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WooCommerce Setup: Your Guide to Getting Started

WooCommerce Setup: Your Guide to Getting Started

There are over 2.3 million ecommerce stores hosted on the WooCommerce platform, and for good reason. WooCommerce makes creating your own store quick and easy. With Hostdedi, WooCommerce solutions combine great functionality, an intuitive interface, and a powerful managed hosting platform to provide merchants with an ecommerce foundation that drives growth. 

However, the question remains: How can you set up your WooCommerce store to start selling quickly and effectively?

This WooCommerce walkthrough will take you from ordering your managed WooCommerce solution with Hostdedi to creating your first product and customizing your storefront’s look and feel. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a fully operational storefront that’s bringing in revenue and attracting customers. 

What You Need:

  • A hosted WordPress or WooCommerce solution
  • An active internet connection (unless you’re going to be testing on a local account)
  • Around 20 minutes of your time
  • A fiery passion for ecommerce (optional)

Step 1: Ordering a Managed WooCommerce Solution

What’s a WooCommerce store without a hosting platform? To get started you’ll need a strong foundation to build your WooCommerce store on. This will help dictate the speed, security, and scalability of your store, and have a direct impact on the support you can receive. 

There are a number of different hosting solutions available to merchants and freelancers. However, we recommend opting for a WooCommerce cloud solution. Start by visiting our WooCommerce managed hosting page, and selecting the right size solution for your needs. 

The right size solution depends on a number of factors. The most important of these is the number of users that visit your store at any one time. This is because we grade our cloud solutions based on the number of PHP workers they can support. This is the number of concurrent users who can be performing an action on your site at any one time. Learn more about what PHP workers are and how they affect your site’s performance.

Not sure what size is right for your store? Talk it over with a member of the Hostdedi team. We’ll provide advice on sizing, integrations, and anything else you need to know.

If this is your first storefront then we recommend opting for the smaller plans. These will help you to get started and once you start to see more traffic, they can instantly be upgraded in your Client Portal with a click.

Once you have completed this stage, you’ll be able to log into your Client Portal and access your WooCommerce admin panel. From there, the first thing you’ll need to do is set up your store’s main properties with the WooCommerce setup wizard.

For WooCommerce setup documentation regarding site migration, visit our Knowledge Base to learn more.

Step 2: The WooCommerce Setup Wizard

How to start the WooCommerce Setup Wizard

Once you’ve installed and activated WooCommerce, you need to complete a short WooCommerce setup wizard. To do this, locate the left hand panel and find WooCommerce. Click it. If WooCommerce isn’t present then refresh the page and it should appear.

After you’ve navigated to the WooCommerce page, you’ll find a button under the page title called Run the Setup Wizard. Click this and prepare to let WooCommerce know everything you want your store to be (almost).

Remember, everything you set throughout this WooCommerce setup process can be changed at a later date. WooCommerce is an incredibly flexible solution for merchants and it’s almost impossible to get locked into any one particular solution.

Begin WooCommerce Store Setup

WooCommerce Setup Wizard basic info

The first group of information we need to let WooCommerce know is where we are, who we are, what type of product we’re selling, and what primary currency we’re going to be charging in. If you have multiple currencies then don’t worry. We’ll cover this later. For now, opt for your local currency.

The information here doesn’t have to be entirely accurate, although it will prevent revisiting setup at a later date if it is. Once you’re finished, click Continue to be taken to the Payment page (for configuring how people will be paying you).

Set up Your WooCommerce Payments

WooCommerce Payment Setup

WooCommerce offers some powerful and flexible payment gateway options by default. Both Stripe and Paypal allow you to accept credit cards and Paypal orders. They also sync well with your external accounts.

However, sometimes Stripe and Paypal aren’t the right solutions. Whether this is because you’re already used to an alternate payment gateway, or because you don’t like the transaction fees of the default, there are a number of alternatives available. 

Cost is going to be an important consideration with regard to your payment gateway. Some SaaS platforms, which attract merchants with low monthly subscriptions, quickly become much more expensive once you add costly transaction fees to the mix. 

WooCommerce does not, by default, charge transaction fees. From a WooCommerce pricing perspective, this often makes it more cost-effective than SaaS alternatives. 

If you decide to change from the default payment gateways, ensure that you research transaction fees, security, and support. There are 100+ payment gateway options available as WooCommerce extensions and each has its own set of conditions and features. 

If you’re unsure, then we recommend first-time store owners use Stripe and Paypal. Both are industry-leading businesses that offer no transaction fees and guarantee payment security for your customers.

Setting up Shipping

WooCommerce Shipping Setup Options

It’s now time to set up your shipping information. Here, you’re going to need to input your shipping zones to help calculate shipping rates. If you’re a beginner, we advise leaving these as their default options. 

Remember, these options can all be edited at a later date or expanded upon with additional plugins if you need.

You’ll also need to input the weight and dimension units you’re using. We recommend going with the most frequently used unit in your primary geographic location. For instance, if you are running a store in the US, oz and inches are likely the best fit. If, however, you’re running a store in the UK, it’s better to opt for kg and cm. Metric or Imperial, you decide. 

Once you’ve finished with this screen, again, click Continue.

A Few Extra Things

WooCommerce Recommended extensions
The final stage of the setup offers some optional plugins to install if you think they may fit your store. We’ll leave this up to your better judgment on whether you think they are suitable. If you’re unsure, we recommend getting in touch with a developer to see how these plugins will benefit you.

Once you’ve finished, you can then activate your WooCommerce install at the next screen and you’re ready to go.

Step 3: Creating Your First Product

What use is an ecommerce store without products?

This step will help you to create your first product so that it’s ready to go live on your WooCommerce site.

We’ll be covering the areas of:

  • Name
  • Description
  • Pictures
  • SKU
  • Inventory
  • Shipping costs

Remember, WooCommerce has a lot of added functionality over just plain WordPress. This functionality has been designed specifically for the purposes of ecommerce. We’re going to want to use as much of this as possible.

Before you get started with this step, there are a few things you’re going to need:

  • Some product photography – WooCommerce has a great blog post on how to create inexpensive product photography. Alternatively, you can use photos of products from suppliers.
  • Content and copy for product descriptions and names.
  • An idea of what SKUs you’re going to use (if you’re running a big store).

Now that you’ve gotten all of that sorted, head to WooCommerce down the left sidebar => Products => New Product.

Adding a New Product setup
This top section of the page will be very familiar to WordPress users. That’s because it’s basically the WordPress WYSIWYG editor.

Entering Information

You can enter your product name at the top and a product description at the bottom. Note that the product description here will be the long product description located below the product — not the short description located next to the image.
WooCommerce Product Page Example Layout
Once you’ve finished loading your content here, you’re ready to move onto some of WooCommerce’s finer product setup features.
WooCommerce Product Setup, product data
Advanced product data gives you a chance to select the price for your item, set inventory, organize its SKU, and more.

Along the top, you’ll notice two tick boxes for Virtual and Downloadable. If you are selling items that don’t require shipping, you can tick these and WooCommerce will ignore shipping rates.
WooCommerce short product description
This is where you can set the short description as shown above. It’s advisable to keep this section short as it will act as one of the first things a prospective buyer will see. Keep it catchy and fun – product specifics belong in the long description below.

Step 4: Adding Images, Product Galleries, Categories, and Tags

The next step for adding your first WooCommerce product to your catalog is including images and categories. To do this, you just need to head to the right side of your WYSIWYG-like WooCommerce editor.
Product Categories and Tags in WooCommerce
Here you’ll find the category options. You can add new ones if you wish to. These are incredibly helpful for aiding customers in their conversion journey and making sure they enjoy an easy and intuitive user experience. Tags can also be used to help with this and, once again, we highly recommend you use them — especially if you are running a large store.
Adding product images in WooCommerce
Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to input pictures. WooCommerce has put together a great guide on how to go about improving product photography for your ecommerce store. We highly recommend making sure your product photography is high quality. This is because it is one of the most significant page elements involved in effecting conversions.

To add your primary product image, scroll to where it says Product Image and upload and select your image. Below this, you can add additional images to be featured in the product gallery, this way you can exhibit different aspects of your item. In creating a page for the incredible Hostdedi swag notebook, we’ve shown what it looks like from the front in the product image, and then a look at the inside in the product gallery.

Step 5: Exploring WooCommerce Themes

It’s important to customize the look and feel of your site so it stands out before taking your WooCommerce store live. To do this, you’re going to want to see the range of different themes already available — or possibly customize your own.

This guide will not go into how to create your own WooCommerce themes – that’s for another article – but we will direct you to where you can change theme settings and choose from a selection of pre-built ones.

The Hostdedi WooCommerce Site
To do this, head to Appearance down the left side of your WooCommerce dashboard. From here, you can select Themes to look at a range of different pre-built WooCommerce themes, or you can select customize to change elements on your site easily. This includes repeat elements like site titles, logos, and more. You can also take a look at Plugins, below Appearance, for a list of extensions you can add to your WooCommerce store to expand functionality.

Complete Your WooCommerce Setup With the Right Hosting Foundation

When setting up your WooCommerce store, the last thing you want is to experience site slowdowns and configuration issues. Instead, make your WooCommerce experience as easy as possible with Hostdedi managed WooCommerce solutions. We help you take care of the management and configuration of your site and bundle up to $6,000 in integrations, so you can focus on creating the store and customer experience you want.

The post WooCommerce Setup: Your Guide to Getting Started appeared first on Hostdedi Blog.

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WooCommerce vs Magento: How Opposites Attract

WooCommerce vs Magento: How Opposites Attract

Choosing the right ecommerce CMS for your storefront is important. Not only does it influence what you’re able to do, but it also allows you to set expectations in terms of development costs and timeframes. But with your CMS choices now more diverse than ever before, picking the right solution out from the crowd can be difficult. 

Two applications you’ll be introduced to early on are Magento and WooCommerce. Both are used by an impressive number of stores. WooCommerce is used by over 3 million stores, while Magento runs over 200,000. Both offer flexible feature sets that can be expanded easily with extensions, and both are backed by supportive communities.

So why should you choose one over the other? 

As you seek to drive revenue and distinguish your store, it’s vital that you pay attention to the customer experience you’re able to provide. Now is the time to drive change within your organization and optimize the commerce experience for your customers. By selecting the right solution for your storefront, you’ll be able to optimize your speed to market and drive revenue quickly

Let’s pit WooCommerce vs Magento and see which ecommerce platform is best for your store. If you’re a merchant that still needs to make a choice, keep reading to find out more.

Magento vs WooCommerce Summary

 

WooCommerce pros and Cons

WooCommerce Pros and Cons

As a plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce comes armed with features that make it great for managing both content and ecommerce. Originally launched in 2011, it has grown to become the most used and versatile ecommerce platform available to merchants and agencies alike, with over 3 million active installs worldwide.

Now, with Managed WooCommerce hosting from Hostdedi, its versatility and ease of use have only improved, with up to $6,000 of integrations available for optimizing speed, security, scalability, and service.

Pros

  • Very easy to use and get started with
  • A huge range of templates and themes for merchants without any coding knowledge
  • Bundled integrations that provide advanced functionality for analytics, updates, site optimization, and ecommerce delivery

Cons

  • Doesn’t afford the same level of customization as Magento

 

Magento pros and cons

Magento Pros and Cons

The first application we’re taking a look at, Magento, is a powerful ecommerce platform capable of empowering merchants to create storefronts unlike any other. Originally released March 2008, it has since grown and inspired the release of a new version, Magento 2, in 2015. This version has gone on to become the perfect ecommerce platform for storefronts with a global reach.

Pros

  • A powerful ecommerce platform capable of creating unique user experiences
  • Offers more customization options that WooCommerce
  • An incredible community that, despite being smaller than WooCommerce’s, manages to easily hold its own
  • True hosting optimization through an optimized Magento hosting provider

Cons

  • Requires a developer to create a fully functioning storefront
  • Costs more than a WooCommerce implementation

 

  Interested in other ecommerce options available to merchants? See our comparison of the best ecommerce platforms or check out our Magento vs Shopify showdown. 

 

Performance

Questions about speed and power are usually some of the first merchants ask. Most of the time, merchants need to prioritize one. This especially holds when looking at Magento vs WooCommerce.

Speed and power are two different performance metrics and rarely go together.

While Magento may offer more in terms of power, it also requires more resources to deliver the same experience as WooCommerce. WooCommerce, on the other hand, is a very lightweight and fast platform, but it lacks a lot of the functionality you’ll find with Magento. 

WooCommerce Is Lightweight

Magento vs WooCommerce in terms of performanceWe’ll say it again: WooCommerce is lightweight. This means the same hardware and resources can serve more customers with a WooCommerce store than with a Magento one. Take a look at our SIP and SIPWOO plans to see what this means in terms of real numbers. 

MagentoWooCommerce
Daily Visitors5,00010,000

*Based on a SIP 400 server build.

Although being lightweight means a higher customer capacity, WooCommerce has comparatively limited functionality out of the box. Without modification, WooCommerce lacks the ability to track activity through other channels and deliver a personalized experience. Magento offers these features by default, but they still require advanced configuration to get the most out of them. 

Bear in mind, while WooCommerce requires additional plugins to add advanced functionality, it will almost always perform better in terms of speed. Add to this the capabilities of managed WooCommerce and you’ve got an ecommerce platform that provides the best of both worlds. 

Magento Requires the Right Host

For Magento, it’s important to host with a provider that offers optimized infrastructure. While several providers state that they offer optimized hosting, the reality is that only a handful truly optimize their infrastructure for Magento. Hostdedi is known to offer a truly optimized Magento hosting foundation. Here are four reasons why

In addition to finding the right hosting provider, the quality of the code used to create a Magento store can also have a significant impact. Poorly edited code and unoptimized extensions can cause any server-side optimizations to lose their significance. If you’ve implemented multiple speed optimizations and your store is still crawling, it may be a good idea to start a code audit. 

Poorly edited Magento code and unoptimized extensions can easily cause any server-side optimizations to lose their significance.

Two Different Performance Bands

Like much of this comparison, Magento and WooCommerce fall into two different performance bands. WooCommerce is a lightweight contender, with comparatively less power behind it. However, being such a quick and nimble platform means that it requires a smaller hosting plan to support the same number of customers – even when you expand functionality with additional integrations. While Magento has much more power behind it – in terms of stock functionality –  it can slow down significantly when too many customers are active on your site.

Despite the two applications falling into two different performance bands, WooCommerce is the winner here. Being lightweight means it’s capable of outperforming Magento, with fewer resources required to serve the same sized customer base.

Functionality

Magento has long been known as the ecommerce king of functionality. Not only does it allow for the creation of unique and personalized user journeys, but its integration capabilities are second to none. 

With that said, a savvy developer can still get a lot out of WooCommerce. Part of the reason for this is that both applications come with REST API. This means that both platforms are capable of supporting expanded functionality through development. 

The WooCommerce REST API documentation (including hooks, endpoints, filters, and more) can be found here. Similar documentation for Magento can be found here

WooCommerce Requires WordPress

Functionality is an easy win for Magento

A common myth is that WooCommerce only offers limited functionality. The truth is much more complex. When combined with plugins, WooCommerce’s capabilities expand significantly. There are over 50,000 unique plugins available for WordPress, offering functionality for both the ecommerce and content sides of your site. 

Beyond plugins and integrations, the REST API means that WooCommerce is also capable of being expanded to suit more advanced functionality requirements through development. This means being able to create unique customer journeys that rival Magento and that scale as your store does.  

Coffeebros.com, for example, has created a storefront that includes discounts, calls to action, and a clean, easy to understand buying experience. Weber.co.za, the grill provider, has also created an easy-to-use store that integrates both the ecommerce product and content recipe sections seamlessly.

The ability to integrate both commerce and content seamlessly is one of WooCommerce’s strengths.

This is one of the biggest pros for WooCommerce: WooCommerce lets merchants integrate the content and ecommerce sections of their site seamlessly. Magento does not offer this.

Magento Powers Global Commerce

Magento powers some of the biggest ecommerce stores in the world. There’s a reason for this: the functionality it offers global retailers. 

Magento allows for Global storefronts with regional differences.

Magento powers some of the biggest ecommerce stores in the world. There’s a reason for this: the functionality it offers global retailers. 

HP transformed their selling experience in the Asian Pacific through Magento. They launched five different stores on a single platform, with regional differences and global similarities. This allowed them to meet local requirements for payments, fulfillment, language, and order technicalities, while also optimizing site management with global consistency. 

Rubik’s also managed to create a strong global online presence quickly, using Magento to expand worldwide. Magento’s functionality made it easy for them to spin up new regional storefronts and landing pages. Something which would have been a lot more complicated with other platforms. 

Not only does Magento allow for easier access to international markets, but it also enables a more in-depth customization of the buyer’s experience. Just take a look at the difference between a typical Magento site and a typical WooCommerce site. 

Still the King of Functionality: Magento

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this category goes to Magento. Its ability to customize the buyer’s experience and create unique, international storefronts is something you just can’t do in the same way with WooCommerce – unless you invest in development. Moreover, with Adobe’s integrations weaving themselves into the Magento ecosystem, its functionality is only going to improve. 

WooCommerce, however, is a close second. In many cases, plugins and development work can lead to customer experiences that are just as unique and targeted as Magento’s. It’s just slightly easier to implement them with Magento. 

With that being said, managed WooCommerce solutions bring with them some of the most important ecommerce functionality around, and they make them accessible out of the box. This makes WooCommerce the better option when it comes to balancing functionality and ease of use. 

Security

Security for an ecommerce store is vital. Not only does it help prevent loss of customer Personally Identifiable Information (PII), but it also ensures that merchants remain in compliance with the Payment Card Industry standards (PCI Compliance) needed to sell effectively online. 

While both applications offer environments backed up by security teams and vigilant communities, WooCommerce suffers from one major disadvantage: WordPress. As a plugin, it is vulnerable to the same exploits as its parent application. In 2018, 57% of web application vulnerabilities identified were from WordPress.

This doesn’t mean Magento doesn’t have problems of its own. In research conducted by Securi, 40% of Magento stores have at least one security issue. That’s much lower than the 73% of WooCommerce stores reported by EnableSecurity, but it’s still a sizable portion of live storefronts. And these are not complex vulnerabilities. Most of them could easily be detected using free automated tools. 

So why such large numbers? For many sites, it’s because they are out of date. Clunky update processes or simply forgetting are two of the biggest reasons for security vulnerabilities across modern CMS. 

Security is going to be a problem for Magento 1 store owners and is easy with Woocommerce.

One of the most common reasons that storefronts are vulnerable is simply forgetting to update

For this reason, one of the best security features offered is the ability to easily update. When compared with the WooCommerce update process, Magento security patches aren’t easy to apply. With a managed WoCommerce solution, not only do updates occur automatically, but they’re set to test any changes in case they break your site, before they go live. This makes maintaining and up-to-date site easy and effective. 

Despite this, Magento does have a lot of positive security features going for it, including:

  • Enhanced password management 
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS) attack prevention
  • Flexible file ownership and permissions
  • Non-default Magento Admin URL
  • Two-Step Verification

The Magento 1 End of Life Impact on Security

Magento can be split into two versions: Magento 1 and Magento 2. Each is largely unique, in that moving from Magento 1 to Magento 2 requires replatforming. Currently, a large percentage of Magento stores are still on Magento 1

In June 2020, official security support for the Magento 1 platform will cease. This means security will become a pressing concern for merchants still on the platform. If you’re a Magento 1 merchant looking for alternatives, we recommend reviewing your options and downloading the After M1 guide

Security Compromises

Security is never simple. The nature of vulnerabilities means that every application’s community needs to remain vigilant. WooCommerce offers some great security features for automating the update process and keeping everything up to date. However, it also has a lot more vulnerabilities to begin with thanks to running on WordPress. 

Magento has better security tools and features, despite patches being hard to implement and take full advantage of. 

However, managed WooCommerce solutions have brought with them a curated selected of security tools and features. From automated updates to an entire security suite capable of managing advanced configurations, WooCommerce comes with all the security features of Magento and adds ease of use. 

Design and Templates

Before a site can go live, a merchant needs to decide on a design. Without a design there is no site (at least, not an attractive one).

With WooCommerce, this is an easy process thanks to a large selection of templates and pre-designed themes. Taking these and tweaking them to individual requirements is a quick process, making the time from ideation to creation much faster than with Magento.

Magento does have a limited number of templates. However, these are relatively simple when compared with what Magento can actually do. They are also not particularly attractive. To take advantage of the platform, most merchants will need to hire a developer to design and code their site. 

Headless Possibilities

Design becomes a lot more complicated when headless implementations are considered. For Magento merchants, the application’s API makes implementation a relatively simple process. There are several headless Magento sites already using headless architecture to deliver unique user experiences. 

Two examples of headless Magento implementations are the Magento 2 PWA Venia theme and the Magento 2 PWA Tigren theme

Headless architecture allows for stores to utilize an optimized ecommerce API and flexible front-end design.

For examples of live Magento sites currently using PWA, you can take a look at Alaskan Harvest or Soomzone.com. Both of these sites effectively leverage the Magento API to create unique JavaScript front-end experiences.

With WooCommerce already being a plugin, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to use it in a headless implementation. Instead, it may make more sense for merchants looking towards headless WordPress to opt for something like BigCommerce instead.  

WooCommerce vs Magento: Template vs Design

WooCommerce, with its huge library of themes, is much better in terms of templates. Yet the two platforms draw when it comes to design. Both offer an expansive API, both provide you with the ability to design a unique storefront, and both offer extensive feature sets capable of integrating with your designs.

If you getting started with your first store or looking for ease of use, we recommend using WooCommerce and taking advantage of its themes and templates. If you’re a medium-sized store though, deciding between Magento and WooCommerce isn’t going to be a decision made around design.

Extensions and Plugins

While an application needs to have great out of the box functionality, it’s also important to be able to expand and customize it with plugins or extensions. Today, almost all CMS offer plugins or extensions in one form or another; WooCommerce and Magento are no exception. 

In terms of numbers, WooCommerce wins due to having access to the WordPress plugin library. Here, over 50,000 unique plugins are available to you. Chances are, with a selection that large, the functionality you’re looking for is already there. 

However, bear in mind that WooCommerce and WordPress are different applications, and not all of these WordPress plugins will be optimized to run on your store. 

Magento, on the other hand, has over 4,700 plugins optimized specifically for its ecommerce platform. Not only that, but Magento’s extensions provide a lot of in-depth customization. 

Magento extensions allow for merchants to:

  • Upgrade internal search functionality
  • Build custom checkout experiences
  • Improve sorting and categorization functionality
  • Create up-sell and cross-sell campaigns
  • Customize shipping and fulfillment options

Dedicated WooCommerce extensions are relatively light. They provide some useful social and payment integrations, some basic enhancements, and a few useful shipping and fulfillment extensions. Overall though, the options are not as powerful or diverse as Magento, despite growing quickly. 

Managed WooCommerce Bundles up to $6,000 of Plugins

With Hostdedi managed WooCommerce, you don’t have to worry about plugins and extensions. We’ve bundled up to $6,000 worth of integrations for free with all of our managed WooCommerce solutions. These cover everything from image optimization to page building and abandoned cart emails to business analytics. 

With Hostdedi, getting started with a WooCommerce store is faster and easier. The ability to easily implement the right technology solutions for every store means taking the guesswork out of platform selection. 

We recommend managed WooCommerce for merchants looking to expand their store. Not only is it more cost-effective, but you’ll also have access to a team of experts to help you keep your store performing at full capacity. 

Product Management

Managing an ecommerce store means managing products. That includes how, when, and where they are delivered to customers. Many ecommerce stores today deliver personalized buyer journeys, setting the bar high.

It’s Magento’s advanced functionality that shines here. In addition to offering merchants the ability to provide regional deviations in product delivery, it also allows for the creation of unique journeys within a specific area. This includes upsells and cross-sells. While this functionality can be added to with the use of extensions, the default feature is powerful in its own right. 

 WooCommerce doesn’t offer the same flexibility. But what it does provide by default are:

  • Categories
  • Attributes
  • Types
  • Taxonomies

Extensions can be added to provide more functionality, but in terms of user journeys, the same level of personalization can’t be reached with a WooCommerce store. For smaller stores with a limited number of SKUs, this is fine. For larger stores with a lot of SKUs, this can lead to a drastically reduced conversion rate. 

Magento vs WooCommerce: A Summary

Magento Is Great for Medium-Sized Stores Looking for Great Functionality

Magento does best when a merchant wants a custom implementation. It allows for an unequaled exploration of the buyer’s journey and creates personalized sales funnels tailored right down to the individual. 

Unfortunately, this level of customization and functionality has meant that it requires a development team to support its full range of capabilities. Implementing its best features needs to be planned down to specifics. So while it will likely increase your bottom line and lead to a surge in sales, it also takes an investment to get you there.

As a result, we recommend Magento if you have a larger storefront and are looking to invest in growth. If you’re interested in getting started, take a look at our Magento cloud hosting solutions and talk to a member of the Hostdedi team today. 

 

WooCommerce Is Great for Smaller Stores Looking For Ease of Use 

Alternatively, if you’re running a small or medium-sized storefront and still haven’t decided on which platform to use, we recommend WooCommerce. Not only does it offer much quicker speed to market than Magento, it also makes store management simple and allows for merchants to take advantage of WordPress’ content management tools. 

However, it doesn’t provide the same level of store customization as Magento. For that reason, we recommend WooCommerce to smaller stores. If you think that means you, see our WooCommerce cloud hosting solutions.

 

The post WooCommerce vs Magento: How Opposites Attract appeared first on Hostdedi Blog.

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5 Strategies To Increase Your Store’s Average Order Value in 2020

5 Strategies To Increase Your Store’s Average Order Value in 2020

Running a WooCommerce store can be as exciting as it is frustrating. Besides identifying targeted sources of traffic, you also need to increase revenue across those traffic sources. Often, this requires implementing sales and marketing tactics to draw in more consumers and direct them to the products they need. 

Another way to increase revenue, however, involves leveraging the customers you already have and increasing their average order value (AOV).  

Average order value is the average value of a single order through your store. For example, if one customer purchases several products for $10 total, and another customer purchases a single product for $8, your average order value is $9. 

Increasing AOV is a surefire way for you to move the needle quickly and effectively, allowing you to drive revenue growth without having to generate more traffic. While it still involves some careful planning, it’s often easier and quicker to cross-sell products than it is to find new customers. 

Let’s take a look at the principles behind increasing average order value in WooCommerce, and explore the different tools available for doing so.

Bundle Products That Work Well Together

Bundling works well for physical and digital products and is a proven way to increase your average order value in WooCommerce. This is because it helps your customers understand which products play nicely together and which don’t.

For example, you could bundle an essential oil dispenser with a set of oils at a slightly discounted rate. Or, if you’re in the fashion industry, you could bundle a pair of trousers with a complimentary shirt. As a merchant, it is your job to find which products work well together, and market them as such.

Once you’ve decided on which products should go together, there are many reliable plugins for WooCommerce that let you create bundles. A few of these include the Product Bundles plugin and WPC Product Bundles for WooCommerce. There is also Composite Products, which allows your customers to configure their own type of bundle.

You can also target specific consumers with suitable bundles. To do this, you will need access to a marketing analytics tool that allows you to segment your audience. According to Gartner, 32% of businesses prioritize marketing analytics in their budget, with 76% saying they use data to drive key decisions. That’s why we include an analytics and segmentation tool – Glew.io – as part of our Managed WooCommerce solution as standard. 

 Learn more about Managed WooCommerce and how it can help you drive revenue.

Use Minimum Quantities for Discounts & Perks

Many online stores already implement this strategy in the form of a banner offering free shipping on orders over a certain value. Offering free shipping for orders that exceed your target AOV is a win-win situation. Firstly, you can use this technique to increase your bottom line. Secondly, customers feel good because you’re offering them a free shipping option.

But don’t rush to your WooCommerce admin area to set up that banner now, at least not if you don’t know what your free shipping threshold should be. Without knowing that threshold, you can easily find yourself in a situation where you’re losing money, due to the cost of shipping that now needs to be added into your price calculation.

When calculating your threshold, it should be a target AOV where your customers have to purchase multiple products or a bundle – it has little psychological value if it’s easy to attain. Conversely, If you set the free shipping threshold too high, you can turn off your customers and they won’t even try to reach it. You’ll need to balance your price to effectively increase your AOV.

You can take this strategy to the next level by not just having a static banner at the top of your shop (the WooCommerce notification bar works well for that banner), but by having a dynamic element on your Cart and Checkout pages that tells your customers how far away they are from reaching the free shipping threshold. You want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to understand how close they are to getting free shipping.

Leverage One-Time Offers

One-time offers (OTO’s) are presented to your customer right after they purchased one (or multiple) products in your WooCommerce shop, and provide them the option to add another discounted product to their order with a single click. OTO’s can be super effective if you set them up correctly. Let’s go through a few of their key characteristics:

  • Relevancy: the offered product needs to add value to the products already purchased.
  • Pricing: The OTO needs to be at a discounted level and should be lower than the order value, so that the perceived added value is as high as possible.
  • Ease of use: Adding the OTO must work with a single click. If you make your customers enter their billing details again, they’ll likely cancel the order process for the OTO.

WooCommerce developers recognize the importance of one-time offers and have created many powerful plugins to support this functionality. These plugins often get used in funnels built with WooCommerce.

In his post, Chris describes example funnels using the plugin WooCommerce Redirect Thank You, but you could also look into the plugins WooStroke (see screenshot below for an example flow) or Smart Offers.

analyze data from the past 7 days

Start Selling Gift Cards

Gift cards can be a powerful tool to increase the Average Order Value in your WooCommerce shop. But also need to be used with caution in certain situations. Let’s see how you can use them to not just increase your AOV but also potentially reduce future ad spend for recurring purchases.

Begin by determining average product value. It may be that your typical product has a price tag of $25 or higher. In this case, you could send every customer a free $5 gift card for them to use on their next purchase. You can send them the gift card electronically or, better yet, have a batch of them printed and added to each package you send out. 

Having that gift card at hand increases the likelihood with which the customer will order again from your shop, to spend that $5. This helps you reduce the retargeting ad spend to get this customer to buy again from you. 

Keep in mind, the prices for your products need to be high enough to leverage this strategy. “High enough” means that the gift card should not result in a free order, causing a loss for you. Additionally, if you’re running “Free Shipping” campaigns, ensure that the gift card cannot be used on shipping costs.

Even if you’re not giving away a gift card with each order, you can sell them directly in your shop. There are plenty of plugins for WooCommerce that allow you to do that. Take a look at Gift Cards for WooCommerce (see screenshot for an example) or YITH Gift Cards. If you want to dive deeper into the ways to create gift cards in WooCommerce, read this article on Business Bloomer.

Incentivize First-Time Buyers with Deals

Offering discounts to first-time buyers is a common method of incentivizing visitors to become a customer. You could use hooks like a percentage discount, free priority shipping, a free gift card (see above) or a free product to encourage customers to buy from you. When you’re coming to almost any web shop, you’ll see an offer to save X% on your first order when subscribing to their email list. That’s an example of this strategy put into action.

A second incentivization strategy involves adding these opportunities to the Cart or Checkout page, and to not advertise them as aggressively. Similar to the “do you want chips with that” question you are asked when ordering a fast food burger, you can add special offers your customers can put into their carts with a single click.

There are plenty of plugins you can leverage to add a function like this to your WooCommerce shop. Two of the ones I recommend are WooCommerce Multiple Free Gift (see screenshot below for an example) and WooCommerce Checkout Add-Ons.

Bonus: Implement Price Anchoring in Your Products

Price anchoring is a psychological principle that controls how your visitors perceive the prices in your WooCommerce shop, without actually selling anything. 

To efficiently use price anchoring, you need to understand what your target Average Order Value is – as that’s the base price. You’ll then position a product with that AOV (could be a bundle if you don’t have a single product at that price) between one product that provides much lower value at a much lower cost (e.g. one piece of the bundle) and another product with a higher perceived value at a much higher price.

This strategy helps to make the product with the target AOV look like the most reasonable and well-priced choice. The other product options are designed to not look valuable or to have such a high price-tag that they feel unattainable to most of your customers. Using this strategy, you’ll find that you’re enticing most of your web shop’s visitors to click on the Average Order Value product. That’s the goal of the strategy.

Implementing price anchoring in your WooCommerce store is fairly straight-forward. You have to create multiple products that match the pricing categories outlined above. One type of product goes into the “low-value” category, then you’ll have another category for the target AOV products and one category for the “high-value” products. 

Keep in mind that the term “category”  is used here as an abstract way to categorize the products for yourself. You should not create customer-facing WooCommerce categories that only contain one type of product. 

After creating those products, you need to place them side-by-side, so that your customers can compare them directly. To do that, you can use a plugin like Rearrange Woocommerce Products, or use your page builder of choice.

Conclusion 

As you can see, there are many ways to increase the average order value in your WooCommerce shop. You can get quite creative in your approach and find ways that work perfectly for your brand and setup. 

This article is really just the foundation of strategies available to merchants and agencies for increasing AOV on their stores. As you begin exploring these strategies yourself, you’ll likely discover more techniques available. 

Beyond the techniques outlined in this article, try exploring the opportunities available to you with managed WooCommerce. All managed WooCommerce solutions come with up to $6,000 worth of integrations, including bundling and product attribute plugins. Learn more about the options available to you now.

The post 5 Strategies To Increase Your Store’s Average Order Value in 2020 appeared first on Hostdedi Blog.

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How to Use Google Tag Manager for Your Ecommerce Business

How to Use Google Tag Manager for Your Ecommerce Business

Historically, consumer use of ecommerce stores has been a mystery to merchants. Traffic sources, bounce rates, and others were the metrics of educated guesses and opinions. Today, however, powerful tracking tools like Google Tag Manager for WordPress have brought data to that mystery, answering questions with a level of certainty never seen before. 

These tools now allow you to build a clearer picture of the customer experience. Instead of guessing a consumer’s journey, you’re able to understand their path to purchase. Not only does this help you discover crucial touchpoints, more importantly, it also helps you drive your store’s growth by identifying conversion bottlenecks and finding new opportunities. 

If you’re not sure you’re hitting the mark with Google Tag Manager, now is the right time to revisit your implementation and make sure everything is running smoothly. Here, we’ll walk through what Google Tag Manager is, how you can add it to your WordPress site, and how you can start measuring store performance where it matters

Running an ecommerce store and looking for the full rundown on SEO? Follow our complete guide to ecommerce SEO.

What Does Google Tag Manager Do?

Google Tag Manager is a free, widely-used tool that lets you create and manage the tags (more on this later) published on a website. Though it can be used on virtually any site, it’s commonly used by ecommerce business owners in conjunction with other marketing analytics platforms to manage their online stores. For example, Google Tag Manager is almost always used alongside Google Analytics for the purpose of tracking marketing campaigns, conversions, and site performance.

What Is a Tag?

When you inspect the source of a site, you see tags like <html>, <img>, <p>, <a href>, and many others. Functionally, the tags you manage with Google Tag Manager are similar to the HTML tags found in the raw code of a website. But where HTML, CSS, PHP, and other coding languages use tags as building materials for website construction, the tags in Google Tag Manager track conversions, traffic, user behavior, and a number of other important metrics.

Tags track and relay important user engagement data to another analytics platform. When a tag runs, or picks up an instance of the intended interaction, it’s called “firing” – i.e., “The tag has fired.”

Besides connecting to other platforms, tags can be created so you can track specific events — (like abandoned carts and video views) on your website. While Google Analytics can track many types of events, creating tags for certain events in Google Tag Manager can make tracking more specific, and situational events more effective.

Google Tag Manager vs. Google Analytics

Since Google Tag Manager and Analytics are used in tandem, it can be confusing as to what role each platform plays when it comes to marketing analytics.

Google Tag Manager can be used to manage many third-party tags, including the Facebook and Adobe Analytics tracking pixels. You can even customize and calibrate your tags, and decide when and why they fire. But Google Tag Manager just manages these tracking code snippets; there’s no actual analytics or in-depth reporting in Google Tag Manager. 

Google Analytics doesn’t have the granular tag controls of Google Tag Manager, but it plays the very crucial role of collecting data from those tags. In other words, it collects, analyzes, and reports data from your tags. Thus, the two platforms have a symbiotic relationship.

How to Add Google Tag Manager to WordPress

If you’re one of the many ecommerce business owners using a managed hosting platform to run your online store, you need to know how to add Google Tag Manager to your WordPress site. Let’s go over the steps for setting up Google Tag Manager with WordPress.

Step 1: Create a Google Tag Manager Account

The first thing you need is a Google Tag Manager account.

Create tag manager account

Head over to Google Tag Manager. If you already have an account, then select the account you want to use to connect to your WooCommerce store. Otherwise, click “Create Account” to begin setting up a new Google Tag Manager account. This is how you get Google Tag Manager code.

Set up tag manager container

After clicking “Create Account,” you’ll see some account setup options. 

Name the account, name the container — basically just a folder for your tags to be kept separate from other Tag Manager accounts you may have — and select “Web” as the target platform. Then click “Create” to immediately be taken into your new Google Tag Manager account.

Install the tag manager code

Once you’ve finished with the setup options, you’ll need to install the code snippets for Tag Manager to begin working with your ecommerce store on WordPress.

The first snippet needs to be added to the header of your WordPress site. This will ensure that the code appears on every single page of your site — which is important for Tag Manager to work with WordPress.

There are a couple of ways to add it to the appropriate file of your WordPress theme. However, the easiest way is to use a plugin like Yoast. Instead of editing the raw code of your site, just copy and paste the code into Yoast which will automatically add the code to every page of your site.

Then there’s the second snippet of code which must be added just after the opening <body> tag on your site. Again, Yoast and other plugins can help. 

If you need additional help, Google Tag Manager offers a useful Quick Start Guide that you can use as a reference. When these code snippets are installed, you’re ready to begin setting up Google Tag Manager with WordPress. 

Step 2: Install Google Analytics

Once you’ve created and set up a Google Tag Manager account, you’ll need to do the same for Google Analytics. After all, you won’t get much benefit from using Tag Manager unless Analytics is receiving data from your tags. If you’ve already installed Google Analytics, you can skip this step.

These steps might seem a bit odd as you’re completing them, but don’t worry. You can, in fact, install Google Analytics from within Tag Manager.

how to create new tag manager tags

From your new Google Tag Manager account, click “Tags” from the left-hand sidebar, then click “New” in the upper right-hand corner of the window.

Install analytics with tag manager

Name the tag “Google Analytics” and click “Tag Configuration” and select “Google Analytics: Universal Analytic” for tag type.

Configure using your unique Google analytics code

Set the track type to “Page View” then click “New Variable” under the Google Analytics Settings. Finally, name this new variable and install your Google Analytics tracking code on your WordPress site as prompted.

What Can I Do With Google Tag Manager?

Now that you have completed the installation and setup process, you need to know how to use Google Tag Manager. And, perhaps most importantly, how is Google Tag Manager used?

Google Tag Manager helps you gain insight into how people are using your ecommerce store. By setting up tags and events, you can gain valuable insights on key areas. That includes tracking form submissions, file downloads, and the effectiveness of interactions in your conversion funnel.

While there are many things you can do with Google Tag Manager, let’s go over a few of the most important (and most useful) for ecommerce businesses.

Track Goals and Events in Google Analytics

Although pageviews and referrals are important metrics, tracking how your customers and leads are using your ecommerce store provides the most accurate picture of your store’s performance. Without Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics, you’d have very little insight into how customers and leads are interacting with your store. In turn, you wouldn’t be able to identify and address variables that might, for instance, contribute to high cart abandonment.

Although we’re not going to spend too much time covering it in this Google Tag Manager overview, we’re going to give you examples of a goal and an event you can track with Tag Manager.

Goal: Added-to-Cart

With Google Tag Manager, you can set up a tracking goal for each and every time a product gets added to the shopping cart. Once you’ve completed the steps to set up an added-to-cart tracking goal, these interactions will be reported in Google Analytics. It’s important to note that this isn’t a goal that you’d be able to track in Google Analytics without using Tag Manager to create the event.

Event: Video Views

Video content is the most popular form of digital content today. So it follows that ecommerce sites that feature product reviews, launch videos, instructional videos, and other video content should be tracking how customers and leads are engaging with those videos, and most importantly, how those engagement rates affect conversion. Using Google Tag Manager, you can set up tracking events for videos and compare those events to cart abandonment, checkout abandonment, or any number of other metrics.

Install Tracking Pixels for Google Pay-per-Click Ads

One of the key uses for Google Tag Managers is to install and manage the Google Ads Remarketing and Google Ads Conversion Tracking pixels. The steps to install these tracking pixels are largely the same for both.

Google Ads Remarketing Pixel

Set up a remarketing pixel

From your Google Tag Manager account, create a new tag. Name it “Google Remarketing” and select “Google Ads Remarketing” as the tag type.

remarketing pixel needs a useridea and settings

In the tag configuration settings, locate your Google Ads Conversion ID. Create a label if you’d like, then set “All Pages” for triggering.

Google Ads Conversion Tracking Pixel

For the Google Ads Conversion Tracking pixel, the steps are much the same. From your Google Tag Manager account, create a new tag. Name it “Google Ads Conversion” and select “Google Ads Conversion” as the tag type.

Set the value of conversions

The main difference with the Google Ads Conversion Tracking pixel is the option to set a value for the tag. In the screenshot above, the value is set at 100 USD, meaning that each conversion the tag tracks is worth $100 to the business. Use an amount makes the most sense for your business. Many ecommerce business owners set the value of a conversion as the average transaction value.

Install Third-Party Tracking Pixels

Similar to the Google Ads tracking pixels, Tag Manager is often used to install tracking codes for third-party platforms. In particular, the Facebook Pixel is often installed on a WordPress site using this method.

The important thing to note is that when Google Tag Manager doesn’t provide a template for the tracking code you want to install, you’ll need to use the custom HTML option. To illustrate this process, here are the steps for installing the Facebook Pixel in Google Tag Manager.

Facebook pixel with tag manager

From your Google Tag Manager account, create a new pixel. Name it “Facebook Pixel” and select “Custom HTML” as the tag type.

Custom facebook code pixel

After selecting “Custom HTML” as the tag type, you’ll be given a place where you can paste the Facebook Pixel tracking code. 

As you can see in the screenshot above, the trigger is set to “All Pages” — but there are other options available, and Facebook provides some tips to help you choose the right option for your case.

Do You Need Google Tag Manager?

We’ve gone over the ins and outs of Google Tag Manager. As we bring this overview to a close, let’s tackle one last question: Should you be using it?

For the owner of an ecommerce business, there’s arguably nothing more important than learning about customer behavior. Because if you don’t know how your customers are interacting with your online store, you have no way to optimize to increase conversion. In other words, any effort made to improve the customer experience and the buying journey is just a shot in the dark.

Google Tag Manager gives you a window into your customer experience. By using Tag Manager to publish and manage tags for your ecommerce store, you can boost conversion and generate more revenue for your business.

Hostdedi is the Premiere Hosting Provider for a High-Performance ecommerce Business

What do you get when you combine 99 percent uptime, top-to-bottom SEO optimization, tons of included plugins from IconicWP, dropshipping support, and a Glew.io subscription at no additional cost? You get Hostdedi Managed WooCommerce Hosting.

Hostdedi WooCommerce hosting plans were designed with three principles in mind: reliability, scalability, and speed. Every ecommerce store running on a Managed WooCommerce Hosting plan benefits from everything Hostdedi plans have to offer from cart abandonment technology to minimize lost sales to the nearly limitless ways in which you can customize the look and feel of your online store. Best of all, Hostdedi hosting plans are competitively priced and come with outstanding round-the-clock support.

Learn more about how you can benefit from Hostdedi Managed WooCommerce Hosting and get started today.

The post How to Use Google Tag Manager for Your Ecommerce Business appeared first on Hostdedi Blog.

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Goals and Events eCommerce Businesses Should be Tracking with Google Analytics

Goals and Events eCommerce Businesses Should be Tracking with Google Analytics

Tracking interactions between customers and your ecommerce store is essential if you want to gauge the performance of your business. However, it’s not always obvious which interactions you should be tracking. If you track too little, you’re not getting the most representative picture, and if you track too much, the important data gets buried. 

In order to drive revenue effectively, it’s vital you understand the performance of each of your site’s touchpoints. By identifying key goals and events through Google Analytics, and standardizing their reporting structure, you’ll be able to leverage that data to create campaigns that promote engagement and growth. 

To help, we’ve created the ecommerce business owner’s guide to Google Analytics event tracking. With this guide, you’ll know which tracking events are most important and how to create tracking goals for your ecommerce store.

Google Analytics Event Tracking vs. Goal Tracking

Google Analytics event tracking can illuminate patterns in user behaviour that you can use to make more informed decisions. 

Finding out how customers and leads are interacting with your online store is crucial for optimizing your customer experience. As it happens, you can learn a lot about how customers are engaging with your store by tracking goals and events in Google Analytics.

Events

As Google defines them, events are “interactions with content that can be measured independently from a webpage or screen load.” This includes things like:

  • Clicks
  • Video views
  • File downloads
  • Code loads
  • Page scrolls
  • Account logins
  • Media shares
  • Products added to the shopping cart

In a more technical sense, events are interactions between users and your ecommerce store. This includes:

  • Mouse interactions
  • Keyboard interactions
  • Frame interactions 
  • Form interactions

In Google Analytics, event tracking can illuminate patterns in user behavior that you can use to make more informed decisions and further refine your customer experience. While certain events — like abandoned carts, for instance — are often tracked by default, you can track many different customer interactions with Google Analytics custom events.

Do you run an ecommerce store that isn’t seeing the organic traffic you expect? Learn more about how to optimize your Ecommerce SEO.

Event Conditions

Google Analytics has four conditions for events: category, action, label, value, and non-interaction. Each type of event condition has its own application, whether it’s for organization in Google Analytics or for assigning monetary value to a trackable event.

An event category is a name assigned to a group of events. They’re used primarily for organizational purposes. For example, you might assign events like pageviews and clicks to an event category called “engagement.” Or you create an event category called “downloads” for events related to the downloading of files from your website.

An event action is a certain type of event that you want to track for a specific page element. For example, when users click play, pause, or rewind, or scrub through a video to a particular location, you can track those interactions as event actions.

An event label is an optional name assigned to a certain element on a webpage. Similar to event categories, event labels are largely for organizational purposes. For example, if there are multiple PDF files that can be downloaded from your website, you could use event labels to distinguish downloads of one PDF file from others.

An event value is an optional numerical value assigned to a trackable event. Although value is often a monetary value, meaning how much (in dollars) an event brings to your business, there are cases where value could be a length of time or raw quantity. For instance, you could make the value for a confirmation page event equal to your average transaction value since you know (on average) how much your business makes from each conversion.

The non-interaction condition is applied when an event is non-interactive. When the value for this condition is “true,” the event is considered non-interactive. Typically, you only classify an event as non-interactive when you don’t want it to affect your bounce rate or other metrics in Google Analytics.

Goals

Google Analytics goals are essentially events that have value and that you want to boost in order to generate more revenue. When you set a tracking goal, Google Analytics begins counting instances of that goal as a conversion. For instance, if you set a duration goal of five minutes, and then a visitor spends 5 minutes or more on your site, Google Analytics will consider that a successful conversion.

In Google Analytics, there are duration goals, destination goals, pages/views goals, and event goals. As you’d expect, a duration goal is a minimum amount of time that you want users to spend engaging with your website. Destination goals refer to when users visit a specific page on your site like a thank-you page or an order confirmation page. With pages/views goals, you want users to click onto a minimum number of pages on your site. Finally, event goals are more specific interactions including form fills, click-to-call link clicks, and file downloads.

5 Google Analytics Goals and Events You Should Track

Tracking goals and events is an effective way to gauge or boost the performance of your ecommerce business. So let’s go over some specific Google Analytics goals and events that you should be tracking. 

Goals for Google Analytics

Google Analytics makes it very easy to access and create goals. Once you’re logged into your Google Analytics account, go into the Admin menu and in the View column, then click Goals.

Goal: Confirmation Pages

A confirmation page can be used to confirm an order that’s been placed or to thank a lead for joining a mailing list. But in any context, a confirmation page is what someone sees after an interaction with your brand or company. In other words, it’s a conversion follow-up that makes confirmation pages an important goal to track.

How to Set up a Confirmation Page Goal

How to Set up a Confirmation Page Goal

 

From the Goals menu in Google Analytics, click the “+ New Goal” button to open the new goal template.

Set up the goal based on a template

At the top of the goal template, you’re given a list of template options. For this tutorial, we chose to set up a completed purchase confirmation page — the second option on the list.

Goal description and type

 

Next, create a name for your confirmation page goal. For the tracking goal type, choose “Destination” since a confirmation page is the URL destination that marks the completion of a conversion.

Verify your goal to begin

In the third section of the goal template, you’ll need to provide a destination and value, and then outline the conversion funnel for the tracking goal.

The destination is similar to a label and how the goal will be shown in Google Analytics. Think of it as a URL suffix and choose something simple that’s representative of the confirmation page you’re tracking.

The value is, quite simply, a monetary value assigned to the goal you’re tracking.

The funnel refers to your conversion or sales funnel. A confirmation page will likely take the final position in the funnel. The screenshot above shows how the funnel section will look when set up properly.

Finally, click “Verify This Goal” at the bottom. 

analyze data from the past 7 days

Verifying your goal will manually filter your Google Analytics data from the past seven days through your new tracking goal to tell you how many hits you would’ve gotten during that period. When you see numerical values for every step of the funnel, your confirmation page tracking goal is functional.

Goal: Form Submissions

There are a number of different uses for forms on an ecommerce site. For instance, many sites use forms for newsletter signups and as a convenient way for users to contact the company. You can also set up a form so leads can request a quote for made-to-order products and services.

Just as there are multiple uses for forms for your ecommerce site, there is more than one way to set up form submission goals in Google Analytics. First, if you use a confirmation page as a follow-up to a form submission, you would set up a form submission goal in much the same way as a confirmation page goal (outlined above). Alternatively, you can set up form submissions as Google Analytics events, and then use a form submission event as a tracking goal.

Before setting up a form submission goal, you need to set up form submission as a trackable event. For this step, we recommend using Google Tag Manager.

How to Set up a Form Submission Goal

Once you have completed that setup in Google Tag Manager, return to Google Analytics, open the Admin menu, click “Goals” in the View column, and click the “+ New Goal” button.

How to Set up a Form Submission Goal

In the screenshot above, you can see the options we chose while setting up a tracking goal for a contact form. In the first section, we chose the “Contact us” template. In the second section, we named the goal “Contact us” and selected “Event” as the goal type. Finally, we completed the details for the goal by filling in the category, action, and label. Since a form submission doesn’t equate to a sale, no value was assigned. However, you may choose to assign a value to an inquiry. It’s simply a matter of preference. 

Goal: Products Added to Cart

Adding products to the shopping cart is another important goal to track and is a prerequisite for a purchase. The idea is to see how many people are adding products to the shopping cart so you can compare that to how many of those added products end with transactions. Doing this gives you an idea of how often users are abandoning their shopping carts.

There are two ways to set up Added-to-Cart goal tracking in Google Analytics, depending on how your ecommerce site is setup. If there’s some sort of confirmation page when a product is added to the shopping cart, then you’d follow the same steps as you would for a confirmation page. But if adding a product to the shopping cart isn’t followed by a confirmation, you’ll need to set it up as a triggered event with Google Tag Manager. 

How to Set up an Added-to-Cart Goal

How to Set up an Added-to-Cart Goal

 

As you configure the trigger for the event in Google Tag Manager, you’ll want to select “Click – All Elements” as the trigger type. This ensures that mouse clicks will trigger the event. Next, select “Some Clicks” for what initiates the trigger and input the class and conditions for the event trigger. Use the + and – buttons to the right to add or remove triggers as needed.

add and remove triggers as needed

You can see how these settings are reflected in the underlying code on your site by right-clicking on your “Add to Cart” button and selecting “Inspect element.”

configure the event tracker to start tracking

After configuring the tracking event trigger, your Added-to-Cart goal is ready to start tracking.

Event: Abandoned Carts

When a cart is abandoned, it means the person who added the product to the shopping cart has changed his or her mind. On average, 69.57% of shopping carts are abandoned before purchases are made. With so many sales falling through the cracks, cart abandonment is a very important metric for ecommerce business owners to track.

It’s worth noting, though, that a tool like Jilt that can act on cart abandonment data can be especially useful. In addition, Glew.io can actually show which products are being left abandoned in the shopping cart most frequently and makes it easier to identify potential roadblocks in the buyer’s journey. Both Jilt and Glew.io are tools that are included with Managed WooCommerce at Hostdedi. 

How to Set up an Abandoned Cart Event

Abandoned cart event tracking is most commonly done automatically when you have ecommerce enabled in Google Analytics.

How to Set up an Abandoned Cart Event

 

To access your abandoned cart events, navigate to ecommerce > Cart Behavior. Not only does this show instances of cart abandonment, but you get to see instances of no products being added to the cart and instances of check-out abandonment. The idea is to get a concise visual representation of how many sales are lost at different points in the buyer’s journey.

Event: Video Views

Videos are the most popular, high-converting form of digital content today which is why setting up tracking for video views is important for ecommerce businesses. With Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, you can set up video tracking for instructional/information videos, video reviews, and product launch videos that are available on your website.

Tracking video view events on your site is particularly useful when combined with an ecommerce analytics tool like Glew.io for more insightful customer analytics. When you track video views, you can compare that figure to metrics like your pageviews, unique visitors, and conversions for a clearer picture of how users are engaging with your online store.

How to Set up a Video View Event

The most effective (and easiest) way to set up video view events is to use Google Tag Manager. And if your videos are hosted on YouTube, then Google Tag Manager takes just moments to set up.


How to Set up a Video View Event

In the screenshot above, you can see a pretty standard trigger configuration for a video view event. For the trigger configuration, all four capture options are selected including progress percentages in 25-percent intervals, but you can set it to track as much or as little as is helpful for you. 

your final tag configuration layout

Once you have finished with trigger configuration, the tag configuration for your video view event should look similar to the screenshot above.

After you’ve finished setting up your video view event in Google Tag Manager, those events will be reported in Google Analytics. You can monitor instances of video view events in Behavior Event Reporting.

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Hostdedi is your premiere hosting provider, offering high-quality, performance-focused hosting plans for ecommerce businesses of any size. However, when you choose Hostdedi Managed WooCommerce Hosting, you’re not just getting the best in speed, performance, and reliability at a great price: You’re also getting tons of extras, like Jilt for cart abandonment and Glew.io, a comprehensive ecommerce analytics program. So when you want the best for your growing ecommerce business, choose Hostdedi Managed WooCommerce Hosting.

Learn more and get started today

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How To Generate Post-Holiday Ecommerce Sales

How To Generate Post-Holiday Ecommerce Sales

The holiday season is the happiest, craziest, busiest, most profitable time of year for ecommerce retailers. Overall, holiday sales represent about 20% of annual retail sales annually, but the figure can be as high as 30% for retailers in the hobby, toy and game industry. 

Unfortunately, the rush of the holiday season is often followed by a sales slump that comes at the beginning of January. During this slump, sales are slow and returns are high as the excitement of the holiday rush fades away. As a result, retailers often find worry setting in as revenue drops.

Luckily, the new year sales slump doesn’t have to be a reality for your store. There are strategies for scaling sales and driving revenue during this period. Minimize the post-holiday dip in ecommerce sales and keep new sales coming in with the following strategic ecommerce marketing tactics.

Leverage New Year Resolutions

The new year brings with it driven, motivated people who are excited to fulfill their new year resolutions. Whether their goals are weight loss or improved health, organization, and productivity, personal development, career advancement, or home improvement, they’re on a mission and they need tools and supplies.

Leverage the power of social media by creating campaigns that tie your post-holiday ecommerce sales to new year resolutions. Run integrated email campaigns that target segments that have bought from you before. 

 

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Travel brands promote post-holiday sales by aligning content with consumers’ resolutions concerning discovery. As individuals begin to look towards their 2020 goals, it’s your job to make sure you get out in front of them, staying top of mind and bottom of funnel.  

The opportunities are limitless and allow you to connect with your consumers in a way you can’t during other times of the year. Once you’ve connected with them, it’s much easier to drive sales.

Release A New Product

There’s no better way to bring back customers for more, than by releasing a brand new product that wasn’t available during the holiday season. This strategy not only helps drive sales, but it also brings with it increased engagement and brand reach. 

LEGO is brilliant at this strategy. Every year, LEGO cleans house with their holiday sales. Then, in the new year, they release a new modular building (priced in the hundreds of dollars) and brand new LEGO sets that weren’t available before. Naturally, along with the new product release, comes another flood of sales from LEGO fans and collectors.

New products are also an excellent way of repositioning your brand during the new year. Tying those products into New Year resolutions and New Year themes allows your store to show distinction in your market. 

Launch A New Sale

Discounts, sales, special offers, promotions, and coupons motivate people to buy no matter what the time of year. Usually, regardless of how much they have already bought. This means that just as the holiday sales are ending, new sales need to be launched to keep the momentum going.

Post-holiday sales not only entice those making returns to make new purchases, but bring back past customers and tempt new ones. This can include products that consumers saved for later during the holiday spending frenzy.

Not sure what type of post-holiday ecommerce sale to offer? Consider offering a free gift with purchase or hosting a clearance blow-out sale.

Market To Your Email List

While social media may be the hottest marketing tool available, email is showing no signs of going away. Not only is email the first place 58% of individuals check every day, but it also has a conversion rate of 6.05% versus just 1.9% for social media.

Email marketing, which your customers and prospective customers have opted in for, can boost post-holiday ecommerce sales and stabilize ecommerce income. Roughly one in three US retail email list subscribers have purchased something from a brand whose emails they receive. And that’s not all, consumers, on average, spend 138% more when marketed to through email, as compared to those who do not receive email offers. 

By marketing to core email segments during this holiday period, you’re able to secure low-hanging business. Email marketing, when done effectively, keeps your business top of mind and ensures that as soon as consumers start looking to make purchases, you’ll be there. 

Bottom Line: Show Up

After the holiday rush is over, you may be exhausted and tempted to take a break and enjoy the slow-down that happens in January. Don’t give in. One of the biggest mistakes ecommerce stores can make is to go dark in January because it is difficult to get revenue back to where it needs after it has dropped for too long. 

Instead, show up, show off, been seen, and speak up. When other retailers take a break, launch a new product, kick off a new marketing campaign, and host a new sale. When other retailers focus on restocking inventory, host a clearance sale to clear out the rest of yours. 

If you can do that, you’ll kick off the new year ahead of the competition and set the stage to have your best year ever. And, if you want an ecommerce partner whose got your back no matter what, Hostdedi is here to help. Hostdedi managed ecommerce solutions come with bundled plugins and optimizations to ensure your business is targeting the right consumers with the right experience. 

Learn more about managed ecommerce and get started with WooCommerce

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Find the Right Ecommerce Platform for Your Clients

Find the Right Ecommerce Platform for Your Clients

Agencies have a clear charter for their clients: help them get the best ROI from their technology solutions.  Part of that is making the platform recommendations that help merchants achieve their vision and drive growth.

Hostdedi managed hosting makes that choice easier, but the decision process still requires navigating a range of different options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. It’s a complex ecosystem to navigate. 

The ecommerce platform decision tree makes maneuvering those choices easier. Follow the path and find which platform is right for each and every one of your clients. 


The ecommerce platform decision tree

Learn more about Hostdedi managed hosting and how it can benefit both your agency and your clients.

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7 Ecommerce Blueprint Considerations You May Be Overlooking

7 Ecommerce Blueprint Considerations You May Be Overlooking

An ecommerce blueprint is your agency’s lifeline. As a vital foundational document, it helps you create a clear strategy for delivering results to a client; results that go beyond just KPIs and metrics. 

A well-executed blueprint should not just be a list of requirements and solutions. Instead, it should be seen as an evolving guide that ensures a client’s store will continue to be performant, secure, and scalable. 

Your agency is undoubtedly paying attention to every facet of a client’s business – from goals to structure, to deployment and beyond. No area should be left untouched if it will affect the technology and solution choices your client makes. Making individual recommendations for every client can be challenging, but it’s also vital. 

Our managed ecommerce solutions offer merchants and agencies a solid foundation to begin working from. Key infrastructure optimizations, security safeguards, and expandable features are inherent, enabling your agency to actively drive growth for each client. However, taking a single approach to multiple projects can only help so much. For a project to truly thrive, it’s important to nuance solutions.

Let’s take a look at seven considerations you may be rushing through when putting together the technology aspect of your ecommerce blueprint. We’ll explore some key options available to you and provide actionable advice on how to get started.

Bare Metal Server

1. Hosting Size Matters (But That’s Not the Whole Story)

The first area to address is plan size.

We know, smaller plan sizes can be appealing. Not only do they provide impressive traffic resources and a lot of the same great integrations we pack into our larger plans, but they are also available at competitive price points.

However, the more popular a store, the more traffic it’s going to get. By choosing a plan that doesn’t meet a store’s requirements, you’re – at best – bottlenecking the checkout, and – at worst – causing site slowdowns and crashes.

Stores cannot afford this. A 1-second delay in load time means a 7% decrease in conversions. To truly drive growth, stores must build in enough capacity to allow for additional resources when needed. 

Choosing the right plan size allows you to create the best foundation for building on client expectations. 

But selecting the right hosting plan isn’t as simple as just understanding traffic and resource requirements. With our managed ecommerce plans, you’re able to take advantage of additional resources to help improve ecommerce website performance and scalability. 

The first of these is auto scaling. This feature allows for a site to increase capacity as and when it needs to. This means more concurrent users (up to the next plan size) and more customers being able to proceed through checkout at the same time.

Another option is the Cloud Accelerator. Available with all cloud plans, this allows ecommerce websites to manage more concurrent users with a single click in your client portal. 

We also offer several container-based services that are run outside of a store’s core account. If you’re looking to improve product search and are interested in using Elasticsearch to do so, you can without having to worry about how that will affect your store’s performance. 

2. Platform Choice Is More Complex Than You Think

The right ecommerce platform for each client isn’t always the most obvious. What appears to be a performant and scalable choice on day one, can become a nightmare as a client’s store grows and requires more flexibility.

Despite this, serious platform considerations often find themselves forgotten about in favor of standard workflow templates; ease of use often surpassing functionality and performance requirements.

As you begin to build out an ecommerce blueprint, consider more than just the here and now. Great ecommerce website design includes a consideration of a client’s growth goals.

This couldn’t be more important than it is right now. According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, 93% of the most successful organizations in 2019 were extremely committed to content marketing. 

What that means is that successful ecommerce businesses need to start integrating content into their ecommerce blueprint. Beyond just delivering product descriptions, consumers are now looking for research sources where they can explore gift guides, read background information, and delve through reviews. 

In 2019, 93% of the most successful organizations were extremely committed to content marketing. (Content Marketing Institute)

Applications like WooCommerce, a plugin for WordPress, are perfect here as they provide excellent content management features. The platform has also become a leading standard for SEO, with over 3 million sites currently running on it along with 22% of the top 1 million sites worldwide. That means more traffic to the content you’re clients are looking to create and more conversions. 

3. Ecommerce Security Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

Security never seems like it’s going to be a problem… until it is.

Attacks can range from taking a store offline and preventing visitors from accessing it, to finding and stealing customer PII (personally identifiable information). In both cases, one security breach can have a serious and long-term impact on an ecommerce business.

According to Gartner, by 2020 100% of large enterprises will have to report on cybersecurity and technology risk to their board of directors. This isn’t because security is a template statistic, but because security breaches have increased by 67% since 2014, with damages estimated to total $6 trillion by 2021.

As we move into 2020, it’s vital – now more than ever – that merchants have a plan for handling vulnerabilities and protecting against attacks.

By 2020, 100% of large enterprises will have to report on cybersecurity and technology risk to their board of directors. (Gartner)

But security is a fickle thing. Like many of the items on this list, template solutions can do more harm than good. The right security measures should consider both a client’s consumers and their organization’s structure. 

The first line of defense is a well-maintained Web Application Firewall (WAF). This software-based firewall protects stores from known threats by blocking suspicious connection requests and preventing attackers from even getting a foot in the door. 

We block over 3.5 million attacks daily. However, To block attacks effectively with a WAF, we need to know where they are coming from. 

Understanding a client’s target geographies and known dangerous sources, and sharing these with our support team, can help us to build stronger rulesets that keep your client’s store protected. 

Beyond this, managed ecommerce helps to tighten security with automated processes that make your agency’s job easier. We provide automatic daily backups, nightly malware scans, PCI compliance assistance, and the popular iThemes security plugin on all WooCommerce and WordPress solutions.  

4. Containers Are Powerful Integrations That Don’t Draw From Core Resources

Robust functionality drives ecommerce growth and moves the needle. Consumers now expect certain functionality as standard and merchants expect your agency to be able to deliver on those by default. 

Yet as we mentioned above, feature integrations can take a sizable share of a server’s resources. Instead of providing an incredible user experience, they cause slowdowns and crashes. 

Containers are a pivotal solution, allowing you to avoid infrastructure and performance pitfalls without needing to increase your client’s plan size prematurely. 

This is because they run outside of your primary hosting account and so have their own set of dedicated resources. Currently, the container integrations available for all Hostdedi solutions include:

  • Elasticsearch
  • Varnish
  • RabbitMQ
  • SOLR

Hostdedi container solutions offer innovative capabilities to the key ecommerce business problems of product search and performance, and help take the guesswork out of the technology recommendations your agency needs to provide. 

5. Ecommerce Integrations Can Help in Areas You Don’t Expect

We offer over $2,000 in integrations for smaller WooCommerce stores and over $6,000 in integrations for larger ones. These integrations add vital functionality to stores of any size and take the complexity out of optimization.

Simply put, as stores get larger, so too do their requirements. The integrations we provide help stores to meet those requirements by offering a turnkey solution nuanced to client requirements. 

Take, for example, data analysis. Modern technology has seen data become a central part of the ecommerce industry. Now, product and content decisions are informed not by whim but by data. By 2020, Forrester predicts that businesses will double their data strategy budget. 

Businesses will double their data strategy budget in 2020. (Forrester)

To make the work of agencies and merchants easier, we’ve partnered with Glew.io. Glew.io helps merchants to better understand both their business and their consumers by providing ecommerce analytics and business intelligence insights quickly and easily. 

We’ve also included other integrations, such as abandoned cart emails from Jilt, the Beaver Builder page builder, and more. Each of these integrations has been provided with your agency’s role in mind. 

Before reverting to the standard integrations you’ve always used, explore the options we’ve bundled with our solutions first. You may find something that allows you to deliver in areas you never thought you could.  

6. Development Is More Than Staging Sites

Development processes vary by agency. Being locked into one particular process can be both frustrating and time-consuming. 

At Hostdedi, we believe in supporting agency and merchant development practices, whatever they may be. Our managed ecommerce solutions have been engineered to provide development teams with maximum flexibility, while also incorporating optimized solutions to foundational development problems. They bring together a set of unified tools capable of bringing cohesion to an otherwise uneven development process.

Our development sites are a clear example of this. With Hostdedi, you can easily spin up a development site with optional 1:1 data duplication and PII (Personally Identifiable Information) scrubbing to ensure the security of customer data – all with only one click in your client portal.

But development processes are more than just environments to work in. A good development process considers how teams are managed, who approves changes and alterations, and how issues are reported on. As you work through the ecommerce blueprint with your client, assigning roles for different players can make development a lot easier and smoother down the road. 

7. Managed Hosting Makes Ecommerce Blueprint Decisions Easier

Managed ecommerce makes all the decisions above, and more, easier. 

Our solutions have been designed to provide agencies with a comprehensive toolset that lets you realize your client’s vision and actively accelerate growth. Beyond just hosting infrastructure, we consider platform requirements, integration opportunities, and potential. 

By hosting your clients’ stores with Hostdedi, you’ll have access to an experienced technology partner that knows how to manage the most critical of infrastructure and platform choices. We can help you translate your client’s requirements into the right technology. 

Just remember, the right option isn’t always the default. Sometimes it’s worth exploring alternatives and the benefits they can provide both short and long term. 

To see how managed ecommerce solutions can help your agency to create better ecommerce websites, talk to a Hostdedi team member and explore your options.

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8 Ways to Break Through the Holiday Clutter

8 Ways to Break Through the Holiday Clutter

Starbucks has rolled out their Eggnog Latte, which means the holidays are upon us. For consumers, this means being overwhelmed with deals, advertisements, and offers. For you, as a merchant, it means finding a way to separate yourself from your competition, so you don’t lose revenue this holiday season. 

It’s no longer enough to create blanket campaigns that hope to find the right audience. Now, effective ecommerce strategies require retailers to target the right consumers during every stage of their journey. This is especially important during the holiday season. You need to follow consumers from ideation to purchase and provide an experience that delights throughout. Otherwise, you’ll quickly find your store lost in the holiday clutter. 

Don’t panic – bringing together an effective strategy is relatively simple with these eight techniques for standing out from the holiday clutter. Instead of focusing on one, consolidate your strategy, and approach this holiday season from all angles.

Offer a Holiday Bundle

At the end of September, Canon released its new 90d camera. Unfortunately for retailers with a surplus of last season’s model, this meant a potentially large amount of worthless stock (consumers want the latest products, right?).

Old stock doesn’t have to be abandoned. Instead, how about repackaging them as a bundle that addresses consumer needs?

Casey Neistat’s one simple rule for vlogging is to use the best camera you have access to and worry more about the story than the gear. Yes, the 90d has 4K and other fancy features, but the 80d is still a solid purchase. Package it with a decent lens for vlogging and you’ve got a bundle that you can market to people looking to get started with YouTube video production.

And you can take this further. Add an inexpensive mic and make it an all-in-one package for vlogging. Then, put some marketing muscle behind it and market to that video niche.

Before abandoning products, stop and think about how you can bundle and market them to a specific niche as the holidays approach. Combine this with special price points consumers won’t find elsewhere and you’ll be able to bring in revenue that you might have thought was lost. 

Segment Your Email List

Consumers often feel that their inbox is inundated with clutter during the holiday season. This is because most companies sending emails are doing nothing more than blanketing their list with offers. They’re doing nothing to tailor the emails they’re sending to what their subscribers are actually interested in.

Segmentation is the process of taking a list of potential customers and then placing them into smaller groups. These groups (or segments) would be divided based on interests. One group may be interested in camera equipment, another would have shown an interest in fashion. 

Using a service like Convertkit, you can tag users as they view your site. You can then use those tags to segment subscribers for offers that are specific to what they are interested in. According to Campaign Monitor, marketers have noticed a 760% increase in sales after segmenting their email campaigns

Using our camera bundle example above, once the user makes a purchase, you can follow up by sending them information on products that are relevant to their existing purchase. Add-ons like media cards or lights work well here due to being relevant and important tools as consumers continue to work on their video quality.

Share Wish Lists

Wish lists are a great way for consumers to share what gifts they want with family and friends. As a merchant, you need to enable faster gift-purchasing journeys and an improved user experience. 

Unfortunately, not every online store allows its customers to share wish lists with friends. Many don’t even have a wish list functionality available to users. If that’s your WooCommerce store, stop and get the WooCommerce Wishlists addon now. This plugin allows consumers to add a wish list to your store, one that is shareable and publicly searchable. 

Another, often understated, benefit of wish lists is that they can be used as social proof. Banggood.com do this effectively by showing the number of users who have added a particular product to their wish list next to the item description. The most users interested in an item, the more likely another user will make a purchase. 

Offer Back in Stock Notices

In 2018, Retail Dive found that ecommerce stores lost $22 billion in sales due to lack of stock. This statistic hasn’t gotten any better. Instead of waiting, it can be easier for online consumers to find a product elsewhere. They are, after all, only a few clicks away from your competitors. Online shopping narrowly overtook in-store purchasing in February of 2019. To maintain the status quo, ecommerce retailers need to provide a fulfillment experience similar to brick and mortar stores. 

By offering notifications to your customers when products are back in stock, you’re building trust. Multiple stores have seen a significant jump in sales within a month as consumers were emailed when products were available to purchase.

Offer a Webinar

Have you ever purchased something and then realized you didn’t really understand how to maximize its potential? I was like that with my first “nice” camera. I was excited to use it, but also frustrated because I simply wasn’t getting the results I had hoped for. You’re in a perfect position to provide value where your competitors aren’t.

Take the 80d camera bundle. By offering a workshop on how to get started with YouTube videos, you’re offering customers a clear path forward – not only in terms of expanding their product knowledge, but also with regards to offering additional products that can help them advance their skillset.  You can talk about mic placement, what it takes to have a good story, and then walk through some of the basics of prepping your videos for publishing. Each of these touchpoints provides you with the opportunity to offer better equipment that will improve their consumer experience and your bottom line. 

Even if someone hasn’t purchased that bundle yet, let them sign up and then offer the bundle at the end of the webinar. You’ve collected their email to use in your email segments later, and you’ve shown them that you’re an expert, so they’re more likely to trust you over your competition when they’re ready to purchase.

Free Shipping

Free shipping has often been seen as an expensive option for smaller retailers, but it may not be as expensive as you think

By conducting an A/B test, you can compare the difference in order volume between free and paid shipping. In many cases, offering free shipping will increase order volume to a point where the revenue increase is enough to offset shipping costs. 

However, if you find that your free shipping costs more, it’s time to see if a minimum threshold changes that number. Offering free shipping for orders over $40 may turn it into a profit center for you. If so, make sure you tell users when they’re at $38 and offer them an additional product that helps them get free shipping. Then, remind them after they check out that they saved money with free shipping.

Other strategies to use would be to offer free shipping only on your cheapest shipping offer, or only in the geographical areas that make sense. You may even be able to add the shipping cost into product price by increasing it slightly and then highlighting that the product comes with free shipping.

Test Your Abandoned Cart Campaign

At some point, we all head to our favorite eCommerce merchant and add products to our cart, only to leave them there and maybe never make the purchase. Online retailers can see between 55% and as high as 80% cart abandonment rates

However, with a solid cart abandonment email campaign, you can see as many as 45% of those consumers return to their cart and potentially make a purchase. 

Use a tool like Jilt if you don’t have a campaign set up already. Jilt is built specifically for ecommerce and makes capturing emails easy so that you can automate your abandoned cart campaign. You can even use Jilt to offer dynamic discounts on products that have been left in the cart.

A solid abandoned cart campaign will help you stand out from the holiday crowd. Consumers have already been on your site. They know who you are. So while you’re fresh in their minds, sending a clear and actionable reminder will bring their business back. Up to 50% of consumers that click on an abandoned cart email will become purchasers.

Differentiate Yourself This Holiday Season

As the holiday’s approach, ask yourself how you’re going to embrace the season in a way that lets you stand out. Do you have a dog that you can dress up? Can you decorate a tree in your products and share it on social media? 

Use the holiday time to build some marketing pieces that consumers will find humorous and want to share. No, it may not go viral, but you’ll continue to build trust and your brand and drive continued growth. 

Yes, the holiday time is a busy season. We all have many things coming at us trying to get our attention, but with a bit of work upfront, you can make sure your store doesn’t lose revenue this holiday period. 

Differentiate your store this holiday season with managed WooCommerce, an ecommerce platform that offers you the tools you need to break through the holiday clutter as standard. Get started now

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What are PHP Workers and Why You Should Care

What are PHP Workers and Why You Should Care

Have you ever browsed through your favorite coffee shop’s website and as you check out with that new order of coffee, you end up getting a 504 error after a delay?

Or maybe you were browsing your favorite sports website and as you try to load the next page, it takes a while to load and comes back with a timeout error?

These situations are frustrating, and not what we expect when we look at a site. In both cases, the cause may be not having enough PHP workers allocated to a site. Without enough PHP workers, a site can’t process all site requests that come in if there are a higher number of them. It’s not a good situation, as site speed is incredibly important for converting visitors to sales leads and customers.

What is a PHP Worker?

A PHP worker is essentially a mechanism that handles requests for a website that require back-end processing. Generally, any non-static or cached files that require processing are handled by PHP workers.

This is usually active tasks like an inventory check on a specific item or it could be something as complex as viewing and listing all prior orders for a customer. When a PHP worker is started, it remains persistent until processes are completed or certain conditions are met.

Think of PHP workers as a check-out line at a grocery store where each item that is to be scanned is a PHP process.

If you only have one PHP worker (one checkout line) then everything must go through that single checkout lane, and the cashier can only work through one order at the time. PHP workers can limit the number of concurrent, or simultaneous, transactions on a site. As previously mentioned, if you have only four PHP workers (four checkout lines) the site can only process four transactions at once.

However, this does not mean that the fifth customer (PHP process) or beyond does not get processed. PHP processes are placed in a queue for the worker which means it processes the first request in line then moves onto the next PHP process in the queue. In other words, a long line forms and people start waiting.

Luckily, PHP workers process the information faster than grocery store cashiers. They work very quickly and can clear many and most processes within milliseconds. By having only a few additional PHP workers, you are able to have many more concurrent processes that can be run at one time, meaning more customer orders can be processed at once.

What Happens When You Have Too Few PHP Workers

Let’s say you have only two PHP workers on a site and you have several plugins and a heavy theme. Those two PHP workers will constantly be used only to process plugins and theme processes leaving a queue to build up immediately for new page requests from visitors to your site.

If you are running an ecommerce site on top of this, it will only increase the queue amount. Much like customers waiting in line, some PHP processes will abandon the line. Processes that are not written to abandon the line, or time out, and will sit and wait. Then, they will begin to put a much higher load on server resources. It’s like the checkout line is now wrapping around the block!

PHP processes on a WordPress website can be as simple as the submission of a contact form or a request to geolocate a visitor based upon their IP or zip code.

For eCommerce websites, this can look a little different. Items such as new orders being processed, carts, and customer logins would all utilize PHP workers. The products or descriptions will usually be cached so that generally would not require a PHP process for viewing. Having only three to five PHP workers means that you can only have that many simultaneous transactions on the website and that the PHP workers will process requests in the order they were triggered (just like a shopping line).

How To Lighten The Load For Your PHP Workers

A common problem area to start with for PHP workers is having too many plugins and heavy themes. You can generally help alleviate issues caused by a bloated website with these tips:

  1. Add site caching with a plugin
  2. Reduce external calls to remote sites
  3. General site optimization

Site optimization can get complicated, especially with sites that experience heavier traffic which requires more attention to detail. Generally, the larger the site, the more efficient the site must be in the way it requests its styles, products, orders, and customers. This way, you utilize the PHP workers for general site functionality less and PHP workers can process what matters – your traffic – effectively.

Hostdedi plans come with enough concurrent users for even the largest of sites to manage traffic.

With Hostdedi, you already have 20 concurrent users as part of an XS plan. This increases in increments of 20 as you move up to the XXL plan (which has 120).

Other managed application platforms offer anywhere from two to four PHP workers in introductory offerings. Hostdedi Managed WordPress and WooCommerce also have server-side caching built-in which helps minimize the use of PHP workers to process static content, allowing the PHP workers to process requests from the people who matter most: your customers.

Maintain a Faster Site with More PHP Workers

PHP workers can manage thousands of processes each, however; many factors come into play, including:

  • How many exterior calls are they making?
  • How many plugins are competing with inquiries to the database?

Additionally, adding PHP workers to a site will also increase the resource allocation being used from the server. The more PHP processes running, the more RAM and CPU allocations will be needed, thus creating heavier loads on the server and having as much optimization as possible can reduce that server load. PHP workers are key, but they are not magic, one-size-fits-all solution.

The more plugins (even inactive ones), the more PHP workers are utilized to process non-static requests. The same applies to heavily featured themes. For this reason, it is always a good idea to use caching and a CDN to help reduce the task load for PHP workers. This will optimize your site to process customer requests in the fastest manner possible.

  Start your WooCommerce store knowing that it’s ready to handle traffic requirements. Learn more.

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