Strategies and Plugins to Help Grow Your E-Commerce Store
If you keep your finger on the pulse of the digital business landscape, it’s no secret that growth in e-commerce is exploding. Last year alone, online retail sales eclipsed 4.2 trillion dollars worldwide. It’s no wonder so many people are diving into the online retail space to start their own business.
But it’s no simple undertaking—from marketing and analytics to optimizing sales funnels, running a successful online shop takes a lot of hard work and dedication. And that’s not even mentioning the complications and headaches that come with hosting and managing a website.
Thankfully, WooCommerce makes jumping in and managing things considerably easier for the budding entrepreneur. Along with being built atop the leading WordPress platform, WooCommerce offers a robust extension marketplace with tools to help you with everything from marketing to abandoned cart recovery.
In this guide, we’re going to look at some of these tools along with some tried and true techniques to help boost your e-commerce store’s conversions. If you’re just getting started with your store, go check out our beginner’s guide for WooCommerce to get you up to speed.
A Quick Look at Conversions
It’s easy to think of conversions as sales, but it’s actually a little more nuanced than that. Your store’s conversion rate is the percentage of visitors that take a desired action on your website. While purchases certainly fall into this category, it also includes:
- A visitor adding something to their shopping cart
- Someone sharing your site on social media
- A form submission
- A customer subscribing to a mailing list
Every one of these are essential. Each one indicates a crucial step your leads take through your sales funnel. The goal here is to move people along this funnel—not necessarily entice them to buy right away. And to accomplish that, you need to focus on several aspects of your store to ensure a smooth journey from start to finish.
Strategies and Plugins for Boosting Conversions
The single best strategy for improving your WooCommerce conversions is to have a great product that people love and want to share with the world. Nothing goes further toward your store’s success.
But even the greatest products aren’t going to sell if no one knows about them, which is why a sound marketing strategy should be one of your highest priorities.
Market Your WooCommerce Store
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of marketing for any online business. It’s where your sales funnel starts. And while there are endless decisions to make regarding your marketing strategies, the important thing is that you get started with one as soon as possible, so you can start building brand awareness and a loyal following.
Google Listings & Ads
Whether you’re focused on an organic SEO strategy or a pay-per-click ad campaign, marketing with Google is probably part of your overall strategy. Google Listings & Ads is a free WooCommerce extension that allows you to integrate with a plethora of Google features and services, including:
- Web and Image Search
You can also upload your WooCommerce products directly to Google and create free listings and ad campaigns. And for monitoring performance, the extension has a metrics dashboard built right into WooCommerce. If you’re using Google for any of your marketing efforts, this is a must-have extension.
Facebook is a solid marketing tool, especially for e-commerce. The official Facebook extension for WooCommerce enables you to easily connect your store to Facebook. You can use it to manage Pixel—Facebook’s marketing product that’s used across the company’s social networks, including Instagram. You can also upload your store catalog and create a shop right on Facebook.
Focus on the User Experience
From the moment a visitor arrives at your site and starts browsing, the clock is ticking. Every passing second and clicked link is another opportunity for that visitor to back out, resulting in a lost conversion. Making sure your customers have a pleasant, predictable, and effortless encounter with your online store is what focusing on the user experience is all about.
The user experience is a measure of every touch point your customers have with your business. Everything impacts it, from the quality of your site design to the ease of your checkout process. Even a slow web host can cause lost conversions. While we won’t get into too many details on the user experience, we’ll say this: It’s really, really important.
But to make any headway with improving it, you need a way to analyze what your visitors do, so you can identify the weak spots on your site.
Even if you aren’t investing in Google for marketing, the search giant has some of the best website analytical tools on the market. Google Analytics is a free WooCommerce extension that helps you identify how your customers use your website. It provides granular analytics that provide several benefits, including:
- Showing you where your site loses leads by tracking precise visitor activity
- Understanding which products have the most potential by tracking visitor flow of the checkout process
- Determine what visitors are looking for by showing you which pages that come to from search engines
The many features this extension offers makes it the single best tool for optimizing your website for maximum conversions and determine where things need improving.
Engage Your Audience
In the age of social media and short attention spans, audience engagement is critical for every online business. You need to capture and hold people’s focus long enough to move them through your sales funnel. And to accomplish this, you need a way to answer questions, build trust with your leads, and connect with your customers.
One way to do this is through a content strategy such as blogging. Crafting informative blog posts help answer your customer’s questions about what you provide and how it improves their lives. This is one reason WooCommerce such a great choice for e-commerce—WordPress provides you with everything you need to create a successful content strategy.
Another great way of engaging your customers is through email marketing. By engaging directly with your customers, you can increase your conversions, grow your reach, and improve your marketing ROI in one of the most stable channels available. In fact, out of all available strategies, email marketing provides one of the highest ROIs for your business.
Mailchimp is an outstanding platform for managing and automating your email marketing efforts. The WooCommerce extension enables you to integrate your store with your Mailchimp campaigns. It also provides predictive insights to help you understand patterns in customer behavior. This is a tool you’ll definitely want to have in your e-commerce toolbox.
Implement Tried and True Sales Techniques
E-commerce may be in the process of revolutionizing the way we do business, but selling is still selling. And when it comes to people buying, sometimes good old-fashioned techniques work wonders. Social proofing is one of those techniques that’s helped businesses improve sells for decades.
Social proofing involves adding positive customer testimonials reviews to your website to encourage people to buy your product. You’ve no doubt seen customer reviews and ratings on sites across the web—even Amazon makes it a big part of their strategy. You should consider doing the same with your WooCommerce store.
Customer Reviews for WooCommerce
While WooCommerce offers reviews by default, the Customer Reviews for WooCommerce WordPress plugin improves on what’s there by enabling features such as review ratings, voting, images, and more.
The plugin also offers some handy automation tools, too, such as sending out emails to customers, asking them to leave a review. There’s also a Question and Answer feature, giving your customers a way to ask and answer FAQs for themselves. If you’re looking to give your WooCommerce site a social proofing makeover, give this plugin a go.
Save an Abandoned Cart
Many online retailers lose conversions during the last stage of the sales funnel—when a customer adds products to their cart, begins the checkout process, but then leaves your site before completing their purchase. This is so prevalent in e-commerce than many businesses build strategies around enticing these shoppers back to the site to finish their purchase.
WooCommerce Cart Abandonment Recovery
One of the best WordPress plugins for addressing this issue is WooCommerce Cart Abandonment Recovery by CartFlows. It’s a free plugin that enables capturing email addresses and then sending out automated followups to leads that abandon their shopping carts. The plugin even includes template emails that are proven to work. Other features include:
- Reporting to help see how effective your cart recovery efforts are
- Unique checkout links so that customers can recovery their exact shopping experience from before
- Coupon codes for enticing leads to pick up where they left off by offering one-time discounts
Cart abandonment is one area at the end of the funnel where you’ll always want to have some kind of strategy in place. It’s an effective and affordable way to recovery sales you might otherwise lose.
Focus on Your Business, Not the Busy Work
One of the best things you can do for your business is offloading the tasks that take up your time and don’t contribute to your overall business strategy. Many successful entrepreneurs running e-commerce sites often hire assistants to help with repetitive tasks such as answering customer emails or managing social media campaigns.
Another thing you should consider outsourcing is how you manage, maintain and secure your WordPress website. WooCommerce and WordPress offer many benefits over other e-commerce platforms, but it requires more work to keep updated and secured.
If you’re serious about running a successful online store, consider enlisting the help of a trusted managed WordPress provider to ease the technical burden on your business. There are plenty of great reasons to do so, including better website performance, more security for your customers, and far fewer headaches to worry about.
Think of it this way: People who own physical retail stores don’t take the time to maintain, clean, and secure their property. They hire people better suited to the task, so they can focus on the more important aspects of their business.
Starting, building and running a successful WooCommerce website is challenging. It requires strong business acumen and plenty of strategic thinking across a variety of disciplines. But with solid efforts, it’s an extremely rewarding endeavor—one that opens the door to the freedom and financial independence that comes with being a business owner.