11 WooCommerce Issues & Missing Features That Hurt Sales


hand drawn face of Kris Planeta

Overall WooCommerce is a great store CMS with great flexibility and performance. It is not perfect, though, and some of its flaws hurt conversions and overall store performance. Here is my list of 11 WooCommerce issues and missing features that hurt your sales.

Let’s see what we’ve got (with no particular order).

  1. Annoying notifications in checkout
  2. Page blocking Javascript error notifications on product pages
  3. Non-sequential order IDs
  4. Variable product “out of stock” bug
  5. Poor email management
  6. No product images in checkout and grouped product page
  7. No variants for grouped products
  8. Registration spam
  9. Unreliable email deliverability
  10. Terribly basic customer management
  11. No good option for product sorting

Annying notifications in checkout

Some argue that checkout is the most important page in a store and needs to be perfect to close the sale. In order to do that it:

  1. Cannot annoy visitors
  2. Needs to make ordering process as quick and painless as possible
  3. Mustn’t make visitors look for things

Unfortunately, checkout error notifications fail in all 3 areas by presenting all errors on top of the page in a single block.

WooCommerce checkout notification block with multiple errors (WooCommerce default Storefront theme)

If you don’t think it is a real issue, than imagine yourself a customer who sees notifications like that and has to look for fields that they correspond to.

And what would you do after having seen text “Please read and accept the terms and conditions to proceed with your order”.

Would you look for a checkbox to agree to these terms?

Required checkbox in WooCommerce checkout

How to fix it?

Fixing this issue requires adding a few lines of script to functions.php of your child theme. Alternatively you can create a simple plugin only with this script. Here’s a link to what needs to be done.

Page blocking Javascript error notifications on product pages

Javascript error notifications show up when a visitor clicks an “add to cart” button but:

  1. forgets to choose all required variants
  2. the chosen product quantity is not in stock

And in case you wondered, they look like that.

JavaScript product alert notification in WooCommerce

Can you see it?

It is at the top of the image.

As you can see they are easy to miss.

However, their visibility is not the biggest issue here.

The thing is that when they are up, nothing in the page can be clicked!

Since it is a JavaScript alert box, it cannot be styled and its position cannot be changed.

How to fix it?

You need to have custom code written. So far there are is plugin to fix it.

Non-sequential order id numbers

As surprising as it may be, order numbers in WooCommerce are not sequential (after order #200 you may get #312).

This may not seem like much of a problem, but can be a real pain when you:

  1. need to manage multiple orders
  2. keep track of orders and customers in a CRM
  3. want to keep easy to follow records of sales

How to fix it

Fortunately, there are a number of free plugins that can easily add consecutive order numbers to your WooCommerce store.

The one I use most often is WooCommerce Booster, which also provides a ton of other useful features, like generating invoices, or ability to add custom order statuses.

If you don’t need all those extra features, then you might go with a lightweight, single-purpose solution like Sequential Order number for WooCommerce (but I haven’t tested it, so I can’t vouch for it).

Variable product “out of stock” bug

There is an age old bug in WooCommerce that displays variable products as out-of-stock even though their stock quantity is above zero.

So far I’ve encountered this problem about 3 or 4 times on different stores that I worked on.

There is also a pretty popular topic in WooCommerce support forum in which many more people seem to be having it.

There seem to be many causes of this behavior and many solutions to it.

Poor email management

Let’s be frank. Emails sent by WooCommerce suck. In many areas in fact:

  • their content cannot be easily modified
  • the number of styling options is severely limited
  • they lack conversion-boosting elements like coupons for customers who ordered a product, cross-selling and upselling features, etc.
  • there is no place where a order tracking number can be inserted
  • there is no simple way to add extra emails
  • and many more

Just to illustrate one of these issues here’s what a default email message that WooCommerce sends to customers looks like.

Image from Jilt

100% purpose oriented – 0% style if you ask me.

How to fix it?

There are 2 ways you can improve emails you send to customers.

  1. Using a plugin like Visual Email Customizer (this is in fact my favorite one)
  2. Using an email-sending service – but I don’t know any good one that handles them without problems. The ones I know about are MailChimp (I don’t recommend it), Jilt (I haven’t tried it) and Klaviyo (I don’t recommend it either)

No product images in checkout and grouped product page

WooCommerce doesn’t show product images in 2 important places:

On grouped product pages:

Grouped product with no images of included items

And in checkout

WooCommerce checkout without images

In both these places, images are really important missing elements.

Without them, people don’t know what they are buying and are more likely to leave.

How to fix it?

Some WooCommerce-oriented themes include images in both of these pages. If yours doesn’t than your developer will have to modify its files.

Fortunately, it is really simple.

No variants for grouped products

In WooCommerce grouped products can be made with single products only.

This makes tjem almost unusable for creating product sets.

How to fix it?

In the documentation of WooCommerce, there’s an article that describes differences between WC product types – default ones and available through plugins.

But there’s a catch.

All the plugins mentioned in the article are premium ones (and pretty pricey if you ask me) available through their official store. But there are more options out there.

I won’t give you alternatives, though, since I have no experience with them 🙁

Registration spam

Registration spam is not very common but if it hits you, then you will soon see thousands of extra subscribers to your store – with no orders. And this is a problem because:

  1. If your store is set up to subscribe all new users to a mailing list, you will soon have thousands of phony subscribers on your lists. This will have you pay more for email marketing and will drastically increase the number of undelivered emails in your campaign. In some situations it can lead to having you marked as a spammer.
  2. If your store is connected to a CRM or help desk software you may find your leads & customers data drastically pumped up. This will skew your reports and have you pay more for these services (if they charge you by the number of contacts).

How to fix it?

If your store has already been struck with spammy users, you will have to remove them. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Install AMR Users plugin
  2. Create a custom user table where you display their addresses
  3. Remove all users without an address

To prevent spam registrations, you can use, for example, this plugin.

Unreliable email deliverability

Sometimes your customers may not get order confirmations. Sometimes, they will not receive order status updates or will be unable to login because the password recovery email never got to their account – even to spam folder.

If this is something you deal with than you have a problem with email deliverability. In most cases it is caused by:

  • shared hosting with shared IP addresses
  • sender’s domain which is unknown to email inboxes

How to fix it?

You can easily solve this problem with using a custom SMTP provider that will be sending these emails for you. I particularly like Send in Blue service since:

  • it’s free for up to 300 emails a day
  • it gives you stats showing you not only how many people received your emails but also whether they opened it, clicked inside links etc.
  • it’s setup is really easy.
Send in Blue reports screen

To set it up:

  1. Register to their service
  2. Download their plugin (many features) or use this simple plugin if you need only SMTP relay
  3. Configure it
  4. And you are done 🙂

Terribly basic customer management

Not many people think about it, but WooCommerce – the leading eCommerce CMS on this planet – has no real customer management functionality.

The only place where you can look up what people purchased is by searchin them in the list of orders. And this is not the right place to do customer management.

WooCommerce’s list of orders screen

Proper customer management function would allow you to

  1. view what products customers purchased in your store
  2. learn who are your “whales”
  3. learn what their buying trends are
  4. use this information in customer service to increase the number of repeat buyers
  5. use this info by your sales and marketing divisions to increase the number of new customers

Unfortunately, it seems that WooCommerce dev team is not going to do anything about it. Their WooCommerce Admin plugin does only lists customers – when you click them, you will be redirected to user profile screen, with no data you can use.

WooCommerce Admin – list of customers linking to user profiles

How to fix it?

You have 2 real options:

  1. Use an off-site plugin like Metorik (I’ve tested it and it’s great) or Metrilo (I haven’t tested it) to import all necessary data and (among other things) use it for customer management.
  2. Use a plugin like Users Insights (I haven’t tried it)

No good option for product sorting

When it comes to sorting products (on category pages) in WooCommerce there is no trully good option to go with.

You can sort:

  • manually
  • by sales
  • by rating
  • by price
  • and by date

Sorting products manually is too time consuming plus you cannot do it per category.

Sorting by name or price is not really good for conversion rates and customers’ product discovery.

Sorting products by rating or popularity seem like the best choices of all these, however they have one, big flaw. They push new products to the very end of the list. Not surprisingly.

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found any plugin that fixes it. Hmm… maybe I will do it myself one day.

Did I forget about anything?

If you think that there’s something in my list ,please share it in the comments section below 🙂

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