10 of the Best Woocommerce Plugins Over the Years

WooCommerce is one of the leading platforms for ecommerce stores that use WordPress. If you know how to leverage their extensions, you can create a comprehensive, automated order fulfillment process.

WooCommerce is just the platform for building your store. You need extensions to automate shipping and sales tax services, among other things, and the best WooCommerce plugins can help you streamline your inventory and improve your customer’s experience.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms for online businesses built on WordPress. If you want a solution that you can customize, WooCommerce offers several features to create the perfect ecommerce store. The top features are:

  • Open-source platform: WooCommerce is a modular open-source platform. That means you can customize every aspect of your store to build a truly unique ecommerce store. You also have complete control over how many customers, users, and the orders you want.
  • WordPress security: as a leading content management system, WordPress powers over 34% of the websites on the internet, and it’s routinely audited by a third-party industry leader, Sucuri. That means your WooCommerce store has a foundation of trust.
  • Plugin integration: the open-source nature of WooCommerce makes it a powerful platform for businesses that want to integrate their ecommerce store with other product and marketing solutions. Plugins, or extensions, are an integral part of customizing WooCommerce.

While WooCommerce was made for developers, it’s a practical solution for many small businesses that don’t have a full development team.

Note: Plugins and extensions are interchangeable in this blog. WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, but the additional functionality of the plugin is through extensions.

How do the best WooCommerce plugins and extensions work?

WooCommerce plugins and extensions offer the easiest solution for building a custom ecommerce store. In most cases, they’re relatively easy to incorporate into your online shop.

You can take advantage of WooCommerce extensions by following these three simple steps:

  • Install the extension: You’ll do this from your WordPress Admin tool by navigating to the WooCommerce integrations and choosing the extension you want to install.
  • Log in or create an account: If you don’t already have an account with the extension you’re installing, create an account to have access to all of the right features.
  • Activate any services: At this point, you can set up any services or workflow integrations within WordPress and have access to the data in one place.

Depending on the level of service you choose, you might have access to additional support options to help you install and set up your extensions.

The 10 best WooCommerce plugins and extensions from the last five years

With hundreds of extensions to choose from, choosing the right extensions for your ecommerce store can be extremely time consuming. Take a look at the 10 best WooCommerce plugins from the last five years:

1. LiveChat

Communicating with your customers is a crucial part of a solid customer experience—44% of ecommerce customers say that one of the best features an online store can have is live chat to answer any questions. Specifically, 63% of millennials prefer to live chat for basic customer service questions.

Live chat can improve customer experience and boost customer confidence.

Source: LiveChat

LiveChat has tools that allow you to transfer and archive chats, as well as share files and receive chat ratings. It also features chat buttons, the ability to route chats, and both chat history and transcripts so you can optimize your customer service strategy.

2. Shippo

If your ecommerce store sells physical products, shipping is an inevitable curveball in your order fulfillment process. Shippo gives you access to more than 15 shipping carriers, including Canada Post, DHL, FedEx, UPS, and USPS. You can even get a 60% discount on DHL and USPS shipping rates.

 The right shipping options can make a significant difference for ecommerce customers.

Source: Statista

Why is it so important to have these options? Customer satisfaction. Average consumer satisfaction with shipping companies in the U.S. was 78% in 2019. FedEx and UPS are slightly higher than average at 79%. The more options you give your customers, the happier they’ll be.

3. Sticky Cart for WooCommerce

Cart abandonment is a serious issue. In the first six months of 2019, retail ecommerce stores saw an average cart abandonment rate of 84.24%. With numbers like that, you need to do everything you can to optimize your online store. Preventing cart abandonment is the first strategy.

There are many reasons people abandon carts, but there are ways to prevent that.

Source: FitSmallBusiness

One of the best WooCommerce plugins from 2019 is Sticky Cart. This is a “Smart Cart Feature” that adds a highlight bar to every page of your website with the cart total, a link to add to cart if on a product page, and a link to view cart. Sticky Cart saves the information for returning visitors as well.

4. WooCommerce Social Login

You should always allow your customers to checkout as guests when available. That said, encouraging account creation is a great way to collect customer data and leverage that in the future. WooCommerce Social Login lets your customers create an account from different social media platforms.

Social login makes it easy for your customers to create a new account.

Source: WooCommerce

Almost 80% of ecommerce customers prefer using social login to create accounts and checkout, primarily for security reasons. Nine in ten people are familiar with social login and over 50% of them already use it. This is also a great customer retention strategy.

5. Campaign Monitor | CM Commerce

Email automation is an important tool, with B2C marketers seeing conversion rates that are as high as 50%. Leveraging marketing automation can increase email open rates by an average of 70.5% and click rates by 152%. This makes it one of the most effective tools to boost email performance metrics.

Email automation offers a lucrative marketing opportunity for e-commerce stores.

Source: Campaign Monitor

CM Commerce by Campaign Monitor offers a comprehensive set of automation features, like abandoned cart emails, custom receipts, product reviews, and email newsletters. You can use your data to create customer profiles and target your customers more effectively.

6. FooSales

WooCommerce is an effective solution for ecommerce stores, but what if you need to expand your sales? FooSales turns your web browser into a secure POS system that manages your inventory, customer information, and sales data. This is a practical extension for events and pop-up shops.

Pop-up shops are a widespread trend that drives growth.

Source: Statista

Pop-up shops are a unique trend for ecommerce retailers. Almost 75% of shoppers prefer to purchase certain things in store, like clothing, furniture, and beauty products. Pop-ups allow ecommerce stores to offer physical locations at a fraction of the cost of setting up a store.

7. Pinterest for WooCommerce

Optimizing your campaigns for mobile behavior is a critical digital marketing strategy. If you want to see mobile engagement, Pinterest is the leading social media platform and 50% of Pinterest users will make a purchase after they see a promoted Pin. That makes it a lucrative marketing tool.

Pinterest is one of the best tools to engage your customers.

Source: WooCommerce

With the Pinterest for WooCommerce extension, you can upload your entire inventory to Pinterest and add any new products to your Pinterest boards automatically. Your Pins will have links back to your website and you can manage them all in the same place.

8. WooCommerce Zapier

Zapier is an excellent resource for ecommerce stores that want to integrate multiple cloud services. With the WooCommerce extension, you can set up a complete order fulfillment process that includes both frontend and backend procedures. It also supports other WooCommerce plugins.

 Connecting a number of cloud services can make your processes more efficient.

Source: Zapier

The WooCommerce Zapier app enables omnichannel marketing automation, which can increase your purchase and customer engagement rates by 250% over single-channel marketing solutions. This additionally encourages customer retention rates that are 90% higher.

9. WooCommerce AvaTax

Ecommerce stores have a particularly tricky sales tax situation. Avalara’s tools can reduce the time you spend managing sales tax by 58%, help you avoid overpaying sales and use tax 90% more often, and allow you to pass audits without incurring a penalty 50% more often than without automation.

Reduce filing errors and compliance issues with the right sales tax tools.

Source: Avalara

The WooCommerce AvaTax extension ensures you’re collecting the appropriate amount of sales tax based on your and your customers’ locations. It also lets you stay on top of the more than 400,000 tax changes that can happen each year. You’ll have access to reports that make filing simple.

10. Affiliate for WooCommerce

Affiliate for WooCommerce lets you approve commissions and give your affiliates the tools they need to refer people to your business. “Influencers” are a great example of ecommerce affiliates. Clothing retailers, outdoor gear companies, and even online pet stores use influencers to advertise.

Use micro-influencers to boost your affiliate marketing campaigns.

Source: FitSmallBusiness

Affiliate marketing, or using influencers, isn’t just for companies with a large following. Micro-influencers produce campaigns that are 6.7 times more efficient than influencers who have a significant fan base. They also deliver engagement rates that are 60% higher.

Wrap up

WooCommerce is more than just an ecommerce platform if you use the right extensions. The best WooCommerce plugins are practical solutions to common problems with online stores.

The right WooCommerce extensions can:

  • Create an efficient order fulfillment process
  • Develop an automated omnichannel marketing campaign
  • Tighten your backend processes and procedures.

With a little bit of research, you can put together a comprehensive ecommerce solution that’s both efficient and user-friendly.

Looking for an email marketing tool for your ecommerce store? CM Commerce has the features you need to develop an automated email campaign that boosts revenue.

The post 10 of the Best Woocommerce Plugins Over the Years appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

How Email Automation Can Support A Seamless Cross-Channel Customer Journey

This is a guest post from Megan Wright at Chamber of Commerce.

More and more organizations are competing on customer experience. In fact, it’s estimated that, by next year, customer experience will overtake price and quality as the key brand differentiator.

This change has lead marketing teams and customer service teams to drill into how customers are engaging with their brand.

It’s no longer just enough to provide a great product at a great value. Customers are now demanding a great experience as well.

So, how can a business create a great customer experience? It starts with building a purposeful customer journey. A customer journey is the experience that you want your customer to have, from first interaction through post-purchase.

The ideal customer journey creates excitement, answers questions, and provides value at every interaction. By creating a wonderful customer journey, you can create a long-term relationship with your customers and increase their lifetime value.

While the concept of offering a great journey seems simple, actually building that journey across multiple channels, can be challenging.

Previously, it might’ve required tons of marketing time spent creating individual emails. Or it could’ve taken a huge customer care staff to tend to each individual. Fortunately, the rise of automation has made building a powerful customer journey much easier.

Using email automation, organizations can better serve the customer with personalized, helpful information based on each individual’s behavior.

Additionally, because email offers so many metrics around engagement, teams can leverage this data to improve efforts over time.

How automation can improve customer experience

Gone are the days where customers will happily sit on hold and be transferred to different agents before finally reaching the right person.

One of the simplest and most impactful ways automation can improve the customer experience is by answering inquiries faster.

Automated email responses

No longer will customers wait days or weeks for an email response. In fact, recent studies suggest that customers expect an email response within six hours—if not even sooner.

Fortunately, email automation can help your CX teams answer immediately, even if they aren’t available.

This automated email provides other ways to reach help and a call to action to check out the new course. This is an organic part of the email customer journey.

Source

This automated email provides other ways to reach help and a call to action to check out the new course.

By dynamically sending a response as soon as a customer emails in, you give them a notification that the message has been received and the assurance that they’ll be responded to quickly.

It’s also a best practice to provide something of value or a link for more information while they wait for your response.

Chatbots

The Chatbot market has exploded over the past few years, and for good reason. These AI-powered tools help guide customers through the customer journey effortlessly, while reducing the total time needed for a customer service rep to handle mundane inquires.

In fact, a recent study conducted by Juniper Research showed that Chatbots are expected to save businesses $8 billion annually by 2022.

Not only are Chatbots saving business money but customers actually like the instant interaction. These chatbots show how automation can be a natural part of the Providing helpful information at the right time strengthens the email customer journey.

Source: SEM Rush

Not only are Chatbots saving business money but customers actually like the instant interaction without having to wait through a phone tree or for someone to respond to an email. When customers get answers fast, it improves the overall customer satisfaction rating (CSAT).

Leveraging Chatbots saves time so customer care agents can then spend time building relationships with customers and dealing with more complex customer issues.

A unified experience

Another important aspect of a great customer journey is that it’s always consistent. Whether a customer is talking to the marketing team, the sales team, or customer care, they should always have the same experience and receive the same answers.

While call scripts and process flows can help a customer service teams manage inquiries the same way, it can be harder to instill a consistent experience across teams.

Fortunately, automation can help teams create a cohesive experience. Whether the customer contacts the business via call, chat, text, or social media inquiry, automation can ensure anyone can handle customer inquiries on any channel.

Today’s top businesses do this by leveraging SCV systems, or Single Customer View systems. An SCV brings all the customer data, knowledge bases, and channel inquiries into a solidified dashboard.

It acts as a central hub for all customer interactions and one-click access to solutions for agents.

These solutions usually integrate disparate systems like Campaign Monitor marketing automation along with communication tools like Chatbots to create a cohesive system for sharing information.

It also tracks customer behavior such as purchase history, site activity, prior calls, and contacts. It paints a highly detailed picture of the customer and can help agents, and any other team members, better anticipate questions and provide more personalized service.

Customers are starting to demand this cross-channel level of customer experience. Thirty-five percent of customers expect to be able to connect with the same agent on any channel and an SCV ensures this can happen.

Automation can fuel the process. Not only can it help streamline and direct interactions, but it can also be used as an effective marketing tool to build customer loyalty and improve customer satisfaction.

You can create specific email flows for different customers based on data you already have about them. For example, Chatbooks is a service that creates photo books from photos you took with your phone.

If a customer is on live chat with a customer service representative and mentions that their baby’s first birthday is coming up, the rep can make a note in their CRM.

Chatbook can then send an offer before their baby’s first birthday to create a highly personalized marketing message.

Chatbooks example

See the Chatbooks customer story here.

Provide helpful information

Providing helpful information at the right time strengthens the customer journey. One way to provide value is through automated trigger emails.

Trigger emails are automatic emails that are sent based off a user’s behavior. This behavior can be visiting a specific landing page, opening a previous email, or even not logging into the software or dashboard.

If you know these behaviors traditionally lead to questions or actions, trigger emails can be helpful to guide the customer to the next step.

A great example of this is right after a new subscriber signs up. Once a new customer signs up for your service, they should automatically go through an onboarding flow. To ensure no step is forgotten, automate the emails.

Once they sign up, send a welcome email with their credentials to log in to the platform or an introductory offer to entice them to make a purchase. Then, send an email that explains what they can expect next.

These emails show you’re excited and keep the process moving, without depending on a single person to send the emails.

Buzzfeed email example

See how Buzzfeed uses email.

Another example of helpful emails that improve the customer experience and your bottom line are abandoned cart emails. Abandoned cart emails can be automatically sent to customers that put an item into their cart and then never checkout.

A missed checkout doesn’t necessarily mean they’re uninterested. In most cases, it means the customer isn’t quite ready to buy or got distracted.

Clearly, this individual is interested, and an abandoned cart email may help them complete their checkout.

Use similar products in your next email or an exclusive offer, if they buy now, to entice the purchase. This too can be helpful during the checkout, as it prevents the user from having to search on their own or forgetting a key piece to their purchase.

The key to either email is to present the information as helpful and not to send too many emails. Just one reminder should be enough.

Birchbox email example

See the Birchbox customer story here.

Bringing it all together

OMI, cross-channel experiences are the new norm for both B2B and B2C businesses. Requests, orders, and questions come from websites, social media, phone, email, text, and in-store visits.

Ninety-eight percent of consumers switch between devices every day. Consumers with multiple devices switch between screen an average of three times a day.

It’s not just devices, either. Eighty-six percent of consumers report “channel hopping” across multiple channels. This means customers might text you on their mobile phone, email you from their desktop, and follow up with a phone call on the same issue.

Organizing teams by platform forces the customer to start over every time they interact. The right software solutions and automation can avoid this.

Automation software and omnichannel teams can avoid the biggest customer complaints of long wait times, inconsistent information, and non-personalized help.

SCV solutions can create a unified database that works across agents and channels. Customers no longer have to repeat themselves. Knowledge bases and training can help make sure agents have the information they need on hand.

Wrap up

Companies that figure out how to offer omnichannel customer care via automation see large gains.

Aberdeen Group’s research shows that companies providing superior omnichannel customer engagement outperform competitors by an average of 9.5%, when it comes to annual revenue.

That’s three times the return over poor performers. While it may take time to set up correctly, automation can create a powerful customer experience that creates a better, more valuable customer.


Megan Wright is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. As a small business expert, Megan specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips, and reliable resources, as well as providing small business advice.

The post How Email Automation Can Support A Seamless Cross-Channel Customer Journey appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

Amplify Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy With Audience Data

Why do you need ready-to-go ecommerce workflows in your email marketing toolbox?

The main reason is this: Small businesses, startups, and nonprofits must perform a balancing act between efficiency and never sacrificing functional depth at any point in the subscriber’s journey, whether messaging a customer, member, or donor.

The right tools make marketing and advocating for others easier—and they increase the likelihood of prospects buying or donating since people will see themselves reflected in your brand or cause.

Relevancy plays a powerful role in making conversions. More than 90% of consumers say they’re more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations, Accenture Interactive finds.

Another reason to lean into smart ecommerce tools is for the help they provide people just beginning their ecommerce and email marketing efforts. You’re busy and you might not be a digital marketing expert—at least, not yet.

Shopify puts the value of automation in context:

“In any organization, there are hundreds if not thousands of small tasks that take between two and five minutes to execute. Individually, they never appear to be a significant time-waster. Together, however, they devour productivity and stunt growth. Automation simplifies these tasks, drives efficiency, and allows you to experiment.”

Whether you’re launching new products, managing finances, tracking inventory and courting suppliers, or you’re meeting with nongovernmental organizations, hiring developers, and planning charity events, your time is understandably tight.

But there’s a third reason to invest in the right tools for your small business.

Buyers and donors have their own set of expectations that can’t be ignored. Today, your customers and donors want to talk to your organization. You must listen to and heed your target audience. They want you to reflect the trust they put in causes and brands. When that happens, they become your advocates across the digital landscape and in social channels.

This landscape continues to intensify as the spending demographic shifts. Here’s an interesting statistic: Gen Z spends two to three times more on shopping through social channels than the average consumer, according to the “2018 Omnichannel Buying Report” from BigCommerce.

Gartner ecommerce analysts predict that by 2023, the majority of organizations using artificial intelligence in their digital commerce will achieve at least a 25% improvement in customer satisfaction, revenue, or cost reduction.

If you’re up to date on the best practices in digital marketing, you know you need the right data and tools to automatically pull information and engage and convert buyers or donors wherever they enter your ecosystem: through product reviews and giving campaigns on social channels, on landing pages, in carts, and through newsletters.

But what do you need in an ecommerce marketing tool and why? Here are six ways you’ll want to use these tools today and why these capabilities matter in helping your organization with growth, revenue recovery, and conversion.

1. Leverage customer feedback in marketing communication.

Your product or social cause isn’t always going to be enough on its own.

Additionally, donors and consumers—who want to be found on the channels they use—share and interact with brands through email, social media, and mobile experiences. The most trusted brands and social causes pay close attention to personalization and social proof, and they leverage it.

Here’s an example from Revolution Tea that wraps testimonials and survey data into an email to help further validate its products and service.

Revolution Product Review Example

Source: Really Good Emails

2. Combine message personalization with audience segmentation.

Ultimately, a human makes the decision to buy from or give to you. Customers who are fully engaged represent a 23% higher share of profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared with the average customer, according to Gallup research.

The right ecommerce marketing tools pay attention to and segment communication efforts based on these human preferences and buying and giving habits.

Here’s a tactic that uses both personalization and segmenting based on location. Use information collected from your ecommerce platform to personalize your email campaigns. For example, WooCommerce might tell you which subscribers live in a certain geographic area based on billing addresses. You can then use this information to send emails tailored to a subscriber’s physical location, which is useful if you’re promoting an event in a particular city.

Here’s another example: Use people’s names or special occasions to personalize your emails, as the Whale and Dolphin Conservation wildlife charity does on donor birthdays.

WDC celebrate special day learn how

The data is clear: Being as human as possible works. Per Monetate, 86% of companies getting high return on investment online reported that personalization made up at least 21% of their marketing budgets.

Our own research finds emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Likewise, marketers note a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns.

3. Integrate the right ecommerce stack.

Automated functions depend on advanced data intelligence. Businesses will want tools that can capture customer information, interpret events, and then automate decisions based on that data.

Tools that automatically integrate with your ecommerce platform are essential. You’re not going to burn more developer hours on back-end integration with shopping platforms. You’re just not set up for it (nor should you have to be).

Advanced segmentation that welcomes new signups, captures product reviews from customers or donors, and can use those reviews in multiple mediums will help save time and ensure consistency. That ecommerce marketing stack should also be able to send reminders to people who abandoned their carts, upsell with personalized receipts, and target customers or donors based on their preferences and behavior.

CM Commerce leverages all of your customers’ purchase, demographic, preference, and engagement data. We seamlessly connect with your Shopify, WooCommerce, or BigCommerce platform.

4. Optimize your time and your value to customers on day 1.

The sooner you’re generating revenue or inching closer to donor targets, the sooner you can scale and make an impact on your bottom line or your cause.

You might need an email-centric ecommerce tool that works right away—that can take your store’s URL and start immediately pulling the most relevant customer data.

But remember, you’re not the only one with time constraints. Your customers’ time and experiences matter, too.

It’s a fact of ecommerce today: Cart abandonment happens often. If your account setup, checkout flow, and shopping cart take longer than customers expect, they’ll abandon their orders.

People are easily distracted or disappointed when a digital process feels like it could (or should) be faster. According to a Baymard Institute study, 69.57% is the average rate of ecommerce cart abandonment. It’s even higher for mobile consumers, at 85.6%. The same study finds customers want an ideal checkout flow of 12 to 14 steps, yet the average storefront flow has 23.48 steps.

5. Humanize ecommerce with product reviews from your customers.

All customers and prospects expect validation from reviews and positive social sentiment. They look to other real people.

Even with a personal voice in your approach, your customers and donors will seek independent validation from others. Sentiment matters. There is no better marketing than word-of-mouth, user-generated buzz, and positive customer testimonials.

And it goes further than your efforts on your website, email marketing, digital ads, and search and SEO efforts. Social proof makes it easier to validate sentiment and tie it to your sales.

“The basic examples of social proof can be found in users leaving reviews, comments, recommendations, or social sharing,” notes the Search Engine Journal. “This form of user-generated content and its demonstrated ability to create social proof can lead to higher conversion rates, and thus sales.”

Across industries, the average uplift in conversion rates between customers who view content created by other buyers and those who do not is a whopping 161%. It’s even higher for apparel (207%), health and beauty (203%), and food and beverage (203%), according to Search Engine Journal.

CM Commerce provides a unique set of options to turn happy customers into the best form of advertising. A few simple steps make it easy for brands to immediately capture customer feedback, solicit reviews for recent purchases, and feature that social proof on the brand’s website to accelerate additional purchases.

Don’t sleep on social proof. Leverage it as important data that can be reused and personalized. After all, ads with customer-generated product reviews have a click-through rate four times higher than those without.

6. Create and foster loyalty by building trust.

Go beyond surface-level information when you collect data from your customers and donors. Find ways to ask about their hobbies, food choices, personal life, or habits.

Did they just have a baby? How often do they use a particular app? There are so many ways to create targeted emails and further your efforts.

For example, check out this newsletter from Grammarly.

Source: Really Good Emails

Grammarly collected data on a customer’s typing habits and corrections that were made with the free version of its software. The company went above and beyond to share personal statistics about productivity and accuracy.

The number in the “advanced mistakes not corrected” section may sway the customer to buy the premium package offered with the discount. This newsletter could result in both a win for the customer (problem solved) and a win for Grammarly (sale made).

Wrap up

You never need to sacrifice functional depth at any point in your target’s journey or waste time on getting your ecommerce email marketing set up and working with your shopping platform.

Look to these tactics for help:

  • Embrace the feedback loop with your customers and donors.
  • Personalize your messaging and marketing tactics with segmentation.
  • Integrate the right ecommerce stack.
  • Optimize your time on day 1.
  • Humanize ecommerce and leverage the reviews from your customers.
  • Foster loyalty—and build trust in your brand during every experience.

From welcome emails to re-engagement campaigns and beyond, we seamlessly integrate with your ecommerce platforms—Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce—so you’ll have all the features you need to exceed your goals.

CM Commerce features:

  • Pre-made conversion campaigns to recover revenue from abandoned carts
  • Follow-up segmented and personalized emails for cross-selling
  • Product reviews that spotlight your happy customers and build trust (and sales)
  • Automated feedback to increase repeat revenue
  • Ready-to-go templates or custom versions, coupons, and rewards with your branding

Try CM Commerce today for free.

The post Amplify Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy With Audience Data appeared first on Campaign Monitor.