In the WordPress and WooCommerce space likely will be no stranger to pre-Black Friday and Cyber Monday activities. Aside from the typical pitches and emails, as a builder you have likely seen numerous articles on how to prepare for the big sales days.
But what about afterwards. There is obviously a lot of reflection to be made and thoughts on what went right and what didn’t. Throw into that mix the fact that with the rise of eCommerce in 2020 and, specifically, WooCommerce, what might be the outcome for general retail across the board is totally different for the Woo product maker.
To get some insights into this, I asked James Kemp from IconicWP, Katie Keith from Barn2 Plugins and Ronald Gijsel from YITH to have a conversation.
The three of them chatted about:
- What they did differently this time around
- The predicted trend of success via deep discounts
- Starting the sales earlier and was Black Friday or Cyber Monday more successful
- What marketing efforts paid off the best and do emails still work
- How much affiliate sales played into the success and if those long Black Friday post lists really work
- Any specific challenges that came up this year
Thanks to our community sponsors
Hey everybody, BobWP here. And we are actually, this is the official first Woo Perspetive. The podcast will be episode 85, but in the past couple of new perspective, I had my co-hosts. Now I have real guests. So that makes it official.
And I'm excited to get into this topic because everybody talks about how to prepare for Black Friday all the vendors out there in the WooCommerce space. There's more than enough information on there. How about what happens afterwards? You know, and I'm actually be lucky to have three very successful businesses in the space, join me after post Black Friday. You know, I'm, I'm not sure if they've been celebrating or if they've been sleeping but I did get all three of them to agree to come in and chat a little bit about how it went.
But before we get started, I'd like to thank our sponsors, WooCommerce.com. You know them well they had their own Black Friday thing going, and yeah, you know there's a lot over on WooCommerce. Check it out. Not a lot to say specifically right now, but yeah. Do see what's going on over there.
And then PayPal, PayPal has been our sponsor for awhile. They have some excellent buy now pay later options. So if you have clients that running PayPal, hey, you know you might nudge them towards that. Say, given that, give it a try, see what your customers you know, and the beauty of it is there's no risk. So, so do checkout paypal.com and they do have a PayPal Checkout Extension on woocommerce.com that you can download for free to get started on that.
One of the things I thought about before I even pushed the record button was, it's interesting all the different predictions people have made for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Cyber Week whatever you want to label it. And WooCommerce is unique in a couple of different ways. First of all, buying a plugin, most people have a totally different frame of mind to buy a new TV for their family. So, you know, there's some other variables in there and also will WooCommerce by nature has probably seen growth. I'm sure all three of my guests have seen growth this last year because of 2020. I mean, hey, you know that's all you can say because of 2020. So, so that's it. So we've seen that. So that's what made this even a little bit more interesting and intriguing to me is how Black Friday went. I want to have each of my great guests introduce themselves real quickly and then we'll move right into a conversation. Let's start with Katie.
Hi, I'm Katie Keith from Barn2 Plugins I'm co-founder and run the company with my husband, Andy. We switched from building websites to plugins in 2016 and we've never looked back. And now we specialise in WooCommerce specific plugins that add particular features to WooCommerce.
Hey, I'm James Kemp. I am the founder of Iconicwp.com and we also make WooCommerce plugins and is much solely on WooCommerce plugins. Our first one was made back in 2012 and it's still a top seller. So it's yeah, it's been a long run.
Cool. And last but not least Ronald.
Hi, my name is Ronald. So I'm the partnership manager for YITH. We are an independent marketplace where we sell our own developed plugins over hundreds WooCommerce plugins we have now. I'm also the WooCommerce London meetup host just to add that to that. We've been going since 2009 as a company starting selling themes first and then moved into plugins. And I was solely focused WooCommerce since 2014 slash 15.
Cool. Well, so Black Friday, you survived. I'm glad to see you all sitting up awake alive, I don't want to dwell a lot on prep because we already I was saying, you know, we've talked about it, we've been there. But maybe you could pull out one element. Was there anything that you did differently this year to prepare just because have you heard all this stuff coming in from different angles? I'll swing it to Katie first and then I'll let the others to chime in after her Katie, anything that you really really feel like was the top thing you might've done differently?
The main change we made was that previous years we've always done 50% off everything. And we just did 30% this year because we noticed last year that a lot fewer people were doing the 50% like two or three years ago everyone was doing half price sales pretty much. And that, made sales go down a bit so thought we'd experiment and see how it went with 30 instead.
Yeah, we did pretty similar, actually. We usually do 40, but this year we did 30 but we also, one of the key things that we changed is to have a one landing page where you can buy any of our products, you know, from one place. Cause we use freemium, which means there's no cart system to it. So previously, if you wanted to buy a product you'd have to go to the single product page and add it to cart there and then go to a different single product page and we found out that one landing page was great for just, you know, linking people to it and also convenient for the actual person perks.
So yeah, how we did was similar also 30% which we have done for the last few years. And it's interesting to hear that. Not, you don't give more and more discount each year and it becomes like a race to the bottom to get the most attention to your company but actually everybody looks at each other actually we we can do quite well with less percentage and not more a giveaway. So for us, we did contemplate whether we will change the deal. But I think simplicity where you just say 30% off everything seems to work people better in their mind.
Well, before I end or they remember it from last year so they sort of prepare themselves a little bit. But I think for us, we in terms of preparation, getting the timing, right because you don't want to start too soon. But I mean some shops have pretty much the whole month of November as a Black Friday sale and it sort of wears off and keep it fairly concentrated on just a few days and don't go over it because at the same time, you don't want to give stuff away that people are going to come to organically anyway. So it needs to keep it special by keeping it short as well.
That's interesting because I know that I've just been reading a lot about what everybody so-called predicted. And one of the things I saw a lot talked about was deeper discounts. And I even heard a few people that I know that and they might've been speaking again to the broader retail industry that, you know the only way you're going to survive this year is deep discounts. You know, it's gotta be 50 or more. And I think this again pulls out the uniqueness of the WooCommerce space or even the WordPress ecosystem of plugins is that that isn't necessarily jive with the three of you did. You didn't say, okay, we gonna do 60%. We gonna do 70%, we're just, you know there's a point somebody I had on the podcast, it's insane, you know, it's like, you get up to 90%. It's like, what are you selling? You know, what's the freaking point kind of type of thing.
So, I'd like to hear that. And that's what I kind of saw across the board with. I mean, I saw few really deep discounts and most of those as usual might've been hosting, but as far as the plugins, yeah, very cool. Early sales. That's one thing I want to talk about now. I believe I looked it up. I actually did my homework. I believe James and Katie. You both started yours on the 23rd and Ronald started years on the 26th. And again, I saw a trend talking about how people were starting sales earlier for one reason or another. Some even were doing early sales and then doing the Black Friday sales, they were starting the sales maybe early in October, any, you know, method to your madness behind that as far as maybe why you chose to go a few days earlier, or if you perceive that that might be just a better direction this year.
Well, we found last year and this year that if we do Monday to Monday, instead of just Black Friday we can literally half the sales come from the Monday to Thursday period. And then the other half are from Black Friday to cyber Monday. So it seems like we wouldn't want to leave that on the table. And two years ago, when we just did the weekend sale we had quite a lot of inquiries from customers in the few days before saying can they have the discount early? And they, that causes quite a lot work for the support team. And cause we tend to say yes, rather than risk losing the sale and that involves manual work. Doesn't it? And interestingly, our first, our best day was Cyber Monday as it was last year by quite a long way. But our second best day wasn't Black Friday. It was the Wednesday and I've spoken to other companies as well who also said their second best day was the Wednesday. So that's more evident than it is worth doing that longer sale.
How about the two of you? Did you know, I I'd be curious about that Cyber Monday as well if that was your better day or not?
We had a slightly differently Cyber Monday was our best day and by about two times any other day. But we had kind of a U shape where Monday was, you know, the second highest day essentially. And it kind of went down and then went back up on to on Cyber Monday. But yeah, we saw for the first six days, you know, Monday was what's the highest study, the initial sale day. And that's probably down to the facts that the majority of our sales come from our email list and, you know, that's the day they get the first email. And after that, your open rate of those emails starts to go down.
I'm really curious about the Monday to Wednesday 'cause we consciously didn't do that purely because you know, I think that people know what's coming up they wait for it because you know the weeks and months before they just sort of keep in mind like, Oh, I really need that. I'll pay it when it's on Black Friday. So we did a Thursday and Friday to start with but those two days were record breaking days for us. And then Monday again was a hit as well, Saturday, Sunday, a little bit less but yeah, it's the email that really drove the big peak.
So we did a, you know, we set up an automation that we reminded people that we've unlocked the deal. Then we did a, a reminder for those who didn't open it. And, and throughout the next few days, we had a few more of these conditional automations to really remind people at the right time with some sort of predictive sending. And I think that's, you know the email kit and opening rate that really drove the big peak of off sales. So I think having a good marketing list to target to help you drive that extra sale for sure a lot of the purchases were repeat purchases of previous customers.
So I think, you know, to focus on that but then what we also did was try to work with the affiliates beforehand and to get them to gear up with some, you know, you have these hundreds and one best marketing app for Black Friday deals to make sure that people know of us on those, this whoever's sort of working their way through it, but I'm sort of curious whether you've noticed a more of a repeat purchase from maybe customers who are already in your database from previous years. And also if they, you know, if you brought in a lot of new customers as a sort of a new marketing technique.
Yeah. I mean, with mine. The actual, I need to go through and analyse the on the set of it, but we had two coupon codes. So existing customers got one coupon code and new customers got a different one they got slightly different discounts. Existing customers got 40% instead of 30 but actually the bulk of our sales were from new customers or at least people using the new or the, you know 30% discount code, which was interesting. Part of the reason that we decided to start the sale early is to kind of bypass the inbox fatigue that people will get. You know, you'll have seen it in your cell phone. Thursday, Friday, Monday, the same many emails coming in. So starting that a little bit earlier although quite a few people are doing that as well now but you kind of, you get the opportunity to be in an inbox when there's not as many people alongside you. That's why we, we did it then.
Yeah. Unfortunately I don't have that data about how many were new and returning customers. So I might do that next year have different coupon codes for the emails that we send out versus the ones on the website. And then we can find that out.
Yeah, I'm curious, now you both, I mean you just said email fatigue, and this is again both Ronald and James, you hinted towards that. That email was a big part of it. I mean, that was an effective strategy obviously. And I know that I saw it on the, you know I saw it in slacks, I saw it everywhere, moaning and groaning and whatever about emails people were saying. And I'm like, you know, I, every year I go into some conversation, I say, hey, you know have got to make a living, just deal with it type of thing. You know, it's not the end of the world. If he get some extra emails, Katie did, do you feel like a lot of your sales were more as far as the marketing part of things more email driven or maybe, you know, entirely email driven?
Yeah. We got a lot from emails. We sent five emails. I negotiated my marketing people down from eight. I think five is quite a lot. And as you'd expect, there were a few opens and more unsubscribes as each one progressed through the sequence, which I think you would expect. But yeah, we definitely got quite a lot to choose from but we also got lots of new customers as well.
Yeah. Yeah. Now, Ronald, you mentioned the affiliates and does, I'm not expecting you to give me the, you know, the data but we know how many lists are out there. And I know everybody wants to get on those lists. I mean, it's a, it's a no brainer. They're, they're what really drive things. Do you feel that that is an equal part to the email marketing as far as, you know, getting on those lists, getting your affiliates behind you, does this sales show that or is that kind of a variant, you know, maybe from you.
No, it's not a really big part at all. You would, you would think so that those lists really drive lots of sales. I think it's just one of those minor touchpoints that reminds people of the brand or sort of an introduction to, or, you know, keeping in mind. Oh yeah, they do have a sale as well. I need to check back in a few days time or a few weeks time but what did help us to send some advance warning or email to the affiliates and not to all of them either, only to the ones that actually we have had some engagement with in the last couple of months, you know those who've chosen some sales or clicks to our website.
So quite specific, a small group of people at the workplace. And then they try to check, you know if they're using the right sort of banner and promotion and so on. So a bit of quality check there. It was new because previously we didn't do that. But I do think, and this is I haven't analysed it enough to compare idea on a year and, you know, percentage wise but I do feel we've increased the traffic from them. So it definitely has worked, but I wouldn't put all my eggs in that affidavit basket for sure.
Yeah. How about you James? How's that, how do you see that? Yeah, I mean, we've seen probably two years running now that those lists don't really drive any sales. I think there's just, there's so much information in them that they become kind of useless for the person viewing it and also for the person with the sale. But like Ronald said, they I believe they would be a good way for people to to just know you exist, you know to kind of trigger that memory in them. And if they see your deal again, there'll be like, Oh yeah I saw them, you know, the other day. So it's just, it's kind of that brand awareness aspect of it that I think is beneficial. But last year we spent a lot of time reaching out to individual blogs, getting up, you know deals posted on there. Whereas this year we didn't do that at all to the people that we'd reached out to the year before maybe some of them got in touch and we added, we, you know sent them back our deal, but we didn't actively go out looking for these lists this year. Like we did last year and we actually performed better this year. But affiliates I think, yeah, like Ronald was saying they performed well they didn't necessarily perform well for me this year. But if you really kind of nurture your top affiliates and you know, have some kind of plan with the top affiliates there's definitely a room for kind of good return there. I think.
How about you, Katie? How, how did that kind of the same thing?
I always thought that was a really good opportunity for Black Friday. And we've always spent a lot of time getting onto all the roundups and everything. Last year, we got onto a 34 roundups this year it was 17 for some reason but both years we've tracked almost no sales at all from those roundups. Some of those figures are designed. We have a really good affiliate programme. The rest of the year. We have some very good quite high profile affiliates that make very good content about our plugins and drive a lot of sales. But beyond that, nothing happened with the affiliate.
So for Black Friday and we even tried to incentivize them by offering them unique coupon codes. They would all have been the 30% coupon codes, but specific to that affiliate so that we'd give them $150 bonus. If she's 10 times, well, 10 affiliates asked for this and literally one sale was tracked in total across the 10 codes. It was just terrible. So that didn't work. I wouldn't recommend that we've got sales from affiliates but I recognise just from the content that was already out there about our plugin I have no evidence that it was from anything they did to push out that Friday deal. So I don't know what we'll do differently next year but I am reflecting on that at the moment to think about whether their opportunity to be missed or maybe is not a priority for future sales.
Yeah. Well, and the three of, you know because you were on it, I always do one that's just WooCommerce specific. And I do is a shorter list of course. And from experience, I've known that. Yeah. First of all, one of you mentioned that I think it was Ronald, you know these lists are incredibly wrong. I like to do it every year because I think what James said is, you know I don't expect a much sales there, but I'm just it's another thing that if it drives some people's eyes on there, they see you, you know, the different names these are the bonus considered doing that, you know the companies in the space that are doing the sales.
These are the ones that Bob, you know whatever that may mean feels good enough to put on his site. So I'm hoping that does bring some brand recognition and maybe, you know maybe somebody will check something out down the road having seen it enough one brand, you know, various places. But yeah, it's definitely, I think it's, I actually I think most of the lists are totally insane, you know and I think, you know, if I was to take myself and say, come Black Friday, unfortunately when I need to plugin, I got to buy plugin by the time Black Friday rolls around, unless I happen to need one that week, I don't buy one just because I bought all the, you know, I bought like four of them up to the month before Black Friday, because I couldn't wait till black Friday.
But, you know, I would sit there and go okay, you know, if Black Friday's coming. I need this plugin. And, you know, Katie site has it. Well, I'm just going to go to Katie site because I know she'll have a Black Friday sale, that's it, you know I'm not gonna go and peruse some long list and say, Oh what else is on sale that I don't really need but I might want to buy or, or something like that. Maybe some people do. But anyway, that's interesting to hear. And I...
I just want to say two things though, because your list because it's WooCommerce specific, I actually think you know, shorter, but specific lists were better but I was just sort of my feel on it because if you are after WooCommerce, you know if you sort of, you know, building a project, checking it out and seeing what else is out there to sort of compare maybe get an intro to a company that you might not have heard of, or, you know some sort of solution. And I think that can have a positive spin to it. And then also I have the question to you. What do you think, is it worth it, you know to compile a list like that? Is it a worthwhile exercise versus revenue or is it more sort of, well it's sort of expected and if I just get on with it.
You know, I would, I guess if I was in your shoes and kind of, like Katie said she's going to reflect on it next year and they didn't work on as many this year as they were last year. I would maybe just look for those lists that you think might get not necessarily referring back to what James said the eyeballs and unnecessary clicks just because you're part of that list. And that's maybe a list like, you know, crazy it is for beginner to have this long incredible list, but, you know they have a lot of people looking at it probably too.
So, but I, you know, from this perspective I would say, you know, don't spend a lot of resources getting on it because obviously and that kind of reflects what the three of you said but it doesn't hurt to be on those as James said about you know, kind of the brand, just, you know and you're kind of, you know, maybe I'm to stay on the cool list, because then we're getting to the weird list and the whole WordPress thing and that that's another conversation, but you're, you know you're included on it. You're part of it. And, you know, I usually try to reach out to, you know people I know specifically and say, hey you've got a Black Friday, obviously let me know because you know, this is my list.
And yeah, I would say it's worth it and it might be worth for those few extra sales, you know but it's not, I don't think if I have a shop, I wouldn't just having sat in that as an affiliate for years and years, I wouldn't be doing the tonne of reaching out. And as Katie said, if you have those high affiliate those people, you know, that handful, or maybe more people that really generate consistently, you know and they're doing a list and it's probably obviously worth being on their list just as a continuation of the brand.
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Something I haven't tried with affiliates is getting affiliates who have YouTube channels. So the majority of our affiliates like blog text-based but I do think that YouTube would be a good source of credibility because I know in the list you make hundreds of plugins. They're gonna to list two or three probably per post. And if they're a good affiliate they might even do, you know, a full-on tutorial about how to do something specific with your product.
So, yeah. Do you think that would be a good one to explore next year
We started with some YouTube content and through exploring that we've noticed a few people doing some sort of demos with an affiliate link and few do generate sales. So we're probably really early, but it is promising. So I definitely encouraged to explore a bit more on that and see if that can increase it.
Is that people making tutorials based on your own videos or are they doing off their own back of you kind of discuss
Yeah, no, no. We have absolutely no idea. You know, they are in sort of person. We can probably track it through the link but I wouldn't specifically recommend those videos either but, you know, within their own group. Okay. Just slowly she knows exactly what's happening. So it's it's yeah. But it sort of works for them and it ultimately it drives sales. And I don't know if we would ever come to that point that we have to police, you know, what people say and do about your, I don't think you can, but it's a obviously have the interest to make the sales. So it is promotional.
Interesting. Well, yeah, I like hearing about that because I mean, all three of, you know my Bob WP sites still kind of squanders in affiliate land and stuff, so it's, yeah, the whole industry is interesting. Let me say, have you ever, I'm just curious to have it. And the three of you have ever gone to the affiliate, what is it? Conference. When we used to have conferences remember back in those days affiliate conference, Oh man, I'll tell you if you want to have an experience of affiliate and the mindset of that go to that. I went to a one year and yeah, it was interesting. Let me just tell you they had, one part of the conference was actually called The Meet Market.
Anyway, what it was is you would sit down and meet with affiliates and you would basically hash out, you know you were affiliate marketer and they were affiliate and you sit down and wheel a deal and try to hash out incredible deals and whatever. And you'd sit across from each other at these little tables and just, and the people were just like, it was insane. It was the most interesting conference I've ever been to. And I have yet to ever go back to it.
Was that specific to WordPress or a general one.
It's a general one in fact most what was really cool about it and not to get to I don't want to get on that tangent but it was this huge, you know, they all had it was booths like a regular conference. So you'd walk in there and they were like, you know it's like walking through a booth of car salesman, you know they were very aggressive and they would come out from behind their booths and track you down and follow you and approach you. And fortunately for me, you know, maybe 2% of the companies there would have any interest in somebody that wrote about WordPress. So they'd turn, they, hey, you know, come on 'gotta come and see my booth in Bubba.
And I say, I write about WordPress and they go, Oh, and they'd walk away. So it was, you know, that was actually an advantage for me because I didn't have to talk to a lot of them, but it wasn't experienced. So yeah, interesting times, but let's move into, Was there any challenges? I mean, was there anything that really, I mean, we're you know, besides the world falling apart around us and fortunately none of you live over here in the States where I do so that's to your advantage. But was there any challenges that came cropped up during the sale? Pre-sale? That kind of played into just everything else that made it okay. You sat thought, wow, it's 2020. Yeah.Why wouldn't this happened or was it pretty much, you know, smooth sailing?
have three challenges, I'd say. One was pure technical. So that was the timing, so the banner was still on, but the deal came off 12 hours. So it was just a bit of coding but that was solved in, I think three minutes or so its literally like, somebody can't get the discount. Oh, sorry. Put it back. That was solved. Okay. Last year, 2019, we were one of the bad ones. However, it was very much over shattered by host from a company point of view, having a little notification inside the admin panel for administrators alone was you know, a very effective way of communicating a deal especially if you had a plugin without a valid licence. So, you know, quite rightly also as a user completely frowned upon. So we had to stay away from that.
We did explore different versions of a notification but we also knew that all eyes were on any sort of ping pong on the backend. So we completely stayed away from it. So we, we did have quite a bit of a discussion around. And then we also discussed whether we have pre-sales and sales on chat throughout the weekend. Normally we have sort of a more reduced staff level but we just felt that, you know, lots of visitors lots of things can happen. Lots of questions. So we did put in some extra staff, luckily we could do that for the weekend. So, you know, nothing major for your decisions, but, you know in terms of challenges probably that's as far as it goes.
Yeah, I didn't feel like we really had any notable challenges, at least during the sale. We had a similar timing issue with the banner. Ours was actually cashed on the website for like a day afterwards. So people were clicking it and trying to get the deal. Although we did leave it active for a little bit longer anyway, But no, we didn't necessarily have any challenges. It's obviously a slightly different landscape to normal, but that the landscape that it is currently is kind of more beneficial for us anyway because there's more people coming online more people setting up online stores. So yeah, you just have to kind of consider being around a bit more and having, you know, the support capacity to handle an influx from your customers but it hasn't been noticeably in much more support than normal. So it's been okay so far.
Yeah. I was surprised that support didn't get busier and we have reduced the increased our capacity recently, but hey stayed on top of it, just fine throughout the sale. And I asked them to prioritise pre-sales and live chats and so on. And that was all fine. A couple of minor challenges.
Give lots of refund requests. So it's an after people just buying and then not actually wanting to use it, then an ask for a refund.
Not really, I don't find people tend to buy on impulse. Like you might think with Black Friday sales but we do get refund requests from people that have bought recently at the higher price which obviously requires quite a lot of manual work for support. We did agree to that if they were within their guarantee period. Cause obviously they could just say, I want a refund then. So we kind of have to, but that adds quite a lot of work, which happens every year.
We do partial refunds in those circumstances. So we'll just refund the difference.
Yeah. That's where you lose them. Cause obviously they risk not thing again.
Yeah. The other thing that we get is refund requests from people the year before we've just renewed a normal price.
We have them, yeah.
Yeah. Because I think a lot of the times the people that wait for Black Friday are the bargain hunters. So they're not their life, their span of using your product, isn't gonna be as long as someone who is willing to pay full price for it.
When we measure them are lower on the Black Friday period. So if you look at last year, sales, fewer of them would have renewed them enjoying a typical period. But I've used that to kind of justify doing things like lifetime sales on Black Friday. So I really agonised over whether it was a good idea to discount a lifetime deal. But I think it's a bit more justified because if they're less likely to you anyway you want to maximise that initial purchase value.
Yeah. And we, most of our, the bulk of our revenue is from bundles and lifetime licences. So it's definitely worth it.
So I was going to ask whether you see a lot of Black Friday to Black Friday customers that sort of cancel on every you know, start again because I'm assuming you're like ours the renewal is at full price.
Yeah. We, we email those customers and say, you know you can renew with these discounted prices. But strangely you find that most of them don't do that. I don't know whether they just don't read the email or, you know, we have tonnes of renewals that are just normal price.
Yeah. But there's certainly some who do that every year. I know I do for my WooCommerce extensions, EDD extensions. I do it for tonnes of plugins. I'm just terrible. But yeah. It's not as many as you might think they certainly exist.
Yeah Do you run any other promos? I was just, I was wondering cause we only do black Friday and Cyber Monday. And if you do any of this for another time of year that's worthwhile or is it just Black Friday successful because of Black Friday?
I think, like you say, it's recognised as pretty much anyone is going to do a Black Friday. You get a few companies that aren't gonna do them and I don't know am not so sure how well they do but yeah, we tend to suggest to the Black Friday sale. I can't recall if we did anymore this year, but we we definitely haven't focused on any particular holiday week. We maybe do like a launch sale or, you know a presale before the plugins ready. But in terms of all the plugins being discounted it's usually Black Friday.
Yeah. We've done launch sales for specific products but we had never done a general sale at any other time of year. All I do know the owner of one WordPress plugin company who did a sale in May and he said he replicated exactly what he did for Black Friday in May. And he actually got as many sales which I was really surprised by. I think he's got very good mailing lists so he could get a lot of interested people that way.
There is there's a WooCommerce days. It was introduced this year I wonder if anybody would like other plugging companies would chime with that, the WooCommerce date. I think is somewhere June or so... It doesn't really send that out.
Okay. I seem to remember that.
I've got a plugin on the WooCommerce marketplace. Now we put it on this year that we also sell on their own website. So it's non-exclusive but it'll be interesting to see if 'cause I believe they have a few more sales than the average WooCommerce store. So it'd be interesting to see how...
And that way you can really measure isn't it by having a upload on both platforms, which one?
Yeah. I mean we don't don't have a choice when they ever sales so we just kind of have to roll with it.
Yeah. So we did Halloween as well this year, we did it every year. And that is again, this year was an absolute record until this Black Friday as a sort of a single day sale. So I'm not sure how many other plugin companies take part in that, but it seems to sort of work for us as an early, maybe a Black Friday sale. Cause it's end of October. But apart from that, we don't do anything and probably not tempted to do either for exactly the same reason as Katie said that. Well, if there's not really anything around it but then this other plugin company what you said, that's interesting.
Yeah. I think you're right. Halloween is becoming more of a thing and it's piggybacking on when other people do sales. So that might be a good one to try next.
I think as well, WooCommerce did they do a Halloween one?
It does ring a bell. Yeah. Yeah, I seem to remember seeing some kind of graphic for it.
Yeah. Yeah, I think they did. Yeah. Think you are right. And I know a few of them that evolve had sales on them Halloween and it'll be interesting, I think for everyone next year to compare to this year, just because again, the growth in E-commerce and now I don't think it's going to stop. So it'll be interesting to see how things flow out. What I want to do. I actually had another thought for, that I shared with you for the end of the last thing I wanted to touch on. So I'm going to totally draw that out.
And I thought of something else because I have these three brilliant minds from successful E-commerce product companies on here. And I don't always have three of them together. So for those people that are looking at 2021 and saying I want to get into WooCommerce products, I'm gonna get into it. I'm gonna sell. What is your biggest pieces of advice to somebody that is looking at that right now? I'll start with, let's see, I'll let, I know. Probably the three of you have to think about so whoever I call on is going to say, Oh, so I'm going to call Ronald. Yeah, he can swear on that.
Yeah. I think it's an ever-growing market and you know, the solutions or the problems that plugin companies need to solve are only going to become more and more complex. So for example here in the UK with 1st of January being the sort of the Brexit sorry for swearing as a sensitive subject, but you know lots of things are changing.
So when it comes to ordering and having these extra tax information that now needs to be all implemented within your WooCommerce store. So, you know, that certainly is an opportunity for plugin businesses to come up with something and create a business around it, whether you then specify you know, go around it and other UVAT and other texts solutions with shipping labels and so on. You know, that's why I think is a real classic opportunity. Also, you know in terms of internationalisation or is there's a lot that isn't working well enough. And it's just from, you know, from experience. So 2021 I think is going to be, you know, filling up these little gaps by companies that suddenly have, you know, they're flexible enough to fill in these vacuums, but also with so many different plugins and so many different things and page builders. The room error is also increased.
So having the quality top being differentiated from the bottom, which can cause a lot of conflicts. I think it's something that maybe there needs to be a sort of a standard or recognition that these plugins always update the, you know, the up-to-date for the latest PHP. You know, you sort of almost stress-free running your store because that's still, I think for WooCommerce compared to other E-commerce platforms, one of the biggest disadvantages that every time you press update, anything can happen. If you build up your store really well, you and I would do that, but all the other millions of store owner. You cannot quite show what else is sort of in a plugin suite. So that's going to be interesting to see how the market evolves around that. Sorry, that was quite a long answer, but that's probably partly also because of the WooCommerce London I get a lot of feedback on that from different users but yeah, I've got so much more to say about it, but I'm gonna hit glass.
Do you have any, anything to add to that?
Well, I say for someone wanting to get into selling WooCommerce plugins. The easiest route to market is to find a gap, ideally, a fairly simple gap because the amazing thing about WooCommerce is it's just so huge. So many people use it and it's growing. And so even if you find a really tiny niche you can get a lot of sales and there are loads of gaps in functionality. And the best way to find them is to look on the official ideas forum, which does exist with do ideas, Facebook groups about WooCommerce where people are saying, how do I do this? And having to do custom coding and just building websites for people or yourself. There is so many gaps I've got a huge document, that's feature plugin ideas. And a lot of them are really quite simple things that just are possible. So it's quite easy to get a small plugin written and get that on the market. And because it's something that doesn't exist you can then write about it and get sales relatively easily.
Yeah. James, anything left for you? Any thoughts there?
Yeah, there's actually, I think there's another side of it that that needs to be considered, which is the, I think you need to come into it with an idea of how you're going to market the product, because it's there's so many products in the space that if you released one just into the other it would just get lost. So, I mean, for me in particular, I started out on CodeCanyon, which was a good place to start but this was like 10 years ago now. But, you know, having that marketplace where they're doing the promoting and they've already got this audience that are coming, looking for solutions was a great way to kind of get off the ground and then, you know, lead into running my own store.
So, you know, things like the WooCommerce as marketplace or CodeCanyon or if you don't want to take that route then I think just having a USP in your products and being able to kind of create a buzz around that is important. And like Katie was saying, you know, content marketing and probably starting content marketing from the get-go with posts around how to achieve certain things using your new product, rather than anything too technical is something that would be worth doing
Well. I think with the three of you, I can plan on in the new year having you back because there's several topics within that last question that we could just elaborate on. And with this gold mine of experience here, I think. Yeah, it would be good. So we'll definitely be doing that. And so this has been exactly how I wanted it to go. I had the opportunity to bring on three people that are a lot smarter than me and actually talk about this stuff that I can just basically ask questions and get answers. And I appreciate it. It's has been very cool. So before I go, let me just thank WooCommerce.com, PayPal.com, again. My community sponsors, we'll be doing this podcast, kind of taking a break we've got the holidays, but this will be every other Tuesday starting in the new year. Have some fun stuff coming up. I'm already planned in the pipeline. And yeah, I just want to thank the three of you for taking the time. You know, you've done this with me before on the one-on-one podcast with my co-hosts and you know, I'm sure I'll be poking at you again sometime but before we leave, where can people connect with you? Let's start with Katie.
Our website is barn2.co.uk That's barn then number 2. Or you can find us on Twitter or Facebook under Barn2 plugins.
Yeah. We're iconicwp.com and where IconicWP on most things except Instagram where we've got two underscores after it.
Ronald. So everything is in the YITH. So Yithemes.com. I think it's going to be quite straight forward to find this on the other platforms.
Very cool. Well, again, thank you very much. And thank you everyone for joining us and yeah, as far as this particular episode is you know, like I said, we're gone for the holidays. We have a few more Do the Woo I think a couple more coming up before we get into the holidays but until then everybody "Do the Woo."
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