In episode 162 of our podcast, I chat with Aaron Campbell and Adam Warner from GoDaddy. Aaron is the head of the WordPress core and ecosytem at GoDaddy and Adam is field marketing manager for their GoDaddy Pro team.
Occasionally I like to bring in hosting companies for perspectives and advice on navigating the WordPress/eCommerce space.
eCommerce and WordPress From a Hosting Perspective
I asked them what they feel is one of the bigger advancements in the space during the last year. Each of them playing a different role at GoDaddy, they shared what are some of the bigger challenges for someone who wants to start selling online.
We hear what they consider some of the first steps to getting started and how hosting plays a role in that. We also learn about the new partnership with WooCommerce and what GoDaddy is now offering specifically to WooCommerce store owners.
I ended with asking for their predictions for the coming year and, since we are in the holiday season, what they would never buy online this time of the year.
Advancements in the past year
One of the biggest things I see is the trend toward making it so much easier to run your own store on WordPress—a place where you can own your own data.
I think the difficulty level took a drop over the last couple of years. That’s exciting because it brings a whole new group of people that want to have an online presence, but don’t want to be a web experts.
People don’t even need to know that it’s WooCommerce. They just need to know that this solution offers me the ability to add and sell products easily rather than going to someplace like eBay or Etsy. The idea being that you are not bound to a platform that you are in control of your hosting, you in control of your store, you’re in control of your products. I think that has a huge benefit, especially for new users.
New users wanting to sell online
It’s one thing to spin up a store and add products: images, descriptions, whatever. Anybody can do that. But then you start adding things like payment processors. Do I choose PayPal? Do I choose Stripe, do I choose something else? And then email marketing. And things like Google analytics and Facebook. You can put up a bunch of products but no one will come unless they know about it.
I think that as we’ve seen those whole solutions come to WordPress, we’re seeing some of that difficulty solved, but we’re not quite there yet. And I think that’s still one of the biggest struggles that people face.
Adding to that, the whole back-office part of running an eCommerce store. Do you use QuickBooks? Do you hire a bookkeeper? All of those things are hurdles for someone spinning up an online store.
Hosting for your eCommerce store
My first question would be more on a personal level. What are your goals? What are you selling? Are you selling one product? Are you selling 10,000 products via some kind of a product feed? So try to whittle down to what the goal is, what you’re trying to accomplish, and then talk about the different solutions for hosting an eCommerce store.
Choose a host that has a WooCommerce-focused hosting product because that means that they’re familiar with WooCommerce. They are familiar with any hurdles that might arise in a hosting environment. They’re familiar with how to optimize that hosting environment for eCommerce.
One of the biggest things you want to look for in the technical solution you’re buying into for hosting is this: does it cover all the parts I don’t want to do myself? You’ve got to know what those parts are that you want to do yourself.
It can be frustrating to not want to do a thing but need to do it. And it’s just as frustrating to want to do a thing and it’s not in your control because the host controls all that. So what are the things that you do want to control? Then find the host and the hosting package that covers all the stuff that’s not on that list.
The WooCommerce / GoDaddy Partnership with managed hosting
I think our biggest focus was how can we make having an online store on WordPress as easy as it is to have an online store anywhere else. How can we give entrepreneurs and small business owners the tools they need without adding so much complexity that they don’t want to do it? How can we simplify that process?
We want it to do it as simply and easily as possible. From an onboarding flow that dramatically simplifies the steps of setting up an online store all the way to packaging the add-ons that we know people are going to want and need and all together in one place so that they don’t have to go hunt those things down. So they don’t hit a point where they’re trying to do something that they’re not capable of doing with what we’ve already given them.
When you install WooCommerce, you need to hunt for those plugins. The onboarding flow has been designed to reduce the number of steps and reduce the number of decisions that the person spinning up the store has to make. So you’re asked a series of pretty simple questions. Once you’ve made those choices, then everything is pre-installed and activated for you and you’re ready to go.
Having WooCommerce installed and having access to all of the ad-ons and extensions at such a low monthly price point with all of that included is a huge savings. I think that’s really important to reduce the friction. With the WooCommerce hosting here, you get an easy onboarding experience plus the low price point plus some pretty fantastic and fast hosting where everything’s done for you.
Predictions for eCommerce and WordPress in 2020
I think that we’re gonna see pretty dramatic growth of these new entrepreneurs coming in and using eCommerce on WordPress as a way to bring to life to all of their ideas, the things that they’ve always wanted to do or wished they could do.
We’re seeing more focus on people beginning to understand some of the importance of the flexibility that that is offered by WordPress and WooCommerce and, and the importance of owning your own data and not letting that belong to some other company. We’re going to see that in new stores, a big boom of those over the next year.
eCommerce is going to get a lot more focus on the other parts of the business, other than just selling a product. I’m talking about marketing. You have this opportunity to easily spin up a store. You put all the functional stuff in place and then the real work begins.
In 2020 more people will be talking about how to market your products, including email marketing and digital advertising. Also, a social presence and how to engage properly there. All of those marketing things. They will become more important and there will be more of a focus in 2020 on them in the eCommerce space.
Where to find Aaron
Where to find Adam
- Slack at awarner20
- Twitter @wpmodder
Resources & Other Links
- News: GoDaddy Partners with WooCommerce for eCommerce Hosting Plan
- GoDaddy Managed WooCommerce Hosting
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