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Profiles in Woo: Morgan Hvidt

Meet Morgan Hvidt, Founder and Developer at Puri


How do you Do the Woo?

I develop plugins— mostly for WooCommerce. You can find them on Puri.io and I’m currently playing around with automation for WooCommerce at Puri.ai.

I run our business from home with my partner Larisa who provides written content, motivation, and is my sounding board for new ideas.

We love traveling and trying new food and were running the business while backpacking around South-East Asia before COVID-19 hit. 

We have settled in Western Australia and foster animals when we can.

What year did you start using WooCommerce?

2013

Tell me the story of how you started using WooCommerce and why.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how I got started with WooCommerce. I don’t even remember the first store I made. I discovered WooCommerce after a brief introduction to WordPress in my university studies. 

I always thought the idea of making a living online by selling something would be really cool. But I never had anything to sell. 

I remember thinking drop shipping might be a way for me to run my own online store. I tried it, but I didn’t like it. I couldn’t control the quality of the products and it didn’t feel like the right fit for me. However, in the process of creating a couple of drop shipping stores, I learned a lot about WooCommerce. And I found that customizing them was fun. 

I picked up some client work and helped manage a couple of stores for other people. These stores needed customization and maintenance over time, which gave me a deeper understanding of WooCommerce.

Wanting to move away from client work and build something for myself, I eventually started creating my own plugins. I found it exciting and challenging, and I enjoyed being able to create things and bring my ideas to life. I remember how excited we were when I made my first sale. It was validation that all my learning and efforts actually made something useful for somebody else. 

Fast forward through all the sleepless nights of learning & debugging – I’ve got a growing catalog of WooCommerce plugins and I have my own online store selling those!

Why did you choose to focus on WooCommerce?

I chose to focus on WooCommerce because it was accessible and there were many resources to help me learn. I think a big factor was that it’s super easy to install WooCommerce on a WordPress site. I didn’t even look at other platforms. I had also made some friends in the WooCommerce space. And WooCommerce seemed like the go-to platform.

What is your biggest challenge with WooCommerce?

Flexibility also comes with challenges. When creating a plugin, I have to try to predict as many use cases as I can and still allow flexibility for use cases I haven’t thought of. Any choices that I make early on for the development of a plugin could potentially become a roadblock later on if it doesn’t fit someone’s specific setup. Therefore I spend a lot of time rebuilding/restructuring parts of a plugin.

I also have to consider that a single store could be running 20+ plugins on different types of servers and different versions of WooCommerce. That is the hardest part of developing plugins for WooCommerce.

What would you like to see in the future with WooCommerce in terms of making it easier to run your business?

I believe the WooCommerce team is already trying to focus on improving the developer experience. They recently launched the developer portal to create a central place for developer documentation. It would be great for them to continue doing things like that. I would also highly appreciate a “developer program” where developers like myself could join their private Github repositories. One of our plugins integrates with WooCommerce Bookings, and I feel like I’m playing catch up every time they make a new version available. My life would be a lot easier if I could see what the development teams are working on and join in on conversations. That would allow me to be prepared for changes that could impact our plugins.

Are there any trends that you see coming in the WooCommerce/eCommerce space?

Absolutely. I’m seeing a trend of smaller stores that offer personalized and niche products. Because of this narrowing of brand focus, I believe marketing is becoming more personalized too. Spamming customers with upsells/emails they might not be interested in just doesn’t cut it these days. My new project Puri.ai is my take on what personalized marketing automation will look like for WooCommerce. I’m aiming to take out the guesswork in predicting what customers are interested in by analyzing their purchase behavior. If I do it right, it will mean a better experience for customers and store owners.

What will you not buy online and still need to get in person. And why?

Shoes! If I need a new pair, it’s because my current pair of shoes are falling apart. You can’t tell by looking at a shoe whether it’s going to be a good fit, or whether they’ll annoy my little toe after 10 minutes of walking. I like to try on a couple before I get the right fit. I’d only buy a pair online if I found the perfect pair in a brick and mortar store first.

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