘Product Description’ and ‘Additional Information’ tab.
  • Checkout page coupon / login text
  • Checkout page ‘Submit Order’ button text
  • Tax Label text

WooCommerce Product Details Customizer

Our final recommendation for customizing your WooCommerce product catalog is another free plugin developed by one of the core WooCommerce contributors James Koster. James is an awesome developer who is one of the founding developers of WooCommerce and has an uncanny ability of producing great plugins that nicely compliment the core WooCommerce plugin. The WooCommerce Product Details Customizer includes the ability to:

  • Toggle display of product images
  • Toggle display of product tabs
  • Toggle display of upsells
  • Toggle display of related products
  • Adjust the number of columns for related/upsell products

Join us again tomorrow for some more great WooCommerce plugin recommendations!

 

Link your WooCommerce store with Amazon using veeqo

Today we’re continuing our WooCommerce plugin series and we take a look at a service that allows you to link and fully integrate your WooCommerce store with Amazon.

Following on from yesterday’s post about increasing traffic to your WooCommerce store, today we take a look at another WooCommerce plugin and service that could be a huge source of untapped traffic and revenue for your WooCommerce store.

When it comes to increasing your eCommerce traffic and revenue it’s hard to look past Amazon. The undisputed king of the eCommerce universe is increasingly becoming a major source of revenue for smaller eCommerce players who want to sell on Amazon. Many people aren’t even aware that it’s possible to sell your own products on Amazon. Not only it this possible, but it’s Amazon biggest source of revenue growth right now.

Integrating WooCommerce with Amazon

As the owner of an eCommerce website powered by WooCommerce who is interested in selling your products on Amazon you are probably wondering how you might deal with the headache of managing 2 sets of stocks, 2 sources of orders, 2 catalogs etc. The problem becomes even more complicated when you also consider selling your products on eBay!

Enter Veeqo

Veeqo promises to solve these real challenges and seamlessly integrate your WooCommerce and Amazon stores. Veeqo is a middleman between your WooCommerce and Amazon stores. In essence, Veeqo becomes your master database for products, orders and stocks.

So how does Veeqo work?

  • Orders sync happens every 10 minutes
  • Product catalog sync happens every 30 minutes
  • Stock sync happens in real time

As someone who has worked on countless eCommerce systems integration projects over the past decade, this is an impressive starting point for Veeqo. eCommerce systems integration is hard and easy to fuck up. If they’ve nailed this as a starting position this is worth tens of thousands of dollars to bigger eCommerce merchants in saved administration costs . Veeqo has a ton of other features and a very well designed user interface.

If you’re serious about selling tons of products via the Amazon marketplace I wouldn’t even dream of starting a project like that without having something like Veeqo in place from day one. I’ve seen too many eCommerce store owners do it the hard way and try to manage this manually at the start and then end up in an administration quagmire once they start to achieve momentum. The entry price plan starts at £60 per month which is a fraction of the cost of doing this manually – trust me!

I’d love to hear from anyone who has been using WooCommerce and Veeqo in the wild – just drop us a line to info@commercegurus.com if you’d like to share your experiences.