Quick Tutorial: Adding a Twitter Widget to your Site

The official widget from Twitter was not explicitly designed for WordPress but I think it’s the best option for embedding tweets on your site.

It allows you to display tweets from a range of sources including your own feed, tweets you have favorited, tweets from lists you have created, search queries, and collections.

You can define the height of the widget and choose from either a light or dark color scheme. The widget contains a follow button to allow people to follow you on Twitter directly through your website.

To access the official widget, log into your Twitter account and click on Settings > Widgets > Create new.

twitter-tutorial

This creates a little block of HTML code which you can simply paste within a simple Text WordPress widget within Appearance > Widgets.

Easy peasy! To see the result just check out the sidebar of this page.

Ajaxify your WooCommerce product categories

One aspect I find quite limiting with WooCommerce is the lack of options around how you filter product categories. This nifty little plugin changes all that.

One question I get asked a lot by our customers is how to extend WooCommerce product category filtering options. At the moment with WooCommerce out of the box there is pretty much only one way you can present your WooCommerce categories – and that’s using the default WooCommerce Product Categories widget.

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The default WooCommerce Product Categories widget.

For many online stores this widget will do just fine. But for certain types of stores with lots of categories and large catalogs you can quickly bump up against the limitations of this widget. Frankly, I think it’s one area of WooCommerce that I think the fine folks over at Woothemes need to spend some time improving in order for larger stores to really embrace WooCommerce.

In the meantime the WooCommerce AJAX Product Filter plugin gives WooCommerce store owners a whole new plethora of options when it comes to displaying product categories. The plugin adds some Ajax goodness to things you’re probably already using like Price filters. But it also allows users to quickly filter multiple product categories without requiring a full page refresh which is pretty cool for large catalogs.

Here’s the full feature list.

  • Add Unlimited Filters: There is no limitation, let the customers filter all the way through their needs.
  • Three Types of UI: Slider, Drop Down & Checkbox (Toggle effect).
  • Reset All Filters: Users can reset all filters to default by a single click.
  • Merge Sidebars: Merge sidebars to save space of shop sidebar.
  • Filter by Color, Pattern and Image: Assign an image for each attribute so users can see image instead of text for products filtering.
  • Search Engine Optimized (SEO friendly): Filtered products are indexable and users can share links of filtered results.
  • HTML5 PushState & HTML4 HashTag Fallback: Best experience in modern browsers beside supporting old browsers.
  • Cross Browser Compatibility: AJAX loading, PushState,… has been test with all major browsers old versions to latest versions.
  • Unlimited Filter for Specific Attributes archive/Categories archive: If you sell different products with different attributes this feature is for you. By using this feature selected categories or selected attributes can have their own filters without affecting the rest of the shop.
  • Sidebar, Shortcode and PHP function generator
  • AJAX Loading Results: Users can see filtered results at real time.
  • Sort by AJAX: Sort and change order of products by 6 parameters and see results at real time.
  • Drag and Drop Filter Building: Shop admin can drag and drop unlimited widgets and build filters in a minute, each widget with its own different settings.
  • Auto Blends With Shop Theme: Automatically adapts with your shop theme styling so you need no styling.
  • Hierarchical Category Navigation: Users can navigate through hierarchical categories; eg: Clothing > Women > Outwear > Jacket.
  • Multiple Categories/Attributes Filtering: Users can filter product by selecting multiple categories and multiple attributes at the same time (Supports “AND”, “OR” Parameters)
  • Built with WordPress Best Practices If a task has multiple approaches the best one is selected. E.g: Product Filtering functionality only activates at WooCommerce area not everywhere, this makes the plugin fast and small footprint.

I really like this plugin. There’s a few other similar plugins out there but this one is really well put together. If you need something a bit more powerful for your WooCommerce product category filters be sure to check it out.

Customizing WooCommerce Checkout Fields

Today we’re featuring a very useful plugin that allows you to customize the fields that are displayed when completing the checkout process in WooCommerce.

You may need to display extra fields such as a delivery date or indeed you might want to remove unnecessary ones just as the phone number to streamline the checkout process. Nobody wants to spend time filling out form inputs if they’re not actually required.

checkout-manager

The WooCommerce Checkout Fields plugin does just that. Features include the ability to add text inputs, textareas, checkboxes, date pickers and select boxes. You can also re-arrange and remove any field you desire.

There is a free plugin available but for the full set of options we recommend the paid $49 version from 61extensions.

If you need to customize your checkout process it’ll be money well spent.

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!

 

Experiment your way to eCommerce success

Following on from yesterdays Google Analytics post, today we explore the world of content experiments and explore how valuable they are to success in eCommerce.

This post comes with a health warning.

WARNING: Content Experiments may be highly addictive and lead to a large increase in online revenue!

If you’ve been following on our plugin post series you’ll have seen a whole array of wonderful plugins and tools designed to improve the overall customer experience for WooCommerce powered online. But if there’s a single action I recommend to every online merchant who wants to improve their online sales it’s to master eCommerce Content experiments.

What are eCommerce Content Experiments?

Simply put, eCommerce Content Experiments are controlled tests which you the merchant plan and execute to evaluate if you can increase sales and conversions of your products by publishing multiple variations of your products with typically slightly different properties in each version. You’ll hear some people call this Split Testing, or A/B testing or multivariate testing. But I prefer to simply call them Content Experiments – that’s the heart of what split testing is all about anyway.

So let’s imagine you run an online store selling T-Shirts. A simple eCommerce Content Experiment might involve creating 3 versions of one of your products each selling at a different price – $14.99, $18.99 and $24.95.  The experiment will allow you to evaluate which price sells best. Your initial gut feeling might be to assume that the $14.99 version would sell best because it’s the cheapest. But what are you basing this on – your gut? You might well be right but then again you might be wrong! Let’s use science to validate our hypothesises! That’s the point about eCommerce Content Experiments – they can be highly valuable to validate or invalidate our assumptions about customer behaviour.

How do I learn about eCommerce Content Experiments?

There was a time not too long ago that Content experiments were the preserve of dedicated “growth hackers” who would charge an arm and a leg to setup a limited number of content experiments. They were also traditionally quite time consuming and expensive to setup, configure and manage. Thankfully that’s changing quickly. For anyone just getting started, I highly recommend you check out Google Analytics Experiments feature. (formerly known as the Google Website Optimizer)

Check out this in-depth video from Google introducing this feature.

Google Analytics Experiments are also free which is their major plus point. The biggest downside is that while it’s a lot simpler than it used to be, Analytics Experiments are still a bit rough around the edges and involve manual configuration. Thankfully there are tons of commercial alternatives that are much more streamlined.

In no particular order, some of the best services include:

So get going with your content experiments today!

 

 

Google Analytics for WooCommerce

Analytics are the lifeblood of an eCommerce business. If you’re not using Analytics you’re doing it wrong. Google Analytics is the powerhouse of the online analytics world and is your best bet for putting in place a seriously impressive analytics strategy with WooCommerce.

How to setup Google Analytics for WooCommerce

First, get your hands on a Google Analytics account. There’s tons of tutorials online about how to get Google Analytics up and running with WordPress so we’ll assume you’ve made it that far.

Next, you’ll need to install the separate plugin provided by WooThemes called WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration. This is an open source plugin available via the WordPress repository. It used to be embedded within core but has since been moved out to a separate plugin.

How to setup Google Analytics eCommerce tracking

With an online store you have an insane number of options on what data you can track. One of the first things you’ll want to do is to configure some funnels to track conversion rates throughout your online store. The second thing you’ll want to do is to setup transaction tracking to transmit order values to eCommerce so you can get the most out of Google Analytics. There’s an excellent tutorial by Joey Rudisill which will walk you through that process.

Advanced eCommerce dashboards

We’re only just scratching the surface of what’s possible with Google Analytics eCommerce integrations in this post. Once you’ve got your conversion trackers in place you’ll probably want to spend some time configuring your eCommerce dashboard. Once you do, be sure to checkout these wonderful eCommerce dashboard options.

 

WooCommerce 2.2 Released – Captiva 100% compatible

WooCommerce 2.2 was released today. The great news for all CommerceGurus customers is that we’re 100% compatible with 2.2!

WooCommerce 2.2, or the Prowling Pangolin release as it’s also known as, was officially released today. We’ve been busy putting 2.2 through the ringer the last couple of weeks as release candidates were being pushed out by the core team. We’re glad to report that our first WooCommerce theme Captiva is 100% compatible with WooCommerce 2.2!

Upgrade Instructions!

While you shouldn’t have any issues with Captiva when updating to WooCommerce 2.2, this is a pretty big release from the Woo guys so it’s possible you could run into issues with other WooCommerce plugins that you might be running. Please, please, please do NOT conduct an automatic update on your live shop until you’ve first fully tested 2.2 on a test version of your store. We see time and time again that people think it’s ok to just update all plugins on live websites without fully testing them on a test instance. Do not do this – it’s crazy! Especially on an eCommerce/store website that has decent traffic and high order volumes. You do not want to be in a panic when you get an error on a live store because some other WooCommerce plugin you rely on has not yet been updated to work with 2.2.

WooThemes have a great resource for tips on how to safely upgrade.

We’ve a minor release coming for Captiva within the next 24 hours to address a few non critical warnings which appear on upgrade 2.2 which is due to some minor semantic differences in some WooCommerce template overrides in Captiva.

So what’s new in WooCommerce 2.2?

There’s certainly tons of changes under the hood from a developers perspective. From a merchant’s perspective the stand out new feature has to be the new Refund feature. I personally think the enhancements to the new API are the most interesting as it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for building other apps on top of WooCommerce. The other great feature in 2.2 is the ability to manage stock logic at a variation line level.

So remember folks get your testing boots on and give WC2.2 a spin on your test servers today before you update your live stores!

 

Increase sales with a rewards program

Customers today have and ever increasing range of choices about where to shop and with more options coming on stream almost daily converting sales becomes more and more challenging.

Rewarding a customer for shopping with you can help you stand out from your competitors as offering a little bit extra compared to them. Think of that free coffee after five stamps and that feeling that you’ve been rewarding after sticking with your regular barista.

So, loyalty programs encourage repeat business and results in increased custom and therefore revenue. Offering a program can help encourage return visits to your WooCommerce store instead of checking out a competitors.

Loyalty Rewards for WooCommerce

The plugin we like in this field is called Loyalty Rewards for WooCommerce and is available for just $22 from ThemeForest. It has tonnes of features including:

  • A table of predefined points values
  • Loyalty points system, works by exchanging points with money at the checkout process.
  • Give points / money to certified buyer when they review a product.
  • Extra rewards per payment gateway
  • Subscription rewards
  • Coupon code to give rewards
  • User with rewards can use them on their next order

So give the plugin a try and get with the (loyalty) program.

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!

Creating scarcity with a Product Countdown plugin

 6-product-countdown-wordpress-plugin-screenshot-topIt’s one of the oldest tricks in the business book – creating scarcity. When faced with impending scarcity, many customers will try and beat the countdown and buy.

It might be just what is required to convert a hesitant customer into a sale – the notion that the deal will not be available at that price for long.

available

The Product Countdown plugin by wpbuddy does this for just $15. It has loads of features including:

  • A popup-window fixed to the top
  • A popup-window fixed to the bottom of the page
  • Adding a shortcode directly in the content of a post, page or custom post type
  • Add the current sales price or/and the current items in stock in the message beside the counter
  • Custom or global CSS for every single countdown
  • Global CSS setting for every countdown
  • Action that should be performed after the countdown has expired: Send an email or redirect to another page.

So check out the plugin today, it might be just what you need to help convince customers to take the plunge and buy.

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!

Twitter announces new eCommerce features

Twitter have just announced a massive new feature. eCommerce. That’s right folks. It will soon be possible for merchants to sell their products directly to customers within tweets.

Twitter, Facebook and Google have historically relied very heavily on Advertising as their main source of revenue. Twitter are the laggard when it comes to executing a successful monetization strategy. The platform has struggled thus far to leverage it’s large user base with ways of making money that don’t compromise it’s core values. The recent soundings suggesting that the Twitter timeline will ditch it’s chronological feed to a “social signals” based algorithm has hard core tweeters up in arms.

Today Twitter announced a new feature which might mean it can stick to it’s historical roots while opening up potential new massive revenue streams. Something that might keep both hardcore Tweeters and shareholders happy. That feature is eCommerce.

How will eCommerce work on Twitter?

Twitter have worked in collaboration with a number of partners including Stripe to build out a pretty impressive mobile optimized eCommerce user experience. In a nutshell, merchants will be able to embed a Buy button into tweets containing products. When a user clicks the buy button the full product details will appear and the user can then complete the purchase process with a couple more clicks along with the usual payment info.

Here’s a video demonstrating the process.

As you can see, the process looks pretty slick. This feature is not available to all merchants just yet. The initial pilot group includes retailers like Burberry, The Home Depot and a lot of music artists. Actually it’s mostly music artists which would suggest Twitter feel that this feature will convert very well for music sales which is interesting in of itself. I guess the mobile medium is more suitable to quick, cheap purchases like music singles rather than expensive high ticket goods.

It will be very interesting to see if this feature takes off and becomes widely available to merchants en masse. It could transform mobile commerce for a mainstream audience and also lead to explosive revenue growth for Twitter. Exciting times ahead.

  

 

Get Sequential Order Numbers in WooCommerce

This is another very useful WooCommerce plugin from the experts at SkyVerge. Oddly, order numbers in WooCommerce are not usually sequential as they are automatically created based upon the post ID. Therefore whenever a new page, blog post, product is created the order ID number increases.

Shop Management

This can cause problems for shop management and can make it difficult to track down a particular order if the IDs do not make sense.

SkyVerge’s simple plugin fixes this problem by creating its own counter which increases order numbers. It doesn’t have any setting – if there are existing orders at the time of installation, the sequential order numbers will start with the highest current order number. So if the highest current number is 100, the plugin starts increasing from that so the next order will be “101”.

The Pro version has additional features including: start the order numbers at any particular number, set a custom number prefix/suffix with date pattern substitutions, set an order number length, exclude free orders from the order number sequence, and more.

You can download the free version 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!