The Growth of WooCommerce Payments, Past, Present and Future

Do the Woo - A Podcast for WooCommerce Builders
Do the Woo - A Podcast for WooCommerce Builders
The Growth of WooCommerce Payments, Past, Present and Future
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When WooCommerce came out with their own payment option, of course, there were a lot of questions. Since then the team has innovated and grown to bring a product to Woo that has a very bright future.

Whether you want to be in the loop of what’s happening with Woo Payments now, or what the future holds, you will want to listen to Ronald and the panelists get into a lively discussion with Britni McCotter, Head of Payment Business Operations at WooCommerce Payments.

A Chat with Britni

Ronald, Robbie and Robert talk with Britni about:

  • A bit of the history of WooCommerce payments
  • A pipeline full of what is to come in the future
  • What is happening with Subscriptions and Woo Payments
  • The options for competing in the buy now, pay later market
  • Where do crypto currencies fit into the plan
  • Woo Payments as it’s own financial institution
  • How they handle payment integration requests
  • Possible hardware and how that plays into any plans
  • The wider acceptance of online payments and security
  • The challenges of multi-currencies and what is available
  • Are they are seeing a good number of stores switching to WooCommerce Payments
  • If it makes sense to have both Stripe and Woo Payments on a site
  • How does the popularity of WooCommerce come into the decision of where to offer it
  • The marketing efforts and what is made introducing it in new countries
  • How does WooCommerce Payments become a recognized option for customers

Thanks to Our Pod Friends

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Ronald: Hello, and welcome to Do the Woo, episode 143. And this week, it's time for the Woo Roundtable. My name is Ronald. I'm the partnership manager at YITH. I also co-host the WooCommerce London Meetup. And I'm supporting BobWP with this regular podcast for Do the Woo.

I've got a little message to share first. So this Woo Roundtable has been going for quite a few months now and in the past, we've been focusing a lot on the person joining us or the person on the purple chair, but we've got a bit of an update coming from September onwards where we have a interview that we will do before the Woo Roundtable so we have a better opportunity to get to know the person first. But more on that if you follow Bob's social accounts. I'm sure he'll update you with all the juicy updates in due course.

So, without further ado, let me introduce my fellow panelists, and first of all, we have Robbie Adair from OSTraining. Welcome, Robbie.

Robbie: Hello. Thank you. Excited to be here today.

Ronald: Have you got any update to share, something happened since the last episode?

Robbie: Since the last episode, well, we've been steadily working in the background. We're working on a new OSTraining website to launch before the end of this month.

Ronald: And that's going to be in WooCommerce, isn't it?

Robbie: Oh yes, absolutely. And it's also meant that I've had very little sleep in the last month, just trying to get everything all wrapped up and this is a migration and so it's not like it's just a brand new website setup, it's a migration. So there's just so many little pieces of data to make sure they move over properly.

Ronald: And I bet that's a lot because I started learning WordPress through OSTraining and before that Joomla, so that's quite a few years ago, so I bet there's a huge catalog of stuff to migrate. So.

Robbie: Yeah, almost 12-year old site. So, that's a lot of data. A lot of users, a lot of history.

Ronald: Just quickly, if people want to get in touch with you, how do they do that?

Robbie: They can look up Robbie Adair and you search me on Google, it's me and a soccer player in Canada, I believe so you can tell the difference, because I definitely am no soccer player. And then you can always get me through OSTraining or my agency, Media A-Team.

Ronald: Yeah. Great. I love Googling yourself. We did as a family the other day, it was an interesting experience. Robert Jacobi from Cloudways, anything remarkable happened to you in the last four weeks?

Robert: Actually had an in-person Cloudways executive meeting last week in New York. And that's the first time I've been on a plane since March of 2020, so.

Ronald: How was that?

Robert: It was shockingly weird. I thought I would be like right into the group. No, I got to warm up to hitting the planes all over again and you're masking everywhere and all that stuff. But I can't believe the sheer amount of productivity you get out of actually being in person again. Oh my goodness.

Ronald: Yeah. Were people hugging, kissing, just shaking hands or keeping a distance? Your team meeting obviously is very close.

Robert: I can't wait to go to YITH one day and see what kind of meetings you guys have.

Robbie: I was just thinking, Ronald, what kind of board meetings have you been to lately?

Ronald: There is something about Mediterranean people that there's no limit when it comes to shaking hands and kissing and yeah, it's quite something for us cold Northern Europeans.

Robert: No, there was plenty of shaking hands. Everyone was vaccinated. So, there was at least a semblance of confidence around that, but it was unique having not done that for almost a year and a half.

Ronald: Yeah. If people, I don't know if they want by now, want to get in touch with you, how do they do that?

Robert: You can use Robbie's way and just Google Robert Jacobi or certainly Twitter. Robert Jacobi.

Ronald: Yeah. Great. And finally, our guest on the purple chair, Britni. You are part of the WooCommerce family or clan or team. I'm not sure how you identify yourself, but you are the payment business operations lead, and also which I find really interesting, you AKA the Wrangler of All the Unknowns. So, welcome Britni.

Britni: Thank you for having me. It's nice to be here.

Ronald: So, you wake up in the morning and you open up your Slack email and you have no idea what's coming up.

Britni: I joke with colleagues in that every day, my to-do list changes. So, I will end the day writing down what I need to tackle the next day and accomplish. And without fail, anytime I open up slack or check the email or check anything that I'm tagged on internally here at Automattic and Woo, my day tends to be a little bit derailed. So, every day is an adventure. We're very much in the weeds, building the ship while we sail. And so every day consists of kind of new opportunities and new things to wrangle. And I say the unknowns because there has been a lot of unknowns as we've gone to market, as we've launched WooCommerce Payments, as we built the product, obviously, the FinTech space consolidates and changes daily too. So keeping up with those trends and insights tend to impact my day-to-day as well. But yes, wrangling of lots of the unknowns.

Ronald: So, we're all here to talk a lot about WooCommerce Payments. Today, there was a big announcement and there was another big announcement only a few weeks ago, which I shared with the Woo London Meetup. How long have you been involved within this team or, and also within Automattic?

Britni: Sure. Yeah, so I joined Automattic in June of 2018 and I joined as a partner manager working on the business development team, specifically focused on payments. So, I worked really closely with our BD team and our payment partners. So, Stripe, PayPal, Square, you name it, focusing on just ensuring that those relationships remain healthy and that we're growing together and providing the best-in-class experience overall.

And then about two years ago now, we started doing a lot of discovery work about what it would be like to bring our own payments product to market, hearing from a lot of our WooCommerce customers and just creating an experience where we know merchants really need to have access to all of their data, including payments within WooCommerce, that being one of the pain points we often hear, we really wanted to figure out a way to solve that problem and provide a solution that is really forward-thinking is best-in-class, that works well for Woo, is built by Woo, and give us kind of the ability to charge ahead.

So, those conversations, discovery work started a little over two years ago. We launched WooCommerce Payments in the US in May of 2020, which is wild. And we've been in the ether for a year. And then over the course of the last month, month and a half now, we are launching internationally. And so, as of today, launched more fully in France, Italy, Spain, and Germany with additional payment methods in those markets, including Giropay and so forth. So, slowly taking over the world and world domination is happening. And again, we're looking forward to just creating a really great solution and bringing it to market in all these new countries.

Ronald: Wow. That's quite something. There are not that many countries, the big countries. Of course, it doesn't stop there. So, what's the future? What's the plan ahead to really go for world domination?

Britni: Yeah. There's a lot in the pipeline. So, our focus for the back half of the year, which it's crazy to think since we're sitting here in August world is focusing on international expansion. So, that's really been the theme of this year alone. So, with that, we've identified a major list of countries. We have launched in the countries named obviously to date so far, and then in the pipeline, we're actually in preview mode right now for Portugal, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Belgium. And so, preview mode went live today as well in the sense that merchants will probably see this if they go through the onboarding flow, WooCommerce Payments will be presented there. And as of today too, they can start to accept some credit cards and debit cards in those markets, more payment methods to come.

And so that's the next phase. So more international expansion. Stay tuned over the back half of this year with some more countries after that. And as well as payment methods. So, we're really focused on building payment methods that are relevant to each market that we know, especially in Europe are really needed and dominate across the European economic area. So, working to get those live and also supporting additional payment methods in the future, like bank transfers and wire transfers and all of that.

As of today too, with our launch in these markets, we've released multicurrency support within the plugin. So, now within WooCommerce Payments, you have the ability to allow merchants to set their store to receive payments in many different currencies, and then shoppers can choose from the currency of their choice. And of course, all the payments will be reconciled within the store set up the currency.

So, really creating just an easier way for merchants to accept a broad variety of currencies and folks from different countries and then reconcile fully within the WooCommerce Payments plugin, and not needing anything else to reconcile. More to come in the back half of the year, we're exploring what it might be like to take in-person payments, which is kind of a fascinating evolution of Woo and WooCommerce Payments. And then, of course, some of the additional things with that too is we are also kind of exploring like what it might be like around WooCommerce Payments and subscriptions coming in the next few months too. So, all sorts of ideas being thrown out there for the back half of 2021. Lots going on.

Robbie: You said a keyword. I was going to say, she said a keyword in there for me, which was Woo Subscriptions support. So that is in the works?

Britni: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Robbie: Fantastic.

Britni: Yeah. Absolutely. And we've heard that from a couple of folks. As of today, of course, WooCommerce Payments works great with WooCommerce Subscriptions as a standalone plugin, but we're exploring what it's like to potentially bring that functionality within WooCommerce Payments and how we can support some of our merchants, whether they're smaller or larger with more integrated experience there. But yes, major keyword. We know our Woo family loves Subscriptions.

Robert: I'm really curious since we're diving right into this, and it's always holds barred here, I'm curious about buy now, pay later systems like Affirm, Sezzle and all that. Those I see pop up at every store now these days, or at least the major stores. I'm curious how that might fit into the Woo Payments pipeline.

Britni: Yeah. Robert, thank you. That's a really great question. Buy now, pay later is such an interesting beast and what we see with WooCommerce merchants and buy now, pay later, it crosses the gamut of verticals of products sold of all of those things. We are doing more discovery around what it would be like to offer those within WooCommerce Payments as a payment method, but the beauty of right now is that for a lot of the buy now, pay later solutions, Afterpay, Affirm, Klarna, gosh, even PayPal now has their own installments and merchants can use that alongside WooCommerce Payments as of now.

It is really interesting and I think buy now, pay later is a fascinating segment of the FinTech experience. And I really think that COVID happened ironically at the right time with buy now, pay later to kind of propel forward and have massive adoption and growth as people swiftly moved online and especially following a lot of the kind of Gen Z and millennial trends of avoiding credit cards because their parents got burned on credit or are afraid of credit. And now you're off at college and you can no longer walk up to the table on campus and get a credit card and a free T-shirt, buy now, pay later solutions really have enabled that whole generation to really provide them with a buying and spending power with very little details needed to get started.

So, it's an interesting trend and we're exploring what demand will be like with WooCommerce Payments. To be honest, haven't heard a ton from the market about folks wanting it within the WooCommerce Payments experience, but we do have the solutions right now in the marketplace to live on alongside of it. So, highly encourage folks if they're interested to explore the best buy now, pay later solution that's meant for them. And I think that's also the other challenge is now the market's getting very saturated and the challenge is which one is right for me. And it comes down to many factors, right? From cost to even regional support. What's a good player in the region that I live in to even what is the best kind of payment method, call it a payment method for the type of product that I sell, right? Like whether it's a higher-priced electronic, or let's say, I make really expensive furniture. Any of those types of things, they're some better suited for that than others. But great question.

Robbie: Well, while we're talking about those, what about crypto? Is that in any of the plans? Crypto currencies or no?

Britni: It's not as of right now. Yeah, no plans for that. That's an ever-changing beast as well. I invested in a few myself and it's been fun to ride the wave and then the wave crashed and I was like, "Well, I'm just going to get out of that." But yeah, no plans as of yet. I think it's still a little bit of an unknown space and with WooCommerce Payments and how we built it, we've partnered with Stripe to build a Power BI solution here with Stripe on the backend. And so, I think if that comes to market within Stripe and our partners, then I think it's something we'll explore more fully. I always joke with my colleagues too. Yeah. I joke with them that I'm going to start a payment method and call it Britni Pay and that'll come out at some point as well.

Ronald: That sounds good as well.

Britni: Yeah.

Robert: So that's the curious thing about all the payment methods and all that. And maybe this is just really crazy pie in the sky, but in my head, I could see Woo Payments being its own financial institution and instead of working with a Stripe or an Affirm or whatnot, actually setting its own rules and then having more flexibility especially internationally with how things are done. And I'm sure that's not on a six-month timeline, but I'm curious if that's maybe part of internal discussion or something that's going on or at least has been maybe thrown up in the air.

Britni: Yeah. We've definitely seen with other players in the ecommerce space, them offer more financial tools for their merchants and even for their customers, right? So we've seen what that looks like and how that's changing. And then I feel like every day I read TechCrunch and there's some either B2B payment solution or B2C, interesting payment method in Asia or something along those lines. So, it's moving so swiftly, it's often hard to keep up, but I think for us, at least the position that we're focused on as of right now is how can we scale WooCommerce Payments to these relevant markets, offer payment methods that are needed in these markets and then simultaneously offer them the solutions to run their business? So, whether that's financing, capital, whether that's buy now, pay later solutions, whether it's kind of using a tool like Wayflyer to get capital and then spend on ad spend and inventory. We're exploring all of those things.

And I think that's the beauty of the way that we've brought WooCommerce Payments to market, but also how we partnered with many of our payment partners and financial partners in woocommerce.com and offer them in the marketplaces. We want to make sure that folks have a variety of tools in their toolbox and kit, that they need to build their business, to grow their business. And I think with COVID propelling so much growth especially across ecommerce, we've really seen the need for a variety of different tools and processes and partners to help build and keep the ecosystem growing.

I always say too, it's the beauty of this has been the immense growth and watching our merchants scale and grow simultaneously using our tools has been a profoundly wonderful observation and experience to see. And so many success stories over the last couple of years and even year and a half with WooCommerce Payments alone, it's been really remarkable to see just incredible growth.

Britni: And also the creativity that's come out of this and continues to come out of ecommerce and selling online. We've seen so many really wonderful merchants that get so creative in what they offer from the products to even how they work with their customers, either in person, whether it's like I'm delivering things to your doorstep, or even just kind of getting creative with what they're allowing subscriptions for and all of that, it's been really cool to see.

But certainly, I think eventually we'll start to explore what it might be like to become our own kind of financial institution or provide further financial tools. It takes a lot of work and a lot of compliance and a lot of exploration there. And so myself being a one-person team, I don't know if that's on my plate as of today, but it's definitely in the pipeline for exploration and discovery.

Ronald: Oh, I was going to say your list of things to do or wishlist of different additions, especially targeting different countries and habits of payment or preferences and payment types, it must be huge. So, as much as I think what Robert said make probably sense long-term, I can't imagine how you would even where you would start if you have to do all of that on your own. So it seems that partnering is a really important part of the future growth of WooCommerce.

Is this a program, is it open to developers that can people approach to say, "Hey, we are a number one payment method integration in, let's say, India, can we collaborate?" Is that a way to do it?

Britni: We've had some folks knock on our door around that and we haven't opened that up yet, because again, we're still getting our feet wet with building this product. We've done really well and have been incredibly successful in the US, and that's obviously about 80% of our market share, given we just launched internationally a month ago. And so, what I'm really excited to see over the next 12 months is the growth in adoption in Australia, New Zealand, obviously Europe, I'm really excited to see what comes from there.

And I think from there, we will start to explore what it might be like to either offer a solution in tandem with WooCommerce Payments in India, let's say, but also again, pointing folks to make sure that we do have the best-in-class solutions for their markets that can work alongside WooCommerce Payments should they sell to cross border or however they want to grow their business, or let's say they want to spin up another site in Canada, for example, they can do that using our solutions.

So, there's a lot to come, a lot of discovery and the way that I organize myself or my to-do list, I wish I could show it to you, it's just pretty much like I have my top priorities at the very top. It's usually about 10 things. And then I break everything else out by features. So, what features we're working on? What's needed to be done here? There's a lot of wrangling with our finance, accounting and legal teams of course, ensuring that everything is kept up to date that as we iron out through some of the processes that it's noted internally. And that, of course, I joke too, that I'm not a legal expert by any means, but have swiftly become one.

So, I'm going to print out my JD here soon, but lots of wrangling there in addition to products. So, it's really neat to see our engineering teams build and tackle a lot of the problems and figure out creative ways to how we build some of these features and functionality. And WooCommerce Payments, our team alone is over 50 people, but that doesn't include the cross-collaboration with our design teams, with our mobile team, with our securities team, even our platform team for the core of WooCommerce.

There's a lot of hands-on-deck right now with building this solution and keeping it running. And even just how we partner with our marketing and marketplace teams to feature WooCommerce Payments and present it to the public and our community, obviously being mindful that we need to create balance here and in what we market, how we market our solutions and also how we present other great solutions that our third-party developers work really hard to build. And we want to be super cognizant of those relationships with our community.

Robert: For the record, you are totally welcome to show us your to-do list.

Britni: It's downstairs. I would go back and grab it, but I think the dogs would follow me. So I'd be hesitant to have them stomping around.

Ronald: Is that to make you feel better, Robert?

Robert: Yes.

Britni: So, I'll send you a screenshot.

Robbie: Britni, you may or may not have this planned yet or not, but when you talk about doing in-person payments, are you guys actually considering some hardware that you would put out yourselves or are you thinking of integrating with others or a combination offering some API for integration with others, but your own as well?

Britni: Yeah. So right now, the way that we're thinking about it is it's pretty much like our own hardware. So, we're not building our own hardware, but we're partnering there. So, offering a solution there and really we're starting small, right? So how can the small-medium business, let's say you are like an oils maker, right? You make scented oils for all of that and you go to a lot of trade shows or farmer's markets, or those types of things where you do sell online. You've got a strong business there, but you do a lot of in-person either events or things like that, that you need to take a quick payment on. So, we're really thinking there.

And then also what's in the back of my mind is how can we eventually get to a full-fledged point of sale solution for the larger merchants in the ecosystem that now maybe have brick and mortar or even just restaurants. We have a ton of restaurants that use WooCommerce and WooCommerce Payments, which has been pretty one of my favorite stories actually of last year is seeing how these folks take online orders and then obviously it's buy online, pickup in-store. So, how can we build a more robust system to also help these merchants that really do have the large brick and mortar and let's say a ton of SKUs that they're selling online and in-person? So, what's to come there?

The hardware part of it is really fascinating to me as well. Of course, what we see from folks in this space already, there's such slick design. We're seeing the consumer being really become more and more comfortable, certainly in the States, Ronald you're more advanced here with just tap to pay and contactless payments, which has been awesome in the US and it's been really cool to see my mom who uses Apple Pay at 70 years old. I'm like, "You did it. This is great." It's neat to see kind of that evolution.

Thinking through what's to come there and how we can support merchants who want to offer in-person or take in-person. But if there's any ideas or any feedback you have from what you see in the market, my team working on that, what I love most is they're very astute to what their local coffee houses or donut shops are using for in-person.

There's often lots of photos of what's happening in person in the relevant market or region. Where I am currently right now, I've been noticing that a lot too, just being in a small town and seeing how some of these small businesses are running their business in person has been fun to see what they're using to scan their SKUs and what they're using to print with and be more mindful of that experience, even though it is kind of secondhand nature for most of us now. When you're working in payments, you really start to pick up on all of those things.

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And now let's head back to the show.

Ronald: Robert, just talking about the way that we've changed our habits throughout COVID, what's your outlook when it comes to in-person payments and the way that payments will evolve or here to stay?

Robert: If you're in person, I live on Apple Pay in person because I have it on my watch and it's just full proof. I don't have to touch anything and I don't have to like dig around in the pocket, stay around in a store more than I want to, and then futz with the old credit card scanners and stuff. And that's just going to be ubiquitous that kind of touchless payment processing. I am curious how systems like WooCommerce Payments can integrate with Google Pay, Apple Pay, or are those always going to live in their own separate universes?

Britni: So, what I've learned is it depends a little bit obviously in the background functionality, but also on the hardware. Does the device accept that? How we're focusing on that is we're really taking that into consideration because many of us, especially internally all use Apple Pay, Google Pay, et cetera, for contactless and know that the market share there is huge. And so how can we support that out of the gate for a lot of these folks where I am selling at the farmer's market and Robert walks by with his watch and he buys tomatoes for me and it's a three-second deal and we're moving on? So-

Ronald: And that's first is installing an app, isn't it? Because I know that for example, PayPal did something. I was trying QR payments, but you'd have to install an app first in order to enable it and sign in. Well, by the time you've decided on your product at a farmer's market, and you haven't got any connection, then well, you walk away, because nobody carries cash anymore.

Britni: That actually happened to me up here. I was paying a merchant with Venmo, and there's lots of Venmo up here at the farmer's market here, which was great. But I found her, and then when I went to hit pay, Venmo said, "We lost your banking details, log in again." And I was like, "Oh no." And then of course got real frazzled in that second. And I ended up just being like, "Here's my credit card." Because I didn't want to log in. I didn't know if it was really secure where I was. I just didn't feel comfortable trying to do all of that with my bank and to be mindful of that experience too. And how we're building that and how we're focused on that is really taking those kinds of use cases to mind, like, what happens if a merchant has really spotty Wi-Fi or doesn't have Wi-Fi? How can they take payments and ensure that it's seamless, right? And again, that time to sale is efficient. Correct. And of course secure.

So, it's a lot of interesting discovery and again, that's where the coming up the wrangling of all the things. I partner with my product teams on that because it's a lot of unknown and so, definitely learning something new every day.

Robert: Yeah. You bring up a great point about security.

Robbie: I was thinking the same thing.

Ronald: Yeah. Legal and insecurity. Those are a step away from that, that's a scary thought to get involved with.

Britni: It's scary.

Robbie: I see people at the coffee shops on unsecure Wi-Fi doing all kinds of ecommerce stuff and I'm just like... And I'm looking at some of the sites they're buying from and I'm just like, "Oh my goodness, gracious. I don't even know if that one's even got an SSL on it." You know what I mean? There are so many people who don't understand what to even look for to know. You did, you stopped yourself. You're like, "Wait a minute. What Wi-Fi I'm on here at this farmer's market?" But a lot of people don't think about that. They just like, "I'm connected. Yay." And go about logging into their bank accounts and all kinds of stuff on an unsecure Wi-Fi.

So, yeah, I think from a site perspective, obviously sites have to be a little more responsible and need to be... Browsers are kind of obviously stepping into that space too when we've got the locks and they're putting up notices if you're not in a secure method, but I think there's a lot more on the site owners responsibility, the builders. We really have to make sure that we assure the people on the other end that are about to buy that they are safe. And then sometimes how can we know? We can't know the Wi-Fi that they are on, all we can tell them is that, "Once you hit here, then you're fine." But I don't know if someone is swiping your key strikes in-between you and me.

Britni: Right. And then from the payments perspective, one of the things that's been really fascinating to watch with WooCommerce Payments too is the fraudsters that try to get started using WooCommerce Payments, right? So some of shady fraud rings that will try to onboard, will try to sell random drop shipping items or things like that, that we've seen. And it's known as fraud biz. This is common across the internet, but it is really fascinating to see the creativity and the kind of the trends, everything from misspelling of words and their URL to like different domains that they use that it's like .world or dot something that you're like, "Okay." But it is fascinating and also bold, but fraud can happen in a variety of ways. And it goes back, Robbie to exactly what you're saying. It's up to the merchant to really create a secure site for their business and protects them and protects their customers.

The last thing you want to have is a chargeback or a dispute with your customer if something went wrong, or if something wasn't secure and you had the ability to make your site more secure. But it is also a level of education. We've got a few documentation, documents, at least on woocommerce.com that really help merchants reiterate the need for security. And we give folks some advice around that as well. But there is a lot of education that as a merchant starts to grow and skill, if the one-person shop and they may not necessarily have the time or awareness to dive into it, and so there is something to be said about continuing to reiterate the importance of that, especially in the world that we're living in. Nothing worse than getting an alert from your credit card company and saying your card gotten stolen. Right? So, we have to urge our folks here to really be mindful of that and often frequently do security checks on their own site.

Ronald: It's a fine balance though, between a secure site educating the customer, but also making sure that the checkout is smooth and there are no errors because of all these additional security checkups and so on, because then for a merchant to be contact say, "I tried to pay, but it didn't work. And I tried a second time and I don't know what's going on." It must be really difficult for you to create that perfect experience for the customer and as well as for the merchant and then keeping it all safe.

Britni: It's a challenge for sure. And especially with Woo, one of the challenges is the customization, right? Every merchant can really customize their checkout. So, I may only ask for an email address and a ZIP code, maybe I'm just selling digital products and that's it. But if I moved to selling tangible goods, that changes the things, the items that are needed there as well. And then we do have some captcha plugins in our marketplace that we recommend to folks if they're having a hard time or if they're noticing an uptick in fraud or something like that on their site. But the challenge there is exactly that, Ronald like captcha also is a deterrent. People don't like typing that in, or sometimes, even just when I see the captcha myself, I struggle to see and really make out what it's saying and often mistype that.

So it is a fine balance. And I think that's the beauty of this space too, is the level of customization really reiterate the need for continuous testing. And as you all know, and are very familiar with multiple plugins, from a variety of different capacities, it's so important to just every time you update, every time you upgrade, whether it's WooCommerce or even WooCommerce Payments, I implore you to really do some testing on your site and make sure that things are working smoothly. The last thing you need is to have a sale on your business and then get a whole bunch of folks writing in saying they're having trouble paying, or they can't find a product that was in their cart or any of those issues. So, we always want to make sure that that's best practice.

Robert: Or maybe just have a magical Woo visa card that automatically work with only Woo Payments.

Britni: I don't know if we want to do that, but I'll take that back to the team.

Ronald: I want to talk a little bit more about the multicurrency, because I know that's a big deal, especially here in Europe and whenever we have British pounds and Euro and the Euro is only adopted by a few countries. So, was that a difficult challenge and also are all currencies now available or only a select few within the countries that you onboard now?

Britni: Yeah, that we've onboarded with. So multicurrency was incredibly thoughtful in the way that we've built it and approached it. We wanted to really give folks the ability to set up their store to receive payments for multiple currencies. Merchants can choose from, I believe it's over 135 different currencies there, so they can unlock a variety of different customers around the globe. And then it really, it's just a matter of the merchant's need.

So, we wanted to enable currencies that are supported by these regions and these markets. And then also be mindful of, as we continue our international expansion, having this be at the forefront of that, given where we go next, it's so common here. I have to give a shout out to one of our product leads, David, who really thoughtfully provided input on designs and just the way that the setup works and the functionality works. It's been really powerful there. So we're super excited to see this with the announcement of it today too, I'm excited to see what adoption will look like of our merchants and the multicurrency feature and functionality. Even for folks here in the States, what this may mean for their businesses if they want to sell abroad too?

Ronald: Do you see a lot of stores switching to WooCommerce Payments or are these the mainly new startups that just go with it because it's there and it's very easy or have you solved such a major problem issue for a lot of store owners that the switch just makes a lot of sense to them?

Britni: It's been actually quite the combination, I'd say about 50/50, really. We've seen some folks migrate over to WooCommerce Payments fully because they wanted to have a holistic view of their entire business and know that they can just log into Woo and have everything live there, especially when it comes to payments and order management, et cetera.

And then we have seen folks who are running WooCommerce Payments alongside other payments providers to just kind of fail-proof and feature-proof and future-proof. I use all those things at their business, right? So, if they know that a payment method works really well for them in one region, then they will present that. The beauty of it is for new stores that are coming in, obviously, we're highlighting WooCommerce Payments and recommending that as a solution, but creating that integrated experience.

And one thing that it's really interesting from the payment side and having been in this business now for several years is people, merchants specifically will set up their payments and set it and forget it. And the only way that they're going to think about using something else is if the rate is good and allows their costs to stay low, or if they eventually look at their transaction fees and go, "Oh wow. I'm spending a lot of money here. What is this? How can I lower my cost?" And then that's when they'll start to explore using something else or something in tandem.

And going back to some of the buy now, pay later side. For the merchant, it's incredibly expensive. Rates are almost 6% on some of them, that's a lot of money if you're selling especially higher price goods, that can be pretty expensive. Then the risk there too, is if your product gets delayed, especially if it's a higher price good, that can really impact your bottom line. So, it's been fascinating to see kind of the folks that have moved over, the folks that are still using other things in line with WooCommerce Payments, and then also learning more about different markets and their payment behavior. So, one thing that's quite common in Brazil, for example, which we're not there yet, but maybe one day is that merchants are really keen at switching providers based on whatever incentive a provider is offering. So, they may use provider X for 30 days and provider Y comes knocking and says, "I'll give you a 1% fee," for example, and then they will quickly move and migrate off of that. So, it's really interesting the patterns of behavior there. And it comes down to knowledge too, right?

So, everything in the world we live in is negotiable. And so with folks being keen, especially sensitive to their transaction fees in the world of payments, they can look for ways to save cost, right? For WooCommerce Payments, this is also part of the beauty of why we've built this is we want to not only grow and scale with our merchants, but as they grow in scale, if they're starting to see their volume really increase and take up, our wonderful customer success team will get in touch. And we do have the ability to negotiate payment rates, pending volume and order size, and really remain competitive.

The last thing we want to do is have a merchant move or move their payments away, especially if it comes down to cost savings. So, we are really opening up that door to ensuring that we've got their back and that they can come to us and say, "Hey, we'd love to figure out a better way to improve our rate."

Robbie: You mentioned using multiple payment methods. We've always usually done that anyway with clients just as a good backup, especially if they're selling internationally. And so, let's say we have Stripe and PayPal for one, but since you guys partnered and you're kind of partnered in a layer on top of Stripe in away, it doesn't make sense to offer Stripe and Woo Payments?

Britni: Yeah. Yep, absolutely.

Robbie: Okay. Or if I have a client who says, "Wait, I look to Woo. Woo Payments is just on top of Stripe. Why aren't you also setting me up in Woo Payments? Ae you?" What am I going to tell them, Britni?

Britni: Sure. Yeah. It's a great question. I think the beauty of it is that WooCommerce Payments and a lot of our value proposition is that it's built by Woo for Woo. So, we've really taken into account a lot of the WooCommerce complexities and nuances within the core software and the core platform to really configure WooCommerce Payments and just meet the pain points that we often hear from folks that are using other providers. But that's the beauty of it. We recommend that folks use more than one. We encourage you to fail-proof and future-proof your store. And then I think too, you may find that a solution may be better for just your US customers and another solution may be better for abroad. As we continue to grow and scale, the way that we're looking at this business, the way that we're looking and thinking about payments in general, obviously we're going to remain competitive with even our partners and our friends and that's just to be expected and it has to happen in this space period.

We have to figure out ways to do that, but I think the other beauty or beautiful part of WooCommerce Payments is just continued with the extensibility, right? So we've built this in a way where we know with our plugins that are recommended in the marketplace with our Woo owned plugins that we've built, that it works alongside of it and we want to make sure that anything that we build and put our hand on really work seamlessly with the core software, with what we recommend in our marketplace, and really be cognizant of that.

And some of the partners in this space that we work with and have partnered with, we can't always vet that that's the case. And we often hear from our merchants firsthand, "We're having trouble." And then when we do, obviously the nitty-gritty checks of the sites and find out the compatibility issues that becomes a challenge, it can be a challenge for sure.

Ronald: If you are a WooCommerce user in, let's say in Africa, African country and you know you probably not going to be very high on the list, at this moment, what would you do? Is this something you could say to them, "We are on it. We really want to be available to every country in the world," or is it maybe not yet because WooCommerce isn't that popular yet in your country, therefore you'll just have to wait in the queue?

Britni: That's been one of the most interesting questions I've received having spent the last three years now in payments at Woo. So, on the partnership side, that was one of the most common questions that I would get from our partners was, "Okay. So, how is Woo thinking about Asia?" And my response was, "Well, we're global already." The way that we work is not necessarily let's tackle a specific continent or market or any of that, but we already have that global lens and mindset. And when it comes to payments too, I'm all for world domination, if we can. And so, the biggest thing, and really what my product team and I are really privy to is the feedback on the ideas board. So, within that, specifically within WooCommerce Payments on the ideas board, we've got a ton of requests for Malaysia, for example.

So, right now that's also on my to-do list is really exploring the opportunity there for Malaysia and how we can go about unlocking that and what's needed to unlock payments there, from payment methods to even just legalities. And so, again I think it's just reiterating that it is in the pipeline. We are aware of the demand. We really take that to heart as we're building and looking for not only new features, but new markets. And then simultaneously going back to my former team, the BD team and saying, "Hey, we're getting feedback here. And so how can we also recommend another solution in the interim until we get there in that market?" But that's a great question. It happens all the time.

Ronald: It's not simply switching a toggle, isn't it? Because you have the legal side of translation, finding the right payment types, there's a whole lot to it, so.

Britni: There is a whole lot. Yes. Again, learning something new every day.

Ronald: Can you share a bit more about the marketing that you do for each of the individual countries or is WooCommerce so global as soon another country opens? Let's say, France from today's announcement. Dou just know it will run itself or will you make a concerted effort to get as much momentum going in France, for example?

Britni: It's a combination. So, our marketing team does a wonderful job. So many of our channels are so global period from our newsletters to even just our social. So our marketing team will really be mindful of just the global value proposition, right? And then as we get folks writing in, whether it's pre-sales to our support teams, our happiness engineers, or even just general questions, that's when we can get a little bit more detailed with some of the nuances, especially around localization and really marketing to these merchants.

But we really do take a global approach in our marketing. We don't necessarily sit there and run ads that say, "I want to market directly to Robbie," but if we could, obviously we would, but having kind of the larger lens because Woo is so international. And that's one thing that I think many folks in this space, certainly WordPress, and Woo know, but outside of the WordPress and Woo ecosystem, I don't think many people really realize just how global we are unless they sit and do the research.

And so, that's kind of part of the avenue in which our marketing team kind of takes. Now, the challenge for us too, is as we've launched in the US, we've got things like instant deposits, for example, that are only available in the US so a merchant can get the payout same day, which is wonderful. However, we have heard from folks in other countries, "When is that coming to my country?" So, trying to balance what features are available in the US to start right now and how they're coming to the next set of countries, that's also something that we're trying to wrangle and figure out, and also part of the scaling and telling that story.

Robert: And I'm guessing some of that is dependent really on the other partners in the ecosystem, like what will banks and other financial institutions be comfortable with?

Britni: Yeah. So a lot of it too, in the way that we built it, we've definitely have to be privy to how we built this with our relationship with Stripe. And then of course also utilizing just the best practices there. So a lot of the requirements or eligibility requirements based on geography may change for the merchant, and so being super cognizant of that and ensuring that our documentation just how we set up in the various flows allows for that too. And creating even touchpoints of agreeing to the terms of service or you've read the terms of service or they're here, just pointing all of those things. It's a lot to consider.

Ronald: Wow.

I've got a question for Robbie and Robert. Britni's got a huge to-do list. If there's one task you can push to the top of her to-do list, which one would it be? Which feature that you think, "Oh, I really think that's going to be a game changer?"

Britni: That's a good one.

Robbie: That is a good one. Thanks, Ronald for stumping me. But, I was just curious if I'm sure to come out to them, but I didn't know what their thoughts on it, if it was on a roadmap or anything. Yeah, no, I actually, I can't off the top of my head come up with something that I would tell you that needs to come up to the top of your list. I think there's so many features right now and it's growing so much and you're right on your marketing side of things. People just know, WordPress is large enough that the word spreads very quickly. Goodness knows, you make one tweet and it's out there everywhere.

So, we actually do have some clients that ask now about that. So that's cool. So the word is getting out and I'm sure the new announcement today is also going to put more people buzzing us about getting some training classes for this too. So, I've got things I'm putting up on the top of my to-do list now. Thanks, Ronald. But I don't know what I would move up on Britni's list.

Robert: Well, I'm just more curious about how the consumer can be like, "Oh, it's WooCommerce Payments. I'm good to go." Will that ever be more of a front-facing sort of consumer messaging about "Oh, okay. Everyone knows."

Britni: The value of it.

Robert: Yeah. People know Square. So, they see the little logo on the countertop of the coffee shop and they're like, "Okay, I know this." And all of a sudden I get a receipt in my email. So, there's an affinity for Square, regardless of what the rest of the backend looks like. Whether it's built on WooCommerce or Shopify or Wix or whatever kind of stuff. So, there's like when you're sitting there going, "Oh, I know I'm good with Square." Whether that's reality or not, it's just in my head, the kind of marketing that goes around that, whether Woo will actually go in that direction as well.

Britni: I think it's part of the scaling that we're going to do is exactly that, is exploring and building that trust with our merchants first and foremost. And so when the merchant can say in their terms of service, that they're using WooCommerce Payments to power their payments, that over time, that kind of subtle indirect messaging, consumers will start to feel comfortable with that when they see that. Of course, as you guys know that customization for payment settings can call that out, whether it's what they used to power their payments. And so, I think it's just over time, it's building that confidence. It's this slowly growing. We've never been the type to really overly promote and chest bump who we are and be incredibly loud. And that's part of the beauty of Woo in general.

And also, as you're building and releasing a product, there is a challenge, right? Like I want to be as loud as possible, but that's not always the case. And so, it's just continuing to ensure that we instill confidence in our merchants and with our merchants in their payment stack in business, and that they get the best-in-class experience first and foremost. And so simultaneously by doing so, we'll be able to really interact and create that same trust with the consumer. And so as they learn that there may be shopping on a Woo site or as they maybe see WooCommerce anywhere, they'll affiliate that with WooCommerce Payments. And just knowing that, "Oh, I've made purchases using this before, and it's been fine." Or, "If I've had to make a dispute with a merchant, it worked out fine. I got my goods," et cetera. It's just taking time.

Ronald: That's going to be a trick, isn't it too? Because I think what Robert said is a really valid point that it would help also the uptake because if the merchant feels it's a safe bet, therefore, on onboarding this Woo Payments is a really good, positive thing. The uptake will be like a flywheel effect. I think for me, it's also the... And you've already sorted it, is the onboarding. I know Bob keeps talking about how easy it is and how flawless the experience is to onboard new merchants. And if you're an agency or a freelancer helping store owners to onboard, and you know they're going to have a really easy ride because a few years ago, it's quite often an afterthought, it's like, "Right, I've got a bank account. How do I connect it to? Oh, it's a process of five, six days to be approved." And then you have this funky plugin that might not work.

So, all of that with Woo Payments is pretty much addressed and also have to compliment that you're very open and transparent for third-party developers to build with Woo Payments. Ourselves have had to do that and made a few of the plugins compatible. And it's just really easy. And your approach sort of confirmed that like, yeah, we want people to work with us because that actually allows us to be successful overall, everybody to be successful. So I think my to-do list have been ticked long time ago, so, well done.

Britni: Well, that's good to hear, but it's exactly that we really, really value input from the community, whether it's just freelancers, agencies, partners, developers, whomever, and I highly encourage you to submit feedback for this. The ideas board, you can reach out to me on the WooCommerce Slack. I'm Britni there. We want to create that two-way communication with you and get feedback. And we want to know some of the pain points that you have working with your customers around it or how we can improve the offering, or even if you want to know what's coming up on the roadmap, by all means, we're here to let you guys know more. We can't share everything of course, but as we start to get that, and then I think the beautiful thing too, is if folks are interested in beta testing any of our features, or would like to be involved more heavily with some of that, we are all open for that as well. And so happy to kind of get folks in and get feedback right away.

We're always looking for folks to participate there, but it is the beauty of this community and why we built this is we wanted to build this for WooCommerce, keeping in mind that the WooCommerce merchant developer and folks that really build on top of Woo and make it the most seamless, powerful payment system that we can for our ecosystem.

Ronald: Yeah. That's fantastic. Have you upset any competitors along the way or has everybody been so kind of nice to you as well as we have been?

Britni: I think we see like this week with the news of Square and Afterpay, the market's very, very involved with each other. And so we've been very fortunate to get a lot of great positive feedback from our friends and partners in this space. We also have folks who are just keen and eager to see how they can work with us even better. And so that's been a really positive sentiment there. Online ecommerce payments, et cetera, is not going away. Obviously, it's the wave of the future. I think we will see folks being born now, how they'll never really even shop in a store for whatever their needs are maybe eventually. And it's just everything happens online. We already see it now.

So, continuing to innovate, accelerate, and expand and create kind of the most efficient payment processing solution that works for our set of merchants, our customers here at Woo is really part of our value and our mission, like building this on top of key principles, including just the ability to integrate with other plugins, obviously, stability, keeping in mind our happiness engineers and incredible support team as well as they work to troubleshoot for folks. And then simultaneously feedback. So feedback from the community, feedback from folks using it, those are really our value propositions in how we build this. And I don't foresee those changing anytime soon.

Ronald: Brilliant. Well, thank you so much for sharing all of this. It's really fascinating. Lots learned. I know Woo Payments is just over a year old, really? So, to come this way. Would you like to come back next year because I think we'll have a lot more questions to see where you are in 12 months time. Hopefully, the list of countries is enormous. There'll be a buy now, pay later and all sorts of things that we've talked about. We'd love to.

Britni: Absolutely.

Robbie: I just wanted to tell Britni, thank you very much. It's really been very insightful, really good information. I appreciate it.

Britni: You're welcome.

Ronald: Great. I have a few pod friends to thank and this week's episode, we thank GoDaddy Pro. You can visit them on godaddypro.com and also wpactivitylog.com and have a look at WP Activity Log and you can track every bit of activity on your store. The name says it all. It's quite an interesting thing. So, check them out on wpactivitylog.com.

Thank you all very much. Thank you, Britni. Thank you, Robert. Thank you, Robbie. We'll see you all again next month for another WooCommerce Roundtable.