Smoothing the on-boarding experience with a dynamic plugin like WooCommerce has its challenges, but the team is making considerable efforts with each update to do just that. Of course that isn’t the only focus, but the understanding behind the UI (user-interface) and making sure it works in the best possible way is truly a priority.
Join me as I chat with Matty Cohen, WooCommerce team lead at Automattic and he shares some great insights and strategies of how his team looks at the user experience. Not only will the shop owner learn of what makes WooCommerce tick, but there are some great tidbits in here for any developer who is working with WooCommerce.
We chatted about:
- If the focus on WooCommerce updates is about the UI (user interface), new features or what is under the hood.
- What are some of the biggest challenges he finds with on-boarding new users to WooCommerce.
- WooCommerce Connect, how people are responding to it and where we are at in this stage of the platform.
- How users reacted to the new “zones” options for shipping offered in the latest release.
- How some feel that WordPress hasn’t come out with any releases lately that have astounded them with new features and is WooCommerce leaning the same way with so much of the extra features provided in extensions.
And if you have questions for Matty, you can find him on Twitter @mattyza or contact WooCommerce here. Also, their Help Desk is a great place to ask questions, and if you have an idea for WooCommerce, they have you covered here.
Bob Dunn: Hey everyone. Welcome to Episode 26 of Do the Woo, a podcast for WooCommerce shop owners. Bob Dunn here, also known as BobWP on the Web. Today is a special day because I have my friend Matty Cohen, who is a WooCommerce Product Team Lead at Automattic. In fact, I believe Matty was one of the first people I connected with at Woo. Over the years, we've had some great conversations when we can, and he's always been a big support for me and my Woo adventures. Hey Matty. A big Woo welcome to the show.
Matty Cohen: Hey Bob. Thanks for having me. It's great to be here.
Bob Dunn: It's long overdue. Well, it's not long overdue. The podcast hasn't been going that long, but definitely wanted to get you on here. Today we're going to be talking with Matty about the UI of WooCommerce. Maybe more direct, the user experience when someone first starts using WooCommerce. It's a powerful plugin and the challenge is to make the onboarding experience the best it can be.
First part of this question is, I want you to tell us a little bit more about your role at Automattic. Then would love to hear, I know that recently you had a WooCommerce yearly retreat in Berlin. Maybe end that with telling us one of the coolest things that you found in Berlin. I'm sure there was dozens, but something that was hugely memorable.
Matty Cohen: Sure. Bob, as you mentioned, I'm the Product Team Leader on WooCommerce at Automattic. That means that I work with our product teams. We have like three or four product teams that we work in to build products that our store owners and store builders are looking for and that our partners are looking for as well. Ultimately just to understand the store owner experience a little better and to fine tune the products to work as best as they can for those needs.
As to Berlin, it's always such a tricky question to answer because we always have so many great experiences together. As you mentioned, the team is dispersed across, I think it's now probably well over this number, but the last number I looked at was 48 countries across the whole of Automattic. It's quite an exciting position to be in, given that you get to work with so many different people across so many different cultures and continents and languages and things.
One side of that is that it's not often that one gets to meet up face to face, so there's so many great things that happen face to face when you get to meet. To me, that's always the thing that stands out from the first Woo trip that I took in 2011 all the way through to now. The thing that always stands out to me most is really what you can get done sitting right next to the person face to face, getting to know people, and understand a lot about the way they speak and the mannerisms they use. It does actually translate quite nicely into the text conversations as well.
Bob Dunn: I love that because I always look forward to, well I guess this will only be the third WooConf, but for that exact same reason because I talk to so many people at Automattic, both on WooCommerce side and on the Automattic side. When it comes to WooConf, it's like finally, I get to give you our big hug. There's a lot of things. That in person is amazing stuff. I don't quite travel as much as I used to but WooConf is always a must go-to just for that reason.
Matty Cohen: Definitely.
Bob Dunn: We are going to dive in a bit into WooCommerce, maybe start first with about the more recent updates to WooCommerce. It appears to me that the focus is on the user interface more than adding a slew of new features, which for me and the beginners and the users I work with, makes sense. Am I on the right track? And if so, give us some insights on this direction.
Matty Cohen: It's an interesting topic to bring up because there's so many different facets to our product. A quick little side note on that word, just before I answer the question. I said to someone the other day, "The juggle is real," because you really are juggling so many pieces of the product at once, whether it's the interface or how things perform under the hood of the product. In that, the juggle really is there. It's real.
It's important to always make sure that we build for everyone, but building for what I like to think of the store builder, so the customer's customer, ultimately if you're talking about an agency. The customer's customer is the person who's actually using the store at the end of the day. The store manager has to go and reconcile the orders and actually log the products in and make sure that stocks are all correct and things like that. The UI is really where they spend most of their time as a store builder or as a store manager as well. Once your store is live, you're spending all your time in that interface. Really spending time on taking care of that interface is really key for us.
As to the UI (user interface), whether it's our immediate focus or not, it's one of the focuses. I think in a tech business, it's really difficult to try and laser in on one specific focus, but I think we've done that in targeting the store builder and the person who's actually using the product. Everything we've done kind of falls in line with that, so when you're building a new UI for changing colors to become more accessible, which is something we did recently, or building a feature into the API or any kind of under the hood performance tweaks that one can make. Those all benefit the store manager and the store builder at the end of the day, so yes. In a sense, the UI is a big focus for us. We have a team within the product team that is entirely dedicated to user experience, user interfaces, and just making sure that that whole flow is correct. They actually work across all the different areas of WooCommerce's product from core to extensions to WooCommerce Connect, items which we'll touch on in a little while I'm sure.
I wouldn't say that it takes the place of new features, per se. A good example is Shipping Zone, which was added in the latest version there. That's kind of a UI feature. It's a good new UI for something that's been around for a long time, but it's really not specifically about the UI. It's about adding a new feature because we saw it requested heavily by merchants. So yes, it is a focus but not entirely in place of new features.
Bob Dunn: Yeah, makes sense. It's all in the details. A lot of details, in fact. I work with so many plugin developers and theme developers and talk to them, and it just boggles my mind. I'm just thankful that I do what I do and they do what they do, and you do what you do.
Matty Cohen: Thank you.
Bob Dunn: Now I know from my own experience, I've seen where some of the challenges are with WooCommerce when people are first onboarding, but from your end, what are a couple of the biggest ones? Do you feel like maybe they were in the past and they've been addressed? Maybe the shipping's one, and I shouldn't even say that because I may have taken away your answer. Or is there something you see that is still pretty much a challenge, and you’re still working on that, and it probably will be on the roadmap sometime down the road, but who knows when. Is there a couple of those challenges that you can think of that you've really seen the typical user struggle with?
Matty Cohen: There's a few challenges that we've had in the past. A couple of those were ... A good example one of is tax rates and understanding what tax rates are as a new merchant. Someone who's completely new to commerce as a whole, whether it's e-commerce or retail in a brick-and-mortar store, there's often a big education gap when someone first decides, I have a product and I'd like to put it online or I have a product and I'd like to put it in a store somewhere. What do I need to do? Understanding those things, even the ... You could say the most basic thing is the tax rate because there's topics that are far more complicated than that. Warehousing and items like managing your warehouse and managing your stock as a whole across different channels is far more complicated than understanding a tax rate, because a tax rate is essentially something you can put in and monitor here and there.
You'll notice in the onboarding, was it, for example, if you choose your base country to be South Africa, where I am now, then you would automatically see the currency get set into Rands and the measurements get set into kilograms and grams, centimeters and millimeters and all that metric stuff. We do that VAT and tax as well. If you're automatically charging some kind of tax, WooCommerce onboarding will ask you that and will automatically insert a tax rate if it has one available on file. We charge a standard 14% VAT tax and we know that. It's logged in WooCommerce and you can just click the button that says "Yes, I am charging tax in addition to my product price." It will take care of that for you.
We really try to minimize the education gap as much as we can, but also at the same time help people to understand that they need to do a bit of reading upfront on certain items. You're going to say, "Have you thought about warehousing?" at step one. But we might say something along the lines of, "In the future, are you selling physical goods? If so, here are your options for things you might want to look at." It's a continuing thing, really. Onboarding, as it were, is step one in getting that in place.
Bob Dunn: Yeah.
Matty Cohen: That's the one big one. Aside from that, just an interesting point of note is that a lot of people find challenges in areas that others take for granted. Installation of a WooCommerce extension or any kind of WordPress plugin a lot of people find to be really difficult. I'm sure that you've noticed that over the years as well with training and things. Just trying to acknowledge that as well is extremely important to us.
Bob Dunn: Yeah, and I think one of the ones I've noticed, which is interesting because I always go by my blog. I have different posts about each of the basic elements of WooCommerce. One is the variable products. That's probably where I've gotten the most questions via the comments as far as people getting a little bit, "Oh what I do here? What do I do here?" A lot of times I can't simply answer on my blog unfortunately because it's a lot bigger issue than saying "Go in and do this, step one, two, three." That is one that when people get into it, it's a little tricky but then at the same time it's very automatic once you put in the information. It just kicks it all in, but I still think that some people have, according to my blog, that's one of the areas.
Do you get a lot of feedback on that part or hear a lot about it? Or is it just whether those other elements that like you said, certain people get it and certain people don't.
Matty Cohen: It's definitely a pain point for a lot of people. In addition to that, the pain point of understanding the relationship between and attribute and a variation of a variable product is very tricky.
You can even extrapolate that further and say well, I have all these different attributes and I'd like to use them all for variations. There might be five different attributes, but then you've got five different values in each, and you end up with a myriad of variations. You now have to manage those variations because you're creating essentially five times five. Probably even more than that since it's even bigger than that, I guess.
When you kick that link all variations back, there's a lot of things that can happen. It seems really simple but the planning of your product structure is really what that seems to come down to. People get so far down the road and then they say, "Oh gosh, I didn't even thing about variations and attributes and how that all works." It's definitely a pain point, something we are actually looking at addressing. We're doing a lot of re-thinking around certain user experiences and trying to run tests to understand a little bit better of how those different areas are being addressed today. How someone approaches variations and attributes for the first time.
Bob Dunn: What I'll do is I'll send you a link to that post. If you want, at some time, go through and read all the comments, you'll probably get some more stuff to think about, let me tell you.
Matty Cohen: That'll be brilliant. Yeah. I'll definitely take that on as some nighttime reading for sure.
Bob Dunn: Yeah. Very cool. Stepping away a little bit from this, a while back you announced WooCommerce Connect, and we had Jeff Stieler on the show talking about it from Automattic. Anything to update us on that? From the podcast, I realize it's in its infancy and a lot of it's going to be based on feedback. Anything you've heard from people so far, if they're excited about the growth of this, or what's going to come out of it? Anything you want to share with us on that?
Matty Cohen: Certainly, but before I do, isn't Jeff just the greatest?
Bob Dunn: Oh. He is. Yeah.
Matty Cohen: He really is.
Bob Dunn: We had a great show. Almost as great as this one. See? I just had to give you a stroke there.
Matty Cohen: [Laughs] I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed your chat with Nicole as well. That was really great.
Bob Dunn: Oh yeah. Nicole is fun. She's a kick.
Matty Cohen: Yeah. Connect is an interesting project. It's something we've been trying to think about doing for a long time. The idea really with Connect is that it's a new platform. It's not a product on its own, per se. It's just a new way for us to offer product. It's all about making it easier at the end of the day. Simplifying it, make it really easy.
A great example of that is you'll notice the interface for setting up USPS shipping rates is really simple compared to what you have in the extension version. It's really designed for someone who's looking for a point and click solution, get it up and running nice and quickly, and have the ability to tweak things and to grow with their store, but to not have to worry too much about what is an API? What is an API key? How do I do these things? How do I copy and paste an API key from my USPS account into WooCommerce? What is that even mean? These are big questions that a lot of people don't really want to look at when they first start their store.
At the same time, shipping is pretty mission critical to someone running a physical product store. We try to take those really mission critical pieces of your store and move them into a service that is extremely reliable, backed by obviously WordPress.com infrastructure, and make it super simple for people to set up and get running.
Like I mentioned earlier, one of the big pain points is installation and set up of an extension. Having to set up and configure something, which should in theory work pretty much out of the box, is something that we've definitely noted as a pain point. Connect is really exciting project to take care of that. It's currently in alpha 2, which in my books is pretty close to a beta quality. It's really high quality product and it's easy to go and install and check it out right now. It's up on GitHub. It's linked up on the release posts on the WooCommerce blog as well. Anyone can jump in and take a look. It includes real-time rates for USPS as a first go-to feature for the platform.
It's an exciting new area for us to explore and I'm very excited to see what we do next. I know we've got quite a few exciting items in the pipeline, but like you said, it's in the infancy stage. If anyone's got any features that they're absolutely burning for and they can't wait for it any longer, definitely send us a mail, that would be the best thing to do. Going to WooCommerce.com/contact, I think it's contact or contact-us, I believe, would be the best place to go for that. Or go directly to our ideas board, which is ideas.woothemes.com, soon to be ideas.woocommerce.com of course because we did a whole re-brand recently. That's really the best place to get in touch with us because it is such an infancy stage. We do really need that feedback as much as possible. Any and all feedback is good. Positive, negative, anything at all.
Bob Dunn: Yeah. I'll definitely put those links in the transcript, making it very easy for people to get a hold of you and give some feedback. Speaking of feedback ... Well, first of all, speaking of WooCommerce Connect, I'm excited about it. I can wait to see what's down the pike and stuff, so I'm just keeping my eyes glued on that. Talking about feedback, you've already talked about the latest release and the major work on shipping. Has there been any feedback on what you did with the shipping on this latest release?
Matty Cohen: Definitely. One thing that I'm always super proud of, with how Woo operates and how we operate within Automattic as well, is that we've always had a really great feedback loop in the community, whether it was releasing Canvas theme in 2010 and getting a whole bunch of comments on the blog post all the way through now, trying to really encourage that feedback as much as possible. We have more channels than ever to hear from customers and from merchants who are using WooCommerce, even without having bought an extension from us at all.
The feedback that I've seen on Zones has been very interesting in that ... So Zones is obviously the new feature in shipping and Zones is where we can create multiple structure costings for different shipping areas. Maybe you want to use a specific shipping provider locally and then a different one for international shipments, or you want to create different structures. Maybe there's a flat rate for your local shippers and then international is through FedEx. You would use Zones for that.
The feedback has been twofold, really. It's been either, "Oh this is so wonderful because I've been using tailored rate shipping for years" and Zones was a feature within tailored rate shipping, which we found to be so popular that we moved it directly into core so that everyone could benefit from it for free. It's either been, "Oh this is wonderful. I've been using this feature for so long and I'm so glad it's in there now." We really restructured the whole feature as well, so it's way nicer than it was even in tailored rate shipping.
The other interesting part of the feedback is watching how people use the feature. We do this a lot in support. Looking at our Help Desk and we can see how people have actually structured things. They often run into a snag with the structure. It's an interesting one to observe from a UI and UX perspective like we spoke about earlier. Folks will do interesting things with Zones. You can't believe the kind of stuff that people do. When you give them the product and you say, "Just use this," and you see what happens. The stuff that we see is really interesting.
A good example of a very common action that people take is they'll create a zone for a location, so say Seattle, and then they'll put the shipping method in that zone. Then they'll create another zone for Seattle and put a different shipping method in that new zone, where they actually only need one zone and they can put both shipping methods in there. It's just an interesting UI issue that we need to look at really.
The other one is to duplicate zones. That's the other big feature that's come up, if I had to think of a feature request.
Bob Dunn: Well that's interesting. I'm going to ask you a question here, and this question is really kind of what we already talked about in a sense, especially in the first question. Maybe you'll be going back to what you said already, but recently WPTavern.com, which is a WordPress news site, Jeff over there was talking about how he feels WordPress, not WooCommerce, releases don't have any woo factor anymore. It was really nothing, obviously, about WooCommerce. He was just saying there was no features coming out that he feels astounded by like from earlier releases. I had my say and I said I'm a laid back kind of guy. I like whatever happens. Something great comes along, great. The small, little incremental things are good too.
But, now the shipping we saw with the Zones was pretty big. Do you feel that WooCommerce will at some point look at more smaller incremental changes since so much of what's around Woo is the power of extensions? You just talked about pulling in something from an extension back into core. How do you balance out that? What do we pull into core; what do we keep in extensions. Is that even impossible to predict because it's just on of those things, as time goes by and the feedback you get and what needs you see out there?
Matty Cohen: It's a very interesting question, actually, because looking at the concept of what is feature completeness, when do we know that we've arrived. When do we know that we have finished our mission. I don't believe that a mission is something that one can 100% finish all the time, especially not in a space like e-commerce, which is so evolving all the time. Four or five years ago, the idea of buying a product on Pinterest, or the idea of even Pinterest, I would imagine, was virtually unheard of. I think some very entrepreneurial, very future thinking individuals would have said yes, that's definitely a thing that's going to happen. But 10 to 15, maybe 20 years ago, smart phones weren't a thing either. The tech space is evolving so rapidly. I think it would be foolish of us to say okay, in five years' time, WooCommerce will be 100% feature complete and we can focus on making tweaks and adjustments to what we have.
A very interesting area of that that's actually evolving now is this conversation on eCommerce. This aspect of you purchase where you find the product, Pinterest being one of those types of examples, rather than having to go to a store and have to add the product to my cart and check out and so on. Rather, just buying it right then and there. That could impact WooCommerce in a big way as well.
But as to WooCommerce itself specifically, and to the releases that we do, over time it is becoming a little bit more ... Over time, it's becoming a lot easier for us to gauge what we need to put where. Ever release, we try to do three things. We try to do something for the end users, so something for the merchant. Something that they can see. It's visual. It's a button that they can click. It's a new interface. It's a tweak to an interface. Something very visual. Something under the hood, so a big performance improvement or a new feature under the hood, and something that is an adjustment to an existing feature that we have, whether under the hood or not. Something for developers, essentially.
The next release upcoming, for example, we're looking at tweaking the shipping zones UI based on feedback as best we can there. It might be a small iteration on what we have today, or it might even be a new feature. We don't know yet 100%, but it will be some kind of adjustment based on the feedback we have. And we're looking at building out new endpoints to the API. Endpoints for product reviews, endpoints for settings of your WooCommerce store, system status things, system status tools that we have as well. Endpoints for all of those pieces, and that's quite a developer focused item.
The item I'm most exited about though personally, purely from a coder standpoint, is this new CRUD stuff that we're working on there. That's a way of creating create, read, update, and delete statements for products, orders, things like that. Currently, you can add products and interact with your store via the API, via WooCommerce itself in WP Admin, and via WP CLI, which is that command line interface tool. They're all repeating the same code. The add product code is duplicated across those three areas and we're trying to unify that and in that, create a more accessible code structure for developers as well. To me, that's the most exciting.
I'm going on a little bit of a ramble, but it's an interesting topic for me, the release side of things. Another interesting thing to note about releases as well is the timing. We try to do three releases per year if we can, but as soon as you hit a certain date, it becomes very difficult to do a big release. The next release that we look to do this year will be perhaps a little bit of a smaller, not smaller release, but more of less breaking changes kind of release, if you know what I mean, because of Black Friday. Everything from Black Friday all the way through to the end of the year is peak sales time for a lot of stores and it's really difficult to go and push a major update and say, "By the way, it's Black Friday next week, but here's WooCommerce 3.0 and whatever it might be. We've re-written everything. Go now and upgrade your store." That just doesn't sit really well with many people. It doesn't sit too well with me either.
In terms of releases, we can structure things around that and do a really big push maybe towards the beginning or middle of the year, and maybe some more incremental releases towards the end. I don't think we'll ever be totally feature complete there, but who knows? This space evolves all the time, so we'll see how we go.
Bob Dunn: I love that. I never thought about that as far as the release towards the Black Friday and the end of the year. It totally makes sense. I can see people just, god they'd be stressing out. I gotta update this now and I have the biggest sales of the year coming in. That's something that I never thought of, but makes total sense. Cool.
Also, you've given a little bit of insight into some of the dev side of things, which is nice too because then I can entice some of these developers to actually listen to this podcast, beyond the store owners. They'll think Bob actually has some information for us this time. [Laughs]
Well, before we move on into the other questions I have at the end for every guest, is there anything you want to tell the listeners out there as far as ... We've covered a lot of the new stuff and some of the stuff that's going on, but how they can help you or what kind of feedback or anything that you want them to know that will help you even make a WooCommerce product?
Matty Cohen: Sure. That's really the goal. It's to make better for everybody, to improve the product in areas that it's needing improvement and to recognize where we did well to make sure we can do more of that.
Ultimately, we do also ... We work for our merchants, ultimately. We sell products and build that platform and ecosystem which works for our merchants' benefit. We like to work with merchants. Any kind of information is extremely useful, whether it's a product that's maybe missing from the catalog, or something that you feel would be really great in Connect, or feedback on an existing product that we have. Anything like that would be really, really helpful.
As I mentioned earlier the best places to go are contact us via the Help Desk. You can even send notes on Twitter @WooCommerce. We're in there all the time. Any kind of contact about what we're doing well, a way we can improve, constructive feedback is always great. We'd like to work with merchants to grow. Ultimately it benefits everyone, so yeah, that'll be great.
Bob Dunn: Perfect. Listeners, get online. Let Matt know personally what you're doing, what you want. In fact, I will list all of his contact information in the show notes. His Skype- No I'm just kidding. I wouldn't do that to you.
Matty Cohen: You can definitely put my Twitter in there for sure. @mattyza
Bob Dunn: Okay. I will do that. Next, we're going to do what we do with all our guests. We're going to have you put your online shopper hat on and being who you are at WooCommerce, I bet this is tough, to pull off the WooCommerce hat when you're online shopping. But we're going to ask you three questions and get some insights on what Matty does when he's shopping online.
When you're online shopping, what is the biggest frustration you come up against when you are shopping that you see time and time and time again?
Matty Cohen: Gosh. I had to really think about this one. Like you said, being in the position I'm at and being that I look at a lot of stores all the time, it's one of those things ... You struggle to turn it off. Web developers always go into the source code and see what's going on. The same, I like to do that with stores and see what they're running and all that kind of thing.
The frustrations are apparent. I'm an avid listener of the show, as you know, and I agree with most of what was said by other guests as well. Pop-up ads, forcing subscriptions to email newsletters, requiring an address when I'm buying a digital product like an e-book, that just makes no sense, really, to require my shipping information. They're all pretty frustrating.
I'm very conscious of the flow that I take when I go to an online store. A lot of guests have said, "I really don't like signing up for an account. Why do you make me sign up for an account?" I love that. I really love that because that enables me to ... It makes it so much easier for everybody involved. If I have a problem with a product, I have a clear way for me to contact the store. They have all my information on file, my email address and what I bought and everything like that. I don't have to really put in any major effort to go and contact that store.
A great example of where this can go horribly wrong if you don't have an account is if I'm emailing from email address A and I'm asking a question about this product that I've purchased, but the account that I signed up for was with email address B. Then that makes it really difficult for the support person on the other end to answer my question because they need to verify what I bought and where I bought it. It's a whole back and forth about my email address, which seems like a really unimportant thing to go back and forth about.
So for me, signing up for an account is fine. It take me just two seconds. It should be just two fields or three fields, hopefully, a password and a confirmation as well, in that sign up flow when I check out, and it's just an extra simple field to fill in. Not a big deal.
Two other things as part of it. The first one is something that I like on stores, and then something that I like after stores, after a purchase. Something that I haven't really seen that often except for one store here in South Africa, maybe five years ago before they upgraded to a new system, is I was able to go into a list of products that they had on sale and I could filter that list according to the biggest saving that I'd be making. I can look at the list and say, "Oh gosh, I'm saving 50% on that product and it's something I really need." I might not have seen that if it was on page five. Just being able to sort by how big of a saving that really is, it seems odd but something I would find really useful.
Bob Dunn: That's interesting because I was shopping online, I don't know where I was shopping online, recently and I was trying to do that exact thing you just said. I was trying to find out okay, this is a couple of things I really need, I could really use right now. This is on sale? Where's the best sale? What's the brand that's on sale? Wherever I was, I can't remember, it was cumbersome. I was just going in circles and stuff. That's a cool feature. I'd love to see that myself. I didn't even think of it until you just mentioned it that it was a frustration on my part.
Matty Cohen: It's an interesting one because PriceCheck and Sellbrite and a lot of these companies are doing that across multiple stores, but it's never really done on a single store. So you can say, "Okay, I really want the Batman DVD, the Superman DVD, and I want the Green Arrow DVD, but I only want one of them now. Which one is the best deal right now?" Then you can just filter through that.
And then just quickly, one last small little detail. Sorry. Like I said, looking at stores all day, you think about this stuff. Once you buy a product, the post-purchase experience is so important. So buying a product and they send an email that says "Thank you for your order" and that's all it says. Order number five, here's your download, done. That's not a great experience.
I had an interesting example the other day. I purchased an e-book from a health and exercise company down here in South Africa. They sent me to an order received page, and there was a big line of text with chevrons at the end, like arrows pointing to the right, saying "Click here to download your e-book." The text must have been 36-pixels font size, and it was really not a pleasant experience at all. It looked like it was completely out of place. It was above the rest of the screen. They just kind of tacked it on there. It was just such an odd experience.
This was something, looking at that, I feel that this is something that our WooCommerce.com store does really, really well. Major kudos to the team behind that because if you buy an extension on WooCommerce.com today, it's a really great experience, I find.
Bob Dunn: Exactly.
Matty Cohen: You add to cart, you check out, and it says "Woohoo! Thanks for your purchase. Here's the link to download your file." There it is, right there. It feels like it's part of the system. It feels like it's part of the experience, and you get a nice email from our Head of Support at WooCommerce as well. It's a really nice experience.
Bob Dunn: That's a huge thing, especially the first time you purchase, that experience, because hey, you would like them to come back. That's the name of the game.
Now, if you were to never to buy anything online that is available online, is there something that you just have to buy in person? Right now, nope, still not doing it, even though it's available.
Matty Cohen: We can run the gamut of what pretty much what everyone else has said, you know. House, car, furniture, anything like that. For me, it really boils down to actually how much money am I parting with online for that purchase. If it's beyond say $750, anything up to that I'd be kind of okay to buy online. Anything above that, I'd like to see it in person first at least, even if I make the transaction online. That's actually fine. But I'd like to see it in person first, so house, car, I would never do this but if I'm buying a $3,000 television, I kind of don't want to buy that online. For me, it's really about the scale of the purchase. To me, $750 is the maximum that I came out with. I just mentally went through and I said, "okay, $1,000, maybe not. $750? Okay, yeah that sounds okay." That's probably what I'd go for.
Bob Dunn: Yeah, that's a good rule to follow because I think that's basically how I do it too. I just bought a new iMac because mine is getting old and decrepit, and of course this is like my third or fourth iMac and I was thinking, huh I know this sucker. I can just order it online, have it shipped, no big deal. But anything else I'm spending $1,600 or whatever, it's like, okay well, if I haven't actually seen or touched this thing or used it or whatever, I definitely want to see it too. That's a good rule to go by.
The last question. Now you've retired from Woo, you're living the life of luxury on the beaches in South Africa, you have all your money put away, and you want to be able to spend it on fun stuff. You want to sell a product online and you don't care really if it makes money or anything. You're just going to do it for the fun of it. Is there anything you would love to sell online if you didn't have to worry about resources, time, or money?
Matty Cohen: Gosh. Way too many ideas right now.
Bob Dunn: [Laughs] Okay. Give me your top one or two.
Matty Cohen: The one that really stands out, if I had to pick one, something that I'm really quite passionate about but I wouldn't care if it was a successful store or not, would be musical instruments. In particular, guitars.
Bob Dunn: That makes sense to me. We're connected everywhere and I see on Facebook that you're a lover of music. That does not surprise me at all.
Matty Cohen: Yeah. There's such an interesting ... If you look at second hand instruments, a good mate of mine collects guitars and he's got ... I can't even think about how many. There's some great jokes about that, by the way, because if you buy a new guitar, you're probably never going to sell the old one to replace it. There's no such thing as too many. You'll see that on Facebook every now and then. I'll throw in a couple of those.
There's so many great stories behind the instruments, you know? Buying a guitar that somebody played on stage, so a good example. So this friend plays in a band down here, a local Africa reggae band, and they toured with UB40 and they toured all around the country. Ever guitar that he has has that kind of story behind it. Oh I played this on stage with UB40 who's an icon in the music industry, and a huge influence of his and of mine, of course, as well. The stories behind it is really where I would find the most crazy amount of interest in that. People do all kinds of weird things with guitars as well. They'll push the limit and you'll find weird things like a guitar made out of an oil can and all kinds of crazy things.
Bob Dunn: Wow. Yeah I can imagine the stories behind it and stuff. I was actually at an auction, years and years ago when we lived in Southern California, and they sold a guitar that was from Carlos Santana. It only went for $500 or something. I didn't have the money at that time, but I was very upset. I don't even play guitars. I don't even have any guitars, but I thought, man if I would've had $500, I would've probably bought that. Of course, I would have no stories behind it except maybe me trying to learn it over the next 20 years.
Matty Cohen: It's a pretty great story to tell.
Bob Dunn: Yeah. [Laughs] So anyway, we're going to look forward to that guitar online store when Matty does his retirement.
Well, everybody, you have heard it from the horse's mouth, as they say. To be honest, as much as I follow and troll the folks at Woo, I even learned some new stuff today, especially about Matty's guitar dreams. I want to thank Matt for taking the time to speak with us in his busy schedule. It is always a joy to talk with you my friend.
Matty Cohen: Thank you, and thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.
Bob Dunn: You bet. We're going to definitely have you back.