Episode 152 Talking Oliver POS
In This Episode Rob Cairns talks to founder Mattias Nielsen about his product Oliver POS for Woo.
- What is Oliver POS.
- How does Oliver POS work with Woo.
- How to I find Oliver POS.
- How does payment processing work with Oliver POS.
- How does Oliver POS work.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the show.
From the center of the universe, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This is the SDM show with your host Rob Cairns.
The SDM show focuses on business life productivity, digital marketing, WordPress and more. Sit back, relax, grab your favorite drink and enjoy the show. Here is Rob.
Everybody. I’m Rob Cairns. I’m the founder, CEO and Chief creator of amazing ideas that stunning digital marketing. In today’s podcast, I sit down with founder and CEO, Mathias Nielsen, as we talk about this product Oliver POS, and how it works with Woo Commerce. So sit back, relax and enjoy the podcast.
Everybody Rob Karen’s here, I’m here with CEO Mathias Nielsen. How are you today? Good. I’m doing well. So let’s talk start jump right in. And I know you’ve done some POS development in past and currently jump in and tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into this space. Yeah, sure.
So I’ve been working in tech, as long as I can remember, ever since I was 1314, I’ve been been very interested in developing and building stuff myself. And and then when I started a tech startup in China a decade ago by now I guess that that has sold and didn’t really know what to do. So when I moved to Canada with my wife, we we started a little development agency called creative mapleton where we help small merchants and startups build some cool websites and web shops. And yeah, I’ve been I’ve been doing that for a few years. And we kind of noticed a little bit of a gap. And that’s how we got into into the POS part of things.
That’s really interesting. And you we were talking in the pre show a little bit. you’re originally from Denmark. So and that’s an interesting story. How did you end up in Newfoundland from Denmark,
he has been living all over the world. I grew up in green and originally from Denmark, but when my wife was pregnant, in China, we kind of knew, okay, now’s the time to move on and find a place where we want to settle down. And, and then I was like, okay, Greenham might be a little bit too small for me to start a startup. But I love nature. And I want to have a place where I can garden and explore that. And for me, Newfoundland, seemed like the right place. My parents have been in and out of the province for the last 20 years or so. So it’s like, yeah, Newfoundland is, and and then we moved out without ever having lived here. And yeah, settle down started a little company,
that that’s a bit of a risk, besides POS systems point of sale systems. Does your agency or your company do any more than that? Are you doing just standard websites, or e commerce or woo or?
Yes, so it all started with creative maple, really, that was an agency that built three to five websites a week. So we could group pretty big websites like WordPress websites, or WooCommerce, web shops and whatnot. And we grew that and then out of that, we, we kind of noticed this, this, this gap in the market of we build really advanced web shops, and we couldn’t find anything that was, was so adaptable on the PR side of things to work with these advanced workshops. So really, that’s where the idea of Oliver puisque came from. And, and now today, the agency is not really running. We have a couple of clients left and whatnot, but we’re not really doing much with it. We have just gone full in, on on, on building the most adaptable POS solution. And yeah, that’s, that’s what I use my, my life on right now.
Yeah, when I think about clients that I’ve had npos as a use, they they very often do a WordPress website now. And then they do you know, they use something like QuickBooks and it becomes a bit of a mishmash for a lot of small businesses. What is the typical POS system run for for a small business and like how far do you take it take it from sale, right to payment processing to accounting or, and so on?
Sure. So So for us it was really trying to, to, to look at most solutions, there’s like kind of like two, two POS solutions for Woo Commerce. And then maybe I’ll ever POS in between those, there’s the one that builds on top of Woo Commerce, the plugin and then you run them there. And they are often not really tied well into to proper payment processors and hardware and whatnot, then there is the more traditional POS that are totally separate from Woo Commerce. But then try sins and sink in after the fact and try and keep stuff in, in sync but are doing things in a very different way. They all work very well with processors and hopper and whatnot. But, but but are having a little bit of complications with with the, with the sinking part of Woo Commerce being extremely advanced, and what you can do with product types and whatnot. So for us, we wanted to take the best of both worlds where you install a little bridge into WooCommerce went to WordPress, I should say, and that bridge sets and and and tell us all over what’s going on in WooCommerce. What are your text settings, your your currency settings, your payment processing your orders, customers products whenever we then within run what ever that is expected out of the POS. So think hardware, hardware, determine like credit card terminals, receipt printing, cash management, such as cash drawers, whatever. So anything that are at the point of sale, the physical sale we we take and then we look at WooCommerce the ES I don’t want to say the single source of truth. Yep. So whenever you’re doing a sale and Oliver, you’re really doing it in WooCommerce. without, without knowing. Right. So, so it’s instantly available in WooCommerce. Once you’re done the sale, your your inventory and whatnot is fully up to date. And yeah, all of those good benefits from
which payment processors does your system usually interact with?
Yeah, so we, we have we’ve started working with quite a lot. We have a few Canadians, here we are. So the monera system so owners, we have Chase, we pay Connect. stripe now authorize that net list goes on quite a lot. We we can process payments, I think it’s in 52 countries now. Okay. And, yeah, it’s kind of the one of the things stuff the boxes we want to help the merchant take is, how do we take the physical credit card that your merchants or use or your customers in the stores are used to paying with and get that properly into WooCommerce? And then out to your accounting solution? whatnot,
right? I hate to say it I know in my business, the one the one payment processor we all get stuck using on some websites that I despise is PayPal, you could use PayPal, I know I know in the EU space are very heavily. I know my good friend, Bob done, Bob WP runs up the WooCommerce do to woo podcast, he they’re a sponsor, but they’re just not my thing. I’ve I’ve had my issues with the pay powers of the world. And I tried to avoid them like the plague to be honest with you. So
yeah, so we have a similar, like, I totally get where you’re coming from. They they’re decent, if you want to input a credit card and whatnot. But if if you are selling in person that it becomes rather expensive if it’s a lot better to go with a more professional, physical payment processor, right, like you get the old school terminal, you’ll get so much better rates and whatnot. So
yeah, yeah, there’s no question. But for small business. The reality is some of those terminals aren’t cheap to run. So if you’re running a low level transaction, you’re better off with the stripes or the squares of the world, instead of paying because especially in the days of COVID, I was talking to a good friend of mine who runs a jewelry store the other day, and he went to a cellular payment processing terminal. And that increased like 40 bucks a month to his bill. So I’m not sure doing the volume. It’s not worth it. Right. So yeah,
so we do a lot of advising on those kinds of things. And I totally agree that there’s kind of a cut offline, depending on where, how much you process. Yep, it might be a bit off with PayPal or stripe or whatever. But when you get to a certain level of volume, like you kind of get 778 $1,000 of revenue over month, then most of the traditional processors will start to be more affordable. But it also depends on what hardware you choose and whatnot. So
this is kind of a mix. And the other thing that’s changed too is in the old days. A lot terminals were where dial you needed a separate phone line because the dial down. And now most of these terminals, even for small businesses now are connected by an internet connection. So it’s like liquidity split, and you’re done. Which is one of the biggest changes. Up until about three or four years ago, we only saw that like the Walmart’s in the staples and the big box stores of the world now we’re seeing them everywhere.
Yeah, absolutely. The technology are helping fortune new way there. For sure.
No question. Does your POS system over interface into an accounting system as well either directly or using something like Zapier to push connection? Push transactions? or?
Yeah, so for us, we we were taking a very different approach, and it’s been at our call from the beginning. So we kind of believe if we do it, right, if we sync with WooCommerce really, really well. And we don’t need to worry about accounting and, and it turns out to be true for us. But all of the good quality accounting plugins for WooCommerce turns out to work without ever out of the box most of the time. I’ve got not it’s a it’s a minor tweak, right. So we wanted to kind of make sure that the plugins that work in WooCommerce, to do all kinds of cool things that they also are able to run in Oliver right.
Now, I see as for moving the WordPress community to Gutenberg impacted the over plugin or the coding behind Not at all.
Not really, because we do take it out of that environment into a controlled environment and react js and React Native environment that week, we obviously control. And we do that to guarantee the speed of the in person sales. Right. So
and in terms of your client base, is it kind of in North America, in Europe? Is it all over the world?
What Yes. So it is definitely all over the world? I think we we’ve crossed 100 countries by now. But yeah, it’s it’s been pretty exciting in that in that way. But But North America and Europe definitely are strong holes. So I would say Canada and us is absolutely the biggest piece of it, like 50 to 60% or
something. Have you had any big issues with things like GDPR rules or Canadian privacy rules, or in the US as we know, privacy is determined on a state by state basis as any of that come into play for it not? Not
really. And we we were we’re really following WooCommerce when it comes to that, right. So So it all depends on your WooCommerce setup in that regard, where we were restored and whatnot, we follow their way. So so that way we we’ve kind of Yeah, taken the best of the WooCommerce world, I think,
yeah, you’re getting losers through your heavy lifting. So
Well, that was kind of why we started in the first place. Yeah,
yeah. Yeah. And was a pretty stable platform. I know. There’s a new version in release candidate right now. I would almost suspect there’ll be a new release sometime next week or a patch. And, you know, my gut on that is the point one release of WordPress is due out on the eighth. So you can almost guarantee Wu’s going to come pretty close behind it, I would think right? It’s you know, that’s pretty normal.
Yeah. they’ve improved a lot lately. I find that and they kind of needed to as well, but I think they’ve gotten better and in their reporting and in their initial customer sit up and stuff lately. A lot of good things have happened there.
Yeah, I’ve built a couple ecommerce stores big ones. And I find that woo is way better than it was two years ago. The only drawback and I’ve talked about it here I’m with other people in the community is there’s not really a big competitor in the WordPress space for e commerce. Then woo anymore. There’s a couple small players but there’s there’s nobody out there. It’s such a hard landscape to navigate.
It really is fast. It’s okay of course. We might be biased but I think it’s worth it like it’s important for WordPress to have a giant to fight the other Shopify site and, and square instead of sitting with with all of your data and whatnot. Right? So. So for that I’m, I’m okay with the with the WooCommerce giant.
It’s funny how you mentioned square because square has gone to an e commerce system now where you can spin up a page with Three or four products with nothing. And I’ll be honest, I think if he got three or four products, that’s probably a better way to go then dabbling in the words of Wuhan, a POS system. It’s probably no, absolutely,
absolutely. Like, we were very particular in our mindset of if you’re square customer, you’re probably not the right one for us. We wouldn’t recommend ourselves as well. Like, for me square is all day long. If you’re at a marketplace, and you only need to sell once in a while, and you’re like you’re making soap in your basement or whatever it is, and you have four or five different soap box perfect. Don’t don’t do more. It won’t be worth it. Right?
Yeah. So like, I like the way you think, because there’s so many people get caught and say, Oh, my website’s a WordPress website. I got to build everything WordPress and I, I always say to people, but is it worth it? Is it worth your development time? Is it worth your costs? Maybe? It’s not if you’ve got one or two items, I mean, then then that
does the job for you. Especially if you’re not technical as well, right. like WordPress habits, events, just push, push, you’re no doubt about it. Yep. And I’m a massive fan of WordPress and WooCommerce. Obviously, we both are, but but it’s not for everyone. And then it doesn’t need to be. So
no, I agree. And I think he truly what I think makes you different materials than a lot of people is not people in the WordPress space will push a WordPress solution, even though it’s not the best solution for a client. And I don’t think that’s always the right approach personally. So
no, I don’t think so either. Yeah, it really depends, then there’s the other way, when you need a really complicated sale or booking solution, or Yeah, advanced product type or whatever, well, then WooCommerce is really, really strong, right? And the customizability. But at that point, it’s also worth putting into development hours or design hours or whatever is required to do so.
Yeah, you’re going to put those what most people don’t realize is when you get to that level. And I think the biggest whoo shop I’ve built without a POS had 3000 items in it, which is just a few. And I’ve got a client right now who’s doing a whoo shop. He’s all online. So he’s not doing POS. And he’s running about 250 items. Well, you know, people don’t realize if you go to Spotify, not Spotify, Shopify, sorry. Yeah, you go Shopify, you got to put time in anyway. And people need to realize you’re gonna have to put the time in one way or the other. It’s just what which poison Do you want to play with? so to speak?
Oh, absolutely. And a dead point. I know what poison which I would take like, then then I’m a massive believer in WooCommerce into open source and free, free free playground. You don’t have to pay like they don’t. You’re free to choose the processor you want and what not to write. So yeah. So the long term growth makes sense there.
Yep. Cost twice as somebody wanted to go to a POS system makers. What are they looking at for a small business for cost for not not talking the server side? We’ll get to that after but in terms of the development to implement it, the licensing fees, that kinds of things.
Like in terms of Oliver posb Yeah, so we have kind of made an odd decision, but we have gone freemium, but with a really good free plan. So if you’re a small install, we were here to help merchants I can find a merchant stone and myself and know how hard it is. So we’ve we’ve done a really good free plan and I’m brace everyone to that want to just be free to take that it doesn’t need to cost money. You can develop apps and everything or plugins within Oliver to do all of the things you want. And then we have a paid plan. If If your bigger store with more registers or locations or you need some extra advanced features and stuff then then they started $25 to $49. And not much right. Okay. But the free plan is we have many uses on it and it’s it’s absolutely a solid one to get started.
Is the it’s a free plan available on wordpress.org or somebody from
Yeah, yeah. So you just go into where you would install plugins and in WordPress, type Oliver pls click Install and then you’re off to the races. We hosted for free so we can guarantee your speed, we give the same support to everyone, no matter if you’re paid or not. You have a real human to chat with.
So the all over POS side is always hosted on your server not on the client server, correct?
Yeah, we would do that. It’s still always paired from your WooCommerce site. So everything is running back and forth. But we we found that we started off with just living in WordPress, yeah, we can’t guarantee the payment security, the hardware compatibility for the native apps well enough. And the speed, I often was finding that sometimes clients don’t really pay for the biggest servers in WordPress and whatnot. And then they would be frustrated that now I’m standing in my store and somebody, it’s slower checking out, right. And we didn’t want that to happen. So So we’ve kind of built the best of both worlds.
Yeah, where most people get hung up on WordPress, and you kind of beat me to the server question is the they go out, and they start on a $3.50 cent plan a month. And then they try and build a WooCommerce store. And then they come back. And they wonder why their customers are leaving because their user experiences bad. And then they’re not doing anything. And they’re not leaving stuff in Checkout, and they’re not processing and then they say What’s wrong? And the reality is, when you pay for $3.50 cent a month hosting, you get exactly what you pay for.
Yeah. And, and the unfortunate thing is, they probably don’t realize, but what what happened with us when we were only hosted on that $3 side? Yeah, the front end experience for the for the cashiers in the stall would be slow, too. And then we were and we got so many complaints about this is so slow, and we could never can say, well, it’s all your fault. But that doesn’t really work. Right? So what we did was we built this bridge into, into our own servers that are loading up with with with a platform that can run full speed, so so you’re never going to be slowed down. Even if you’re on a Team Server,
on your servers, or on your back end, are you running redundant servers. So if one goes down, that all continues on to
full redundancy environment, but again, it’s it’s like, let’s say our all of our shirts service were to shut down tomorrow, all of our sales, all of our customers, all of all of that, that would that’s actually back on your WooCommerce site. So every time you add a customer number, it’s added instantly to your WooCommerce site. So everything is backed up by yourself too. We definitely run the security and backup and whatnot as well. And it would never happen. But just an inpatient. You own everything yourself.
Yeah, that never happened. Never happened, I think is a bit of a misnomer and maybe dangerous word. Yeah. But yeah, there’s a there’s a web host in Montreal right now. I don’t know if you’ve aerating it, but they they have been hacked or had server issues. They claim that server issues I’m not, I’m not convinced. And they’ve lost, they’ve actually lost some of their backup servers in the process. So they’re trying to do a rebuild, of at least don’t quote me, but they think it’s six or eight servers. And they potentially lost half the customer data on those. So it does.
Yeah, we have it backed up at three different locations, physical locations, too. But it definitely can happen. But again, it would still live on your own host to write on your own. What
are your servers located in North America? Are they overseas or a combination?
combination where we’re just about to move one into Europe, but right now they’re North American. So yeah.
And the one I assume you’re moving to one in the year for GDPR reasons is that?
Yeah, so there’s some there’s some stuff there that we’re working around. I’m not the one that don’t too much into those things there. But yeah,
yeah, that’s unfortunately, all GDPR did is in my opinion, and I’m a big privacy person is a complicated the issue and created all kinds of work that could have been avoided if they streamline the process. But so yeah, it’s been a bit of an issue. So in terms of security, because it’s all hosted on your back and the potential customer doesn’t have any security issues correct? It’s pretty Yeah. The only issues they would have is around WordPress front end or back end, which they need to do. That’s
often the weakest point. Right? But, but if they that can be done right, as you’re, I’m sure you know a whole lot more about me than me about but but yeah, that’s the weakest point.
I do I have, at the time, at this record, I have over 100 customers on security contracts just to do updates and backups. And earlier today, I was reading the I theme security list. And I themes put out a list of over I think it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 67 plugins in the last week that they found, vulnerabilities was, and there were several Whoo, plugins on that list. So Oh, yes, that that world is getting offshore by the day is the is the estimate.
And we are often one of those that takes a bit of energy, just like WooCommerce on your server. So we’ve seen us being flat from time to time on it, even though then we go through it. And we can just see it’s because we’re requesting old respect and for thinking too much, and stuff. So we we now go in and automatically white label our IP with those kind of plugins, right? And we tell them, Hey, we’re okay.
Now, the other question, I was gonna ask you, I want to go back to payment processing for a sec, I take it the payment processing is all done on the all of our side of things so that they or is it done on the woo side of things? How do you handle that? So it’s done on the
Oliver side of things, there’s a lot more requirements to the physical sales field. So so we we integrate directly with payment processors to guarantee the, the set up and that we communicate with the terminals and hardware and whatnot. Right? So
so that the customer doesn’t have to worry about any fancy security setup on their end to handle to pay more? Absolutely
not No, no, we deal directly with the banks or processors on that follow them. We have a support team here that is extremely helpful in helping them set it up. So it’s kind of one of the things that we wanted to do, right is give some proper support on, on setting these things up that people might be a little bit nervous about. Right? I find you mentioned PayPal and whatnot. But one of the reasons why PayPal and stripe and those are so popular is to fairly easy to set up on WooCommerce. And you’re a little bit worried about setting up to traditional processors. But we do that all the time, too. Right. So when a merchant come in, we can save them quite a lot of rates on their, their, their processing, right?
Yep. That’s, that’s a big deal. So what’s your typical rate for a merchant coming in?
So that really depends on the size. But I’ve seen people that used to pay 2.9 drop down to 0.9%. Okay. But that that’s one of the really good cases. But it all depends. What we often do is we have a massive network of all of the biggest banks now around the world. And we kind of say, well, let’s combine this see, most merchants, what they do is they go with their physical store. And then they say, I need a processor. And I do 300,000 a year here. Yeah. And then I need my online processors just pay pal. And I do 300,000 there. Okay, yeah,
and you get a bow basically 331 Yeah.
And often the in person one, you also you also be paying a little bit less than online, but because you only have 300,000 a year, they look at your address a smaller shop. So what we like to do is we say, Okay, let’s help you get the best bang for your buck. So what we do is we say, let’s combine these and go to one person, sir and say, Do you one processor, can you help us with this combined statement of $600,000 in volume, which makes it more interesting from them, and therefore, our merchants get a bigger and much better deal. So so we do that a whole lot. It’s kind of we started out from we want to help the merchants save and, and sell better, right? So yeah, we do that quite often.
Yeah, that’s the biggest problem with going to paypal square stripe. They’re all basically 2.9% and dependent on the processor, how long it takes to get it out of the processor into your bank account. And one of the biggest drawbacks, frankly with PayPal is it can take three or four days squares, usually 30 less than 36 hours stripe is usually next day. But but it varies. And that’s one of the biggest problems and you’re paying them 2.9%. And they’re hanging on to your money to make interest on the money.
Yeah, no, absolutely i you’re is exactly my words like, there is no reason why you should be paying that much and wait for your money, it’s your money. And you shouldn’t be waiting for them. So all of the processes we have, I think the longest is 48 hours. But most would be next day, money in your account at a lesser fee. And yeah, and then what I find with stripe and PayPal is, if you’ve shipped something to a merchant, and to your customer and they complain to their credit card, you have no chance of winning that case,
you have no having been with a client that I did $7,000 a work for. And this is going back to like nine years ago, when I first started my agency. After I completed the job invoice, the job got paid, they claimed to PayPal, they did the old, let’s dispute the transaction. And in this particular case, PayPal came back to me and said we’re going to take the money off your credit card, you’re wrong. And I’m like, excuse me, I finished the job. I’ve got the client signature on a form saying the job was completed dissatisfaction and they still dispute
merchants do not stand a chance with those giants there. Yeah. And they don’t even want to fight for you. And that’s one of the biggest things that I often tell our customers when we help refer them to whomever that is the right processor for them is deal with deal with with somebody that cares, right? Like you got an account manager that you can call and say, hey, I’ve shipped some products, they want to dispute this, but they hadn’t even refunded the hardware or the product that I did or send right. And you actually stand a chance. It’s it’s, it’s probably reversed. Totally where there’s a much, much higher chance of winning that case, because the processor is on your side. They are losing out on it. And it’s just Yeah, you’re dealing with a person. Yeah, the
payment processor should be your partner in your business, not a vendor client relationship. And I and I mean that wholeheartedly they and when people start to set their businesses up with payment processors with hosts that way with all kinds of stuff as partners, then life running your business becomes much easier.
Yeah, totally. And that we do. We do that all day long because we want to make sure that our merchants have a smooth setup for both and then it’s also one statement one relationship you’ve got to build instead of one online one in person. It just makes more sense throughout as far as I’m concerned. And there’s quite a bit of money to save on top of all of it.
I there’s no question. This is my dang amazing conversation. I’m sure the listeners learned a little bit learned a bit a little bit about all of our POS if they want to get a hold of you or they want to download Oliver POS how’s the best way
So for downloading just go on the WordPress repository type Oliver POS and then we should come up you just click Install and really three or four questions later your your stall should be saved and you can start selling.
Thank you very much for your time Mathias. I wish you and Oliver POS All the best.