Preparing Your WooCommerce Store for the Holiday Season

The 7 Things To Think About As You Prepare

Today's post is a video. I walk you thru the 7 things you need to think about as you and your team are preparing your WooCommerce store for the holiday season.

Thing it's too early to prepare? It's not.

More importantly, it's the conversations you need to have – not just the code you write or the toggles you turn on or off. The conversations are about your strategies, and those aren't ones you want to wait until later to have.

Here is the list of the 7 things to think about:

  1. Coupons
  2. Inventory
  3. Customer Accounts
  4. Minimum Spends for Free Shipping
  5. Sending Email
  6. Emails You Send
  7. Reporting

Here is the video.

Here's the transcript.

Hey, so it is about mid August. And if you think that you still have months to go before you start thinking about optimizing for holiday shopping, I want to tell you that now is the better time to do it.

So what I want to do is walk through just a handful of places inside of WooCommerce that you want to be thinking about.

What are we talking about? We're talking about high concurrency, lots of people coming in, and you got to understand what some of these options mean and do as it relates to that high concurrency so that you can say, okay, this is the trade off we're making, and this is what we want to have happen.

And you go from there. When you have a lot of traffic on the site, that's not going to be the time to start figuring out which of these settings you want to adjust.

Coupons

The first thing I'm going to tell you about is coupons. There's nothing wrong with coupons, but right over here, this check box says, enable the use of coupons. And what you have to know is if you check that box, you're going to give people coupons. That's for sure. Right?

But it means that when someone goes to put in a coupon, you're likely making another call back to the database to check, to see if that coupon is valid and all the other constraints you've put on that coupon. Every time you say, well, that coupon works for this product category, but not this category; it works for this product, but not this product; it works on this day, but it expires on this day – all of those are calculations happening back in the database.

So what might you do?

Well, you might create coupons that don't have a lot of those constraints. That's one strategy.

Another strategy is you might just remove the coupons and just go, “Hey, boom, we're lowering our prices from this state to this state, we're going to do an automatic 10% or 15% off across the board. No coupons needed.

It's a cool approach, but it means you don't have to worry about those extra calls to the database. Again, like I said, good time to have the conversation now, so you can configure it.

And if you're going to go run testing, make sure that you're running testing on coupons. A lot of people will test traffic to hitting different pages and never think about, well in checkout, let's try these different coupons and see how it works. So coupons, that's the first thing to think about.

Inventory

What's the next thing to think about? Hey, it's your inventory.

If you're selling stuff, you want to make sure that you've checked these boxes for low stock and out of stock notifications. You might even want to send those notices to a special email, right?

That's one that you have directly on your hip. Some that you're paying attention to, maybe it's a special person. Who's going to pay attention? You need to figure out, right?

Not only what does low threshold mean and out of stock mean, but who's going to get this?

And the big question of the day is if a product is out of stock, do you want to take it off the catalog?

That's important because what you don't want is those extra clicks of someone going in to look at a product and then they can't buy. You're just asking for more processing on the server. And the name of the game at holidays is restrict the amount of work you're asking your server to do.

So if you check that box, you're just saying, Hey, don't show it. Don't show it up in the search. And that may be something you want to do.

Customer Accounts

All right. Number three. Do you allow people to check out as a guest, right? Without creating an account.

Now, normally I would tell you, you don't want this. Make sure they have an account. You'll have an email. You can follow up with them.

But at holiday season time I say, this is something to talk about. Maybe you want to check this box and say, Hey, it's okay. We don't have to worry about it.

Or you can say, I'm not going to check this box, but I'm going to automatically use their email. And I'm automatically going to create a password.

Meaning I'm not asking for the user to do anything.

Either way, you want to have that conversation.

Minimum Spend for Free Shipping

Now let's talk about cart notices. There is an ability that you have to go into your shipping setup, add a shipping zone, like US shipping, and add flat rate shipping like you normally would. But then you can add free shipping.

In there you can mark it as – you have to have a hundred dollars spend and then you get free shipping.

You also can download an extension called cart notices, which lets you create that actual notice. It shows up in the cart and it shows up in the checkout. It shows up in all these places.

So this is one of those ways that helps drive people to the right amount, whatever that amount is, 60 bucks, a hundred bucks, whatever it is and encourages a higher average order value for your cards.

That's super cool and worth configuring, but that means having conversations. What's the number? What's the right number for free shipping? If you're going to have the conversation, have it now.

Sending Email

Now let's talk about a plugin called WP Mail SMTP. What you're really doing is saying, I don't want my web server to send out email. I don't want my web server to send email at all. I want to connect my website, my online store, to somewhere else that's going to send out the email and, WP Mail SMTP has a lot of different options that you can connect it to.

I recommend the premium version, but whatever you want, just make sure you get this in play because you don't want your web server sending email.

Emails You Send

Your website is pre-configured to send a lot of different emails. You may not need to send all those emails. So you want to go through all of these and decide which of these should be active in which of these don't need to be active and you can go in and you can kill them and you can adjust them and all that good stuff.

Reporting

The last thing I'm going to tell you about is reporting.

Now you can go down into here and you can go into analytics and you can start looking at stuff. People do it all the time, right? But every time you click on something… Like if you click on here to say, let's go run a report, you're asking the web server that is functioning as your cart to go do something new reporting.

Go calculate data, go pull together data.

And every person I've ever seen who likes to play with reports spends time doing that. And the more you're asking your web server to be a report server, instead of being a cart server, you're going to slow down your cart customers.

That's why I recommend glew.io.

And again, this is for people who have enough data, enough orders to really care, to have the conversation in August.

And Glew pricing, starts at $79, if you're under a million dollars a year in revenue, so is well worth it on the price.

It means your web server is not doing reporting. So check out Glew. Of course, if you're on Nexcess and you're on one of our larger plans for WooCommerce hosting, we automatically tuck Glew in for you so you don't have to worry.

Anyway, those are several things to think about.

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