In this podcast I am going solo to share a look back at 2020 and how WooCommerce builders faired in the ecosystem.
Although most of us would prefer to let 2020 fade away, there were a lot of changes in the eCommerce space. Yes, they were forced, but a lot that will carry out and continue.
This episode is a mix of a couple of things:
- Earlier this year, I put out a survey for Woo builders. After a month, I had 43 responses and am taking this podcast episode to release those results.
- During last year and into the New Year, on the podcast, there were many guests reflected on how 2020 had played out for them. Although I couldn’t include them all, I pulled snippets from shows specifically around that topic from Colin Daniels, Mary Job, Chris Lema, Sharon Yates, Alex Denning, Robert Jacobi and David Lockie
The results in a nutshell
Here are the results directly from the survey.
WooCommerce Services and Products
I also asked them to list other services they offered.
- Specialized Woo hosting
- I only just discovered Woo and I’m trying to learn as much as I can.
How 2020 Played Out
Changes and Pivots in Your Biz
Impacts of 2020
Lastly, I asked those who took the survey to share any direct impacts that 2020 had on their business.
The effects of COVID-19 actually prompted me to start my business. Freelance projects in other areas declined, but I noticed new websites (especially with ecommerce) popping up. I’ve only just begun, so things are slow, but I expect 2021 to ramp up!
Slower growth than expected
Our service grew over 80% and we landed new partnerships in Woo and EDD with major players in the space, setting us up for a fantastic 2021
Lack of customers
We sell a key product that enables businesses to get paid online (with or without WooCommerce). 2020 saw a huge surge in new online membership and subscription business as well as offline businesses looking to build an online model. Being positioned close to the money was a key success factor for us. Along with this, I am inclined to believe that more individual business owners became DIYers, which is partially responsible for the growth of our paid support packages.
More people requesting free or discounted rates due to being hit hard by the pandemic.
Listen to the full podcasts
Here are the full podcasts of everyone you heard from in this week’s show.
- The WooCommerce Product Ecosystem: Product Pricing and Opportunities with Alex Denning
- Resilience with WooCommerce Products in 2020 with Colin Daniels
- A Diverse Web Career Leading to WooCommerce with Sharon Yates
- Deep Thoughts from David Lockie and Jimmy Rosén on WooCommerce and Open Source
- Outside and Inside the WooCommerce Ecosystem with Robert Jacobi
- The World of Woo and eCommerce This Year with Chris Lema from Nexcess
- A WooCommerce Journey to WooSesh with Brian Richards and Patrick Rauland
- Building WooCommerce Community and Stores in Nigeria with Mary Job
State of the Word from Matt Mullenweg
Topping it off, Matt had a few things to say about eCommerce and WooCommerce in 2020.
Second was a mega boom in eCommerce. We’ve all heard how eCommerce was pulled forward many, many years. There is an incredibly flexible eCommerce plugin for WordPress called WooCommerce.WooCommerce facilitated over $20 billion in sales so far this year. More than double the year before.You can read the full pullout from the State of the Word here.
Thanks to our Sponsors
Bob: Hey, everyone. Welcome to episode 102 of Do the Woo. This is Woo Perspective. On this particular Woo Perspective, I'm flying solo. This is not just because this is going to be only my perspective, but I'm going to take a unique approach to this podcast and we are going to look back at 2020 and how WooCommerce builders have fared in the ecosystem.
But first, I want to take a moment and thank our community sponsor, PayPal, and their pay later options. If you have clients, this might be an option that they should check into. The PayPal Checkout extension gives quite a bit of flexibility for them and for their customers. With the increase in the popularity of buy now, pay later solutions, it might just be the perfect thing to help your clients with just a bit more conversion. So, you want to check that out and you'll learn more about that later in the show.
Now, I spoke about looking back at 2020, and I know, to be fair, we all wanted to be behind us. Some of us may not even want to reflect on it, but in the WooCommerce/e-commerce space, it was, well, pretty robust. There was a lot of changes in this space. I've believed these changes are not temporary. They're going to continue on. They become part of our lives, more of a habit, more buying online. I don't think it's fading way. It's just going to keep growing because of the exposure and how many people have moved to that.
Now, I could talk about a lot of different things around this, and I'm choosing more to look at some, well, perspective from the actual WooCommerce businesses, and those are the ones that build websites using WooCommerce for clients, or if they do a product or service specifically for WooCommerce.
I'm going to mix this up a couple of ways in this podcast. Early this year, I put out a survey for Woo builders. Now, after about a month, I had 43 responses. Now, about after a month, I had 43 responses. I'd hoped to get a bit more, but I feel like there was some good information there and I wanted to share that with you on a few questions I asked these Woo builders.
And then the second part of this is during the end of last year, last few months of last year, and even into the new year on this podcast, often the question was brought up, "How is 2020 treating you? What do you think about 2020 and the Woo space?" There was quite a few of them throughout the months and months of episodes, but I wanted just to pull out a few of them and throw those snippets in to give you a more specific perspective from those individuals on 2020.
So with that said, I'd like to start out with the first one, Alex Denning from Ellipsis. They're a digital marketing agency that specializes in working with WordPress businesses and they do work with a lot of WooCommerce businesses. We asked him, as he looks at last year, what really stood out in the WooCommerce business ecosystem?
Alex: So the big thing obviously, is the pandemic. We saw a massive increase in people looking for our clients solutions around WooCommerce and that started March, April. In terms of searches, there was about a 50% increase in WordPress search terms, and a huge amount of that was driven by WooCommerce.
The searches for WooCommerce per month went up by hundreds of thousands and month on month. And also year on year, they were up a significant amount as well, so that was obviously a big thing. So people were looking to get there, but it seems like an acceleration of digital transformation. And people who had stores, which did not have a web presence rapidly wanted to get a web presence.
And we saw a very large number of people choosing WooCommerce to do that. For our clients who are selling functionality that lets both solutions that let people do things with whatever their site is set up to do, things scaled pretty nicely as you'd expect in a product business. And so that's driven a lot of growth within the ecosystem.
Bob: Next I asked him what was the level of maturity that he was seeing across the WooCommerce space?
Alex: We're not quite the wild west of a couple of years ago. Say three to five years ago, you could build pretty much any functionality driven WooCommerce extension, and either sell it through woo.com or sell it through your own site, or a third party platform. You could pretty much make anything and make a lot of sales.
It's not the case that there are loads of things that should exist which don't exist at all these days, which is what happened there. And most of the time there is existing functionality, but there's certainly to the flip side a tiny bit of maturity. But we're probably five, 10 percent of the way there.
Bob: Next up, I had Colin from FooSales and FooEvents on. Now, this was very unique because he has two products that had to adapt in 2020, which was a very interesting time. Both of them, it was just amazing that he actually has two products that were affected so much. So, the first one I asked him about was FooSales, which is a point of sales and how 2020 played out for him on that product front.
Colin: So what we've really seen materialize over this past year is obviously there have been some weird months where stores were kind of shut down throughout the world. And, you kind of wonder if life is ever going to return to normal and whether they'll ever need points-of-sale systems again, but we've seen two very distinct types of customers emerge that are starting to use Foo Sales, which is very interesting.
The first kind of group are existing WooCommerce online store owners that are looking at moving into the kind of real-world environments, physical environments, by opening up pop-up shops or selling their goods at fairs or things like that.
And, that has started to pick up again that that did go very quiet in the middle of the year, but we're starting to see a lot more people moving their online stores into physical stores. Either for promotions, for promoting their brand, or just to reach more customers, which makes a lot of sense.
So, that's really picked up and then the other interesting one are new businesses that are looking for solutions. They don't necessarily need to know about WooCommerce. They're looking at launching a new business. They might've been laid off and they've had a few business ideas and they are looking for something that can essentially allow them to sell online and also sell in person.
And, as I mentioned, we've decided to double down on integrating, doing real enterprise point-of-sale types of integrations with things like card payment systems, scanners, cash drawers, print, thermal printers. All these types of things, which we never anticipated doing. And, at the moment Foo Sales is on three platforms. We've got a web version that was also based on customer feedback. We didn't think that there would be demand for a web version and we thought people would just use their WooCommerce site.
But, a lot of stores would be running cheap, kind of, NetBooks and they want a much nicer points-of-sales experience then the back end of WooCommerce. And then we've got native apps for iPad and Android tablets.
Bob: Now, bringing in somebody that actually works with clients, Sharon Yates, who has Creative Mouse Studio, it's just a short comment here, but one of the things you probably heard a lot of people talk about was pivoting in 2020 and what that means moving forward. So, that's what we asked her in a podcast she was on.
Sharon: I think that obviously 2020 is going to be a huge reminder of people trying to pivot. A lot of people, a lot of businesses are now pivoting to put themselves into a more online selling feature than just be in a a boutique brochure. So yeah, I do see that. And of course there's a lot of people that lost their jobs that are trying to find a way to create income. Those are the people I'm hoping to reach. I can teach them how to build and help them figure out how to market themselves. I'm trying to pivot myself to capture a lot of that as well, to help people get their income back. I'm hoping to at least use my coaching for some good.
But, we've really seen the true resilience, especially, of small businesses globally. Because we have got our customers all over the world and has been so encouraging to see how they've adapted their business models.
Firstly, by starting with say a virtual... Running virtual events instead of fully canceling their physical event. But now to see them planning running different streams of virtual and physical events into the future. So yeah it's amazing how resilient, as human beings, we really are.
Bob: Next, we have David Lockie from Pragmatic. Now, last year, Pragmatic and Angry Creative merged. They decided to add in WooCommerce maintenance into their services. In fact, they pulled up pretty much in the front running of the services they offer. Interestingly enough, asking them about that, we learned that the pandemic actually played a little bit into that decision.
David: We were ready to move very quickly to what they were already doing. So I'd say that the overlap, the Venn diagram, I love Venn diagrams, what we did as businesses was pretty much 100% overlapped, but it was about the waiting. So where we (Pragmatic Agency) were kind of 80% project-based and 80% CMS-based, Angry Creative were almost the opposite. They were more like 80% WooCommerce, almost 80% retainer. And when we look at the impact of COVID and lockdown we see, "All right. If we ignore some sectors got absolutely hammered, then project losses versus retainer losses were much worse in terms of pipeline and projects being put on pause." So it was a much more fragile sort of commercial outlook. Plus WooCommerce being a sort of growth space.
Bob: And then I asked Robert Jacoby, tech analysts, somebody that's been in the open source space for a long time, most recently in the WooCommerce space, and he brought in a different perspective, more of an inside and outside the Woo ecosystem perspective on 2020.
Robert: Well, I got to say that 2020 has definitely, I think, amped up the presence of WooCommerce, just because so many people want to get online and there are so many WordPress agencies that a good go-to is Woo, but they're not necessarily fully tech-savvy on WooCommerce.
So I think there's been on the agency side, a big ramp up in just understanding the tech and how it integrates well and what are the best practices around WooCommerce, because there's a lot of stuff that goes on an e-commerce platform. It's a lot more resource-intensive on labor and costs just to get a good shop up.
And this is a discussion that goes on all the time for especially do-it-yourselfers solopreneurs is to know your client. If your client is that shop at the end of the street, they probably don't need WooCommerce for what doing, and to have that awareness and then instinctively and reflexively jump to Woo is important to know.
Even though you might want to do these projects so you can also learn and teach yourself how everything works, there's that struggle to keep that client in mind. And there are platforms for very small... If there's someone selling three things, do they really need to have a WooCommerce shop up? No, they don't. Woo is great for being an e-commerce platform, but it's not going to solve all the problems. Yes, Shopify is out there.
I mean, look at Wix. Wix is slowly growing up their ability to do a shopping and e-commerce and building and payment gateways, and trying to do a lot of these things that the other providers have done. So there's that awareness, I need to make sure I take care of the clients best.
So to answer your question from 10 minutes ago about we talked about existing people entering the market with their existing products, I think the new products, and a lot of this will happen to 2021, some of it's already happened in 2019, 2020 with the hosting companies, figuring out ways to more efficiently onboard small to medium sized businesses. So that's where do-it-yourself product or solopreneurs, where the agencies can focus on much larger e-commerce opportunities.
So we're not going to necessarily see a proprietary solution like Wix, but we're going to see Liquid Web with their WooCommerce onboarding and experiences. We're going to see other hosts. I'm sure hosting companies like Convesio and WPEngine has got to have something in the pipeline. I can't imagine they wouldn't. We can go on and on through all the hosts that are figuring out the best way to onboard at different market points people onto WooCommerce. Because it makes sense, people are going to do it. We talk about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, well, it's been Gray November.
Everyone's been shopping every day online. There is stuff that I've bought online that I'd never thought I would because I was like, "No, I cannot absolutely do that." Yes, I've been hold out for things like, "I'm never going to use Instacart or anything like that." But yeah, I guess I can actually do that.
Sometimes it's a roll of dice. You're not necessarily going to get what you might get if you were picking up something at the grocery store, but it's close enough and you make do. And I think people are finding ways to make whatever they have today as a solution, a real-world or real-life solution at least accessible somehow online.
At the end of the day, if the price points are right, everyone will have a shop because if you're spending a hundred bucks a month say on infrastructure, well, you may only need to sell two things to make up for that infrastructure. You could still have your day job, but you have your store now as well. So why not do that with your blog and maybe a mini Woo that takes care of a lot of that, of the transactional stuff?
I'm just very bullish on a lot of the e-commerce solutions and a lot of the SaaS products getting in because the cost of starting up one of these things is just so much lower, so much lower than last, a year ago and infinitely lower than 10 years ago to just get something rolling. And so many people can do it as a hobby and be successful without having to deal with eBay as their outlet and the lack of trustworthiness and off. Now, you can just set up your own shipping with SaaS shipping providers and all the taxes and all this can be SaaS-based. And it's transactional and relatively inexpensive.
Thanks to our sponsor PayPal. PayPal offers Buy Now Pay Later options that your clients can use to help increase their sales on their WooCommerce shops. They gives store customers more purchasing power through flexible and transparent choices in how and when they pay.
So offering those payment options is good business. Did you know that 64% of consumers surveyed say they are more likely to make a purchase at a retailer that offers interest-free payment options. And 56% of consumers that responded agree that they prefer to pay a purchase back in installments rather than use a credit card.
Well, this seems like a no-brainer to me. Clients can grow their sales and get paid up front with no additional risk or cost.
All you need to do is download the PayPal Checkout extension on the Marketplace at WooCommerce.com. Just head on over, click marketplace and search for the PayPal Checkout. Suggesting that to your clients will certainly open up sales opportunities for them.
Thanks for PayPal for being a community sponsor at Do the Woo. And now back the conversation.
Bob: So, let's take a break now and go over to the survey I was telling you about. I do have these results also on the post if you want to look them over. But again, it was just something that having talked to a lot of businesses last year in the e-commerce and specifically in the WooCommerce space, hearing all over the board how things were going. Well, it just was an opportunity, I think, to get a little bit of feedback from some of them out there that were willing to share this information. So, I started with asking them just a little bit about their business and what the size of their business was. So I broke it down into one less than 10, less than 25, less than 50 or 50 plus.
And the majority came in almost at 50-50 on one, a single-owned business, or less than 10. Out of the 43, three were less than 25, more than 10. And then the next one up to 50 was one. And then 50 plus was one. As far as how long they'd been in business, four of them has started in 2020, which was interesting at that. The next was 14, one through five years, and 13 of them was six through 10 years, and then about 12 of them was 11 plus years. So those last three, between the one and beyond, were averaging between 12 and 14.
Now, not to give you exact numbers, but I ask them about their services and products. So, as far as where the people who answered his survey, did they build Woo sites? I would say less than half of them, or they don't build sites at all was almost twice as many as ones that said over half of their business is building Woo sites and/or they do all WooCommerce sites. So, there was more on the lower end of that that actually participated. When I asked if they built teams, plugins or extensions, the majority said some are built specifically for Woo. Falling not too far under that was no, they don't build any of those products. And then following next was, yes, that's all they do is build products specifically for Woo. So it was a nice mix, I think, as far as not everybody was all in on Woo.
When asked what services they offer, the majority, at least I believe it was probably more than half, way more than half said support and maintenance. And then a little under half was consulting. And then it went down from training to SaaS to other services. So again, support and maintenance was a big one. Now, again, if this is reflective of the overall ecosystem, hard to say, even in that space, because I imagine that there were a lot of businesses that really cropped up and were new businesses in 2020 compared to the smaller amount that I had shared before. That was, I think, four of them that had started out of these 43.
But getting to the nitty gritty, I asked them how 2020 played out for them. Now, I put in some answers that were pretty general, but enough to give them an idea of at least reflecting on what their business was like and again, how it played out. The first one was I was lucky it was amazing. That was the highest. So out of that, there was probably a little under 50%, probably about 40% of them said it was amazing. And the next two, a bit above the previous years and steady as it goes were dead even. I believe they were nine responses each on those two. And then there was seven that said it was a bit under their expectations. Out of the 43, four of them said it really sucked.
So my next question I asked was changes and pivots in your business because as Sharon Yates said in that earlier thing, and I know a lot of people I've talked to on the podcast just in passing have said, yes, they pivoted. They maybe started focusing a little bit more on e-commerce and I think they're going to continue to do. I asked, "Did you pivot because of 2020?" Very few, very minimal amount, probably less than one or two said they totally change their offerings. On the other end of the spectrum, the most said not at all. They didn't pivot at all. And that was about close to maybe a little bit over 50%, but what fall right under that was, yes, they made a few changes in their offering. So not at all and a few changes where the two higher ones. Very few totally changed their offerings.
Lastly, I asked them just to share, this was something they could put in themselves, how 2020 really impacted their business. I got six responses on that out of the 43. They're a bit diverse so I thought I would share those with you as well.
One said, "The effects of COVID-19 actually prompted me to start my business. Freelance projects in the other areas declined, but I noticed new websites, especially with e-commerce, popping up. I've only just begun so things are slow, but I expect 2021 to ramp up." I think that is something we've heard quite a bit. There are people that are... Yeah, they're seeing that this is the direction it's going and it was a forced direction. Even though it was already growing, people have chose to start it out of the gate.
Then, somebody just put in slower growth than expected. There can be a lot of variables there. If you're doing e-commerce sites, you probably thought, "Whoa, things are really going to bump up," but that not always a case. Like I said, there's probably a lot of reasons behind that.
Another said, "Our service grew over 80% and we landed new partnerships in Woo and EDD with major players in the space, setting us up for a fantastic 2021." So again, somebody that obviously grew over 80%, that's almost double. It sounds like for that particular business, it was pretty amazing. Another said simply lack of customers. Well, I didn't quite know what to think about that one, because again, there could be a lot of reasons for that.
Somebody else said, "We sell a key product that enables businesses to get paid online with or without WooCommerce. 2020 saw a huge surge in a new online membership and subscription business, as well as offline businesses looking to build an online model. Being positioned close to the money was a key success factor for us. Along with this, I'm inclined to believe that more individual business owners became DIYers, which is partially responsible for the growth of our paid support packages."
This, I think going back up to some of the stats there, really makes sense because as far as agencies, maybe, yeah, they may have had a lot of people coming to them, but there was a lot of DIYers that were looking for these products and they were out there. And that's where I think some of these people that create extensions and plugins and other services like that really grew in 2020 and probably are continuing that growth, and that's exactly what this person had said.
This last one was really interesting, because it's going to lead into something that I'm going to put on here with Chris Lema of what he said from Nexus. That person said, "More people requesting free or discounted rates due to being hit hard by the pandemic." I think that comes by nature. I mean, a lot of these people were frantically doing this and thinking they need to take their maybe physical business and put it online. As a result, yeah, more people are requesting free or discounted rates because they are hurting. So, that really threw a lump of things, and that leads me into... Why don't we go right into this?
I asked out Chris Lema about how developers, how did they really fare through 2020 and was there any added pressures?
Chris: Yeah, we're seeing pressure in a lot of different ways, right? One pressure is, we need this up fast. We need it faster than we've ever asked before. I don't have nine months to get something up and online, right? If you're talking about a really big and complicated WooCommerce or a really big Magento store, and the agencies are like, "This is our normal process. We'll do it in six months." And so there's pressure on an agency that says, "Tell me what you can get done in one month or two months. I need this up fast." So there's that pressure.
Second pressure is, some of the folks that are asking for this stuff have fixed budgets, right? You're asking for some of the most complicated stuff at some of the most inexpensive price points. And that applies pressure to agencies as well, right? And some of the best agencies will regularly go into, "Well, let's do a phased approach. Let's get you up and do phase one, and then we'll use the revenue from phase one to put into phase two." And so there's definitely ways to manage it, but they're seeing the second pressure, which is price points, right? The first is timelines, the second is price points.
The third pressure is that... And it's not different than we've ever had. It just becomes more pronounced when those first two pressures exist. And that's when agencies are asked to do things that, frankly, they're not even sure they know how to do, because Amazon's doing it or Walmart's doing it, right? Imagine you're like, "Hey, I want to spin up an online store." "Okay, no problem. We can do that." "Well, and I want it to have inventory and track it based on both what's being sold online, but also what's being sold offline in the physical premise." You go, "Okay, that's a little hard, but we can do that." "And I also want to know what parking spot you just pulled into so that I can make sure to deliver your order to the right parking spot." And you're like, "Wait, wait, wait, wait. How do we get the parking spots?" You're like, "What? Okay, hold on." "And then I want a mobile app that will let me check in to the parking spot and give you the spot when I get there." And agencies are like, "Okay, we're going to have to think through this. This is not something we do every day."
I think agencies are feeling three different kinds of pressures. We're hearing it, we're seeing it. And of course, that doesn't stop the normal pressures like, "I want it fast. How do I make it faster?" That's an everyday dynamic.
Bob: Also, I asked Patrick Rauland from Nexus as well. We were chatting about something else on a podcast, but Patrick's been in the Woo space for a long time. He used to work as a product lead at WooCommerce. So, I just drew out the standard question to him. What was the challenges and opportunities he saw in 2020?
Patrick: Let me start with the lockdown, quarantine, mid-March--we saw a ton of people sign up. So it's kind of cool that people face this adversity and say, "Hey, you're stuck inside at home. You can't go to work unless you have a work from home job,"
And actually we had a ton of people sign up and want to create either a WordPress or WooCommerce site. That gives me a little bit of hope that people are doing cool things when they're locked down, and I want to help those people so much. We worked on a better onboarding email sequence just to make sure they have all the links they need.
I think this is a reminder that you want to have some control over finances and nurture your own little side business. I had someone message me on Facebook yesterday, and they said--I also make courses for LinkedIn Learning--and they said, "Patrick, I found your course on LinkedIn Learning.
This pandemic has made me realize how important it is to have some sort of financial independence, and I want to thank you so much." And then there was other stuff we chatted about after that, but I love WooCommerce as a vehicle for people to take agency over their life and their finances and have it be a little side hustle in addition to your main job, or have it be your full time thing if it grows that big.
That's what I really like about it and I hope more people can do. I hope more people are creative and sell tutoring, like selling guitar lessons. There's so many things you can do remotely.
The last thing I want to say, this is unrelated to WooCommerce, but I've been playing some board games online, and normally I love playing them in person, but don't normally play them online, and there have been these online leagues that have just been forming because of the quarantine. I think there's space for people to make online communities now like there hasn't been before. These board games that I've been playing online, there are giant discord servers where people are just getting on together and playing games, and I think there's still opportunity for you to create your own community and maybe monetize it some way, sell a product or help people out that are playing games or doing whatever they're doing online.
Bob: Now, one of the things with this whole pandemic COVID mess that we dealt with in 2020 is we're so fragmented around the world, but everybody was affected by it. Sometimes I think we lose sight of that a bit because you can relate to what's happening around you, but what's happening in another part of the world due to this could be a bit different.
This was really interesting to hear from Mary Job. Mary has a site called How Do You Tech and she also works full-time for Paid Membership Pros, but she does work a lot with the DIYers and business people. Yes, she works on e-commerce sites. She also is very involved with the WooCommerce community in Nigeria. It was just interesting to hear what they're dealing with and the challenges they're having.
Mary: I think last year, because when the lockdown started, we initially we thought one month, two months, everything would die down and then it stretched to a whole year and a lot of people had to move over to selling their products more online than offline. And in some physical stores who were selling online, you have to order online and then they have to deliver it. You can't come to the restaurant or to the shops to buy the item. They have to deliver to your door.
I remember that we had this client from the previous year who wanted a WooCommerce store and we were practically giving her the reason why she should get an eCommerce store because she sells very well physically. And we were the one chasing her to make sure the site is up and running.
Last year, she came to us and said "I think I still have left over money from the previous time." I'm, "no, no, no, you don't. You have to start all over again." So I think it made people realize that you have no choice. If you have a physical so you have to balance it with an online store. If you don't have a physical store, the best way to sell these days is an online store.
So definitely a lot of people are moving their businesses online, even over here. And then over here, it's more difficult because off the top of my head, I would say about 75% of the civil services, the government services are offline. Because they tried to move them online but for so many reasons, they don't want the adoption to work. But I think last year has made people realize that it's better when people process these things online than when they have to physically come to the office. That kind of open because of COVID. Because they would lose revenue from not, I mean, if I have to come to the office to process my driver's license, for instance, then you'd be losing money compared to if I could process it online and then come over to pick it up.
So a lot of people are moving around. This year people are even taking it more seriously because this year is uncertain, we don't know what is for you to happen yet this year. Everybody's on edge, let us get our online platforms ready and set to go just in case something happens and if nothing happens, well, we still have bought stores, physical and online to work with.
Bob: Lastly, we go back to Colin with FooEvents. So I said, "You heard about FooSales?" But FooEvents was another one. Hey, think about it, the big turn we made on that in 2020 and how it affected FooEvents, it was pretty unique in what they did about it.
Colin: Well, I think for us, it was interesting because within a space of two months we had our best sales month and our worst sales month, in our history. So, that was something I never thought that I would see happening.
But yeah, literally, in February, we hit our first kind of record. We've had a series of record months for Foo Events this year and got all excited. And then, by April, we had some sleepless nights and yes, one hundred percent right, Mendel. Both our products rely on in-person types of activities.
And, that's something that we've really had to adapt to. And, with Foo Events especially. we're very agile as a company. And once we saw what was happening in terms of lockdowns happening around the world, and we could see ourselves starting to drop, we made a very quick call that we needed to move into virtual events.
So, within a space of about two to three weeks, we managed to fold in Zoom integration to Foo Events. And that was, that was a really big move for us because it required, we had never really considered that. It wasn't even on our roadmap up until that point. It hadn't really even been requested that people would want to sell tickets on their own website for virtual events.
So that was, I would say one of the biggest moves we made in the early part of this year and it's worked incredibly well for us. And one of the trends now that we've seen on that front is that obviously virtual events are all the thing, and will probably be around for a long time. But, we also see in people, changing their business models. Events, organizers, conferences, actually changing their business models now where they will, in the future, be able to sell tickets off their physical events.
Instead of just capping an event, there'll be able to sell tickets for, , virtual stream at the same time. Which I think that's one thing this pandemic has taught us is the borders have definitely been dropped. So if we'll allow anyone to attend events, that aren't allowed to go... That can't make it in person.
The second part of the question was asking him about their resilience. Also, I think there was a lesson to be learned about adapting and hardening your business for the future.
Bob: Well, that's about it. Yeah. I could do find a lot more, and I'm sure everybody has as other stories out there. Yeah. It's probably depending on your story, how you're moving forward. Everybody's doing a different dance. Hopefully, everything is working out well.
One of the things I just wanted to share, and this is just another perspective from it. Over our bobwp.com, I still have quite a few affiliates on there for WooCommerce products. I did notice in 2020, the sales, the commissions I was making went up quite a bit. It went up very substantially. And that is reflective of me knowing that a lot of these businesses are doing well. I had some of the businesses in the product space talking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year, and they all had done really well, better than ever. You can listen to that episode, but that was very interesting in itself.
But then what I wanted to mention was I'd had a delivery plugin, WooCommerce delivery plugin. I'd written about it, oh, in probably about three years ago, two or three years ago. It never really brought in much affiliate income, which is neither here or there. But suddenly, out of nowhere, I think it was in March of last year, I noticed there was a couple of conversions.
And then in April, there was five conversions. And then by May, there was 13 conversions. It was like, somehow it was picked up in Google again and people were visiting it. I was getting a lot of traffic to it. Whether they decided to buy it then or later on, I cannot say for sure, but that was another piece of the puzzle. It was obvious to me that, yeah, products were growing in the WooCommerce space in 2020 and I see that continued growth.
So, that's it. Hope you enjoyed the show. It was a little bit different perspective, but yeah, it's something good to reflect on. I think, as I said in the beginning, we have a... A lot of things have changed in the e-commerce space. Unfortunately, it was not by means of something we all wanted, but I think there's a lot of growth and hope for the future in the e-commerce space as it took a pretty big leap in 2020.
So I'd like to thank our sponsor once again, our community sponsor, PayPal, and do check out the PayPal extension on the WooCommerce marketplace. And into 2021, keep Doing the Woo.
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