Join Cory Miller and Patrick Rauland as they talk about cost-effective WooCommerce sites. Patrick is obsessed with eCommerce. He’s used WooCommerce as a customer, worked for WooCommerce support, developed core functionality in WooCommerce itself, led three releases, and he helped plan their yearly conference (WooConf). Patrick creates courses for LinkedIn Learning / Lynda.com, and he runs an online conference of his own for WooCommerce developers and store owners. It’s called WooSesh — check it out.
Patrick unloaded a truckload of stuff for us to go investigate — it’s so much! And that truckload was all gold. Here are the show notes. The transcript follows afterward.
Show Notes: Tips for Building Cost-Effective eCommerce Sites with WooCommerce Expert Patrick Rauland
When you think about it, a WooCommerce site is just a regular WordPress site plus shipping, payments and taxes. Nowadays it’s getting harder to charge for regular WordPress sites, so if you can get those functions into your repertoire, they’re not that complicated and you can charge more for an eCommerce site.
Why is WooCommerce more cost-effective than Shopify?
If you need a simple site then Shopify is easy to set up and doesn’t need much maintenance. WooCommerce becomes really useful and worthwhile when you want to customize something. All roads are open, you can literally do anything.
In terms of the costs, Shopify is lower upfront, but it can get pricey as you pay for all the apps and functionality individually, and sometimes need to upgrade for more features to be made available to you. With WooCommerce you pay upfront and many of the plugins you will need are free, so if you have the money it will work out cheaper in the long run. That’s what makes WooCommerce so cost-effective.
What to Charge — the Price Range
My first freelance website when I was a student was $80.
There are lots of quality levels of websites. And there’s a huge range in prices:
- $1,000 – $10,000 — freelancers
- $10,000 – $50,000 — agencies
- $50k and above — specialist agencies / enterprise
I recommend starting at $5,000. And on a side note, WordPress.com is experimenting building sites for $4,900.
Another way, if you see it’s a good business model, then you could build and design the site for free, do the maintenance for free and then take a percentage of the sales.
Maintenance plans are important for eCommerce because for example, owners could lose real order data by changing something when they update a plugin and don’t back up first.
Set expectations from the start. Talk about the maintenance plan early on in the project and explain how important it is as you don’t want to lose order data. Be specific about what you’re going to do as part of the contract.
Standardize Time-Consuming Acts
When you think about WordPress sites. Every time you build a new site do you ask, “Gee what SEO plugin should I use?” or “Gee what contact form plugin should I use?” Nope.
You have your favorite plugins which you use every time. You’re familiar with them, you know all of the settings, and it’s easier for both you and your clients.
The same is true for eCommerce. I strongly recommend you find your favorite payment gateways (Stripe, Paypal), then find your favorite shipping companies and methods (I recommend USPS which is built into WooCommerce services), and your favorite WooCommerce extensions.
The Essential Add-ons I Use
One of my eCommerce philosophies is, if anything is critical to my store, I will only get the official version of it. That includes anything related to payments, shipping or taxes. You will also have access to the WooCommerce support team.
Here are the essential plugins I recommend:
- WooCommerce Subscriptions — it’s the best subscriptions feature from any platform. It is incredibly configurable. For example, you can have the first month be free, or have the first month be at a higher price, drop to a different tier after the first year etc. I strongly recommend it.
- Shipment tracking plugin on woocommerce.com. For like $30 a year it adds all the shipping tracking numbers to the emails automatically. It saves you time and money.
- Composite products — if you have multi-part products. For example a bike where you have a big product made up of smaller products and you could upgrade parts of the product, like the handlebars, or buy the handlebars separately, or make them a hidden product that you can only get as part of the bigger product.
- WooCommerce bundles — you could get a free version of this too.
Setting up taxes is the scariest part as it’s subject to government regulation and there’s money involved. WooCommerce will import tax rates for you for free. If you have a tiny budget that’s the way to start.
If you have a little more budget then there are a bunch of plugins starting at $10 a month that import the tax rates, and they also keep them up-to-date. Some of them will even pay your taxes for you and file them on your behalf with the money they collect.
Avalara is a good plugin to go with.
There are so many choices and it can get overwhelming. I recommend you stick with one option. So go ahead with USPS or UPS live rate shipping, or Fedex, or flat rate shipping. These will be very fast and very easy to set up and maintain. This saves you hundreds of dollars of development time.
If you’re starting a new site then use a modern payment gateway like Stripe or Braintree they not only authorize the transaction they also capture the payment. It’s also good to have a backup payment option. So you could set Stripe as the default payment gateway and also allow customers to choose PayPal.
How I Plan My Projects
Here are the different project management styles I use:
- Waterfall — you plan everything in advance and then execute it. This is the way to go if both you and the client have experience with eCommerce sites.
- Multi-phase — you do the standard website first, then do the eCommerce site later. This works if you have experience, but the client doesn’t.
- MVP — get paid weekly and add functionality bit by bit, week by week until the client is where they want to be. This works well when none of you have experience. You and the client get to learn as you go.
Types of eCommerce Businesses Models
There are many eCommerce business models going from simple to really complex
- Dropshipping — this is really simple, you don’t hold any inventory in your store. Any time an order comes into your store, you order it from another store and they ship it directly to the customer.
- Reselling — You get all your products from other stores and just add a markup. That’s really easy because all the products are there, the descriptions are there, everything is ready to go. Just add something extra like in store returns, or somebody to show them how to use the game when they pick up. That will set you apart from the crowd.
- Membership sites — more about online products, less about physical products.
- Learning Management System sites — where people are taking courses.
Who are Those sites best for? What Type of Business?
These are some of the businesses that work well for eCommerce, and would be good clients for freelancers.
- Chocolate shops
- Massage shops
- 3D sculpture print files! It’s a whole new area where 3D sculptors can make money.
Final Word of Advice
Do what you do best. If you do what you do best and I do what I do best, then we trade services and we all get richer. Spend the majority of your time on doing that and you will make the most money, rather than frittering away your time on other things that are not your speciality, or getting distracted by unrelated skills.
Machine Transcript – Tips for Building Cost-Effective eCommerce Sites with WooCommerce Expert Patrick Rauland
Cory Miller 00:00
Hey everybody welcome back to another commercejourney.com webinar, I’ve got a special guest today, someone I’ve known for a long time a friend of mine and my wife, Lindsey’s, Patrick Rauland, and I’m gonna let him introduce himself in just a second and let him tell us more about what he does. He’s got such a background with commerce, there’s so many flavors that this webinar could get today, but we’re going to be talking about tips for building cost effective eCommerce websites, with WooCommerce expert, Patrick Rauland. Thanks for our sponsor, GoDaddy Pro, if you go to commercejourney.com/go, you can see the offer that GoDaddy has for eCommerce websites.
Cory Miller 00:42
All right, Patrick, thank you so much for being on the webinar. This is overdue. This is long overdue, because of your past with eCommerce, and specifically, what I know as the most popular eCommerce software on the planet called WooCommerce. You have deeply embedded roots with WooCommerce. I know. But could you tell us a little bit about what you do professionally, and maybe even throw some side stuff? Because I want to dive into those things, too.
Patrick Rauland 01:10
Yes. So first of all, thank you for having me. I love chatting. So I like to joke that I’ve done everything in eCommerce. So I used to build custom websites. Then I built custom WordPress websites, then I built custom WordPress, eCommerce websites. And then I joined Woo Themes as support, and then a developer and then Product Manager. That’s the person who helps plan the software.Then I started doing my own thing for a little bit. I created all these courses on LinkedIn learning, I helped with WooCommerce. And I run WooSesh, which is now an online version of WooCommerce. Basically, I think that’s it. I’ve also written I think I have four WooCommerce books, maybe three. So I feel like I’ve done everything. Like if there’s something relating to WooCommerce that I haven’t done, please let me know. And I will do it.
Patrick Rauland 01:58
Oh, and the last one, I actually have my own store. Finally, I made a board game a couple years ago, and put it up on Kickstarter and launched it. And now just every I don’t do any marketing, and people are just buying my little copy of my little copies of Friday of every couple weeks. And it’s great. So I feel like I’ve done everything, which is fantastic. And I love I love WooCommerce I love every little aspect of it.
Cory Miller 02:21
Truly, and I didn’t even know all of that. I mean, I i knew i think i i’m trying to recall back but I knew you or you popped on my radar when you were the WooCommerce person, you know, driving the development. And then I think you were there before the acquisition and all that to automatic, which for those of you that don’t know, kind of undergirds WordPress, the open source version, and then runs WordPress.com. So you have that at all, including, like, I were friends, and we follow each other. And so I’ve seen I put a link to laidback duck games in the chat here for those of you listening later, got a laid back games, laidback.games. And you can order and check out what Patrick’s done. Because I was commenting before we started all your games in the back there. I love those. And so I love physical products I love Well, I should say I currently experienced my love for physical products with my own store partnership that have producing organic shampoo bars and conditioner bars.
Cory Miller 03:27
But you’ve built this game. And that’s so cool, because we come from you and I historically come from digital space like let’s, you know, let’s sell a digital product, and then support that. And I kind of bragged for years, about 10 years, we didn’t have a phone at our software company that I ran for 10 plus years and eventually was sold to the company you now work for. So Oh, then let’s let’s not forget what you do as a day job.
Patrick Rauland 03:53
Yes, sorry. So it wasn’t it’s not directly related to WooCommerce. Yes, I know the product marketing manager at Nexcess. And at Nexcess, we’ve focused a lot on eCommerce sites, specifically WooCommerce and Magento. So I still get to work with WooCommerce all the time. So I sort of figure out what we want to say about our managed WooCommerce hosting product and how we want to say it sort of my role. They’re just fantastic.
Cory Miller 04:16
Which is awesome. So next is just to give you a quick connection that was owned by Liquidweb, who bought my company, and we didn’t get to work together. But you’re you’re an awesome part of that team. And they’re there they should they very honored to have you. Let’s dive in Patrick. Okay, so we’re talking about eCommerce websites and building eCommerce sites for clients. I told you last night when we were talking through some of this, I was like, Hey, I did first version, but I would never bill myself as a web designer today. And as you think about Okay, breaking into one building WordPress websites, kind of like your store in mind. And then eCommerce websites on top of that, do you think that’s a good progression? Like, if you’re gonna if you have a desire to do eCommerce websites that are starting to build just the base, you know, sites and particularly on WordPress, because I know the shirt you’re wearing today?
Patrick Rauland 05:14
Yes, I my WordPress shirt on. Yeah, so. So on some level of like a WooCommerce site or any eCommerce site is just a regular WordPress site with like shipping payments and taxes. So if you can figure out three extra things, which is, and those are, those are big things. But if you can figure out those things, it’s just a WordPress website. It’s not that scary. I want to give it the proper gravitas where it’s like eCommerce is more challenging. And there’s, it’s an extra level of, you need to be a good developer and have an eye for detail. But it’s also not crazy. And you can charge so much more money for eCommerce that I generally think the trade off is very worth. It’s where I so I think the days of like, we used to build a lot of these when I worked at an ad agency, I call them brochure websites, it’s like yeah, features about us contact to the homepage page, you know, exactly something like those are, those are getting harder and harder to charge for. Yeah, so if you can also add eCommerce into your repertoire, it’s not that much more complicated with shipping payments and taxes, that and I think it’s worth the extra the extra money you can charge. So on some level, it’s not that crazy. on another level, it is a whole extra level, a whole extra set of things you do have to learn.
Cory Miller 06:30
Okay, I’m gonna present my own fears as a case study for you, and you can help walk me off the ledge. Yeah, so I have built and I still build and never say I’m a professional. At one time, I did charge for, like 12 years ago. But you know, building WordPress website, the tools are out there now. And it’s so easy and I kind of think of myself as an assembler. You know, I take this, but I want a calendar plugin. So I go get an event calendar plugin, I want you know, to do SEO better, I get an SEO plugin, whether it’s free or paid in WordPress, and I love that ecosystem. When I think about eCommerce, there’s two things that scare me.
Cory Miller 07:09
You can talk me off my ledge here: taxes, and shipping, particularly shipping for physical products like fry thief, or the Vida Bars, things like that. So those are the complexities because I remember when we I was telling you last night when we rolled out our own eCommerce software, in 2015. I got introduced this world of infinite variances of eCommerce setups, someone would go I want to sell t shirt and I want a digital membership. And by the way, I’m in Netherlands and I need this payment source and the tax set up. So that it fills my fear would go selling this for other people to go there’s a lot of complexity, and I don’t know everything. What are some tips? What are some first steps that you suggest? Or how do you just kind of ease me back off? Yeah, my fears?
Patrick Rauland 07:58
Yeah, that’s, that’s great. So let me let me actually address taxes the first because I actually think if I had to pick between shipping payments and taxes, I think taxes are people in his fears. Yeah, because it, it’s this government regulatory thing. It’s not like, I installed the wrong contact form. And I have to like replace it. It’s it there’s there’s money involved, right. So it’s a little scarier. So with taxes, first of all, WooCommerce will like import tax rates for you, that’s a great start. If you have a tiny client who has zero budget, that might be the way to start. But if you have a client with just a little bit more budget, then there are a bunch of plugins that will automatically so they not only import your tax rates, they also keep them up to date. I won’t go into tax, but there’s like different types of taxes of where you are in the country where you have Nexcess, but they will import all that for you. And then some of them will even pay your state taxes for you. So they’ll file them on your behalf with the money that they collect. And sometimes you collect it goes into a special account, or sometimes they can collect it. So taxes are not and I think these plugins are like $10 a month, right? So for $120 a year, you can just for a beginner store, right, you know, for a certain number of transactions a year for beginning store $120 a year, you can just almost forget about sales tax, you still want to double check and make sure it looks like it’s working and your checkout, but those plugins are good.I’m trying to think of so avalara tax, yes. Good. And then, boy, there’s another one that I always recommend that’s escaping me right now.
Cory Miller 09:26
Avalara is the one I used and they’re incredible sidebar to that. If you go into site and you sign up at everything they did for me, and this is nine months ago, 10 months ago, I got to talk to a consultant there, and they were so good. Walk me through stuff. And and the whole you know, nuance of taxes. federal state, county city, yes. I mean, every state in the US is a little bit different. That’s not to speak of international. Okay, so taxes, there’s stuff out there.
Patrick Rauland 09:57
Yeah, there’s stuff out there. So the other one that you brought up is shipping. So I think the big thing was shipping and you know, you said, you know, when you have to search for an events calendar, the first time you search for an events calendar, you’re like, Oh my god, there’s so many choices, and you have to find a blog post that compares them and evaluate them. And then after you set up that first, events calendar, now you have your go to plugin. I think that’s the same thing with shipping, where you will probably you’ll The first time you set up shipping, there’s infinite ways of calculating it like, do we do live rates from you know, USPS or FedEx or UPS here in the US, and there’s a bunch of international ones as well. Or do we do some sort of more complicated thing where it’s $5 for the first item $2 for every item after that, and then there’s a lockable free shipping, right. So after $50, you get free shipping for free. There’s there’s a bunch of options, I just recommend sticking with one, one option. So go ahead with USPS, live rate shipping, or UPS library shipping, or FedEx or flat rate shipping. he the one thing that I found that is tricky in eCommerce is every store owner for some reason, they really want to have their own specific shipping policy. And if you as a developer can nudge them.
Patrick Rauland 11:07
So here’s the way I say this, I can build anything you want. But if you want something custom, it’s going to cost you probably hundreds of dollars for me to like set up. There’s a great extension called table rate shipping, if you have a person who really wants to send this item is $20. And this item is $30. Or this item is this thing. And when you combine it with this, they there’s no extra cost for that item. If you want to do that table rate shipping is probably the right shipping method for you. But it takes hours to configure that and that takes my time. Versus let’s just set up live rate shipping with USPS. And it’ll be very fast, very easy. Maybe you pay an extra dollar shipping here, you lose an extra dollar shipping there, but it saves you hundreds of dollars of development time. I think that’s worth it when you can explain that to the clients like hey, we can go custom I can develop whatever you want, I can write lines of code, or there’s this pre built option. And it’s just going to work and sometimes you’re gonna make $1 or lose $1 but it’s way way easier to set up and maintain moving forward but so that’s my recommendation is just one of those flat one of those live rate shipping options. It’s fantastic.
Cory Miller 12:12
Okay, operate shipping option. And then you mentioned payments. I didn’t even put that in my my list of fears, you know, but I think of like Stripe, I think of PayPal is always out there, Braintree some of those that I go are, you know Stripe, I think it’s unbeatable, it feels so unbeatable. solution is so awesome. It’s like the next gen of what PayPal didn’t do. They could have kept going and innovating and they didn’t they rested on their laurels and still are playing catch up. But no one says with payment. I know a lot of people come in and say authorize that net, because they might have brick, you know, brick and mortar type setup or, you know, the school for instance that our kids go to is has authorized on it. What are your thoughts about payments?
Patrick Rauland 12:58
Great question. So there’s I have a whole thing when I want to give presentations on eCommerce, I have a whole thing about traditional payment gateways versus modern payment gateways, which I would call a Stripe, but traditional via Authorize. net, he, if you are starting a brand new store, I always recommend what I call a modern payment gateway, which is something like a Stripe, or Braintree. And the thing that I that the the qualities that define a modern payment gateway are they not only authorize the transaction, but they also capture the payments. And there’s a different word in payment lingo, but they authorize and capture the payments. Whereas traditional payment gateways like an authorized net, they will authorize it and then you have to have this whole separate business merchant. It’s called a merchant account. But it’s basically a fancy bank account that actually does the that actually draws the funds. And so think of it it’s like, do I want to use one tool or two tools to accomplish the job? Yeah, you’re starting from scratch, just use a modern payment gateway like Stripe. And if you already have a merchant account set up for an authorized net, because you have a brick and mortar store, you have a POS system, then go ahead and use an authorized net. But I would never recommend someone go down that route. Because it’s just extra stuff. You have to configure and build.
Patrick Rauland 14:13
At certain scales, you know, if you’re a Best Buy, there are huge pricing differences between the two. But for for most retailers, there’s no difference, just use the modern payment gateway. And the thing I just want to say about Stripe and in particular is in one of my first eCommerce websites. It was this client raised a whole bunch of money for a charity. It was like $10,000 $14,000 it was five figures plus somewhere. And after they raised all this money, I got an angry phone call about a week later saying Where’s the money? You stole it? And I’m like, What? No, I didn’t know my god like, I have to dig in. And then I finally figure out I opened the Stripe account and the money is just sitting there.
Cory Miller 14:50
It just hasn’t transferred.
Patrick Rauland 14:53
The client gave us the wrong bank details. So we enter their bank details and then they call us a week or two later saying we stole their money. But Stripe was great about it. We email, I think at the time was email, but we emailed them. They said, hey, these bank numbers don’t look like anything we’ve ever seen. We thought like clients, we got numbers, we sent it to them. And within like 24 hours the money was deposited. Having that one experience having a real human, look at the problem and give you something useful. Like, these bank details look like none we’ve ever seen before. I’m pretty sure they’re wrong, even though they aren’t mathematically wrong. Like they could exist. But they said they did. They don’t look like anything they’ve ever seen before. They’re probably wrong. And they were wrong. So that that is like a very strong point of trust now. And I think Stripes always going to be my go to for the foreseeable future.
Cory Miller 15:43
Plus they do the automatic transfers into the account, PayPal No, all day, we… by the way, we had to have I had somebody, our salesperson that took all the email inquiries and stuff, every three to four days would go in and deposit and transfer money. Turns out, it was a manual process and Stripe came out and goes, Oh, it could just be a button that you turn it on. I love that.
Patrick Rauland 16:03
Why not automatically deposit? I will quickly say one thing about PayPal is some people it’s nice to have a backup payment gateway. Yeah, a year ago, I had a credit card get stolen. And I was trying to buy something online. And then because I had to get a new credit card was being shipped to me in the mail or being sent to me in the mail. I couldn’t order something because I I only had that one credit card. So if you have a backup payment gateway of like PayPal, yeah, maybe you know, sort of have Stripe is the default selected one, which people can also choose PayPal, then that save that might save you some a little bit of money.
Cory Miller 16:37
Okay, you helped me because I mean, all of these are just great recommendations to come look at and go through and the tools are out there such a night and day from when I started in 2008. WordPress product isn’t trying to cobble everything together. And we use PayPal for 10 plus years. Now, I think it’s the backup. But so that’s that’s really fantastic. So we want to really talk about this too, because it’s, it’s underneath all of this, which is WooCommerce. As I understand that the most dominant eCommerce software on the planet is a WordPress plugin. But it’s really a toolset that has I mean, literally just like WordPress, there’s a plugin for everything. WooCommerce conceivably, there’s probably a plug in already on the woocommerce.com store for what you need to do. But as a tool. It’s a little different. I hear you know, I think about bigcommerce and Shopify, okay, hosted type solutions, and WooCommerce. And I go if you if you want vanilla, something that just kind of gets up and rolling a Shopify, if you’re trying to do it on your own without expertise. Now we’re talking about building sites for other people. But can you talk about WooCommerce as a toolset for eCommerce site builders, and maybe some of his strengths, too?
Patrick Rauland 17:52
Yeah, yeah. So. So I think that’s a good way of looking at it is, you know, first of all Nexcess has some cool stuff coming out. That’ll make sites easier to build very shortly in like a week or two. I can’t talk about it too much right now. But there are some cool things. But if you’re starting a brand new store, then suddenly especially if it’s a vanilla, as you said a vanilla store, you know, it’s just a list of products. Shopify is pretty easy to set up and doesn’t have much maintenance. Yep. We’re, we’re, we’re and I think this also goes back to like, lots of people now just set up Wix sites, right? If you have a brochure website or brochure WordPress, or what would be considered a brochure WordPress website, homepage features about us contact, then I think like a Wix websites fine. I think the same thing is true in eCommerce. So if you just have a shop page, and a couple of things, Shopify sites great knowing when WooCommerce becomes really useful when you want to customize something. So here’s a great example. Built into WooCommerce is unlockable free shipping, which is at $50. You get you can unlock free shipping as a shipping method, that’s a cool thing. It helps you increase your average order value. But let’s say at $200, I now want to add unlockable free Express two day shipping, you’re probably in most cases with bigcommerce and Shopify, you’re kind of just stuck.
Patrick Rauland 19:14
Like you can’t really customize a shipping method at all. in WordPress. That’s just a couple of lines you read. If you’re a developer, you can write a little bit of code and you can literally take an existing plugin, customize it, add an extra option that says at $200. Add this Express unlock free Express shipping. There’s something nice about having that freedom and flexibility in the in the WordPress and WooCommerce worlds. It’s open source, everything can be customized on the theme level and on the plugin level. I think WooCommerce is a is a tool to customize and be and know that all all roads in front of you are open.
Patrick Rauland 19:52
Now sometimes roads in the WooCommerce world are more expensive, right than then they might be. Yep, then they might be on another platform. But the fact that they’re open means you can literally do anything. That’s what I that’s what I love about it is hate claims, choose this option, anything you choose the future still possible, which is which is pretty cool. You choose your Shopify, and then someone says cool, I want to have free unlockable Express shipping. Okay, too bad. Like, there’s just certain things that are just too hard to do or too complex to do. I think that’s the biggest difference. I think some of the smaller differences are that, you know, the way stores are admins, there, there are some differences in the admin and there are some differences in the way you install things and customize things. Like I think WordPress is block editor is great. And I don’t I especially so WordPress is block editor is a little bit harder to use than a Shopify or BigCommerce editor. But I also think it’s far more powerful once you know how to use it. So I also really liked for people who want to customize their, their homepage and their product page. It’s really really powerful, which I love.
Cory Miller 21:02
I love the way you said that if you want all roads are open, that’s a WooCommerce. That’s, that’s the great tool. WooCommerce is for that. I also think about control. And this was just WordPress websites, but then you go eCommerce, control over everything from SEO, you’re not locked into something that you’re waiting maybe six months for someone to maybe get it on a feature request board and iterate on it. And shop has awesome software, because big commerce awesome. But, you know, Patrick, I love your feedback on this too. So we started our version, one of the V bars on WordPress, and big commerce. Now we’re looking at probably first in the first quarter of this year, switching over to WooCommerce. Because just what you said some roads are closest or some roads or workarounds or you know, all that stuff. But there is a cost element to it. As a web developer, how do you you know, all of these add ons at a store might need How did you? Did you build it into the price? Did you have them go purchase it? Hey, Kitty, how do you how do you do that with the tools? And I want to get into pricing real soon here. But did you build that into the price? Do you have them purchased the things that they need for the add ons and things?
Patrick Rauland 22:13
Good question. So so let me first share it says used to be different years ago, since I left shortly after I left WooCommerce they built in a great feature that clients can buy their own things can buy their own products on WooCommerce, calm and you can sort of submit support tickets on their behalf. What’s really great about that is like sort of clients maintain control of everything. And then you can still like submit support tickets on their behalf, you can download the plugin on their behalf, they can add you as basically a developer. So I think now that woocommerce.com has that functionality, just in terms of logistics, have your clients buy stuff for you. And then they they have to mean it’s on their credit card they have to renew every year. If you I do have plenty of people that I know, website owners who are not tech savvy in the slightest, and like a car, have you ever had a client for forgot to renew their domain name?
Cory Miller 23:03
Oh, yes, I have.
Patrick Rauland 23:07
Okay, well, if you have those clients, yeah, absolutely buy it for them, like there are certain there are certain types of people with like, I will have to be more hands on with you. And that’s gonna be one of our contracts, and I’m gonna, I’m gonna increase the prices a little bit for my time. But if they’re tech savvy enough to to do some basic stuff, then I then I make them do it. In terms of like the overall cost of the websites, I think the one really big difference is WordPress, and WooCommerce is all upfront, right, or, you know, usually 50%, upfront and 50% at the end of a project is pretty common. Ssxxtill, that’s all basically in a couple month period, someone needs to give you a huge chunk of money, where Shopify is really good, it’s really good to get started. It’s like 30 bucks a month plus apps, any apps that you add, but it can also get really expensive, really fast. Their top plan is 300 bucks, their top plan before you go to enterprise is like 300 bucks a month. So yeah, Shopify might not be that expensive upfront. But then when it’s $300 a month and another $200 a month and apps, then it’s not then it’s like 6000 a year, right. Just just sitting there.
Patrick Rauland 24:12
So I think it’s just thinking about if someone has a lot of money up front, then a WooCommerce build is probably more economical in the long run. And if they have no money, then maybe they can get started at 100 bucks a month on a Shopify and add on to it from there.
Cory Miller 24:26
Yeah. Okay. Patrick just gave you some gold, right. So as you talk to clients that they may balk at some of the add ons aren’t cheap At first, they don’t look as cheap as on woocommerce.com. But he’s, you’re absolutely right. It’s it’s kind of the snake attack that builds up when your store does take off and you want it to take off, then you start really hitting in some of this money and the functionality. You’re still in the same place. Some of these things don’t come out of the box. We knew from big commerce, and I love the platform, by the way, but like abandoned carts, for instance, that we had to ask upgrade our account to the from the 2530 a month to the 75. Now we paid it easily because retargeting cart abandonment is, is money sitting there ready to be made again. But it was one of those things where we’re locked in, we don’t control our future, the roads aren’t as open. And that’s where WooCommerce comes into. Okay…
Patrick Rauland 25:19
Can I just add one more thing quickly is there’s a couple things in the WordPress world that we forget. So if you are if you’re a WordPress is that there are things that you just take for granted. But if you go to a different ecosystem, they’re no longer free. So there’s so many things in Shopify worlds that are like, Oh, it’s like a, it’s like a fancy contact form. And it’s $10 a month, you’re like, why is it $10? Like, I’m just so used to like many things that WordPress world are free or or freemium, right, like Yoast SEO, the free version is great. So if I have to the premium some of my sites, and some of my some of my sites are just hobby sites, I just use the free version, it cost me a thing. So I don’t don’t forget to look at your entire tech stack, and then go Oh, an SEO plugin might not be free on Shopify.
Cory Miller 26:02
Okay, heed the words that Patrick just said, have them look at the whole picture. So true. Yoast SEO, for instance, that’s probably fit, I’m gonna guess $50 a month on an ad on on some other plug in plugins, and you still get control of your site for a lot of things that you want to do, like you said, being able to edit your theme and stuff like that pretty easily. Alright, so I want to talk price, but I want to think you think in in, you’ve seen all the different variations of eCommerce projects? Can you scope out the kind of levels of of eCommerce cut type projects, you know, like this? Oh, I just want to sell a T A swag store, you know, could you kind of give us the range of what to expect? And then maybe some advice for how we should think about those projects to as developer designers for clients?
Patrick Rauland 26:55
Yeah, so great question. So let me let me start with a couple really big buckets. And then I’ll drill down a little bit further, but I think they’re really big buckets are, if you’re like a freelancer or someone who mostly works on their own, you’re probably going to be charging between 1010 $1,000 somewhere somewhere in that range, probably. And if you’re an agency, then it’s probably you know, 10,000, maybe up to like 50. I when I was at an agency, and this was seven years ago, but I think the biggest one we did was 26,000. And that was basically just me as an eCommerce developer in that in that place. But I’m sure nowadays, there’s probably some that get over 50. But then after 50, you’re probably looking at like enterprise. So and there are some specialist eCommerce agencies even in the WordPress world, like on mine size. I’m guessing I haven’t looked at their exact numbers, but I’m guessing their numbers are over 50 grand. So it’s probably like, yeah, 1000 to 10,000 is freelancers. 10,000 50,000 is like agencies, and 50,000 plus enterprise and specialists, eCommerce. Yeah.
Patrick Rauland 27:54
Now in freelancers, there’s so many levels. And I think there’s probably someone right now listen to this, who is scoffing at $1,000 eCommerce project. And that’s fine. But let me give you an idea of what that could look like. That would be I have so many people who don’t know anything about tech, they say, I want just get me online, I don’t care what it looks like, great. If that’s the case, I’m setting up with Stripe, I’m setting up with USPS and library chipping. We’re not doing any fancy stuff. I’m just getting you hosting. And maybe one premium extension from WordPress woocommerce.com. That might be and if they don’t care what it looks like, that might be $1,000 project, it’s you get it in, you get it out, you set up default.
Patrick Rauland 28:34
And you have to be very clear ahead of time, hey, we’re not customizing this. We’re not customizing this. We’re not customizing this. And if you can set those expectations soon and early and ahead of time. They’re totally fine to that they just wanted to get something online. They’re not tech savvy. I live on and speaking of going back to Denver, I live on a great little art street here in Santa Fe. And there’s a bunch of really cool stores that don’t have WooCommerce sites I looked and even down the street here. There’s like a massage place that doesn’t have they have a WordPress site, but not a WooCommerce site. And as a massage place. Don’t you want WooCommerce bookings? So you can book people online? I was I bet they would pay $1,000 for that, right? Just, oh yeah.
Patrick Rauland 29:13
People make their own online reservations. Great. And then, and then as soon as you start customizing things, then it goes pretty quickly up to probably like five grand I think five grand is probably for most people a good baseline. I think so WordPress.com is now there’s a this came out a week or two ago, but they’re experimenting by building sites starting at $44,900. So right under five grand. So that is probably a good baseline for most people is five grands, and up to 10 grand. And of course if the web like I told you, I built an eCommerce site at an agency for 22 grand. That was with a custom design. We had a designer we had a there’s a whole creative process that went into it. But I bet the eCommerce just that website was probably 12 to 14 of that 20 something grand project so you can probably get a little bit above five figures. on your own, but then you’re probably working with teammates and stuff like that.
Cory Miller 30:03
Yeah. So it, how do you scope out? How do you talk to client and, and go? Okay, I think you’re in this range. And I want to get to also Patrick, I think, and you know this better than me, there’s a secondary sell, which is maintenance. Like when a bita bars when we transition to WooCommerce, I don’t want to manage the tech sec, I don’t want to manage updates and backups. And but I want an expert that knows WooCommerce when we hit a snag, or something happens, that I’m used to, on a SAS Pro, you know, suffers service platform like bigcommerce, Shopify, okay, they’re kind of taking care of that for the most part kind of thing. So there’s another financial opportunity downstream, which is that recurring money on a maintenance plan?
Patrick Rauland 30:52
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Maintenance plans are great. I think they’re great for WordPress websites. And then they’re even more important for eCommerce. I mean, so here’s the thing with eCommerce, if if you have a person who’s never done WordPress before, and they’re just sort of figuring it out as they go, which is great. I understand that people figure it out as they go. But if you’re not careful, you can like lose real order data, right? Like, if you have an order come in, and then someone updates the plugin and explodes your site and you’ve to restore a backup. Yep, that make you hopefully that order is saved in an email somewhere, but really have good systems in the first place and have smart people go, oh, we’re gonna pay some plugins. Before we do that, let’s make sure we backup the entire sites.
Patrick Rauland 31:36
So do have a maintenance plan. And this is something you should set expectations, from the get go, you don’t want to build a 20 grand website to 10 grand website or whatever, and then go, by the way, for $100 a month, we’re gonna do that for you. It’s kind of I don’t wanna say too late. But people are like, Oh, cool. I can add content to my website they’re thinking about, they’re thinking about their their next business opportunity and how they’re going to grow their websites and do other things. You want to talk about maintenance, from the get go. And you want to explain how important it is that you don’t want to lose order data. So that’s why we’re doing we’re doing nightly backups. And we’re doing backups anytime we do any sort of updates, and we’re going to do updates twice a week. 6am, right, or, or whatever, you just want to sort of set those expectations super early on. That is that is what I’d recommend.
Cory Miller 32:27
And if you get the right client to understand that like, to me, Patrick, it’s like, okay, you’re the massage parlor, for instance. Do you want to do massage? Do you want to stay in your lane of expertise? Or do you want to become a technical eCommerce manager for me, like beat a bar? I want Anna, who runs the show. Maybe I want her to stay over here and do the bars and come up with new bars and do videos market and relationship building and all that stuff. I don’t want her to ever worry about “Should I upgrade this?” You know add ons or shipping?
Patrick Rauland 33:03
Yeah, yeah.Yeah. You want people this is like a boy this goes back to not not Adam Grant. Darn it. What is the Wealth of Nations. Is that that Adam Grant? Have I got itright?
Cory Miller 33:14
I don’t think so. Your psychology, let’s see Wealth of Nations. Adam, Hey, guys,
Patrick Rauland 33:21
Adam something, okay. But it’s like you should do what you do best. If you do what you do best. We all get, and I do what I do best. And then we trade services, we all get richer. That is that is how like economies work. I try when I work. So right now I work for Nexcess. But when I worked for myself, I was very strict. And I still am. But I’m very strict about what I work on. I want to work on the things that I’m best at. For me, I still make a lot of courses for LinkedIn learning. So every morning, my time is focused on making courses for LinkedIn learning. And then the afternoon I would like do whatever else that was like a new needs a business idea. Sure, I’ll update some plugins. But I needed to make sure that I spent at least three to four hours a day on the thing that makes me the most money possible. Other otherwise, we’ve all of us, I think fritter our time away on YouTube and Twitter and updating plugins and all I should learn about advanced conversion rate optimisation techniques right now.
Cory Miller 34:16
Yeah, it’s so easy to get to do the squirrel, squirrel and chase it and then you’re like, Oh, my gosh, I can’t catch this squirrel ever and I’m so far down the trail. By the way, everybody. If you have questions for Patrick Rauland, hit those in the Q&A button right below our video. And I also gave you a link in the chat to Patrick’s courses on LinkedIn learning. One of them here is related to our topic today. I was trying to look at I see you’ve got like a pet. Patrick, you got one here, choosing the eCommerce platform for developers. You got eCommerce scoping projects and things like that. So look at the LinkedIn learning. There’s a link for that to Patrick’s expertise there and package form. But let’s get into scoping on that topic. So, thoughts about how to manage, you know, manage expectations? You know, I’m thinking like, we think massage parlor wants to do booking, and and then they think it’s a bigger University than what they want to do. How do you how do you approach all that?
Patrick Rauland 35:17
Great. So this is one of the things that I think, this is counterintuitive. But so I like to think there’s three ways of building an eCommerce website, just sort of free project management styles, let’s call them. So there’s the waterfall, that’s where you plan out everything, and then you execute it. And it’s usually a couple months long of like, first we build this, then we build this, then we design this, and we do this, there’s what I call a multi phase approach, which is where you do the standard websites, and then you do the eCommerce part later. Then there’s MVP, which is basically we’re just, you know, you’re gonna give me 500 bucks a week, or 100 bucks a week, whatever it is. I’m just going to keep adding basic functionality to the site until we sort of get it to where you want. And you’re okay with it not being broken, but not being where you want it until you until you get there,
Cory Miller 35:58
like a fully feasible set of things that you might conceivably ever want.
Patrick Rauland 36:02
Yep. And I think like a website, like Vida Bars is a good example of that, where it’s like, they’re all they’re making money all the time. So they’re happy to reinvest a little bit of money every single week to make the site better to just make eventually this sort of perfect eCommerce website. But I think what’s what’s what’s interesting is you can think about this from your experience and the clients experience. So both you and the client have eCommerce experience, dual waterfall, its waterfalls are okay for like, if you have a two month project, and you both have experience with either running or owning or building an eCommerce website, do the waterfall, you’re going to do a pretty good job. It’s very compact, concise, everyone knows how to manage a waterfall project. But if one of you don’t, and most of you, most of you will have a client that has never built an eCommerce site before, then I recommend either MVP or multi phase.
Patrick Rauland 36:49
So the one of the first WooCommerce projects we did was this furniture company. And we built the entire website with all the products included. And we without we did a custom design, we we added all the products, we added all the the feature pages in the About Us and all this and all that. But we there’s a great little plugin on WooCommerce comm called catalog visibility options. And it lets you basically turn your online store into an online catalog. So we added all the products to the site. And then we kept tweaking it from there. While they figured out how they wanted to ship and how they wanted to get paid. So we basically at turned there, we basically built an online catalog for them. And once they’re ready, we added shipping and added payments, which was very complex for them for a variety of reasons. Then we basically went into catalog visibility options and said, Nope, now it’s an online store. That was very easy for both parties. So we like for them. It’s just a web page, the product page is just a cool looking page with their product and immediate info but no Buy button. And for us, we got to learn about WooCommerce without knowing exactly how we’re doing shipping, and exactly how we’re doing payments. And it sort of gave us some buffer room.
Patrick Rauland 38:02
So I’m a big fan of like, maybe build an online catalog first, or just build the regular website first. And then once you figure especially in this case, they had a traditional payment gateway, it wasn’t first data, but it was something like this, where it was very hard to configure the payment gateway. And added weeks, they just use Stripe would have saved them weeks of time. But they wanted to use this specific payment gateway, you will have clients that want to do that. Then say, hey, look, we’re gonna do this in phases, the first phase is going to be done in two months. And it’s going to be the homepage and the feature page, the about page and all the product pages, but no shipping or payments yet, then once you figure it out, because some people also want to, they have their own shipping company they want to use. Yeah, and they don’t know how it’s going to work yet. Like oh, we’ll figure that out later. Great. That’ll be phase two, it’ll take about a month after he finished phase one, assuming you have all the information ready to go.
Patrick Rauland 38:54
It sort of it just breaks it up into nice big chunks for you to tackle it. And if neither you or your clients have any experience in eCommerce, then they recommend MVP, that’s like, okay, very first version, we’re using Stripe, we may change that later. That’s fine. But we’re using Stripe and we’re using USPS because it’s the easiest to set up. And there’s there’s no variable products, they’re all simple products to start, whatever that is like if you have no experience. And you have a client who’s willing to do it bit by bit week by week to just Yeah, but clients want to pay you five hours a week to keep improving their site that might be the way to go. So those are the three project management styles that I’d recommend, again, at both you and your client have experience waterfall is great. If one of you if the client doesn’t have experienced probably multi-phase and otherwise MVP if none of you have experience.
Cory Miller 39:39
That’s good. It’s a great framework to think about this approaching eCommerce sites. Okay. I want to go and ask because of your wealth of experience around eCommerce, particularly WooCommerce. What are some hot grow or indoor growing niches in eCommerce is broad term. You know, I remember when we started first building the project, somebody would come in with this request, he thought you never think, okay, you want to sell a mug you want to do you want that shipped with this particular the all of the combinations and stuff that but that just illustrates, there’s so much wide frontier out here. What are some niche areas under this broad thing called eCommerce you’re seeing that are potential opportunities for WooCommerce, site builders and developers.
Patrick Rauland 40:33
Yeah, so I like to think about eCommerce business models, I think is probably a way to think about this. And so there’s, and they go from like, really simple to really complex. So on the on the really simple side is like drop shipping, that’s where you don’t hold any inventory. And anytime an order comes into your store, you actually order it through another store, and they send it directly to the customer. So you’re basically a really good marketer when you’re drunk. But it’s a really, it’s a really good easy way to start an eCommerce because you don’t have to go to the post office, and you don’t have to pay the same taxes everyone else pays, it’s a little bit easier to do with drop shipping. Then there’s like reselling, and that’s what a lot of like, so if you’re, you know, I have my board game here.
Patrick Rauland 41:13
But if you’re selling a bunch of other people, like, there’s a great board game store in Denver, called the wizards chest, if you’re the wizard chest, and they have an online store, they do reselling, right, so that’s where you just get all your products in and you just sell them for a markup. What’s really easy about that is like all the product photos are there, the descriptions are there, everything’s ready to go, you just have to have a markup and just have give give people some special read, like they can have in store returns, or they can pick up in store or when they pick up their games, there’s someone there to teach them the game, just add something extra that that sort of really sets you apart from the crowd. There’s of course membership sites. There’s a learning management sites. So that’s where people are learning stuff taking courses. Membership is a really fascinating one, because that’s all about that’s probably a little bit more about online content a little bit less about physical products. There’s so many ways this can commerce is so big, and they can go into so many directions… endless…
Cory Miller 42:11
Well, yes, I have several membership type sites and and sell courses subset in those. And I have noticed from some friends, mutual friends of ours in the space that sell software for some of these areas, particularly the digital products, like memberships courses and stuff that with COVID took off, you got this? Oh, yeah, so many people having now been able to be home. And not that they’re taking time away from their employer, but having some some a little bit more space in their life to think about that side gig that side hustle that they’re working on. And I I’ve heard from our friends that have LMS and membership that they saw a little little pop up. But having said that, I told you, one of the family of companies that you work with, is I themes and restrict content pro one of my favorite membership options. I happen to have inside track to people, you know, I can hit them up on Slack or email or dm or something. I’m like, this seems like an opportunity for people because you got the SAS platforms out there. And I just again, you get locked into stuff. And I just think there’s a missed opportunity for maybe a membership eCommerce, you know, developer out there. LMS is using LearnDash or lifter LMS or something like that and implementing that. And again, selling some kind of support maintenance type service for those. So I’m just curious if you kind of track with that, too.
Patrick Rauland 43:35
Yeah, I totally agree. I. So I also saw I don’t get to see exact course sales for LinkedIn learning. But I do get to see how many like basically minutes are watched. And that went way up with COVID. So if you so I think what’s tricky though, is when COVID started, like people were just consuming a lot of digital content, whether that be Netflix, or whether that be whatever, or whether it be online courses. But if you already had an online course those like took off, and there’s still plenty of opportunity if you want to start something new. If you want to start a membership site, there’s still plenty of opportunity there. One suit, this is super niche, but this is the thing that I think is missing. So I have a bunch of friends who are into like 3D printing various things. And they have like Patreon. There’s there’s a whole industry of people who are building permanent stores for people who build these like 3D who build 3d prints STL files. And I think that’s so cool. And if you are basically if you’re a 3D sculptor, you can release these cool print files that people can print. They’re cool models, I saw Mandalorian 3D print file helmets, I want to make one of those. They’re so super cool. You can even print resin, like trans semi transparent black visor that goes in the home. It’s crazy.
Cory Miller 44:50
Oh my god,
Patrick Rauland 44:51
But that’s like a whole new like area where people were 3d sculptors never really had. They never really had a way to make money before and now all of a sudden, there’s You can make an online store for them super quickly and efficiently. The one that I’m thinking of, he literally does all the online sculpting someone builds the store entirely for free, and he just takes a cut, I think he takes 30%. So that’s another way of doing it is, Hey, I will build your store for you, I will maintain it, I will do everything. I’ll plan it, I’ll plan the way it looks. And I just get 30% of sales. So it’s a pretty cool business model. And that way, as you said, Corey, if you are 3D sculptor, you literally don’t think about the online store at all. You’re like, great, he’s doing it, I get free money every month, I’m just gonna focus on 3d sculpting.
Cory Miller 45:33
Yeah. And again, with the tools for something like that. It’s finding those little gaps or this little oasis pockets of, you know, things out there that combining passion and everything but, but again, I say, you know, those people might be experts in 3d printing, but not necessarily eCommerce. That’s where there’s an opportunity out there for a lot of our crowd listening in. Okay, I want to switch gears. And by the way, don’t let me hug Patrick. I’ll hug him for the rest of our time. If you have questions, hit, hit the q&a button right below our videos here and ask your questions. Patrick. Okay. So I know one thing is okay, now I’m interested, let’s say I’m interested in doing a building eCommerce websites for people, you give me a scope, I can go deeper with some of your LinkedIn learning stuff. What are some of the add ons? For WooCommerce? That you might go, Okay, I need to have this in my tool tool belt that might go across sites or, you know, we talked a little bit of taxes. And if you go there again, that is perfectly fine. But just that set of like, commonly used ones you just think someone should have some familiarity with?
Patrick Rauland 46:40
Great question. So let me start with one of the philosophies I have in eCommerce is anytime, anywhere, anytime there’s something that is critical to my store, I will always get the official version of it. So critical being like a newsletter signup is not critical to my store, I definitely want newsletter signups. But if a newsletter signup breaks, I lose a couple emails, not not a not a not a end of the world deal. If your payment gateway breaks, you will lose sales. So any, so just think about that in the in the eCommerce world. That way I so I always use an official gateway from woocommerce.com. Even if there’s a and they put they By the way, they put some of those in WordPress.org as well, they’re sort of mirrored, but just make sure that it’s supported by woocommerce.com, or the WooCommerce team.
Patrick Rauland 47:26
So anything that’s related to shipping, or payments, or taxes, I will always get the official version that’s just super important. Something else is like let’s say your store is subscriptions. I follow a couple of these like 3d prints people now, just because I love having cool 3d print files. And someday I’m telling myself, I’m going to get a 3d printer and print them all out. WooCommerce subscriptions is probably the best subscriptions plugin. Sorry, I didn’t want to call it a plugin. It is the best subscriptions feature for any platform better than whatever Shopify is. And whatever big commerce has, it is incredibly configurable. Like in WooCommerce and WooCommerce subscriptions, you can have the first month for free or have the first month be a certain extra month or after two after the first year drop it down to a different tier there are it’s incredibly powerful. I used to do support specifically for WooCommerce subscriptions, and I worked with Brent, who was the lead developer now works for Automaticc. It’s incredibly powerful, I strongly recommend it.
Patrick Rauland 48:26
another one that you’re probably just gonna have to use all the time, there is a shipment tracking plugin on WooCommerce.com And it just, it just does some very simple things with I think it’s $3 a year, for $30 a year it gets your like shipment tracking numbers and adds them to the emails automatically. It just makes sure that all the shipping ship shipping tracking information is just always wherever you need it. I don’t Cory, I’ve been too lazy on my own personal side store. And I have people email me. Hey, Patrick, where’s the shipping information? And I should just pay $30 and get this and I’ve just been too lazy with my other side projects. But I’m absolutely going to do that because it saves me time and money. Yeah, thank you. There’s a couple others, like if you are selling multi part products, like I’ve seen people who sell like a bike and the bike had can have upgraded handlebars and upgraded tires, it can have an upgraded chassis, it can have upgraded shocks, there’s a really cool plugin called composite products, which it might be WooCommerce composite products, they don’t remember the exact name. That’s a fantastic plugin that lets you get little bits and pieces of different you so you can say here’s the big product and it’s made up of these smaller products and people can choose between them. So you can have the upgraded handlebars, which people by the way can still buy separately on your site if they want to. Or they can be hidden products, so they can’t buy it separately. They can only buy it as part of this composite product. There’s WooCommerce bundles that might be a one where you could use a free plugin on WordPress.org Again, depending on your store, it might be critical functionality. And then I’d say just get the official version. It’s not that expensive. Those are some of the biggest ones.
Cory Miller 50:11
And by the way, well, Patrick use that you you think for a second. There’s another advantage to buying the premium or the pro version, which is you get support from WooCommerce. And so you’re just trying to learn some stuff, you have that ability to go back to support, like you said, even if you bought it for a client site. That’s awesome. So you have that support, where you have a team that knows these extensions and can answer them and help you set them up. By the way, at some point, I want to throw something out here. I should have mentioned it last night to you. Okay. So, Lindsey, you know, Lindsey very, very well, better than me, I think.
Cory Miller 50:49
So, her cousin I’ve been helping, and she has grass fed cows. And she’s trying to offer them for sell heavy. See, in Oklahoma, we grew up and it’s just like, oh, somebody will buy half calf quarter calf, stuff like that. And you have this instead of going to, to a store, you just have it in your deep freeze, right? So we have a deep freeze naturally. So we got to do this. Okay, this was the most complicated setup on Inverness, she goes, Okay. There’s one she only has the inventory is five cows. That’s one thing. By the way, I’m doing this because I want to get his thinking power on this. And you can extrapolate go, I love how he thought about this. Okay, so let’s say they have five cows, and they want to offer them up for butchering. Okay, so you’re gonna see where I’m going with this. So some may want a quarter of the calendar, there’s only, let’s say four, right? Some may want to have, but there’s only five cows. And then even newest it down even further for me that day. She goes, some people want ground ground beef. And I was like, Oh my god, you’ve done it. This is the most. I can’t even imagine how to do all this stuff. She found some extensions, but I’m really curious your thoughts about it. So someone comes to you, a client comes to you and says, here’s my what I want to do. What are your thoughts and approaches?
Patrick Rauland 52:09
Okay, great. So first of all, they have
Cory Miller 52:11
By the way I’ve put my friend Patrick on the spot here with this one.
Patrick Rauland 52:14
This is good. So So if this is a client, let’s say that let’s say they’re an industrial farm, and they have 5000, cows, 50, whatever, some sort of insane number of cows, they save money that they want to put into this. I might create something custom for that, because that’s very, very cool. But most people don’t have $5,000 $10,000 for a really cool custom plugin that handles all this for them. Yes. Then I would go to what is the smallest unit? Let’s exclude ground beef for a second. What is the smallest units that they sell a quarter of a quarter of a cow?
Cory Miller 52:46
Uh huh. Yes, we’ll say that. Yes.
Patrick Rauland 52:49
So she has five cows, she has 20 quarter cows. And then I have variable products where you can say this is a one. So a quarter cow is one quarter cow, a half cow is two quarter cows and a full cow or three, three quarter cow, oh my god, three quarters of a cow. It’s three quarter cows. So you can do that. So that when people buy a certain thing, there’s still a total of 20 quarter cows. Oh my god, this is so funny. Yes, there’s a total of 20 quarter cow units. And every time someone buys one WooCommerce as default stock inventory system will deduct it. Okay. And then. So you can either use variable products, or you can also use, I think this might be a little bit cleaner, you could use dynamic pricing. So when someone buys two quarter cows, there’s a built in $5 discount. When someone buys three quarter cars, there’s a $10 discount, whatever that might be the cleanest way of doing it is dynamic pricing, it just the user interface with very little custom work on your part would just be like how many quarter cows do you want? I want four I want a whole cow four quarter cows. And here’s the discount.
Patrick Rauland 53:52
That’s probably what I would do. Because there would be no custom coding, maybe a little bit of tweaking on the front ends. Yeah, but it wouldn’t be any custom coding. She can keep she can. Here’s what I like about this, she can keep that sites for as long as she wants with me. She can also go to any other WooCommerce developer in the world and have them continue to add on to it because I’m using default based things in WooCommerce, and an official WooCommerce extension. So it’s really easy for her. It’s she can self manage for as long as she wants, which I like to give my clients the freedom. I like to give clients the freedom to walk away from me because then I don’t think they will. Whereas if I keep everything secret, then they don’t then I don’t think they want to work with me. And then they’re going Ooh, I don’t want to work with him. I’ll find someone else.
Cory Miller 54:32
That’s another piece of the gold of the many things you shared today for developers, by the way, so Kristin on the call today. She’s not Lindsey’s cousin, but I know from my Digital Marketing Kitchen project, she mentioned this. So she goes but Cory I sell as smallest 20 pounds of ground beef. So she so there’s another nuance to what you were just saying and I remember this too. Thanks for sharing that. Kristen. This is so interesting. I was just like okay, You’ve got a limited inventory, but you’ve got all of these little variables. So what happens if somebody you know, buys the 20 pounds of beef and then come over here. And that is that is interesting. And also Kristen, and by the way, Alicia, who runs this, she also does deposits. So you have a deposit down for something, and then you have a final payment to, to make it even more complex. So it’s good stuff.
Patrick Rauland 55:26
But I think this… just for a second, I think this speaks to, like WooCommerce can handle most small businesses in the United States. Now, you may have to get a couple of custom extensions, maybe for certain, you know, if you’re selling 20 pounds of ground beef, and you’re selling quarter cows, it may get a little bit complex, but the fact that you can build an eCommerce site for most small businesses is insane. Like it’s insane how complex businesses are and WooCommerce can handle most of those business can handle probably 80% of the knees out of the box, which is just incredible.
Cory Miller 55:57
This is beautiful. And for some other things like to to her business, for instance, on deposits, we set something up, like, you know, she used the Gravity Forms integration with Stripe on something to make deposits, or there’s workarounds. There’s things to for every, but I love the fact that you could do like you said, 80% of the work right there default vanilla, WordPress, WordPress and WooCommerce. Then for your nuances kind of by those. So all right, we got four minutes left. anybody has any questions for Patrick, please post this in the Q&A? It’s been really, really fun to talk with you, Patrick. Today, we could go on and on. I’m gonna put the link again to Patrick’s LinkedIn courses. So you can go and check it out. If you want to dive in deeper, I highly suggest you go check this out. You’ve seen his expertise. And we’ve just like skimmed it.
Patrick Rauland 56:46
And let me just add one thing. So LinkedIn learning is formerly lynda.com. Most libraries in the US have a lynda.com and/or a LinkedIn learning subscription. And you can usually with a library card, access that from your home. So feel free to buy a membership, great. Or your public library, may already have one. So just reach out to them and see if you can, because then you can take all my courses for free. And I still get paid through the library. So works for me.
Cory Miller 57:14
That’s awesome. Okay, godo that. Everybody go do that. Patrick, in the last couple of minutes, tell us where people can find more about you. You have already put the link into LinkedIn learning, for instance, see your course pages, but anywhere else you want to point people to your work.
Patrick Rauland 57:30
Yeah. So I’ll drop some links in. So first of all, hit me up on Twitter, I love chatting with people on Twitter. It just, it’s easy, right? It’s just easy to do so.
Cory Miller 57:40
But I use Twitter for those of you listening in, we’ll have these in the show notes is @bftrick.
Patrick Rauland 57:45
Correct. Thank you. So the other one I’ll share is my personal website, which is speakinginbytes.com, and it’s bytes.com. I have like over 100 articles about WooCommerce. If you want like how do I customize my order numbers with blah, blah, blah, and blah, blah, blah, I have many, many blog posts along those topics. And the last one I just want to share is, so this is a little bit of a longer URL. For those who are listening. It’s it is a it’s an online course, a free email course that helps you optimize your WooCommerce site. So it’s explore.nexcess.net/optimize-woocommerce/. It’s a, I think it’s nine emails. So it’s a nine week email series. It’s free. And it’s just, we got together we love WooCommerce and Nexcess. So if you want to learn how to make your Nexcess site faster, we talked about themes and plugins. We talked about speed tests and how to do them. There’s a lot of basic ways. And then sort of the last two emails, there’s a lot of like, really advanced techniques that you can dig into as well. We love having websites that load in less than a second at Nexcess.
Cory Miller 58:50
Which is incredible by the way.
Patrick Rauland 58:52
Which is… it’s insane. And we have some of our client websites can get to that sub one second load, which is just bananas. Partly depends on what plugins are running. But also a lot of it is like there’s a fast plugin and there’s like a free plugin that’s probably not as fast. So just take that course and you’ll hopefully you’ll learn something.
Cory Miller 59:11
And Nexcess is nexcess.net. We’ll have all these links in the show notes down below this video too. Patrick, thank you for your time today. You have just like unloaded a truckload of stuff for us to go investigate it’s so much. And that truckload was all gold. So thank you for your time, my friend. I appreciate you.
Patrick Rauland 59:32
Thank you so much. It was really fun.
Cory Miller 59:34
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