During Web Week, we are turning to eCommerce and interviewing six experts. Today we chat with Patrick Rauland.
Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I’ve done a lot in the e-commerce space: I’ve build sites for clients, I’ve programmed e-commerce software, and I led three releases of WooCommerce. Right now I’m moving into product marketing. That means I’m trying to figure our what problems our products are really good at solving and then using that in all of our messaging.
What was the coolest thing you saw happen in the eCommerce space in 2016?
There’s a lot of cool things that happened:
- WooConf felt like a WordCamp turned up to 11
- WooCommerce Connect was announced and is in beta
- Apple Pay launched in September and it’s already the 5th largest payment processor. That’s insane! If you don’t already use Stripe, I recommend switching in the new year so you can use Apple Pay (via Stripe) as soon as that functionality is released.
Share with our readers an eCommerce site you worked on or found particularly interesting this past year.
I’ve been helping the Ninja Form team with product marketing.
Now time to look to the future. Tell us your prediction for what we might see coming to eCommerce in 2017?
The last couple of years, people talked a lot about Facebook Advertising and there are some amazing success stories out there. But there’s a life cycle with ad platforms.
- Early Growth. Platforms have a ton of users and very few ads -> advertisers get great rates and get huge ROI
- Mature. Users are starting to see ads -> advertisers are forced to start looking into longer tail keywords because of competition. They get decent rates & good ROI.
- Saturated. Users are frustrated with ads -> some advertisers can’t afford the cost of acquisition and leave the market. Advertisers get poor rates and ROI is questionable.
Look at Google AdWords. It’s still a viable acquisition channel for anyone who knows what they’re doing. Or for someone with a huge budget. But you don’t see those success stories like you do with Facebook.
Facebook is in the Mature stage. There’s still time to join the game and you can afford to make a few mistakes.
If you wait until 2018 or later to join Facebook, it might move into the Saturated stage and it will hard to get in. I do expect to see a lot fewer Facebook success stories. And the stories we will see will be more elaborate or they’ll be from previous years.
Give us your one best tip for anyone who is considering starting their first online store.
The cost of acquisition is the whole game. If you make an amazing product that you sell for $100 (with $30 profit) and it costs you $31 to get a customer, you’re going to go out of business.
Understand the many different traction channels that you have available to you. There are a lot more than you think of. Read Traction.
Lastly, tell us what was your favorite place to shop online for the holidays and why.
I’m actually pretty Type-A when it comes to presents. Throughout the year, I have a note in my Evernote of potential present ideas. This year I finished my Xmas shopping in November.
I love unique gifts. That usually means handmade things. So I turn to Etsy first.