Tips For Effective WooCommerce Websites
It is one thing to get your site up and running with Layers and StoreKit, and quite another for it to be a success with your customer. Below are a handful of things the best eCommerce sites do well, and when implemented on your site, can improve user experience and sales by leaps and bounds! If you’re just starting out, make sure you check out our guide How to Setup an Online Store with Layers.
Your visitors need a consistent and simple path to find what they want to buy. To minimize confusion or broken menus, only add new pages to submenus– never change or rearrange the top-level menu items on your site unless absolutely necessary. An effective strategy used by brands like freepeople, adidas and TopShop is to group categories under very broad terms such as “New Arrivals,” used for the main shop page or a custom landing page with recent and featured items, “Clothing” or “Shoes” to group all of the subcategories together, “On Sale” for a special sales page, and finally a Blog, Lookbook or similar. Short and simple.
The result is a faster path of action for the user – if they are there to shop for a dress, they can go straight to “Clothing”and choose Dresses, then filter from there using the sidebar.
If a category has no items, remove it from your main menu!
Once a user chooses their first destination, they can further filter their experience using the tools WooCommerce provides in the catalog, such as the products per page and the catalog filter. You can build on this by adding a few WooCommerce widgets to the sidebar on the shop, such as a WooCommerce Product Categories widget set to show children of the currently displayed category (or all categories if you don’t have too many), a Product Filter to help folks narrow down by attributes like size and color, and a price filter.
What about other page links?
Certain links are kept out of the main menu for a couple reasons – user behavior and SEO. Things like Sizing, Shipping Policies, Contact and My Account are typically found in the footer or service menu (that Top Menu in Layers), promoting a user behavior of looking for them there. Keeping product categories and content links in your main menu also helps robots give them priority.
When you get something really cool in the store, you can click the star icon in the Products list in your WordPress admin to feature it using StoreKit’s Product List or Product Slider widgets. You don’t necessarily need to feature ALL the new things, just the ones you want to drive sales to during a particular period. Older items can also be featured, or perhaps you want to feature a specific selection of items for a holiday. Remember to un-feature items when you no longer want them featured! A Blog post is always a good companion for this and can be shared on social media to help increase traffic.
Add Some Promos
You’ve probably noticed that the best online retailers are really good at marketing. If we take Sephora.com as an example, they mix a bi-monthly art-directed email newsletter with a steady promotion schedule to feature brands, products and sales. Not everyone can afford a marketing department and an art director, but this is still a strategy you can use effectively.
The first step is to signup with a free service like Mailchimp to power your newsletter campaigns. Mailchimp has a wonderful interface and quick training program to get you started, and a WordPress plugin for WooCommerce to help increase subscription opt-ins. You can configure Wordchimp to send out newsletters automatically on special triggers like a monthly digest, or upon publishing a new blog post if you plan to mirror your campaigns on your blog OR you can create custom, special newsletters within Mailchimp using your own logos, graphics and color scheme.
Next up is the homepage or promotion landing page. These can be added or edited under Appearance> Customize by expanding the Slider panel, and adding a new image or slide. There are a few requirements:
- Background images need to be large images 2000px at least for good quality, though the Stretch option will help. The less busy the better.
- The buttons need a valid link to another page or a product category. Don’t link somewhere off-site like Facebook – that takes people away from your store!
See how these shops use their homepage graphics and sliders to promote sales and brands:
Layers allows you to build out special pages if you need them for a special promotion, contest, etc. You can find tutorials here:
Categorization and Tagging
Collections are curated categories of items from various other unrelated categories. Help your customers by keeping items in one or two collections – never more.
Same goes for main categories – each item should belong to a brand, and then a single “primary” category that WordPress will make you select – this is usually the item’s type, such as “Home Decor” or “Shoes”. The collection is then a tertiary category.
Tags are often confused with categories. Try to avoid tagging products with a term that is already used as a category – the primary difference here is Tags help relate items across your store using really specific identifiers, for example “wool” might apply to a sweater, a shirt, a sock and a pillow cover. Since WooCommerce already allows for the creation of attributes, and those attributes have their own archives, you may not need tags at all.
Variable Products with one-choice attributes
If there is only one option in the attribute (ie One Size Fits All, or Black), Uncheck “Used for Variations” – this shows it on the product page but keeps it from being a drop-down choice when no choice is available, minimizing stock errors.
Know all the ways you can backup and restore and duplicate custom pages and settings to reduce headaches and speed up new page creation.