WordPress and Ecommerce – Wordcamp Montreal 2010 Live Blogging

In this session, web developer Justin Sainton set out to cover three areas: (1) WordPress 3.0, (2) Ecommerce Trends, and (3) the WP e-Commerce plugin. Justin has 3 years of experience developing with WordPress. Everything that follows this italicized paragraph is based on Justin’s presentation, and not my own ideas.

WordPress 3.0

Justin started out with an overview of WordPress 3.0, and what advantages and opportunities it offers publishers. Essentially, there are many new features and functions that can help publishers integrate ecommerce into their WordPress site.

For starters, the default username after you install it is no longer “admin”. Rather, you can select your default admin username. This gives it added security because it’s harder for hackers to guess your admin username.

Another benefit is that the default theme, 2010, is a very strong parent theme — meaning that publishers can build better “child themes” off of WordPress 3.0 right out of the box. WordPress 3.0 also offers a lot of custom post types and taxonomies that give publishers more flexibility in creating custom front-end user-experiences.

Ecommerce Trends & Improving Conversion Rates

This part of Justin’s explored ecommerce data, analysis, statistics and making money with WordPress sites.  Specifically, he focused on conversion rates, and addressed how, on average, 80 percent of traffic on most sites are new users, and new users are the hardest to convert.

One of the things that improves conversion rates is if users can easily return products. So a return policy is something that any ecommerce site should have.

Another conversion improvement method is product search. Forty percent of users coming to ecommerce sites are looking to search. So ecommerce sites should offer an easily accessible product search.

Product recommendations or cross selling are another way to improve conversions. Amazon does a great job of this — e.g. XX percent of people who bought this also bought that.

Most online consumers also like to see some kind of security logo. So such a logo should be prominent through the shopping and check-out process.

And don’t forget SEO. 20-25 percent of Google searches are new search queries. So don’t assume that the market is too competitive or too saturated. Chances are you’ll be able to attract targeted new users on a variety of long-tail search terms.

Also, a toll free number helps increase conversions. It reassures users that they can reach someone for assistance if they need it.

Finally, requiring pre-registration will deter 40 percent of user from completing the check-out process. So allow the user to fill out a shopping cart and proceed to check-out without having to set-up a profile with you.

Similarly, almost half of users will abandon the check-out process if the page takes more than 2 seconds to load. To address load times, Justin recommends using either the W3 Cache and WP Super Cache plugin.

Essentially, there are 3 keys to improving conversions, and they come down to testing:

  • Analyze: Dive into your analytics, and determine where the bottlenecks are.
  • Modify: Once you identify your bottlenecks, try changing stuff. For instance, if you’re losing most users at the check-out page, try adding a security logo, reducing the check-out steps, or even adding bigger product pictures (might reassure users that they’re getting what they’re paying for).
  • Evaluate: Now, once you’ve made some changes, keep monitoring the funnel. Conduct A/B testing and determine what kinds of changes are driving conversions and which ones are not.

WordPress Ecommerce Plugin

Justin recommends use the WP e-Commerce Plugin. Although the plugin has had some issues in the past, version 3.8 (not yet released) is said to address many of these bugs. In the meantime, the latest branches of 3.7 are said to be very stable.

For starters, the admin and user-interface are completely new. The tax system is also more customizable so that merchants can manage different kinds of tax rates in different regions.

Version 3.8 will also offers advanced control over search, cross-sales, and social media sharing. And on the data side, it will offer analytics on conversion funnel trends, such as shopping cart and profile abandonment rates.

About CT Moore

A former Staff Editor here at Revenews.com, CT Moore is a recovering agency hack with over a decade experience leveraging search, social media, and content marketing to help brands meet their business goals online. He currently provides digital strategy consulting to start-ups, SMBs, enterprise level companies through his consultancy Socialed Inc.. CT is also an accomplished blogger and speaker who educates groups and companies on how they can better leverage different online channels.

6 Responses to WordPress and Ecommerce – Wordcamp Montreal 2010 Live Blogging

  1. Thanks for the write-up! Will be releasing stats with full sources, presentation, etc. shortly!

  2. guest says:

    Umm.. your write-up was more useful than the presentation itself

  3. […] WordPress and Ecommerce by Justin Sainton […]

  4. Great summary with lots of useful tips for store owners.