Insights from the WooCommerce Roundtable

Do the Woo - A Podcast for WooCommerce Builders
Do the Woo - A Podcast for WooCommerce Builders
Insights from the WooCommerce Roundtable

This is the first episode of the roundtable that is paving the path for future shows. I will be posting more details about this, but in this kickoff host Ronald, and panelists Tonya, Robert and Robbie look back on the first six roundtable episodes and bring their own experience and expertise into it as they discuss a range of topics, all based on conversations with different individuals from WooCommerce.

A WooCommerce Roundtable Discussion

Ronald, Tonya, Robbie and Robert talk about:

  • Building the community efforts moving forward with WooCommerce (1:20)
  • Reaching out to the WooCommerce communities around the world (7:00)
  • Going hybrid with WordPress and WooCommerce events (11:20)
  • WooCommerce onboarding for those coming from different platforms or limited tech skills (14:10)
  • Gutenberg and it’s part as a piece of the onboarding puzzle (24:20)
  • Woo and WordPress becoming more of the standard terms when talking about the web (28:10)
  • WooCommerce marketplace: control, self-vetting and checking code (31:55)
  • How and if the experiences with WooCommerce happiness engineers have changed over the years (37:00)
  • Impressions of WooCommerce Payments and what customers are asking (44:00)

The 6 Episodes Mentioned

The Art of Growing and Building the WooCommerce Community

An Open Door, Woo Experts, Onboarding and Growth with WooCommerce

Everything You Wanted to Know About Product Marketing at WooCommerce

All You Need to Know About the WooCommerce Marketplace

Behind the Scenes at WooCommerce Support

The Growth of WooCommerce Payments, Past, Present and Future

Thanks to Our Pod Friends

WP Activity Log

WP Activity Log helps you or your clients keep track of team changes in WooCommerce such as changes in the store settings, coupons, orders products and a lot more, which in turn improves team accountability and meeting compliance requirements.

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Ronald: And it's a welcome to another episode of Do the Woo. In fact, it's episode 149 and this week is the turn for the Roundtable discussion. but this round table episode I want to use to reflect on our six previous guests that we've had joining us for the round table. And pick some of the key moments or statements that they've made and throw it around the table again. Because I sometimes feel I don't hear your opinions enough, which are of course most valued as well. So leading on from the events, we have Jonathan Wold, he was the first one who joined us for the Woo Roundtable. You remember him? One of the things that Christie who joined us then asked about building up the community, especially around the world. And you three are all US based and I'm sure you're very well provided with the different events for WooCommerce and training. But countries, she herself was from Peru. The latent countries, the buildup of community education around WordPress, but also around WooCommerce, sometimes it's not quite at the same level.

Building the community efforts moving forward with WooCommerce (1:20)

So we asked Jonathan, how do you promote this? How do you encourage the people to come forward? This was over six months ago now. How do you feel that community effort from WordPress, but particularly WooCommerce is going and do you notice anything? Do you see any green lights of what's improving from where you're standing basically? Robert, if I can start with you, because I know you're really busy with the events and you also have one foot on the other side of the world.

Robert: The nice thing that's happened, certainly since John's conversation is that Woo is becoming more and more just magically visible in the universe as an e-commerce platform. I would love to see, we have WordCamp US, I went for WooCamp US and wondering when Woo will start doing its tangential events. Maybe there are tied directly to the WordCamps. We have WordCamp US coming up at the end of the month, or I guess October 1st. I think it would be with a focus on Woo, I think that would be really compelling and meaningful. And this is the best time to get started so people get excited about it and the virtual space they've all heard about it. And then when in-person starts really ramping up in 2022, it's like, oh yeah. So if I'm at WordCamp Europe or WordCamp US, I expect there to be that offshoot rebel conference going on at the same time that's Woo focused. So I'd love to see WooCommerce EU, WooCommerce US happening as that offshoot as part of the whole WordPress ecosystem.

Ronald: Yeah. Like just a dedicated track, but then also sponsorship around it and really very much focused on pure e-commerce, WooCommerce.

Robert: I would say more than a dedicated track. I would actually have that as a side by side. Yes, it could be if you're really interested in WooCommerce you can walk across the venue and get to the WooCommerce space. There's a lot of money in e-commerce obviously, so that WooCommerce can have that, it's not tracks, but actually I think pillars of events that are happening concurrently. They both have W's in the name, so you could have WordCamp and WooCommerce. So why not a WC squared US, WC squared EU to just bring up the attention and community and interactivity in all these groups.

Ronald: Yeah. Robbie, do you think there's a WooCommerce community as such that would feel attracted to attend an event like that?

Robbie: Definitely, I do. And going back to your original question here, that was about with Jonathan being on the show, I have to give a thank you out to Jonathan too because he did send me a Woo t-shirt that I absolutely love. It's so soft, I love it.

Ronald: It's nice to get a quality t-shirt, isn't it?

Robbie: It is. Now mind you, it would have been nice if we were at a conference and I got it where I actually got to meet him in person. So eventually, yes. And I do think that there's enough demand there. Also from when they were on the show, both the two different shows, I also joined the slack channel and it's very, very active. And so that's really cool. I also have been getting on the OS training side of things and even on my agency, actually, we have people asking a lot of questions right now about Woo Payments in particular, which means they're already in the Woo space, so that's great. But they're asking us about that because I will say Woo Payments is really doing a pretty good job right now of marketing and putting themselves out there because I'm having people come and ask me about it. That means they're hearing about it. I'm not having to tell them and educate them on it.

Well, I am having to educate them once they come to me and ask about it, but they're seeing it and they're like, "Hey Robbie, what is this? Do we need to actually add this to our store as well?" And so I think that there's definitely a community base there that's using it. And I think there's a community base there that hasn't discovered how to interact with the rest of the community. Even the slack channel, like I said, when we had the shows that got me involved in it, but how many people out there don't even know it exists? And so I think that there's still a lot more work to do to get people into the community, but I think there's a lot more people on the outline ground there that need to come into the community. Whether it be just for education and help, or whether they actually they're developers themselves and they can contribute that we don't even know that they're out there and they're using this or using it for clients.

So I do think that there's a lot more community out there than we have in our community. And so I do think that some events like what Robert's suggesting might help that. And I also, like I said, I think that their marketing efforts are starting to pay off that I'm getting people asking me about it. So that's a good thing too.

Reaching out to the WooCommerce communities around the world (7:00)

Ronald: Yeah. Tonya, do you think that events and community and US is very well provided in Europe probably as well, but the world is much bigger and WooCommerce is growing around the world Africa, Asia. Do you think WooCommerce, and maybe also you can speak a little bit from Automatic. Do they do enough? Do they recognize that there are other communities out there that may be more difficult to get in touch with but are equally just as important?

Tonya: I think that's a timely discussion too, as we start to think about where we're at today and what's happened over the last year. What can we learn from that? And then how do we go forward, not only with what the pandemic has done to us to stop some of the in-person events, but also thinking about that not everyone can get to in-person events and how do we bridge and make this hybrid to engage the community in a way, not only just from one event that happens in different parts, but also as you're saying to reach out globally and engage this larger community? Yes, there's a big community out there of people, there's lots of users, there's these neat little things that happen at WordCamp in the hallways where people talk and they connect. And how do you then create that same space in this virtual space that can be happening all the time to get people to connect and learn from one another? But also fuel this feedback loop from people so that the community, not only the community, but WooCommerce itself and those who build on top of it and those who use it can get this feedback into it.

And this is the space where from a community point of view, we've been thinking about and talking about and so on. So I think that goes back to Jonathan and that episode. And what we're talking about here is in-person events are one thing, but how do you create that magic from an in-person event that can also happen when we're just sitting here talking ourselves? How do you bring people in? And if we start to think that way, this created an opportunity to where somebody in one corner of the world who may not have a local WordCamp that they can go to or a meet up they can go to, how do you engage them? That we can bring everybody into a space? How do we do that and get this bigger sense of community, but still capture the personalization, the whimsy, the fun, that hallway stuff that happens at Word Camps? If we can do that, then we have in-person also meeting virtual and still having that magic that can happen all the time.

Ronald: Yeah, it's something we've also been talking about ourselves with Lisa, my co-host for the WooCommerce London meetup, to see from this month onwards, do we keep a weekly meetup? Do we go maybe a fortnight and then maybe start thinking of a monthly physical meet up? But we realized that out of the regular attendees of 25 to 30, maybe only a handful are actually living in London. So if you move to London, that same group that you have online is going to be totally different. But can we do both of them, can we run both meetups that totally different audiences? I'd like to, bu it requires a lot more energy from organizers to do that. But also based on what you said, I know somebody who is a active WordPress WooCommerce user in Nepal. Now, my assumption is that to organize a WooCamp in Nepal is quite unlikely, but you need to have some sort of momentum with meetups and online in order to bring more people together. So they still for sure is here to stay.

Tonya: Yeah. And you can create a hybrid experience too. So you have in person, but invite a larger community globally to come in as well.

Going hybrid with WordPress and WooCommerce events (11:20)

Ronald: I think some of the bigger WordCamps have been doing really well with that, with recording sessions or live sessions and allow the online audience to participate, even asking questions. And as I say there, so I hope with the jump we've made, the technology that's only going to get better. Robert, just quickly on the events, any of the events that you've been to also have an online version of what you've been doing or are they simply too small?

Robert: That is a great question. I don't see any of these events being hybrid. There was a lot of talk over the last year and they're still binary. So it's either a virtual event or it's an in-person event. Will hybrid become a part of the conversation? I think so. And I think there's a good use case for it. I just I don't feel that they're going to happen in that concurrent kind of sense. I think there's going to be an opportunity for events to kick off maybe virtually, and then just provide streams of what's going on. Just tech given what it is, you're not going to be able to be in that hallway track and accidentally bumping into your next WooCommerce partner because you can't. So I'm curious how that's going to happen. I've heard discussions from some of the producers that hybrid might mean that all of the speakers and vendors are in the same room together, even though the audience can't be there. I think it's going to be much more incremental than the very future looking ideas that people had even just six months ago.

It is a lot easier to set up event and it's not easy, okay, I'm not an event producer. But it's a lot easier to say if people understand that, okay, we're going to all meet at this place. We're going to hang out, we're going to have our discussions, presentations or networking. Everyone gets that. So it's not only changing how the event is produced, but also making sure that attendees, sponsors understand the ramifications of all that. What's the value that they're going to get? That gets complicated, that takes a lot of time. And if you're already thinking about putting an event together, adding all those other complexities is difficult. It's making your shopping cart a lot more complicated.

WooCommerce onboarding for those coming from different platforms or limited tech skills (14:10)

Ronald: For sure. I'm going to jump on to our second episode that we did with Warren Holmes. He is the COO of WooCommerce. We talked a lot about onboarding with him, and I think that topic is just as active as it was six months ago or even a year ago. And it is something that would present in particularly WooCommerce, maybe struggling with for newcomers. I think the jumping from WordPress to WooCommerce is relatively easy, it's quite straightforward. But if you go from a different platform or a non-tech into WooCommerce, it can be quite difficult. Have you seen some improvements? Are you hopeful of we are going to crack this problem as a community or as developers? If I can start with Robbie. I know you've done a lot of training and you've set up your own OS training and it's part in WordPress and WooCommerce, right?

Robbie: Yes. We have both WordPress and WooCommerce classes that are beginner to intermediate level. And then we have lots of just little specialty classes on particular plugins or types of websites. We're in different CMS worlds too, Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, and some others too. Concrete Five, different ones. So there's other CMSs out there. WordPress though obviously we all know is the big giant out there. I still say, and I think I said it in one of our other shows. I think that WooCommerce is a big reason for that because if you look at the other CMS platforms, they don't have as good of embedded e-commerce. Now, you start talking about SaaS e-commerce is totally different subject, but inside of the different CMSs, WooCommerce is very, very strong. And I think it draws a lot of people who need to have e-commerce to WordPress. Now, the other thing that WordPress has and I think that's benefited it is it has a simpler user interface. So yes, there's onboarding with WordPress that's pretty easy I feel like for people.

WooCommerce is a big plugin. There's no doubt about it, it's a big plugin. And yes, can we make it the onboarding easier? Yes, I do think that they've actually already started. With the last couple of iterations and the versions there, it's starting to get a little easier to onboard. There's just a lot to e-commerce. Yes, can I go set up an Equity or a Shopify cart very quickly? I can. And can I do it quicker than WooCommerce will? Just inherently, I didn't have to install a WordPress website and those kinds of things first. I also didn't have to think about securing certificates and things like that. So yes, there's already some more that I have to do with WooCommerce than the other. So it's going to be a little bit trickier but I think there's a lot of education out there for people. There's a lot of good support in the documentation with Automatic and in the WooCommerce section.

But I think can it be easier? Yeah, but I think that that is what our guest was talking about. That is what they're working towards. They're trying to get that install wizard that walks you through. And there's a lot of that by the way. I actually just had, and I'm skipping ahead to when we talked to somebody about Woo Payments here, but I just had a friend who wanted to set up the, she was like, "Hey, I need to sell these autograph books in my site and I'm going to use WooCommerce," because she hears me talk about it all the time. And so she's like, "I'm going to use WooCommerce and hey, what about this Woo Payments?" And I was like, "Yeah, yeah." It's really quick and easy interface to set it up. And it does, has a nice little walkthrough wizard. I think Bob's talked about it on the podcast too. It's a very quick little wizard to walk through.

But you know what? She had a couple of little problems. She filled out something wrong. So then it went into the, "Okay, now how do I fix this?" Because remember Woo Payments is a layer on Stripe, and so there were some things that had to be fixed at the Stripe level and some things at the Woo Payments. She did it, but it did take a couple of days of going back and forth with support and things like that. So even as easy as the wizard is, it doesn't mean that it's foolproof just yet. There's still some education that people need on that. And then there's probably still, because it's still pretty fresh there, there's also on Woo's side, there's some work that they can do on how they're going to handle the support on these things when that wizard isn't as easy to follow as they thought or if somebody goes off track, how do they get them back on track with that?

Ronald: You need to know a lot of stuff, isn't it? You've just had a WordPress, WooCommerce, but also then Stripe. And that's just one element of Payments and everything else. Robert, what's your view? Are things improving?

Robert: Yes, things are improving. I'm always going to be the glass half full guy, unless I'm not. Technical things are difficult and that's okay. How does the ecosystem step up to facilitate that ease of use for whether it's a developer? So how do we make the APIs more coherent, better, whatnot? Those things are happening, it takes time. How do we make it easier for ACC to integrate their workflow into supporting multiple clients on WooCommerce? Slowly, but surely those products exist. How do we satisfy that bricks and click shop that just wants to go directly into it? They've done a one-click install at a hosting company and now we're ready to run with WooCommerce. Yeah, it just takes time and certainly the progression is going in the right direction. It's not like all of a sudden WooCommerce said, "Well, we're done. Figure out the rest of everything for yourselves." No, not even close.

So these things happen incrementally. We like things to happen yesterday, that's fine. But they won't. And so let's just incrementally improve the process. And I see that improvement actually jumped a lot, honestly in the last year and a half. Are we going to make those giant leaps every year? Sometimes, yes, sometimes, no. That's okay but there's a commitment from WooCommerce, there's a commitment from the ecosystem at that level. And when I say ecosystem, just the agencies around it that are putting together that also want to make that process a lot easier. And then that wider ecosystem. Yeah, Stripe wants things to be a lot easier at WooCommerce because that helps Stripe. Third party shopping cart SaaS providers or email marketing providers, they want to integrate with that to make that easier. All of this will happening. You get the state of the art today and then in three months, the state of the art will be even better. That's just the nature of technology.

Some people complain about why isn't everything working today? Well, because it just takes time and resources to make it happen. I'm bullish on WooCommerce. I think the direction is headed over the last year, year and a half has been much more exciting than the year, year and a half prior to 2020. The acceleration of what is happening with acquisitions, integrations and outreach documentation has really been fantastic.

Ronald: Yeah, I agree with you as well. I get regular emails from the developers and sharing their roadmap or what has happened last month and try to plan ahead, but also get you ready for, if you are a developer, testing, they're very open and transparent.

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And now let's head back to the show.

Gutenberg and it’s part as a piece of the onboarding puzzle (24:20)

Ronald: Tonya, do you think Gutenberg is a big piece of the puzzle?

Tonya: It will be, yes, it will be a big piece of the puzzle absolutely. Not only from the WordPress side, but anything that plugs in to that WordPress itself and that you build on top of it. It's targeted at helping to have a delightful publishing experience, a writing experience. Is there more to do there? Absolutely. I'm in the camp of more big picture thinking around how do you go from zero to I'm up and running as fast and as painless as possible that not necessarily thinking about I just click a button and bam, everything magically pulled out of my head just built for me. But I'm seeing more discussions around that, which gets me excited to think about these, how do you go from that premise of how do you help the entire community and those who want to use including Gutenberg, including Woo, including community and so on to go from, I just want to do this, boom, how do I do that more quickly?

And part of that conversation that was had during that episode was that more big picture thinking of how do you do that? And the more we think in that space, then it becomes not necessarily just a one size fits all, but it becomes how do you cultivate and curate these experiences to allow people to do it while still having the ability for those who want to be very advanced, who want to do very specific things to have that ability to do it too?

Ronald: Yeah, it is a fine balance. Robbie.

Robbie: I want to add to that what Tonya is talking about as well. I don't know if we've mentioned it on the show at all, but I think Automate Woo, the no code push is really a good thing. You now can handle with Automate Woo things like abandoned shopping cart and stuff. And it's really a much faster, even if you have your agency setting it up, it's a faster way for the agency to set it up for you. And it's something that's visible that you can see, not just this magic your agency did something in the code and all of a sudden it magically works. You don't know how it did. And so I think that the no code plugins that we're getting like Automate Woo, and then you've got AutomatorWP. I think those are actually helping things.

Like I said, not necessarily the end user. I think the end users are still a little timid about doing it themselves, but just the agency world that speeds up things dramatically. And it means you don't have to have your high-end dev fixing a problem. You might have your intermediate person in the agency fixing the problem or setting it up. So I think that that is also helping push things into that, how quickly can we get all set up and make things do exactly what we want?

Ronald: And you can still customize it and that's so beautiful about using WordPress. You can open the bonnet and optimize or customize it the way you want to. But you don't have to because it does work. So Clara Lee, and this is a really nice link that you've done there, Robbie, talking about marketing as well. So Clara Lee was our next guest and she's responsible for marketing. And Robert was really quick in there with asking, "So what happens to" Because back in that time, it was just announced they probably paid a ridiculous amount for that domain. But also the investment of Peach Pay. But I think the main topic of that, and I'll come back to that, Robert, to find out if you know anything more about that in the meantime. But I think the main topic then was WooCommerce, who are they marketing to? Is it the end user? Is it the developer or the agency? And it was quite clear that they are marketing themselves for the end user. Robert, if I can start with you. Quickly, any news on, have you find out anything more?

Woo and WordPress becoming more of the standard terms when talking about the web (28:10)

Robert: No, nothing new on Boy, I would've loved to be like, "Yes, this is the lead story," but I personally have no updates on that. But I was just having a discussion with some folks about what does it mean to, this'll make sense in a sec, just bear with me for an extra minute. What WordPress looks like in five years? And there are the technical aspects or the open source community aspects. There's the actual product aspects. There's all this stuff. I feel, you heard it here first, and certainly I'll be totally wrong, you can correct me in five years. That WordPress will be synonymous with just getting content on to the web. Did you fill it up on WordPress? You might be using, who knows what tool, but the language of WordPress, I think is pervasive, not just in the geeky side of the universe, but actually across all sorts of businesses and even trickling down just to normal day-to-day folks who aren't even tied to any of this stuff. I think the opportunity with a is the same exact thing. Are you selling it on Woo? Did you buy that from Woo?

And that could be anything, that can be any site. But all of a sudden, you're going to see that Woo Payments button, maybe. So, yeah, I bought it with Woo and that could have a whole financial universe of its own where there's credit cards and banking and the infrastructure and inventory and taxation and shipping. What's nice about WordPress and Woo as even just words is that they are slowly trickling out beyond the geekosphere.. People don't think about Squarespace, but they've heard about WordPress. They don't think about, I'm thinking of a payment processor. Anyway, I can't remember the name. I can't think of some of these high-end payment processors, there's Stripe, which people know. But I think Woo has the same opportunity to grow in that space and to have mind share at the level that's above and beyond what we're doing as if we knew level.

And that is exciting for me. And how is Woo? I think given the market share certainly of WordPress and I think Woo will follow along even quicker and faster and stronger that end users, people who are just completely separated from this world that we work in day to day will be like, "Yeah, I Wood it. I WordPressed it." And they'll become terms like Xerox.

Ronald: That's some really interesting view. So the consumer demands Woo, they will set a trend. And by the way, talking about the Woo dictionary, I think we have quite a few additions in the meantime to add of, I Wood it. It's too early to get into the... Nice, I like your thinking there.

WooCommerce marketplace: control, self-vetting and checking code (31:55)

I'd like to move on to some of our other guests as well, just so we can cover them all. We had Adepeju Oduye from the WooCommerce marketplace. And I think this is one for Tonya because she joined us for that one. And it was about bringing in more third party developers and extensions, plugins. I was really amazed with the level of detail and vetting that they do to bring in the right extensions and curated marketplace. I've got two questions for you, Tonya, it's an open marketplace yet it's very controlled. Is that a good thing?

Second, you made a really good point of self vetting and checking the codes of when you submit something. But adding what Robert, he asked about to terms where the WooCommerce shares are 60%, 40% of the revenue. Is that a fair deal or do you think by maybe vetting or doing more of the work yourself, maybe there's the sculptor for a different level of agreement with WooCommerce? So these are two quite random, big questions. But Tonya.

Tonya: Those are big questions that can be a show all unto themselves. We go back to that idea of, I want to go from zero to I'm somewhere now very quickly, and that fits right into this too. So if I want to get into that marketplace, having that ability to what is being very transparent with, what are the steps, how do I go from here to there? And I make sure that that time happens very quickly for myself. And that's where that idea of, how can I self-assess? Am I compliant with whatever the rules and regulations and the vetting process itself is? If there's a vetting process, making sure it's very, very, very clear for folks that then they can go and do a self assessment. I'm going to leave the last part of that over here for a second in the percentages of what I get versus what the platform itself gets.

If we go back to just start to think about, is vetting fair? So it's an open, but yet it's curated, it's vetted. I think that depends upon what the platform's goals there are. And if we look at it from the end-user point of view, the storefront owner, and having the trust that I can put this in and bam it works, it delivers value for me, and it doesn't break my site. Then there can be an argument to say, making sure whatever is available, meets that criteria to give that storefront owner trust and confidence. And at the same time, one of the topics we've been talking about in core is that people that are using don't always... We shouldn't push onto them to expect them to be able to vet something that it is going to be safe, that it does meet their needs. And instead, turn it around to say that you can have trust in this, and here's some criteria for you to make that to be able to determine. So vetting in that serves that purpose. It serves the storefront person that then they can have confidence in.

If we go back to that point, your last point of percentage. Well, that depends. If you put in a lot of the work and shift all that work to the person who's submitting, then potentially that percentage can go down. If there's still a lot of vetting and process that needs to happen, then you want to make sure that that's healthy and paid for so that there's folks to do that. But then there's also the ability me as somebody who builds something that I'm getting a platform that my stuff gets marketed. And if I get value back from that, I should pay for that because it's being done for me. Now, what those percentages are, I don't have an opinion on. I'm sure there's some magic there somewhere that makes that valuable. But for me, if I'm producing a product and it's immediately put on a network that boom people get exposure and I get marketing and people are using and buying it, I should be paying for that service because then I don't have to go create those networks and those channels for myself.

Ronald: Yeah. And I think you made a really valid point of the end user having trust in the platform. So it needs to be vetted, curated and tested and checked. And again, knowing that it works well and that has a positive effect, of course.

How and if the experiences with WooCommerce happiness engineers have changed over the years (37:00)

Robbie, I've got one for you here because we had Job Thomas, and he talked a lot about support. He's one of those people that he's been at WooCommerce right from the beginning. He's joined when it was still WooThemes. He moved to South Africa, he was originally looking for a job in theology. But I'd like to quote something that he said. One of the big differences between before acquisition happened from WooThemes to Automatic was that before that, our support was focused on fixing the problem and we didn't pay a lot of attention to what surrounds it. The context someone is coming from, whether we are explaining things to them or not. And that's one of the things that Automatic has huge influence in changing that culture.

If people were lucky they would get a hi from us. But now they started building up a relationship, a relationship between the end user and they starting to paraphrase the issue back to them in a chat session. It's something I've learned a lot from. You're very quick to jump to conclusions. So if something isn't working, "Oh, well, it must be this. It must be that. It's a plug in, the last plug in they've updated, the last plugin that you've installed." Of course that's the problem and you're very quickly to jump to the conclusion of that's the case. So my question to you is, I know you've had experience yourself with support. Have you noticed a difference over the years? Is the attitude of the happiness engineers, do you think it has changed and how do you feel about it?

Robbie: Yeah, I do think that there is a change. What he said there, which is when we were a smaller group or a smaller company then yeah, smaller companies are more agile. They have one thing to promote and so they're going to probably dig in a little deeper to look at what your situation is. Let me look at this, let me maybe even look at the site. Whereas as you get larger and larger companies for support, they're not going to do that because there's a lot more liability there for them too to do that, I understand. But I think that because you're also larger you're seeing more cases, you can build up a better library on your help side, which helps all of your engineers answer questions. They have a bigger, broader database to look at. This person's having this issue, let me just first of all look in our own section. We may have already answered three questions about this week. And it's a very quick, so they've got more at their disposal to answer people with. So I think that that is one of the biggest things.

I said my friend had to work with support for Woo Payments just recently. Not only did they answer with emails, they were answering in emails and in chat sessions, they even set up, they were like, "We need to actually speak to you about this." And so they set up a phone call and called her at a scheduled time. And I was like, "Wow." That was pretty impressive. They did not let that drop that did not sit there and not get addressed, it kept going. And it was like I said, I'm going to go through Stripe and Woo Payments but they got it resolved. Like I said, I do think they might not be as personal as they can be is whenever they're a very small group. But I think that just because they have such vast knowledge to tap into there, it means you can actually get the help faster. There's a reason why our large corporations out there have scripts and can hire whole help centers because they have scripts. They know how to answer most of the questions.

Does it need to be elevated sometimes? Yes. But all that does is add to the script so then it doesn't have to be elevated next time. So I think that they're doing a good job is my whole point there because I have had to deal with support several times even in the last couple of months here and everything has been resolved. So that's a good thing. Nothing was left dangling.

Ronald: But that's also part of the ecosystem we find ourselves in because you are in a way also the support to your customer. And it's not until you can't solve it it's when you go to WooCommerce to their support. And to think that there are literally millions of WooCommerce active stores, while I'm not sure if they all generate money, but there are hundreds of thousands active stores generating a significant amount of money. And with only 85 happiness engineers, that's quite an achievement. But when you think that you and I, and Robert, we all know a little bit of that and if one of our customers comes with an issue, we have a look at it first. If you throw an issue out in the streets there are at least five people who know a little bit of WordPress, of course, who can help you out.

Robbie: Yeah, you're right. And our audience is primarily builders, their agencies and stuff that do have clients. So you're correct. We all have a knowledge too that we've been building up over years too that helps. Like I said, the Woo slack channel, that's invaluable to builders, that's great. The support people are in there as well, it's fantastic. And even just other agencies, you can just put a questions out there and you're going to get some answers pretty quickly, probably more than you wanted.

Ronald: Robert, I'm not sure how much you get involved with your support within CloudChoice. But if customers come with problems, do know where to go to if the solution can only be found with either WooCommerce or a third party plugin partner? Do you have ways to address that?

Robert: Yes, I send them Tonya's email address and mobile phone number, and that solves a lot of those problems. Great, fantastic, I would've never expected it.

Ronald: We'll share her telephone number, of course, at the end of the show.

Tonya: Thank you so much, Robert, I really appreciate that.

Robert: At some point we're not supported the layers of does this plugin work with this other plugin and this third SaaS on top of WooCommerce and why does my cart no longer spit out money? That's why we try to empower our agencies to be WooCommerce partners and make sure they have the knowledge and ability to answer those questions. Or call Tonya at 1312555.

Impressions of WooCommerce Payments and what customers are asking (44:00)

Ronald: Great. So now quickly moving on to our most recent episode which we were joined by Brittany McCotter who is of Woo Payments. We talked a lot about Woo Payments already. But she's got a today list worth six years or so. Because I think expanding Woo Payments for the whole world with different currencies, different payment methods, very different in Europe, but also very different in Asia and Australia. So it's a real big challenge for her, but from what I hear they're doing well. Robbie, you're really impressed with Woo Payments and people are asking about it.

Robbie: Yeah, absolutely. We just actually set one up and we'll have Woo Payments in our new site too. And it was an easy setup, it really was. We're builders, so that made it a lot easier, I guess, than my friend who did have a little hiccup there. But, yeah, I think it's a brilliant addition to have in there. And I do think that it's a little daunting I could see for someone who doesn't do this for a living though. When they look at the list, when you saw there, oh, you're almost there. And you look at the list keeps going down the page. You're like, "Oh my gosh, I have a lot to set up still." But it's quite honestly, it's actually easier because they are walking you through the steps there than if I just had to know this to go and set it up with a Stripe myself or PayPal or a Braintree or anything else if I'm going to use another merchant. There's always steps to get this done and sometimes it's convoluted those steps and it split between this side and that side. And this is all in one, you're just walking through the steps. And so, yeah, I've been really impressed with it and they are growing and I don't see that stopping.

Ronald: You asked a really good question whether it was compatible with subscriptions. And Nancy revealed that they might bake in the subscription part as part of this plugin, which of course is a really clever ploy. Robert, do you think having these additional benefits in payment gateways is going to be the way to stand out and be competitive? So in this case would be if you have Woo Payments you're going to have the subscription part as part of that and you don't need an additional plugin.

Robert: Yeah. It's not even a complicated question in my head. All these gateways will try to attempt that but Woo Payments has the best leverage in this space to make that happen faster, better, stronger. It'll be great to see just like, here's your membership subscription Woo payment thing, boom, done. One-click everything works there.

Ronald: It's not about undercutting the rates for four Visa processing fees, but it's with Woo Payments you save $200 on a plugin and you get this and you get that and guess what that integrates with that.

Robert: Absolutely. So that's a slight tangent, but there's all this discussion about how in-app purchases in the Apple store are anti-competitive. South Korea just enacted a law that forces... Well, theoretically we'll see how that happens in-app Payments to be expanded upon. But my prognostication says that it's not going to be a race to the bottom in pricing. It's going to be raised to how do we add value to the same price that we have today? Fine, open it all up as crazy as you want, but the people who are best suited, best integrated and best value driven in their models, those are the ones that are going to succeed. Obviously Woo Payments is in a perfect position to take advantage of that. And third parties can also do that, but they really need to start looking at what does it mean to be a WooCommerce, WordPress partner in that aspect?

They can't be lazy about it anymore. So that kind of stuff forces people to be like, "Okay, we got to really work at it." And that's great. Woo is going to have certainly a first mover advantage in this case because that's where they come from. But I only see better results for end customers, agencies, implementers, developers all around.

Ronald: Yeah. Great. Tonya.

Tonya: Sure. I think it goes back to what Robert is saying too, that there's value. So I think the bar has been raised to say, okay, when I've set up shops, I don't always have confidence when I connect to these other payment gateways to know that one, I hooked it up right until someone buys something and no, it's not hooked up right. And there's so many steps and there's so much documentation. And then you have to go back and forth and wait for a response. To have something that adds value right out of the gate that is connected, that's integrated, that has a step-by-step process, that one can help anybody. If I'm a store owner and I want to do it myself or an agency that can then walk through these steps, that then frees up the agency and the developers to start to go focus on the customization of things and other high value areas of services that they can provide to their customers.

So if we can make it easier to be able to connect up and just be able to go from, I just need to get away from my people to buy. Anybody who wants to buy from me to be able to have that happen and have other valuable services around that, maybe some reporting and things that can come to me as a merchant, that I can get more information from as well. If that value is built in and can continue to be built in and grow, then there's a lot of value here for, I keep using that word value. There's a lot of value here, a lot of ROI from having something like this, yes.

Ronald: Yeah. Speaking to the three of you, it blends it together. The discussions we've had with our six guests and talking about some of the key points again, and it makes it all a bit clearer for me. I think going in the future, I feel really confident that WooCommerce is doing the right thing. And with this Automatic, with the development around full site editing Gutenberg, Woo Payments. It will make it a lot easier for the end user, but also for the agency, the implementer, the developer and focus on other challenges. Because there are so many other challenges to help people succeed and to buy online. Online is there to stay, whether you book a rowing boat for half an hour, whereas before you'd pay $10 cash for half an hour, now you have to pre-book it, pre-pay it and all sorts. Or whether it's for the hairdresser or barber, everything is now e-commerce. So having some of that taken away or the complexity taken away will help a lot more people. But also people like us and developers to invent and improve on what we've been doing.

Ronald: So I'm really excited. I want to leave it to that. Finally we'd like to thank our great sponsors. So we have two pop friends for this that I'd like to highlight for this episode. First of all, we have WP Activity Log. You can find them on And finally the go that is Pro Hub and you can find it at Finally, I'm really looking forward to catch you next week at another episode of Do the Woo.