You may not know, but the podcast is never scripted, nor do we think about questions beforehand. From experience the organic conversations we have work best.
But there are always two questions we typically ask the guest to kick it off. How do you Do the Woo and what was the path that led them to WooCommerce. Of course the answers range from immediate deep dives into the Woo space to slight touch points in the beginning. Whatever the story, it’s always different with some similarities here and there.
In this episode we take a journey back to the last several months and hear from 10 guests on how they discovered WooCommerce. Hope you enjoy.
Then my first exposure to WooCommerce was actually, I will call it a personal health brand, and actually this was to the point where it was a WordPress site and they wanted to add ecommerce and WooCommerce was alpha, it was not even beta when I tried this. And the reason I settled on it was because of the client had a requirement to integrate Google checkout, I don’t know if you guys remember that, but that was a thing.
And WooCommerce was the only one that handled it out of the box at the time. And my WooCommerce work brought me in to WordPress Core because I realized that underneath WooCommerce is WordPress, and yes, you can rely on a lot of WooCommerce stuff, but sometimes there’s things that are abstracted that don’t need to be, and you could utilize a lot of WordPress Core stuff underneath. But there’s a lot of great things in WooCommerce that add to WordPress Core like Action Schedule, I use that a ton. Listen the the full episode here.
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. Listen to the full episode here.
everything I learned was out of necessity because we needed to sell t-shirts and albums. Someone had to do it. Like most of the other stuff, it ended up on my table or bunk in the van and I just did it. I would open YouTube and figure it out. When I first started with with a WordPress-based eComm site, I was actually a big fan of Jigoshop. That was years ago, but it was an awesome solution.
That was my first experience because we had a theme from Elegant Themes that was fully integrated into that system. That was my first experience playing with this. But Woo was much more flexible. You could get a gallery or directory of products and sell them. It was very straightforward, you just went to the cart and checkout. That was enough. But when we started thinking let’s do some funnels and let’s see what we can do with upsales and downsales and all of these kinds of things, I needed a more flexible solution and that’s when WooCommerce came along. Listen to the full episode here.
It started with a thing called Jigoshop, if you’ve heard about that. Back in 2012, we looked at the eCommerce world and said, “Okay, we need a better eCommerce solution in WordPress.” All these solutions that were already there did not really comply with German law and the more privacy-focused ones. We looked at several plugins and we finally settled on WooCommerce. It was right at the time with a Jigoshop, a WooCommerce fork.
So, we started a plugin called WooCommerce German Market, which was the first thing that helped you to do legally compliant shops in the German market. That’s why we started with that. We did our own eCommerce store. And then, we evolved from there. But we had an agency business before that, so we just merged, and migrated out of the agency business into the product world where we currently still are. Listen to the full episode here.
So, one of my first big WooCommerce sites was originally a Shopify site, and they had some complex discounting they wanted to do, which they couldn’t do in Shopify. Woo didn’t exist at the time, so they moved to a product in Colorado called OrderStorm because they were willing to customize their product to allow for this discounting, but their interface was very 1990s and really clunky and hard to work with.
When they were ready to revamp their site, I knew that WooCommerce was on the scene and it had a lot of potential, so I said, “Well, why don’t we do WooCommerce with dynamic pricing plug-in,” and that took care of all of their complex discounting needs.
Then, they wanted to integrate with Salesforce and Quickbooks, and I think when you have companies who have more complicated needs, Woo is really the solution because you don’t ever have to say no to them about anything. You can make it all happen. Listen to the full episode here.
It wasn’t like totally forced into WordPress, it felt like a natural kind of fit in lots of different ways. So I think we even did like one or two projects with Jigoshop. I was always like a big child themer. That was like my WordPress way. I think I started with thematic, and I must’ve built like 50 different sites with thematic. Then I started using a WooThemes Canvas. So I was already super familiar with Woo and I knew their code quality was really good and their support was good as well. And I remember meeting the team for the first time in Leiden. I think that was the first WordCamp Europe. The team were really cool as well. So we just kind of naturally fell into using WooCommerce when we had eCommerce requirements come through.
We never seem to get the nice easy projects, the, “I just want to sell caps, or T-shirts”, and they’re like, “It’s small, medium and large.” We’d get like the, “I want to build a personalizable book where I want people to be able to upload images and write their own thing.” So we always used to get these insanely complex WooCommerce projects. Like we pretty much built Airbnb with WooCommerce at one point. I think we probably only charged about 20 grand for it as well. So ever since we’ve used WooCommerce as one of our trusted stable of plugins, and we’ve done all kinds of exotic things for clients large and small. So it’s been a really good part of our journey. Listen to the full episode here.
I got into WordPress WooCommerce space both at the same time, about eight years ago, this was just before I immigrated from the Netherlands to South Africa where I’m based now, actually. And I had an idea for an online store that basically popped out of nowhere. And I couldn’t get rid of it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And I had no resources whatsoever. No budget to outsource anything, knew nobody, no nothing. And I couldn’t let it go.
But what I did have on my hands was time. I had a two meg internet connection in the small town of Caledon, South Africa and this tiny farmers town. And I had a lot of patience. And so I self taught myself everything. I Googled all the things and back then mind you, the documentation definitely wasn’t as good as it is now.
Life now would be a lot easier in that regard, but okay. I was lucky enough to find Facebook communities early in my journey, which made all the difference. People who were willing to give away their time for free to help the newbie out. And if it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I would be. That’s just made all the difference. Listen to the full episode here.
It started very small. So, my now wife then girlfriend wanted to sell cookies online. She’s always loved cooking and baking. So she had an online bakery. We were selling cookies and cakes and that kind of stuff online. We went through a variety of ecommerce platforms and I ended up finding WooCommerce.
It was very early stages, like version 1.1. Actually, I didn’t know of Jigoshop before and the whole controversy that came with Woo. But I found WooCommerce as very early stages, just needed some extra features too. So we started using WooCommerce for the site, used one of their default themes or your guys’ default themes, the one that had the storefront banner type multicolor one, a real old one. I think it was WooStore. We started selling cookies online with it. Listen to the full episode here.
Well, I tweeted last year that I thought WooCommerce was the boogeyman for so long because of not understanding how it worked. And as soon as we started moving forward with this, I was like, “Shannon, you’ve been wasting time.” Because we were building these membership sites with these plugins that were really designed for learning, or didn’t do what our clients needed. And who knew that WooCommerce was the solution that was sitting in front of my face the whole time, but I was just too afraid to look at it.
So, somebody else had to tell me that, “Hey, not only is this the solution, you’re more than capable of doing it.” Sometimes fear I think just we make a little, tiny thing into this big monster. And for me, literally for three years WooCommerce was this monster. Listen to the full episode here.
My history in eCommerce started around 2011 with a plugin called Shopp. That was probably the first serious effort at eCommerce within WordPress. I think WPeCommerce may have come out a little bit before it, but it was a developer-focused plugin. So I went all in. I was working full-time for a company that had a big eCommerce site, so I got deep into customizing eCommerce at that point.
But, as many plugins did, WooCommerce came onto the scene and just shook everything up, and eventually with millions of installs, they won out in the end. Along the way, I got an itch to make things better, to not take default experiences, to try to customize, to be specific to the store we were working on and what those customers needed to maximize the conversion.
So about four years ago, I decided that I wanted to take what we had done for Shopp for one of our clients, which was essentially a Shopify-style checkout, and bring it to WooCommerce for everybody. So I shopped it around at WordCamp US in Philadelphia. Talked to Brian Krogsgard and a few other people at the after-party and asked, “Hey, what do you guys think of this? Does it sound like a good idea?” A couple of people told me, “It sounds like a great idea. You need to get started now, because this idea is not going to stay out there forever.” So we started, and it took two years to launch, as these things sometimes do. Since then, I’ve gotten really deep into it. It was something we used here and there for client projects, but I really had no idea what I didn’t know at that point. It’s amazing to me how big the ecosystem is. Listen to the full episode here.
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