How 2020 Turned Out for a Point of Sales Plugin for WooCommerce

In a podcast, I asked Colin Daniels how 2020 impacted their plugin FooSales.

It’s something we never really anticipated when we launched Foo Sales. So, if I just take it a step back in terms of how, how Foo Sales came about. About a year after we had launched Foo Events, we were sort of browsing for ideas and we came across many of the WooCommerce community that were sort of asking for a point of sale system for WooCommerce, which nothing existed.

So, the basic origins was to build an app-based native point-of-sales system for WooCommerce. So, that idea came about in about 2016, but it took us until 2018 to, to launch the product.

And yeah, the concept was that it needed to just be a simple native app based point-of-sale system for WooCommerce that would allow store owners to capture orders, edit products, do very basic kind of things like that, in a much nicer interface than if you had a computer in front of you at your store, for example.

Launching a POS in 2018

So we launched the free beta for that in 2018, basically to collect feedback and to try and get product market fit. And that was a very useful experience. It was free for a number of months whilst we figured this all out. And some of the things we learned was that firstly, people were very suspicious of a free points of sale system. I mean, how can it be free? How are they making money? It’s obvious that you cannot trust them because it’s, it’s something I’m building my business on, essentially.

So, that was one of the things. And then the other thing was that people wanted more enterprise functionality in the points-of-sale system. So, we thought that just having a basic, nice, easy to use app based interface would be enough. And ultimately we learned that the market was hungry for more hardware integrations, payments integrations, different tailored management, store management, all these things that were way out of our comfort zone, at the time. And, but it told us that we were onto something.

The Weird Months in 2020

So what we’ve really seen materialize over this past year is obviously there have been some weird months where stores were kind of shut down throughout the world. And, you kind of wonder if life is ever going to return to normal and whether they’ll ever need points-of-sale systems again, but we’ve seen two very distinct types of customers emerge that are starting to use Foo Sales, which is very interesting.

2 Types of Customers Emerging in 2020

The first kind of group are existing WooCommerce online store owners that are looking at moving into the kind of real-world environments, physical environments, by opening up pop-up shops or selling their goods at fairs or things like that.

And, that has started to pick up again that that did go very quiet in the middle of the year, but we’re starting to see a lot more people moving their online stores into physical stores. Either for promotions, for promoting their brand, or just to reach more customers, which makes a lot of sense.

So, that’s really picked up and then the other interesting one are new businesses that are looking for solutions. They don’t necessarily need to know about WooCommerce. They’re looking at launching a new business. They might’ve been laid off and they’ve had a few business ideas and they are looking for something that can essentially allow them to sell online and also sell in person.

Double Down on Integration

And, as I mentioned, we’ve decided to double down on integrating, doing real enterprise point-of-sale types of integrations with things like card payment systems, scanners, cash drawers, print, thermal printers. All these types of things, which we never anticipated doing. And, at the moment Foo Sales is on three platforms. We’ve got a web version that was also based on customer feedback. We didn’t think that there would be demand for a web version and we thought people would just use their WooCommerce site.

But, a lot of stores would be running cheap, kind of, MacBooks and they want a much nicer points-of-sales experience then the back end of WooCommerce. And then we’ve got native apps for iPad and Android tablets.

You can listen to the full podcast here with Colin.