Episode 341: Talking eCommerce and WordPress With Ryan Waterbury

Show Summary

Rob Cairns talks about eCommerce and WordPress with Ryan Waterbury,

Show Highlights:

  1. Why WordPress for eCommerce?
  2. Is Woo the only answer?
  3. Other options for eCommerce and WordPress.

    Show Notes

    Hey, hey, hey, everybody. Rob Cairns here with The SDM Show Podcast and today is my monthly co-host with Ryan Waterbury. How are you, Ryan?

    I’m doing pretty good, enjoying this nice, relaxing vacation week.

    Ohh, you’re referring to my nice vacation relaxing vacation week I think.

    Ohh no, I’m talking about my own it’s. It’s it’s been nice. To have a long four day weekend rolling up. To uh today.

    Now I I hear you at the time of this record, we’re headed to a cottage on a lake that you can only get at to by boat. And so I am about to fight the coop. So you know, I’m with you on that one. We should just tell our clients to stay home for a couple of days. Be a. Good idea, right? So you know, we were hashing out as always what we do and as always, tech coaches have gotten away and without we talk about woo commerce and the WordPress ecosystem and it you know it’s a really interesting subject because as you know, I’m working on a large. E-commerce project with variable products all over the. Place right now so. This one’s kind of dear to my heart and dear to your heart. And I think the landscape is starting to change a little bit that WooCommerce isn’t the only game in town, is it?

    Exactly the. I mean, it hasn’t always been the only game in town, but it’s it’s the you know, it’s the de facto plugin from automatic that we don’t use the the base plugin free. There’s a lot of extensions around it. You know, and it just works. There’s a lot of good things about it. I use it on my own site. To manage my. Web care and recurring billing, and it’s got a lot of great integrations, but. It’s pretty pretty heavy. And you know, it takes some optimization to get it. To run properly.

    And I think I think optimization by the way, not to cut you short includes the proper hosting. So you’re not going to run a good Woo commerce site on the 295 a month hosting plan. Let’s let’s get. That right off out of the way, right off the top right. And and if you’re going to run woo commerce? I think you’re better off going to a host that offers managed woo hosting and then offers a pile of value add with that.

    Right. And that that’s definitely one of the tiers in my web care that we specifically optimize server and the software stack for WooCommerce specifically, but a lot but WooCommerce a lot of times it’s always a good fit. You know for those customers that have one or two products. If they’re not telling a million of those, there are other solutions to that out there that might make a better. And you know, we’re starting to see some growth and some competition in the market and it’s been kind of slow in that area for a long time. But now we have options. Of course, we’ve had a long time option. If you’re doing digital only products with easy digital downloads. But then again, you know that’s. Kind of a heftier plug in and kind of complex for a lot of folks out there.

    And before we go further with what’s in WordPress, we know the number one competitor outside of who is Shopify, would you agree like they are probably? Number one, and my argument would be against using Shopify is data privacy. Here we go again. I just love this discussion because you don’t own your data on privacy on Shopify, so that’s problem number one problem #2 is did you know there’s a lawsuit going on in Canada? That’s CRAP. The Canadian revenue. Can you? Association, which is the guy’s like, who manage our taxes and all that, and CRA’s going at Shopify right now. The force them to turn over the records. Of all the. Shopify Canadian people because they don’t believe they’re paying taxes and without a court order. Which is even better and here. Here’s the problem with that one. So the beauty of if you were using a woo solution, at least then all your data is self-contained and you can protect the integrity of your. Own data, correct.

    I first and foremost, even if who’s not a perfect fit, you know, as far as store, if someone wants to own their own data, that’s a benefit right out. Of the box you’re self hosting the store, you control everything but then again you start to get into your own compliance issues. That you have to manage. Everything where Shopify is a nice solution where. It’s it’s easier to spin up a store, but your store looks like everyone else is for one and two, they still haven’t fixed their long URL structure for SEO, so woo commerce. Still when we talk about stores dominates the the market as far as market. Share you know. And that that just follows with the percentage of WordPress being around, was it 43 or 45% of the Web now?

    Yeah, it’s about that. And the other problem with Shopify is to be quite frank in the thought. There is the 2999 plan that the advertise gets you nowhere, especially with analytics with payment processing. They even have a policy that if you don’t use their payment processor. They charge you more like come on. Guys like, let’s get off that. That is so 10 years ago and. I don’t care that they’re Canadian, they’re they’re kind of not my solution of choice, right?

    Right. I, you know, and I work with a lot of customers in restricted business markets. When we talked about e-commerce and particularly some cannabis customers and yet Shopify is starting to ease up on that. But for a long time, if you hosted. Your store on someone else’s land and either a law changed or they decided that your product isn’t in the best interest of the company. Your stores gone overnight. And that’s kind of a scary thought when you use SaaS solutions and not just Shopify, but big commerce is one of their key competitors here and based in the US, any any of those hosted platforms, you’re at their mercy and.

    It’s true and in restricted businesses it’s a problem. I have a client who’s in the adult toy store business and otherwise known as an adult store, and he’s doing nothing illegal. He’s doing nothing. He shouldn’t be doing. And trying to find. And if he was to do his stuff on Shopify, they would shut him down overnight because it just doesn’t. It’s here to their quote social standards, and I’m sorry, I don’t think a web host has the right to pick and choose if it’s legal. It’s legal. If it’s not, it’s not. That’s a whole new discussion for another day. But you know. You know, that’s part of the problem he’s got and he runs. His store on. For that exact reason. So.

    Right, you know, so I we kind of started out talking about other options and what I’ve shield away from some of the other options out there. And this is changing but very slowly, but all of the other options are hosted parts. So even though you manage your data. And you own it. The actual carbon checkout it’s hosted somewhere else. They do the heavy lifting of all the processing. So you’re still kind of in that same boat. You know, we talked about. Sure, car. Where that’s a new one from Brainstorm force. It’s a it’s a nice product, but really what rubs me the wrong way there is the fact that it’s, you know, a hosted solution that you’re just framing it into your your WordPress website that you don’t actually own it.

    Yeah, and it.

    Wouldn’t it be better than? To protect your data and your. Integrity to go with a full. Woo solution which is built right into WordPress and then you don’t have that problem like I I hate to say it but I’m not sure any of these other solutions. You totally own all your own data. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    No, not at all. And that’s something that you need to signify in your privacy policy that you are sharing data with another third party because you’re choosing to use them as your processing solution. And we’re not talking payment processor, but. You know, on top of your payment processor, you know, just as another current solution. You know, so there are some new solutions coming out, albeit slowly N commerce was announced a couple of years ago and I’ve been following it because there’s been a couple of Ltd. And it really wasn’t ready for market when the Ltd offer was open. So I passed on it. But what I’m seeing is it’s another self hosted solution that you own and some of the things that woo commerce doesn’t have out-of-the-box like subscription management, that’s an add-on. Some of the shipping options, those are add-ons. If you want to do. You know shipping tables, so you’re starting to see these other solutions come to market that fill in the gaps that that we complain about with woo commerce. Woo Commerce is nice. Don’t get me wrong, but as soon as you get past the you know the the base and it’s a free plugin. So I’m not complaining but. If you want to do anything, you’re going out to buy another plug in to be able to do that subscriptions.


    If you want to do special shipping options, you know even payment processing, most of those are free. But you know if you get out there couple. Them are paid. So that. Woo Commerce has its drawbacks, you know, and one of the drawbacks I’m talking about is his flexibility.

    I I agree with you. You know, it’s funny. Did it? If memory serves me correctly, didn’t I think before they were sold to stellar jump in that space and try and create a? A shopping cart type of ecosystem, and then when they sold the stellar that shopping cart stuff was sold off. If I recover it to somebody like Jigger shop at one time and then it’s kind of gone by the wayside cause it’s just hard to maintain.

    Geo Shop actually is what will commerce became. I mean, WooCommerce is a fork of of that.

    Yeah, I wasn’t. Thinking that I was thinking of the product that they they sold it off to somebody in.

    You know, do you go show up? It kind of died in 2019-2020. I I think I think product died around that time and you know so it. It’s been kind. Of barren for other e-commerce solutions so. You know you have the route. If you’re really simple, come on, take donations or you have one or two products with, you know, flat rate or free shipping. Form plugins fill a really great role for that, and all the form plugins do. E-commerce you know from that standpoint pretty well, gravity forms has some extensions that do inventory management and some extra things. So you can do a few things, but you’re kind of limited. Because you don’t have the full shipping. Options with with live lookups and you know full inventory management. You know refunds are kind. Of a pain. So they’re they’re nice if you’re you’re doing. Some small things. One of the other products that recently I looked at from a a donor management tool is payment from WP management parent company that does fluency, CRM and fluid. Firms being built in, you know, on top of it, some ability to build in products and be able to use that. As a checkout solution. And it’s completely self hosted. So we’re starting to see other products. Come to market. That give us some of the tools that we want when WooCommerce is just overkill.

    And then there’s some other cool little products like Cadence for example. Blocks have developed a product called Shop Kit that interfaces direct to WooCommerce and makes a lot of stuff easier. And I know in talking to a couple of devs, there’s even products out there that will take all your enter products or enter sales and automatically. Make a copy of those to a. Google Sheet or stuff like that to make things easier. So there’s all kinds of add-ons going. And then we. Have to talk about like on the loose side, the whole hosting side, because couple of hosting companies Go, Daddy’s gotten into the game with managed, we’re hosting and they have two tiers of regular and like more of a VIP type. We know that WordPress is now jumping in themselves. And to manage we’re hosting, they’ve admitted that in the last couple of weeks and we actually talked about that. This past week, on this week in WordPress with Nathan Rigley, that was one of the subjects on the docket when I was on the panel, new folders jumped onto it with blue host about all the years plugins. So they’re in that space as well. And I think what’s kind of distinguishing it, if you’re gonna go to manage route, the one thing you’re gonna look at is server resources. What are your resources? How big your shop’s gonna be? I happen to know that Godaddy’s managed woo hosting and their their higher end one is both. It’s on Paisley infrastructure which helps because page is a company known for great things for hosting lose sites that GoDaddy acquired. So that kind of helps the point I’m making is don’t go out and buy $5 hosting the host that we shop, you want to make $20,000 a month. It’s just not worth it.

    Oh, not at all. When you look at WooCommerce, that’s one of the drawbacks and it takes it takes a lot more hosting power than the standard WordPress site out-of-the-box. You’re looking at double the requirements for memory. Processor and you know, so when you start looking at. That you know who starts to end up. I know we talked about that $29.00 Shopify space. That it’s not going to get you very far because you have to. Start adding add-ons. That’s one of my other complaints with WooCommerce is it’s nice, it’s flexible and it it does a really nice job, but one you have to find a a host that’s optimized for it. That can handle it. You know, a one or two second delay on your cart checkout or page load. We we know from marketing, testing that the slower your site is, the less sales you make. People have very little patience for poor site loads and they’ll go somewhere else and find that product for the same price or cheaper on a site that loads faster. So first you have the hosting and then I talked. About it you. Know a little? Bit ago you need to find the right plugin set to serve what you really want to do. Everybody’s business is a little bit unique and yeah, you have different shipping requirements. You know, different product requirements. On how you build things, variable products are are nice. But they they, I’m. I’m not talking about your variable products, but talking about variable products that you can order with changing dimensions and. And you know, some really unique things. You know, this speaks to the the complexity and the flexibility of WooCommerce, but you you need to sit down and tailor the site and the stack really to work on a good host. Get the stack down and then optimize the. Site so it.

    Yeah, I.

    So there there’s some additional work into it where that’s why you know. So that’s why. Shopify even though I. Agree with you, it’s an inferior product. It’s a one click setup to start.

    No, no, no question. I I think this is where going to hosts that’s got managed. We’re hosting for some people. Would work really well like I’m working on a project right now where I went that route and one of the reasons why I did to be fair is they had all the plug and stack included in the managed. Hosting of what they needed. The other thing I would caution people do boost stores is guys build your shipping costs into the product. Customers hate paying shipping charges, so building in somewhere find a way. Because I know when companies say to me that will be 1099 to ship, but I look and say, do I really want this? We just build it, right?

    And you know Amazon. And you’re paying for the shipping with your prime membership, to be honest, has really ruined a lot of people or, you know, before that, I mean, just the ecommerce landscape offering free shipping period. People expect it and. You know that gets tough and I’ve done e-commerce for a. Long time where? We had free shipping and had the exception with the large heavy products that you know we have enough charge, they still slip through and occasionally we’ll. Take a bath on a product.

    Yeah. So I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you, the funnier one is a lot of people, especially moose stores, have gone to abandoned CART plugins where if you don’t check your order out within 1/2 hour an hour, it will send you a coupon for a discount. Of a a flower store e-commerce site that I use all the time and the biggest joke is I I figured this out so I just don’t check my stuff out. I let it sit. And and what’s worse is I’m on a corporate discount with them, so I’m already getting 20% off and then they throw me a coupon for another 20% off and it’s like. And you know, it’s funny, people say, why didn’t you just check it out right away? And I said why? It doesn’t matter if I want it now or in 1/2 an hour, it’s not going to deliver till tomorrow anyway, so OK. You know, so be really careful when you build offers like that in because people find a way like me to game the system, right?

    Yeah, I mean, there are some sites that I or some stuff from pretty consistently. Well, you’re absolutely right. I wait for that first or second, you know pain and hurt e-mail and it’s, you know, at a minimum of 10% every time if you’re patient and you understand how these things. You’ll save yourself.

    Yeah, no question. We need to talk about security because I have to go there because that’s what they do, right. So one of the problems is when they’re building out a wood site. And yours and I went through this with a client who was making $20,000 a day. So first of all, is #1 mistake was he bought. She posted not problem number two. Problem was, he figured this she posting was gonna do all the security with the firewall layer. Mistake #2. And frankly, at the end of the day, I think security with the Woo site is more important. So by that I mean are you doing your regular updates, are you looking for vulnerabilities? Are you running a software firewall? And by the way, are you doing backups? Depending on the volume of business you’re doing, maybe you should be doing those backups multiple times a day on all I site. What do you think about that?

    Backups are probably the biggest thing that changes, and if I’m running a high volume site. It’s going to get back up every hour. Some of the smaller sites that don’t see a lot of daily transactions. You know it normally. Most sites get a daily backup WooCommerce sites out-of-the-box on my plans get every 12 hours. Busy sites, they get back up hourly and these are just incremental backups, so they don’t take a lot of space. Because we’re just taking the changes, but it’s very important to be able to have that snapshot in that last hour so that you know what those transactions were, if anything happens and if you’ve done your job correctly, it shouldn’t. But there’s natural disasters. Power can get cut, and you can. Lose your connection. It happens, and that backup is the number one thing that gets increased. You know, but. The other side of that is, you know when we talk about extra security, you used to have to spend a lot more time on the payment processor side because you were hosting that and the the checkout forms now and we’ve gotten spoiled. The stripe, they’re very good about. Hosting their field inside your form so it’s it’s transparent to the client, but that that particular checkout field, the credit card field and the the name authorization that’s stored on their servers. So they take on the liability to maintain comply.

    Delete it.

    That’s one of the pluses and and growth that I’ve seen in in WordPress from, you know, simple forms like gravity forms down, Google Commerce that payment processors are starting to host their own fields inside your forms. Not all of them, but straight. I know for a fact does that still. And and that’s a good thing for security. For security measure, you know WordPress gets knocked around a lot, you know, via hearsay, for bad security. We know it’s just out of date sites, but you know that’s a good thing to remind clients. That hey credit card data. Is being stored with straight and they. Have extra security.

    The other thing I would suggest while we’re talking security is if you’re running a mid to a high end woo site. Don’t use a free SSL certificate. Go and pay for one because they think you’re better served. You’re kind of rolling your eyes at me. As I say that do you do? You not agree.

    You know, functionally there’s no. But but it it really comes down to consumer confidence. When you buy that certificate, that shows that you know some of the customers on that site that you spent the the time to get verified and use a verified certificate. But functionally there’s no difference than a let’s encrypt. SSL cert. We’re seeing that less and less as an important factor, you know, but some of the the national sites, sure, you know spend the the time to to. A manually installed Sir. It it helps with consumer confidence.

    No, I I agree. Is there anything else you wanted to touch on on backups, not backups. E comes in in WordPress or woo or anything around that.

    You know, I think we’ve covered most of the things where you know WooCommerce is great and you know it works when it works. But I’m really excited that there are some other options. They’re starting to grow and come into the market. For too long, WooCommerce was the only solution and you know the the couple that I’ve mentioned are are growing and I expect to see some more e-commerce solutions after 2020 and and the COVID era. I don’t even though some people have gone back and they prefer the you know in person. There’s a segment that people want to do online, and that’s all they’re going. To do. So that that you know that growth of that that market segment is helping to drive some competition and you know competition improves things. So automatic isn’t the quickest developer, I think it’s going to push WooCommerce to be a better product.

    No, I I agree with you and I’m in. That mode, where I shop online as a consumer, simply because time is money. And if I can get delivered, that means I don’t have to go get it and then freeze up a couple hours. So Ryan, as always, thanks for joining me. If somebody wants to reach out to you or those two quiet. Office managers, who I have heard nothing from today. Has the best.

    Any major social media network at one dog solutions. You can visit my website at one dog dot solutions or drop me an e-mail at Ryan dot Waterbury at one dot dot solutions.

    Hey, Ryan, thanks. As always, you have an amazing day.

    You too.

    Similar Posts