Growth is key for any business, and once your WooCommerce store is up and running, there are lots of things you can do to streamline the process and increase revenue. One of the most common and beneficial is to install plugins specially designed for WooCommerce. In this post we’ll highlight several that have proven to increase sales, either directly or indirectly, for countless businesses.
What is a Plugin?
A plugin (and yes, it’s just one word) is a program that expands the capabilities of a browser. So for our post here, the WooCommerce plugin allows the browser to act as a store with features like the listing products with prices, the ability to put items in your cart, and of course, to purchase them through checkout.
When using WooCommere there are several other plugins you can install to make your site’s functionality go even further. Examples of these could be enhancing the shopper’s experience, making your life as a seller more efficient, and of course increasing your sales.
How Does WooCommerce Work?
WooCommerce is an open source plugin that lets you set up an online store and sell your wares to anyone browsing the Internet. Because of its nature, you’re going to be responsible for setting up your site hosting, securing your domain name and SSL certificate, as well as site maintenance and security. The platform is usually recommended to online sellers who are more comfortable with the tech side of things (or at least those who can get themselves connected with experts in the appropriate arenas.)
Once your WooCommerce store is up and running, shoppers visit your site, go to checkout, and you receive payment through your account. It’s important to note that the WooCommerce plugin itself is rather skeletal in its design. That’s deliberate because without bells and whistles, your site runs more smoothly.
What WooCommerce Plugins Do I Need?
Having said that, a bell here and a whistle there is often times a good thing to improve your site’s functionality. In a sense, WooCommerce by itself is almost a blank canvas of sorts. Once you have it, you’re going to want to install other, select plugins (and extensions) to get the most out of your site.
Not every plugin is right for every business model, but here’s a look at some of the more popular and well-reviewed ones. Seeing what they’re designed to do can help you decide which could be beneficial for your company.
Points and Rewards
This plugin encourages your customers to keep coming back to your site by giving customer points in a reward-type program we are all familiar with. Points can add up to discounts or freebies – whatever you design the offer to be. There’s no question that incentive-driven, customer loyalty programs like these help increase sales.
Here are a few benefits and features of Points and Rewards:
• Define how many points are earned for purchases, and the value of points for discounts
• Award points for actions like signing up or writing a product review
• Quickly adjust the points balance for a customer
This plugin helps make the checkout process easier and also lets people add items or swap items during checkout without having to start over. Some of its features include:
• Custom messages to create urgency
• Added discounts
• Upsell opportunities
It’s worth saying that even tools like this can’t completely eliminate abandoned carts. They happen a lot. In fact, 70% of online shoppers who put items in their carts don’t finalize the purchase. To combat this, your business should look at LiveRecover. It’s not a plugin, but an extension for WooCommerce that has real, live people contact your cart abandoners via SMS. The real-time, one-on-one text conversation can address and often times resolve the cart abandonment issue, turning product interest into a product sale.
This automation suite features a host of tools to improve your customers’ site experience. We’ve all seen them while shopping, and there’s no question they work. Some of the features include:
• Cross-sell products based on a customer’s cart
• “Related Items” pop-ups
• “People who bought this also purchased…” pop-ups
• Email coupon pop-ups
• Mobile BUY NOW buttons
WPForms is known as a builder plugin, this drag-and-drop tool helps you create all kinds of forms with ease. Surveys, contact, conversational, all of which require no code writing on your part. Simple intuitive forms help you connect with customers, making their site experience better and increasing their likelihood of a purchase.
Some of the features of WPForms include:
• Collect payments securely with Stripe, PayPal and Authorize.Net
• Includes integrations that allow automatic sending of data to other services
• Get leads from abandoned forms
• Easily embed forms in distraction-free landing pages
• Send form entries to marketing automation apps like MailChimp and Drip
Optimizing your website for search engines, particularly Google, is a surefire way to increase traffic. Increased traffic = increased sales, and Yoast SEO is the plugin titan in the WordPress/WooCommerce universe.
Here are some of the features and benefits of Yoast SEO plugin on your WordPress/WooCommerce website:
• Increase reader engagement
• Attract more visitors from social media
• Get more visitors from Google and Bing
• Add custom post titles, meta descriptions, and meta keywords
• Get verified Google authorship for your website
Installing WooCommerce Plugins
Getting your WooCommerce plugins operational can seem like a headache, but that’s only because the process has several steps, none of which are difficult or time consuming. Describing the process here would be like explaining proper golf swing mechanics while sitting on a bus. But here are a few key best practices for a seamless plugin installation.
- Popularity matters. The best plugins, generally, have high number of active installations and are updated frequently. For example, a plugin with 5 million active installations that is updated once per month is probably a safe plugin based on how many people trusted it.
- An updated plugin is a happy plugin. A plugin that hasn’t been updated in two years is probably going to break your website later on down the line. That’s because these plugins have been neglected and left static. An angry plugin will break your site and maybe, even you.
- Don’t use nulled plugins. You may have heard of these while researching ways to keep website costs down. Technically, you don’t need to know exactly what a nulled plugin is—you just need to know that they are generally rife with malware and other nasties and so probably aren’t worth the low price tag.
- Use a sandbox tool to test plugins. There’s nothing worse than installing a new plugin only for it to completely break your website. This is where using a sandbox tool comes in handy. You can use something like SketchUp to test the plugin before you install it on your website.
- Gauge if the developer is responsive. When you install a plugin, check who the developer is. Do they have a public profile? Are they responsive to inquiries and do they regularly update the plugin? This sort of goes back to an updated plugin being a happy plugin. Plugins only get updated if the developer is involved and responding to any issues that may arise.
If you want to install a plugin on WooCommerce, the best course of action is to download the plugins you want and use the help section of woocommerce.com to walk you through the process in real time.
Okay, I’m “Plugged In.” Now What?
You should see the enhanced functionality of your site immediately, and you can, of course, keep track of the effectiveness of each of your plugins via your admin dashboard. This endeavor is like anything with your business. As you monitor, you see what’s working and what isn’t. Having the right combinations of plugins is like arriving at the perfect dinner or cocktail recipe. Experiment by taking advantages of the analytical capabilities available to you.
The Bottom Line
Opening the virtual doors of your WooCommerce store is an exciting time, but before you do that, you should look at all the plugins available to increase the functionality of your site. Hopefully the information above has got your started on what you can do to help your business. This is far less than the tip of the iceberg; there are a lot of WooCommerce plugins out there, and you’ll be surprised at what some can do. Searching for ones that will benefit you can actually be fun.