Plugin Development and Growing Clients in the WooCommerce Space with Anyssa Ferreira

Do the Woo - WooCommerce Podcast, Community and News
Do the Woo - WooCommerce Podcast, Community and News
Plugin Development and Growing Clients in the WooCommerce Space with Anyssa Ferreira

Thanks to our sponsors

What happens when you start using WooCommerce and the development of a plugin leads the way into site development? When Anyssa and her partner started looking at options for building eCommerce sites, they tested the waters and discovered their place with WooCommerce.

Chatting with Anyssa Ferreira from Haste Design

In episode 41 of our podcast, Mendel Kurland and I chat with Anyssa Ferreira from Haste Design. In our chat, we learned about:

  • Her journey to WooCommerce and why they made the choice.
  • How creating a WooCommerce plugin led to growth around their other services.
  • Why they chose to make their plugin free.
  • What led Anyssa to become an organizer of their local WordCamp.
  • What trends have stood out in the eCommerce space, either good or bad.

Chatting with a biz owner who has been in the web space for awhile, we started out the conversation around her move to WordPress and WooCommerce. Anyssa talked about other options they had tried, and how they ended up making this choice.

It was interesting to hear how creating a free plugin for WooCommerce was the beginning of their growth and continues to play an instrumental part in their move into the eCommerce space.

We take the chat a bit more generic as she tells us what trend in eCommerce has been the bigger challenge in her eyes, as well as her favorite browser addition.

We even dive a bit into how she got involved with her local WordCamp and became an organizer.

Woo News

In the news, I introduce an article around a cryptocurrency that will soon be available in WooCommerce. From VeriArti, VET payments soon available in 4M WooCommerce shops. Mendel adds a side note that Warren Buffet claims crytocurrencies basically suck. Maybe not his actual words, but the question is: do we trust Buffet’s opinion or not?

We also took a moment to recognize the new model of prices on the WooCommerce marketplace. Although we opted out of a discussion around it, Paul Maiorana from WooCommerce will be on the podcast to talk about that and a lot more in a couple of weeks.


I mentioned the revival of WooCommerce Community Chats on Slack. Chat #7 is today, Feb. 27, at 18:00 UTC. Of course, if you miss it, you can access the chat in the WooCommerce Core Slack channel and join future conversations. This is a great way to hear what’s going on in core and other new things on the horizon, as well as get some of your questions answered.

I also mentioned the fact that I have not decided to take a step back from creating new tutorial content on the site as I first said in our December show.

Mendel added that he is headed to WordCamp Miami, so if you are there, and would like to chat Woo over coffee, beer or another beverage, hit him up. Mendel also just redesigned his personal site, so you may want to check that out as well.

Connect with Anyssa

If you would like to connect with Anyssa:

The Conversation

Mendel: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 41st episode of the Do the Woo podcast. I'm here with your host, your beloved host, BobWP. I am Mendel Kurland and on our show today, we have the great Anyssa Ferreira. Hello and welcome.

Anyssa: Hello. Thank you for having me.

Mendel: We are very, very excited. Bob looks excited. You can't see him, but he looks excited. So let's kick things off. Bob how are you feeling today, by the way?

Bob: I'm feeling good. I'm doing good. It's Tuesday, our usual recording day and I'm doing good. How about yourself, Mendel?

Mendel: Minus my earlier computer troubles. Yeah, very, very strange. Top of the line MacBook and it made an explosion noise and then restarted. But here we are.

Bob: Yes, we certainly are. Before I have you kick off the conversation with Anyssa, I’d just like to slip in a thank you to our sponsors. We all know WooCommerce and we love them. Great stuff over there. Do check them out. They are our community's sponsors and we thank them very much. And also which is a ticketing system for your WooCommerce site. It's a great plugin. And we have a cool deal coming your way from them which we will talk about later in the show. So Mendel carry on.

Mendel:What about you, Anyssa? How are you feeling today?

Anyssa: I'm feeling great. Today is a holiday here in Brazil. It's Carnival and people are celebrating. So if you hear any music and noise, I apologize. But this is Brazil.

Mendel: That sounds pretty fun actually. I assume that after you're done with this podcast, you might go out and join the festivities.

Anyssa: Oh, probably not. My type of entertainment is playing video games or something.

Mendel: Ah, got it. Got it. So before we get started we'd love to learn a little more about you. Can you tell us what your Woo story is?

Anyssa’s Woo Story - It Started with a Plugin

Anyssa: Okay. It all started in 2013. Before that, me and my boyfriend Allyson, we decided to start a business. And initially we thought, well let's start a design business like a graphic design business. So we started creating logos for small companies and that type of things. We soon realized that the web development business would be a better place for us both financially and skills-wise. We started working with pure HTML websites and soon we found WordPress.

We had to create this website for his father, a site where he could sell his courses. So we had to research and find a solution for this. We came across WP eCommerce at the time, and it wasn't the best option for his case. Then we tried Joomla, but went back to WordPress and started creating his store with WooCommerce. It was at the beginning of the platform.

Then we had to create a plugin to allow him to sell registrations for his courses because there wasn't anything of this type. There wasn't a registration plugin. So we created one and it's called Registrations for WooCommerce and its free. We realized that we could do this and we could create shops for our customers to expand their business. This was our starting point with WooCommerce.

Why Do a Free Plugin?

Mendel: So I'm curious about this Registrations for WooCommerce plugin. I see it here. The name of your agency is front and center and and you said you're offering it for free. There are a lot of for-pay plugins in the WooCommerce world. What was the reason you decided to keep this particular plugin free?

Anyssa: Because we developed it for one customer and it was like it was already paid for, it was our way to get some some other business. It was fun because once we published it, there were people selling courses all around the world with it. I found a website and they were selling training for dogs via our plugin. It was really fun because of that.

Mendel: Yeah, it's cool to see what other people are doing with your software.

Anyssa: it was great because people saw that you made this website to sell some courses. And we already had this solution that would be the base for our next project. It was really cool.

Plugins for All or for Your Clients

Bob: On your website you talk a lot about custom plugins and themes. So typically, throughout your experiences with WooCommerce and clients, are the plugins you're creating for project only or for a wider use?

Anyssa: We have a number of different projects. We have the small ones and the medium ones and the bigger ones. Usually we only have the time to allow us to create a custom plugin on the bigger ones.

In the other cases, we always try to advise our clients, if they want certain functionality, we have to search for a plugin that will do that or develop something. We always try to explain and want to be transparent about the consequences and the advantages of each type of approach so the clients can make an informed decision. in other cases, when the projects are bigger, we basically say the same thing, but if we can develop something, the solution will be tailored for your own business and it will be probably faster.

Why WooCommerce?

Mendel: It's interesting that you're using a custom development, or a custom plugin, as a selling point for those larger clients, which I hadn't thought of before. I think of WooCommerce as an out-of-the-box solution where you can add so many things to it. Using the custom development as a selling point is cool.

I'm curious. You mentioned when you were talking about how you got your start with WooCommerce, that you tried a bunch of different things, Joomla included. Why did you settle on WooCommerce, what decision process was there, and maybe some of the features of WooCommerce that you think are super useful for your agency now?

Anyssa: We always prefer to use WordPress. The Joomla thing was like, oh, let's try it because the solutions that were available in WordPress weren't working for us. But we came back to WordPress and WooCommerce because of a couple of factors: we have a big WooCommerce community here in Brazil, thanks to Claudio Sanches who is now one of the main developers of WooCommerce.

At the time he was simply contributing to WooCommerce, creating plugins and integrations. When he started to do that, the community here grew a lot. It was so simple to use. Like you said, it was out-of-the-box and when we tried to do something, it worked so well for us that we just pushed it to production and started using it right away for our customers. So it was those two factors.

Bob: I see by your site that you offer quite a wide range of services. I'm a bit curious. Is WooCommerce growing more as far as the projects you're doing? How much of your overall client base actually is more focused on WooCommerce?

Anyssa: For now, less than half, but our intention is to focus more on new WooCommerce projects in the next months. It's growing, because since we started, we have little projects that lead to bigger ones that lead to even bigger ones. Right now we are working on two big projects with WooCommerce that will lead to other big projects.

We like this because of the impact we have on our customers’ businesses. When you create a website, you make an indirect it's impact. But when you create a store or shop, it's a direct impact on their main work. We like to think what would be the best solution for them. How will they be allowed to sell more and grow their businesses?

What eCommerce Trends, Good or Bad, Do You See?

Mendel: I really love that. That when you make a website, you're making an indirect impact. When you're making a WooCommerce or an eCommerce site, you're directly impacting somebody's livelihood, which makes a lot of sense. From the smallest to the largest companies, with the big companies providing jobs to hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of people.

I'm curious. I've seen a lot of funny trends over the past 10 years and you've been doing this work for 10 plus years. What trends have you seen in eCommerce as a whole? I can think of one right now. The quick-view button and how you can see a product quickly.

Another one I can think of is that annoying pop-up that you see on just about every website that says, give us your email and we'll give you 25% off right now. It seems like every website has that on there. Can you think of any emerging or even annoying trends that you've seen as you've been working on all of this eCommerce stuff?

Anyssa: Well, I can only think about sliders. It's like, Oh my God, the client wants another slider. So they have to be huge and will impact the performance. How can we do this? We try to explain the consequences. And I try not to add any sliders to the websites, but I understand sometimes they are necessary.

I try to create something that will not impact the usability and other factors on the website. And this is really hard. In Brazil, we are very visual. The websites have to be really visual, have a certain amount of visual impact. We cannot just go for minimalism if we want to compete with the others. So it's really hard to balance those things.

Bob: Yeah. I don't know if either of you saw the video. I think this was maybe two, three, four years ago. They had a store that had the wall that moved and it was basically showing you physically, what a slider does and how it can affect your customers. So these people would be standing at the wall looking through clothes and then the wall would suddenly start moving and bring another whole set of clothes in front of them. And they'd go, Oh wow. I was looking at this, I was really interested. Now it's gone. Where did it go?

So yes, sliders are very interesting. I noticed that on your website you describe yourself as a front end designer and developer. So what do you like to do best? Do you like to get into the code or do you like to design best? I know that you have a degree in graphic design, so I'm guessing what it might be, but which is your favorite to do?

Design or Development, Is There a Favorite?

Anyssa: I always don't know how to answer this question because it's really hard. I really love to design and prototype, especially creating an interface of the website. But I like to do this thinking on how would I develop this interface. It's really fun to me. I'm gonna create this out, add the constructed layout, but, how do I do this in CSS?

So I have to always think about the two things when I create something. Now I'm working more on planning on the early stages of our website development because I'm knowing how to distribute more of my work and let other people do things that I used to do. I don't know what I will be doing in the future, but I like both for now.

Bob: Yeah, my past life was a designer. I I wish I could say I love to get into the code and develop it, but I'd rather, just put my head in a vice and tighten it.

Mendel: Oh, painful Bob.

Bob: Yeah, it never quite quite clicked with me. But I'm always impressed when somebody can do both and use both sides of their brain, the creative part and the technical part.

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Getting Geeky with Browser Additions

Mendel: So, I'm curious. I have my favorite, I guess, browser addition right now. By browser addition, I mean the addition of a particular standard that's being added to all browsers. The one that I was super excited about awhile back was Flexbox. And I love Flexbox, that's like the geekiest thing. It's not the geekiest thing, but it's pretty close. Do you have any up-and-coming additions to browsers as far as CSS or HTML standards that you're excited about?

Anyssa: Oh, yes. CSS Grid is awesome and I'm really waiting for the sub-grid, which is very geeky to say. I'm already thinking about layouts I could do with this feature and it's not ready yet, just like refreshing. I'm waiting everyday to see when can I start using this effectively. And CSS grid just helped me to create layouts so much faster.

Lazy Loading Coming to Core

Mendel: It's great, I love it. Yeah. Also, I guess Felix Arntz was working on lazy loading and integrating that into a WordPress, I think for the next version or the version after this .5, I think. What do you see in the future of browsers in development and design of WordPress websites?

Because it seems a lot of the things that people have created plugins for have really started to be overtaken by features, and in the actual browser itself, and this lazy loading thing is one of those, right? There are a million lazy loading plugins or features of plugins out there. And now it's going to be native in the browser. You think that's a good thing, a bad thing?

Anyssa: I think it's a good thing because when a thing is native in the browser, it tends to be faster. You don't have to load Javascript. This is a good change and I hope WordPress keeps improving and bringing this to the core. WooCommerce should benefit from this because a fast shop will be one that sells the most. So I think we need this.

Why Become a WordCamp Organizer?

Bob: One question, even though it's not WooCommerce related, is about your involvement with WordCamp down there. You're an organizer. Before we head into the other pieces of our podcast, what got you involved with WordCamp and how did you get wrangled into being an organizer?

Anyssa: Back in 2013, when we started really working with WordPress, the first thing we wanted to do was to build our own website with a custom theme so we could learn how to develop with WordPress. We had barely any material in Portuguese.

The community here was the one who helped us and taught us how to create a website. They were really helpful. So we felt a need to give back something. We offered to work with them and do some design stuff. Then we started working with the WordCamp San Paolo organizing team for the next WordCamp in 2014 and have been part of the team since then.

Bob: Yeah, once you get into it. I organized our local one year and I've been involved in other ways, but the organizer was limited to one year for me.

Mendel: His beard and mustache turned turned white after that.

Vet Payment Cryptocurrency Coming to WooCommerce

Bob: Yeah, it was it was something else. Let me tell you. Well, let's go ahead and move into the news. In fact, I just found one post from my browsing. For anybody out there that's into cryptocurrency and doing all that good stuff, Vet Payments, which is one of them out there and comes from VeriArti, is going to be bringing it to a lot of WooCommerce sites.

I will put the link in the notes. So if you're interested in the cryptocurrency thing and you're using it on client sites, you may want to check that out. Well, that's the news..

Mendel: Wait, whoa.

Bob: You want to say something about cryptocurrency?

Mendel: I forgot. There is one thing that I saw this week that made me laugh and it's totally related to cryptocurrency. Warren Buffet. I don't know if you saw this article, but the headline is Warren Buffet blasts Bitcoin as worthless and vows he will never own a cryptocurrency. He says cryptocurrencies basically have no value. They don't produce anything. You can't do anything with it except sell it to somebody else. But then that person's got the problem.

So this is Warren Buffet. I'm not a fan. But he said he doesn't own any, he doesn't plan to ever own any. And he's down on it. I gotta tell you, when Warren Buffet said it, two things came to my mind. One. If Warren Buffett's not going to own it, I'm certainly not going to own it, you know? But then I started thinking about it and I'm like, well, is this just a guy that doesn't get it? He had his mind on traditional, monetary stuff his entire life, but he's also an innovative guy. So anyway, take it however you want. But I thought I'd throw that in there as this news is coming out about cryptocurrency with them.

WooCommerce Community Chats on Slack and Content on BobWP

Bob: Yeah. It's interesting stuff. I don't really get into a lot. But Warren Buffet? That's an interesting tidbit. In other news I just want everyone to know that we do recognize that there was some price changing in the WooCommerce marketplace and since we're going to go sans discussion on that, in a couple of weeks I'll be having Paul on from WooCommerce to talk about a few things going on there. So we'll touch on that subject then.

Moving into announcements now, I do have a couple that I'd like to share with you. First off, WooCommerce community chats are back on Slack. I believe number 7 is actually taking place today. So depending when you are listening to this podcast, they may be able to catch it or it may be over with. Anyway, you can see the notes. It's on the core channel for WooCommerce in Slack. It's a great way to catch up, hears about some of the stuff around the corner, talk to some of the people. Or just have a great discussion. So I would definitely check that out.

The other piece I wanted to talk about and this is my own Woo news, probably Mendel remembers when we first announced the new year of the podcast. I had mentioned at that time that I was cutting back on my tutorials and that particular kind of content on my site, focusing more on the news and the podcast. Yes, I'm focusing on news and the podcast, but I totally lied.

Mendel: You just can't stop, can you Bob?

Bob: Yeah, this one’s simple, though. I'm still writing stuff. There'll be the podcasts, the news, everything. In fact, we'll be adding some other things. I won't mention them, but they're being planned. Some other opportunities through my content to get to know more about people in the Woo community. So watch for that as well. I'm sure I will announce that when I get those going. Well, cool. I don't know if we have any other announcements.

Mendel: I have an announcement.

Bob: Oh, do you? Okay. You didn't tell me that.

Meet Mendel at WordCamp Miami and Check Out His New Site Redesign

Mendel: Oh, sorry, I forgot. I'm just slaying it on my first time leading the hosting of this podcast. Not telling you things, doing funny intros, my computer's exploding.

But I wanted to mention two things. One, I will be at WordCamp Miami this weekend with the Nexus and Liquid Web teams. So if you want to chat WooCommerce, there's nothing I like more than grabbing a coffee or a beer and chatting about that.

The other thing I want to mention, and it’s totally self-serving, is I just redesigned a part of my website. I added in some of the videos I've done with Bob here and some of some of the old ones from the archive, which is fun. So yeah, I'm pretty excited about that. But those are just personal announcements. Bob, I don't even know if I'm allowed to talk about it, but I did.

Bob: Yeah. Announcements is a very generic word.

Mendel: Thank goodness.

Bob: Yeah. Whatever people are doing, we want to know.

Mendel: And if you don't see me here in a month, it's because Bob threw me off. Oh man.

Bob: He'll slowly fade away.

So anyway, Anyssa, this has been excellent. Loved having the opportunity to be able to chat with you and meet you virtually. Hopefully, somehow the planets will align and we'll actually meet in person. You never know in this WordPress space. So just appreciate you taking the time.

Anyssa: Well, thank you. It was really fun and I hope we can meet. Maybe you can come to Brazil, to San Paulo, take a vacation. I'll be at WordCamp Europe this year too. So if you're there, meet me. And thank you.

Where to Find Anyssa on the Web

Bob: Thank you so much. Where can people find you on the web?

Anyssa: Well, you can find me on my Twitter, it's @AnyssaFerreira. And you can find my links there.

Bob: Excellent. Just want to close it out by thanking our sponsors again., our community sponsor. You can always find so much Woo goodness over there. I mean they have three blogs and all those extensions you can purchase. They have tons of stuff going on over there.

Mendel: They have three blogs?

Bob: Yeah, they do have three blogs. They have a developer blog, and... now you're asking me something that I don't have memorized, but they do, trust me.

Mendel: Yeah. I'm just saying they're overachievers. They're pretty awesome.

Bob: Yeah, three blogs. So good stuff. And I want to thank them as well. A great ticketing option for WooCommerce or to manage your tickets as well. A lot of great features. And remember, you can get 100% free license of their premium plugin for one year. If you go to We'll have that link in there. Appreciate both of those sponsors.

You can also subscribe to the podcast on your favorite pod app. We've finally got updated on Spotify. For some reason they weren't being updated, so I talked to them. Got that all going. So you can find us everywhere. Sign up for Woo news or become a Friend of Do the Woo. Mendel. You nailed it. You're always good. You know, despite whatever happens, it's a joy. You know, what can I say?

Mendel: Hey, when I'm with you two, boy, nothing can go wrong. It's a party.

Bob: All right, everybody. We will talk to you next week on another Do the Woo.