Where to find the best WooCommerce extensions

The core WooCommerce plugin is pretty awesome as a kick ass eCommerce platform for most store owners. But chances are you’ll find it lacking something you need sooner rather than later. Today we take a look at the best places to find the best WooCommerce extensions for your online store.

WooThemes Extension directory

It’s no surprise that the absolute best place to find a vast collection of WooCommerce extensions is over at WooThemes.

As of October 3rd 2014, WooThemes has approximately 313 extensions available! In addition to cranking out their own extensions on a regular basis, the Woo folks also partner with some of the best WooCommerce developers to release tons of new extensions for seemingly every possible use case. What I also like most about this official extension ecosystem is that every extension has been well tested with the latest and greatest versions of WooCommerce and every extension goes through extensive testing by the WooThemes team before being released.

Codecanyon WooCommerce Listing

The second most popular source of WooCommerce extensions has to be the Codecanyon WooCommerce category. Codecanyon reports that there are over 420 plugins available at the time of writing. Some of the plugins available on Codecanyon are amongst the most popular WooCommerce extensions on the market including:

Table Rate Shipping for WooCommerce

WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates

Fancy Product Designer

While Codecanyon houses more WooCommerce extensions, quality and support can sometimes be a concern. My recommendation to any store owner would be to carefully research any prospective purchase on Codecanyon to ensure the plugin author is active, provides support and keeps the plugin up to date with the latest versions of WooCommerce.

WordPress plugin directory

Last but not least if the official WordPress plugin directory. A simple search for WooCommerce reveals over 1,000 plugins report some form of compatibility with WooCommerce. While this doesn’t translate directly to WooCommerce specific extensions it’s an indication of the breadth of plugins available via the official WordPress plugin repository for WooCommerce.

 

Give your customers a superior looking invoice

Friday’s WooCommerce featured plugin is ‘PDF Invoice’ – a marked step up on the default WooCommerce one both in looks and functionality.

Features include:

  • Invoices are generated automatically for each new order
  • Tightly integrated with WooCommerce and its functionality
  • Invoice PDF documents get attached to standard WooCommerce emails
  • Detects currency that is used in your store as well as other settings
  • Works perfectly out of the box – just activate and you are ready to go

You can add your company name and address to each invoice and it comes with a built in numbering systems which makes a lot more sense then the default which jumps around if you add new pages or posts.

Additionally, the developers have spent a good deal of time on the layout options and you can choose to show the net amount, tax rate and tax amount on each line.

WooCommerce PDF Invoice is just $25 and is available 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!

Sell subscriptions with WooCommerce

One of the best things about WooCommerce it it’s ability to be extended beyond it’s core functionality to cater for lots of other eCommerce scenarios. One of the most common scenarios is subscriptions.

A common misconception is that WooCommerce is just for selling physical products. While it does indeed do that probably better than any other WordPress eCommerce plugin, WooCommerce can handle pretty much any kind of product or service you might wish to sell online through the use of dedicated WooCommerce plugins. Just like WordPress itself, there is a very healthy ecosystem of WooCommerce plugins that we’ve been covering a lot over the past few months.

Subscriptions and WooCommerce

There are a few subscriptions plugins available in the ecosystem for WooCommerce, but the best one I’ve come across to date is the official WooThemes WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin.

This little beauty will let you setup recurring payments for customers in a matter of minutes. Recurring payments can be charged daily, weekly, monthly or annually. You can also add an initial signup fee. It can also be used in combination with the Groups extension to to allow you to define different subscription levels.

How are recurring payments handled?

Anyone who has built their own recurring subscriptions functionality will know what a pain in the behind this can be to get right. Thankfully this plugin integrates seamlessly with Paypal’s subscription engine. While Paypal might not be everyone’s favourite payment gateway, the combination of this plugin and the Paypal subscriptions engine means that anyone can pretty much setup their own Subscriptions business in a few minutes and probably save tens of thousands in custom software development costs. You can always scale up to a more sophisticated platform in the future if you need it. Let’s keep things lean!

A single site license will cost you $199 which is a steal for what you’re getting. Check it out today.

 

 

 

Fighting fraud with a new plugin from WooCommerce

risk

WooCommerce today launched a very interesting plugin designed to help store owners fight fraudulent transactions on their store.

A recent report from Cybersource, a unit of Visa estimated the fraud cost for online retailers to be $3.5 billion or 0.9% of online revenue in 2012.

An online retailer loses, on average, $9,000 to fraud for every $1 million in revenue – a number that really adds up as your store grows.

This new WooCommerce Anti-Fraud plugin is designed to recognize fraudulent transactions and catch them as they occur by scanning and displaying a score for each transaction made, based on a set of advanced scoring rules.

So for example if the customer’s IP address does not match their billing country this increases the risk and therefore the score.

fraud

Once the score goes over a tipping point you can automatically cancel, hold or get a notification regarding the suspect transaction.

The Anti Fraud plugin is $79 from WooCommerce and you can get more information about it 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!

New Google Analytics eCommerce plugin from Yoast

The team over at Yoast launched a new Google Analytics eCommerce plugin last week. If you’re serious about tracking your sales with WooCommerce in Google Analytics this is a must have new plugin.

We’ve posted before about how to setup Google Analytics for eCommerce tracking with WooCommerce. Well the very smart folks over at Yoast recently launched a new plugin that extends their open source Google Analytics plugin. If you’ve not yet installed the awesome free plugin you’ll need to get that up and running first (which is really simple to do).

What does this new plugin do?

First of all, the installation process is a breeze – just buy, upload and activate the plugin and you’re done! If you’ve spent time configuring eCommerce tracking in Google Analytics with WooCommerce you’ll realize how cool that is. The plugin takes advantage of a new Google collections API that allows the plugin to send calls directly to the Analytics API from the server side instead of purely relying in Javascript which makes the process of tracking eCommerce conversions much more reliable. I’ve seen in the past on high volume sites that the numbers don’t always add up in Google Analytics when compared to order numbers in WooCommerce and this is generally down to the odd server error which means the JS conversion tracker doesn’t fire. This plugin will resolve that which should make the numbers in Analytics much more accurate.

It’s great to see the Yoast team creating these cool little addons for WooCommerce and I hope to see more clever WooCommerce plugins from the folks over there in next few months. You can get the new plugin from $49 for a single site license today.

 

Speeding up checkout with an address autocomplete plugin

It’s vital in eCommerce to ensure a customer can quickly enter their billing details and get through the payment process with as little fuss as possible.

That’s why I’m interested in this address autocomplete plugin for just $11 which uses Google’s Places API to quickly return location results as soon as you start typing.

The idea is primarily to save time but it’s also useful to prevent typing errors, e.g. a zip code entered incorrectly in a rush.

address-complete

It works like this:

  1. The plugin regroups and hides the components of the address : address_1, address_2, city, state, postcode, country.
  2. It adds a new “Address field” based on Google Places API.
  3. The user begins to type the address and Google completes it.
  4. The user chooses the correct address among Google suggestions.
  5. The hidden field appears, automatically filled with data.

Note: As of 18th September this plugin currently isn’t compatible with WooCommerce 2.2 so if you’re running this, it would be better to wait for an update.

You can checkout the Google Address Autocomplete for WooCommerce plugin here.

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.

096edee68e8e81c65c622241bd929c93

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.