258 – Tired of WooCommerce? Try North Commerce

Interview with Kelley Muro and Nathan Wrigley.

You use WooCommerce, because you need an eCommerce platform and you like WordPress. It’s kind of the default isn’t it? WordPress + eCommerce = WooCommerce.

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Well, on the show today we have Kelley Muro, who want you to rewrite that equation so that it reads like this:

WordPress + eCommerce = North Commerce!

But, I’m guessing that you’ve not heard of North Commerce. Well, neither had I until a few weeks ago when it came across my radar, and so I thought that I’d put it on your radar too. You can thank me later!

So North Commerce is intended to be a full replacement for WooCommerce, with all the basic bells and whistles covered, but that kind of platform does not get built overnight, and so, as of right now, North Commerce is still in alpha / beta testing, so it might be a great time to hop on board and get your voice heard. You never know, you might even be able to influence the way that the platform is built out?

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At the heart of North Commerce is the idea that you want to be able to build the parts of an eCommerce store in much the same way that you can build WordPress pages with a page builder; you drag in the components that you need, style them up, and you’re done. Same idea here.

North Commerce has a ‘micro builder’, which is a stand alone component builder, offering you the point-click-drag-save builder features for all the parts which an eCommerce store might need.

Right now they have the following builder components:

  1. First & Last Name
  2. Email Address
  3. Phone Number
  4. Address (with Google Address autocomplete)
  5. Payment Methods (Paypal, Stripe & Mollie, Google & Apple Pay)
  6. Coupons
  7. Order Total
  8. Order Bumps
  9. Custom Fields (Text, Checkbox, Radio Buttons, Drop-downs)
  10. ACF Custom Fields
  11. Product variations
  12. Product Quantity
  13. Image Galleries
  14. there’s actually more being added all the time so check out the website to see where it’s at right now!

So you can build all of this on the frontend with ease, but what about the backend? Well, I’m glad that you asked because they’ve got a rather nice looking dashboard with all the usual features such as latest / total sales, customer data (including return rate), trending products, checkout templates and order bumps.

Like I said it’s a work in progress and Kelley is on the podcast today to tell you where they’re at, and where they’re headed.

We started off by talking about the fact that North Commerce in in a really competitive space. Taking on WooCommerce is a very, very tall order, so I wanted to know why on earth he is bothering to do this in the first place.

We then get into the subject of the features which are in North Commerce. They are all listed on the homepage, and on that page you’ll also find out how you can become an early adopter of the plugin.

We talked about the out of the box components, which are listed above, and what they all do; what’s going to be included when the plugin is ready for primetime.

We also got into a discussion about the speed that he’s hoping to achieve for sites using North Commerce. They’re using custom tables instead of using post meta data, which, in theory ought to have some speed implications.

I know that you’re going to want to know about integrations, so we chatted about that as well. There’s already quite a few of them including Stripe, PayPal, Active Campaign, Mailchimp, Zapier, Twilio and more.

We rounded off the podcast with questions related to the longevity of the plugin. The last thing that you want to do is build out an eCommerce store on a platform which is new, works for a little while and then fails. So what can the early adopters expect from North Commerce? Will you get grandfathered pricing? Are there any guarantees that this is going to be around in the long term? How do you get in touch with them?

It’s a interesting chat, about a (possibly) disruptive product, and certainly worth a listen…

What would happen if it all went wrong and what early adopters would get back as a result. In other words, maybe they’ll get some grandfathered in pricing, which it seems he will do. I should probably reach out to Kelley. After this podcast has been at, because I want to do a webinar with him.

Mentioned in this podcast:

North Commerce

North Commerce Integrations

North Commerce Changelog

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigly: Welcome. So the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your hosts, David Waumsley, and Nathan Wrigley.

Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. Once again, this is episode number 258 entitled tired of WooCommerce tri North Commerce. It was published on Thursday, the 9th of December, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley. And just before we begin having our interview today, just one quick thing. And that is to say, bizarrely, I know the black Friday is already over, but our black Friday page still has a whole bunch of deals on it.

There's about 27 at the time of counting. I fear that by the time this podcast episode airs, that might be. 22 or 23, but nevertheless, there's still a few there. It's WP Builds.com forward slash black. So this is a last minute call. If you're still into some WordPress deals, you never know. There might be something still out there available for you.

One more time. WP Builds.com forward slash. And just before we begin today's podcast episode, a quick reminder, if you'd like to subscribe to the things that we do on WP Builds that podcast episodes. And this week in WordPress, our weekly show, which happens every Monday, then head over to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe and fill out the form there.

And we will keep you updated when we produce new content. Speaking of WP Builds this week in WordPress show. Join us every Monday, 2:00 PM. UK time. WP Builds.com forward slash live. Good to see you. Okay, let's get on with the podcast today. It's number 258. And as I said, it's called tired of WooCommerce, tri North Commerce.

I'm betting that many of you have never heard of North Commerce because honestly I haven't either, but as soon as I did and I checked out the page, it was really curious. The intention is that it will be at some point a complete replacement for WooCommerce, but the intention also is that you'll have this thing called a micro builder.

So you'll be able to. Page builder, build out all of your e-commerce store pages. That could be your landing pages. It could be your checkout pages and so on and so forth. So we've got Kelly Muro, who's the developer on the podcast today, and he's talking all about why he's entering this busy space, incredibly difficult proposition taking on WooCommerce, but he's going to describe what there is so far, how you can get involved and.

Early beta or alpha stages of the product. You never know. You might be able to have some sort of influence, but there's loads of interesting stuff in there. What's featured. What's coming up. What's there right now and so on. So if you're doing woo commerce websites, this may really be of interest to you.

I hope that you enjoy the podcast. I am here with Kelly Miro. Hi there.

[00:02:59] Kelly Muro: How's it going,

[00:02:59] Nathan Wrigly: Nathan? Yeah, really? This is the first time that we've spoken. I think it's fair to say. We've had a a multi-site email exchange about this episode and we straight off a little bit, but we've got, we're going to hit the target today because we're talking about e-commerce on WordPress, but normally when we say that, The next word to come out of my mouth would be woo commerce.

And that's exactly what we're not going to be talking about. We should probably talk about it tangentially, but the purpose of today's episode is to raise awareness about something really new and intriguing and a bit different that Kelly has been working on called North Commerce. And if you want. Get a bit of a lowdown on what's going on over there.

Pause the podcast. Head over to north plugins.com. All is one word. North plugins.com. Have a poke around there and then come back and hit play. And you'll have a greater understanding of what we're talking about. So Kelly what's North Commerce.

[00:03:55] Kelly Muro: Um, you know, I'm almost reluctant to say it because it's you know, it's quite the beast, but North Commerce is a brand new e-commerce solution for WordPress.

So we're talking a WooCommerce competitor of sorts and and something that hopefully will help a lot. Online stores that are built on WordPress, build a better, more modern e-commerce store.

[00:04:24] Nathan Wrigly: When you say it's a WooCommerce competitor, obviously, we won't get into the whole like for like point by point kind of thing, but are you trying to emulate the major features that we would know?

Is there, are there any kind of crucial things at this point that differentiate you or is it basically the same thing? What are we looking at? If we install it and get stuck in?

[00:04:49] Kelly Muro: Yeah. Um, once you install North Commerce, you'll see a pretty big difference in terms of user interface. Then then we commerce, you know what you have, your standard analytics, you have, order overviews, product creation automated emails and text messages that you can customize fully.

But one of the biggest differences we have is something called the North Commerce microglia. And um, we with woo commerce being like a, a developer centric solution, we wanted to address some of the issues that some of these no code drag and drop builder guys were dealing with. And um, you know, we see the WordPress ecosystem growing so much with these, with web designers and people using these drag and drop builders like divvy or element or oxygen.

And so we wanted to address some of the. The needs or frustrations that those people were having with working with WooCommerce. And um, that's a huge, that's a huge difference. With North Commerce is our builder.

[00:05:55] Nathan Wrigly: You've got a builder I'm guessing it's akin to a page builder in the sense that you've got components, which you drag onto a canvas.

And once you've dragged them onto that canvas, that is how it looks. And then you can. Move them around and put different things in different places, which I think has always been one of the major frustrations about WooCommerce, unless you spend a great deal of time customizing it, it just looks like every other week commerce site.

[00:06:17] Kelly Muro: Exactly. So it's easy to see, okay, this guy's using a, the flats and the theme or this you guys using you know, woo commerce because the checkout. It's impossible to customize, so, um, we'll have our art, we call it a micro builder because we're only, we only have components and elements for the e-commerce side of your site.

Um, the builder itself is our North Commerce has completely theme or builder agnostic, meaning you can use any WordPress theme or any WordPress builder. And then. When you jump into our micro builder in the backend, you'll be able to add any components you'd need layout your product pages, your cart pages, or checkout pages, however you'd like.

And then just copy and paste a short code onto the actual page itself on your WordPress site. And then the e-commerce element that you created with our builder will just magically.

[00:07:14] Nathan Wrigly: Okay. So my next question, and I would like to return to all of the bits and pieces within the UI and how it all works and what menus we've gotten, what exactly you cover in a moment.

But the question which is begging to be asked is why go up against what is already incredibly popular e-commerce solution. WooCommerce is kind of really wrong. If you like PI automatic, they've got a. Develop a team they're constantly working on that product. It has an enormous installed base.

And so it is a bit like the David and Goliath story in a sense. So I want to know from your point of view, just on a personal level why have you spent so much time and energy, blood, sweat, and tears? No doubt. Building.

[00:08:02] Kelly Muro: Yeah. So that's a great question. It's a question that I honestly don't get asked that much and I think I have the answer to why that is as well, but before before I get into it, I was, I want to tell a story about a client.

I was working with needed a a simple little checkout form. And we were building a little funnel for them where a customer could build that out in a. No indivi and they can have a checkout form. And then that would redirect to an upsell and then we'd want to do a one-click upsell. And then from there go to a thank you page.

So me and a friend of mine who is a developer built this little divvy plugin for this client call and we call it DV checkout and like, oh, this is actually a great product. I'm gonna, I'm gonna start selling this on a. The elegant themes marketplace, they just released. They just recently released that.

So people started buying and started using it and they were excited about it. And then they started asking me questions like, Hey, can you can I have multiple products on here? Can we have a cart? And and so what I was thinking, he was, you're using this sort of funnel building tool. And what you're asking for is like an e-commerce solution.

Like just go to UConn. Oh, I, I can't do it. I don't want to, I just wish you would offer that. And so after probably the 10th or 12th person that, that asked about carts and multiple products, I'm like, huh, do I w is there a need for a new e-commerce solution? Do I dare step into that space of, um, you tackling e-commerce on WordPress wouldn't woo.

Commerce has been such a, a huge player, really the only player in the space. For the last 10 or so years. And so after some thinking some conversations I had with my good friend who is, who worked with me on that DV checkout plugin, we decided, Hey, you know what let's give it a shot.

Let's create some mock-ups up. Let's do some iterations and some tests and see what we can come up with. And so we came up with some tests and some mock-ups and we showed some friends and said some other people within the community. And they were excited about it. And so since we've released that some, some tests and some previews that we've, we released on commerce dot north plugins.com, you can check out, we have had nothing but excitement and and people going like finally someone you know, offering a PO potentially a better solution to WooCommerce and N not one person has asked me I'm going to say not one person, but not very many people have asked me, wow, are you nervous to go against I'm going against WooCommerce?

And I see that as a huge opportunity for us to solve. All these issues that we've been having with that people have been having with WooCommerce. And I know I don't want to sound like I'm bashing WooCommerce by any means third grade platform. I've worked with them for the last five or six years.

And um, they're awesome, but there's so much pain points. Like I was talking about earlier with these guys who, use these drag and drop builders. And and so at this point I don't necessarily see. North Commerce being a competitor to woo commerce more than it is just another solution that people can have, finally have a choice of what platform they'll use for their e-commerce site on North Commerce.

And so a long story even longer. I, we have a community of people who are very excited to, to try a new solution out and We'll we'll technically go toe to toe with north calmer, with a WooCommerce. And we're excited to you know, to be a player in the space and to see if WooCommerce commerce gives us any attention in terms of, innovation or if you know, we just do our thing and they continue to do their thing.

Yeah, we'll see how it

[00:12:05] Nathan Wrigly: all ends up. Interesting. My question, which follows up after that, then I guess has to be, is this, have you been looking. A features, which peop which typically cause pain in WooCommerce and saying to yourself, okay. That we hear about a lot. That seems to be somewhere our area.

We can fix it. In other words, is it an incremental thing? Okay. This thing's not so great and we'll come us. We'll do that thing. This other thing is not so great. And WooCommerce will concentrate hard on that. Or did you literally start with a blank slate and just said, look, if. Any kind of e-commerce solution within WordPress, particularly with the drag and drop page builder crowd in mind for ease of use which of those two, it may be neither of those two, but it feels like it might be one or the other.

[00:12:53] Kelly Muro: Yeah, absolutely. It was more of the the blank slate sort of situation, I I've, you so my background is in web development and e-commerce, and so I've worked on, websites for little boutique businesses that do. 2000 to 5,000 a month. And then I've worked on bigger projects with bigger brands that are doing, four or $500,000 a month.

And so having seen both spectrums, I'm like, oh man, this is really frustrating to have to deal with this. Or things. Start to bottleneck at this point when we have this many orders and this integration is great, but then I wish it did that. And um, kind of just w. Years of experience and upsets and things like that.

I've seen, I'm like, you know what, here's what I would want in terms of of an e-commerce solution for WordPress. So here's what I think we'll try and do. So we're starting on a blank slate. Here's our experiences. What, what would I want what would agencies want? What would you know, just the random business owner that's looking for.

Way to build their e-commerce site want and and kind with those three things in mind, go from there and then make it as easy as possible for people to get started, create products and get their site up and running and looking beautiful. Yeah. A couple of days.

[00:14:18] Nathan Wrigly: Yeah. It's an interesting approach that you've taken.

And again we'll circle back and we will come to the features and all of those kinds of things in a minute, but I'm really curious about where you are right now and how far you've got towards launch, because I'm fairly sure. Most of the people listening to this have probably explored North Commerce.

They may not have even have heard of it might be completely fresh and new to them. And that that's a product of where you're at in your release cycle. On the website at this exact moment, you are describing early access. Get early access is one of the buttons and. It just tells me that your not quite ready for release, obviously fleshing things out and build a building up the community and getting feedback from your current users and so on.

So just give us some insight into how prepared you are, how far along the journey before 1.0 stable release is going to be.

[00:15:12] Kelly Muro: Okay. Good question. So right now we've done a lot of work on the backend. So the admin side of. Of North Commerce. So when you log into, you can go see a [email protected].

And so once you log into the WordPress dashboard, you'll see North Commerce and you'll be able to get a good look of what it looks like. In terms of analytics, you could see what orders will look like an order overviews. You'll be able to create products and, and set up different emails if you'd like.

So you can customize all this stuff like on the WordPress dash. What we're doing right now in this particular iteration is we're starting to refine the builder. So we want the builder to not have to be a new experience for for everybody. Um, basically what I mean by that is everyone has their favorite drag and drop builder.

Some people might be using Elementor oxygen, divvy. Beaver builder are whatever you are using at this point. What we're trying to do is we want to make it as easy as possible for anyone from any builder to come into north and feel comfortable. Moving things around. Because one thing that we want to avoid is like these big context switches going from like I'm in Devi I'm, I'm building the entire front end of the website with Devi.

And then I go into North Commerce. I'm like, oh yeah, I'm so used to Devi, north doesn't do that, do it that way. So I'm going to, I got to refigure. How to do things. And so we want to avoid those sort of context switches so that there's no frustration with with going from your building that you use, that you can create your whole website with and then going to the North Commerce builder.

So with that said, what we're doing first is we're. We have our builder for single page checkout flows. So that's your typical sales page where you have a, um, a checkout form embedded on the page. Maybe you're selling a course or a book or some service and it's just basically a single column checkout form.

And we're kind refining that and using that as a testing ground for what the builder will be for all of the e-commerce sellers. So in the next couple of weeks and maybe by the time those listing will be listening to this we'll have either started our closed beta or we'll be about to start a closed beta, which everyone listening can join that.

Just email me and And then as we start to refine the builder for the single page checkout forms, we'll slowly start releasing the builder for the product overview page or the product, you actually create your product pages and then the cart pages, the checkout pages, and then get into V1 and then kind of refined from there and then work on integrations and stuff like that, which would be probably close to like a.

Early spring of next year. Okay.

[00:18:18] Nathan Wrigly: Yeah. So just to be really clear you're after you're, after people who are keen on the idea of using e-commerce in WordPress, maybe not so keen on using WooCommerce, but are prepared to at this point, help you out, give you some guidance, give you some feedback. And in return, hopefully build a product which people can use.

It's not in any way, shape or form yet. Ready to be put out into the world. On, you know, production sites.

[00:18:48] Kelly Muro: Exactly. Yeah. So right now, what we're looking for is basically people who are willing to be early adopters. We'll, we'll definitely Give you great deals and, you know, you'll have access to a lot of really cool stuff being an early adopter.

But yeah, it's not production ready. This is something that I think I know what I would want in an e-commerce plugin. Having worked with different brands and having built so many different e-commerce sites, but there's still so many more use cases that I want to make sure we cater to. You know, whether that's, uh, the way that you know, Uh, Swedish, e-commerce store may be different than, uh, an e-commerce store here in Arizona or in LA or something like that, in terms of user flows and how the language works and things like that.

So there's still so much to learn and and so much to do. And so anyone that wants to participate in the closed beta will help all the different use cases that we'll want to cater to in

[00:19:49] Nathan Wrigly: north. Thank you. Yeah. So the way to get on that is to, like I said, head over to north plugins.com and sign up those some buttons they get early access, or you can fill out your name and address in the little, little form at the top.

The list of. Box components. I think this will be something of interest because I'm imagining people are thinking it's going to be fairly half-baked it won't be anywhere near what we've commerce is doing out of the gate and so on. So let's just put a bit of context in. These are the things that you're.

You either have fully functional already, or you're hoping to be fully functional by the time that people are listening to this. So I'm going to read the list. It's probably something that you're sick and tired of hearing because you're in it every day, but essentially the components that you're gonna be able to use our name, last name as you'd expect, you'd be able to customize a positioning of things like email address, phone number, address with Google address, autocomplete that's nice payment gateways out of the gate will be PayPal Stripe, Molly.

And then, Google and apple Pape, is that through Stripe? Just.

[00:20:54] Kelly Muro: Yeah, so apple pay and Google pay will be through

[00:20:57] Nathan Wrigly: Stripe. Does that as well? Does it? Thank you. You'll be able to implement coupons. You'll be able to fiddle with the order total there's order bump functionality. You can use your own custom fields that be they text check spot, text box, sorry, checkbox, radio buttons, drop downs.

If you're an ACF user, you'll be pleased because that's being integrated product variation. Product quantities, image, galleries, and then it says many more. It seems like quite a lot. How close are you to getting all of that stuff basically nailed down? Or is that the wishlist for Vietnam? Yeah.

[00:21:32] Kelly Muro: So all of those, except for the ACF custom fields will be available in closed beta on the single page checkout forums.

Okay. That's perfect. And um, Molly will be available Google address autocomplete will be available. And then also we've had a ton of requests. So ACF will be available and Mehta box will also be available. That'll be, that'd be nice. Cause it's highly requested.

[00:22:00] Nathan Wrigly: Okay. Is is there some, you mentioned about the fact that you want to make your UI and UX easier for people who are accustomed to page builders and all of that kind of thing.

Is there anything. Particularly about that, that you're proud of that you've got so far. I don't know, maybe you've got a screen that shows the analytics in a slightly different way or a screen, which shows the orders coming out or a here's how you modify your emails screen. And so on anything that you particularly point to where you think actually, do you know what we've done?

A pretty good job with that?

[00:22:32] Kelly Muro: Yeah, I think one of the big, the biggest things is going to be the checkout for. Um, your traditional, um, WooCommerce checkout form is um, you know, pretty standard with a billing address, shipped to a different address and there's real, no, really no images or anything like that to help the user understand what they're purchasing.

But if you go to North Commerce dot north plugins.com, you'll see 'em at the top of the screen, like a, um, a little hint of what the checkout form will look like. And We want to make it as easy as possible for users to know what they're purchasing. If they want to add an order bump, then they can do that as well.

And then also with the shipping methods, just make it super easy to to know when you're getting your item. So one of the really cool things that we've added that we're adding to North Commerce is an easy post integration. So easy post is accounting of that recent. And offered for us to integrate with them.

And what they do is they allow you to create all your shipping labels and integrate with any sort of carrier nationwide or worldwide actually. And and one of the features they offer is shipping estimates based on their own, internal data of. What traditionally people have been able to get you know, how long it's been taking them to get their orders.

And so we'll have a built-in tool to allow you to show your customers how quickly they will receive their their package. That's nice based on the easy post data. So that's actually really cool. And so just little tiny things like that, that help conversion are something that we're proud of. I think that there's.

You know, there's a lot to say around layout sentence and easy to read text and responsiveness, but these sort of little details that help convert customers is what. It's something that I'm excited and proud of. That

[00:24:44] Nathan Wrigly: looks really nice. I've got to ask because everybody's going to want to know this.

Is there anything that is clearly missing right now? If I, if I go over there and I'm used to WooCommerce and all of the bits and pieces, just out of the box working, is there anything that you're still like, boy, we really do need to hurry up and get.

[00:25:02] Kelly Muro: Yeah. At this point, there's still a lot to do so it it would be easy to say yeah, we really need to finish you know, the product overview screens and, um, the cart and checkout pages, something that I want to do faster than we'll probably end up doing is going to be like product search.

And so I know there's a lot of requests around. Being able to search for products and, there's a really, there's some other really cool plugins for eCommerce that do that. But uh, something like that I think would be something that I wish we could get done. Or like multi multi-site stuff as well.

But I think those will have to come after V1 and we'll see how it, how soon we can.

[00:25:55] Nathan Wrigly: Yeah. I'm not a big WooCommerce user, but my small forays into it really, it does tell me that finding things like orders and things like that is really. Much more difficult than you would ever imagine it should be.

And yeah, addressing that would be great. I actually clicked over there's a menu at the top of the website. It's like a little black circle at the minute. And if you click on it, you get this big overlay. And one of the, one of the options there is integrations. And again, People love all this kind of stuff.

So we might as well go through what you've got so far. You can obviously link with the payment gateway Stripe that's re rigger, Molly was mentioned as well and PayPal, but some of the other things that you may be interested in are the messaging side of things. So it connects with active campaign drip K E a P F the infusion soft thing, acuity scheduling MailChimp's in there.

You've got Zapier, which is pretty impressive. MemberPress Twilio and ship station as well. So that, that really strikes me as quite a lot out of the gate. Is there a roadmap for more things? Are you getting lots of calls to put other things in as well?

[00:27:06] Kelly Muro: Yes. And another thing I forgot to mention is we have a discord.

Where a lot of the people who are part of the alpha right now, and then who will be part of the closed beta, talk about different things and and requests, features or integrations. You, they can do that. So if you want to join that, you can go to the website and join the discord as well to chat with them.

But there is a ton of different integrations that we have. Laid out as we start to release V1. And then as we launch, we'll hopefully hire another developer to you know, to work on integrations for us. But I think we'll have you know, stuff like Zappi air and You know, Integra Matt and things like that, where you can connect with these one tools that then connect with thousands of other tools makes things a lot easier.

So we may not have, a ton of integrations yet, but you can still integrate with Zapier, which then allows you to connect with all those other apps, which is awesome. But direct integrations always make things a whole lot easier. Um, these are the immediate ones. As we start to roll things out, What kind of have a vote, within the community and see what ones are most desired.

Or requested and then we'll we'll add them as we go.

[00:28:30] Nathan Wrigly: Okay. Let's talk about speed and the sort of lightweight or otherness of it. WooCommerce famously you know, there's a fair amount going on there. So there's a fair amount of horsepower that's needed to make all of that work.

This is probably something that's kept you awake at night, trying to make it as lean as possible. And I know that our audience being like the, the keen intelligent WordPress's that they are, we'll probably want to know. That if I'm going to install this on my website, it's not going to be bogged down.

So anything that you've got to say to speak to that would be great to hear.

[00:29:03] Kelly Muro: Yeah. Um, WooCommerce, traditionally they use WordPress tables in the database and and so that's something that slows down queries posting and getting And so what we're doing with North Commerce is we're using custom tables.

And so we won't have to serialize anything. We can, get requests faster and you know, query data that much quicker. You know, if you have a smaller store, you may see, a slight difference, but some of these stores that have, hundreds or thousands of skews, We'll we'll definitely see a difference in performance in terms of load times and checkout times and things like that.

I think traditionally you've seen if you've seen a WordPress site and they have sort of like an Ajax quantity, Set up where you can, like in the cart page or in the checkout page, you can change the quantity from like one to two, and then you get a loader, and it kind takes a second or two to load.

That's kind a poor user experience. And so what we're working on with North Commerce is making all that super quick. So if you. If you're changing quantities or changing products or adding things are changing. You know, the variation that you've, you selected, you'll see virtually no low times, and there'll be a lot quicker.

Just get through the product checkout experience. And so that'll be something that'll be really nice. There's definitely a lot less technical debt. I think WooCommerce is wonderful. They've had to grow with WordPress. And so WordPress has changed so much over the years in the last 10 years that there's some things that they couldn't change because it would break, hundreds of thousands of different e-commerce sites.

And so we're mapping. Post w WordPress five and we can go from there and then have a lot less technical debt and yeah. And, speed things up. Yup.

[00:31:08] Nathan Wrigly: Do you, have you mentioned right at the top that you create the bits and pieces in your builder, and then I think I'm right in saying that it pops out a short code and you then deploy that short code wherever you like.

Do you sort integrate or do you plan to integrate with. Builder's not for the build process of the carts and the checkouts and all of that kind of stuff. But to deploy it on particular pages you know, Gutenberg or oxygen and all of that kind of stuff. Are you going to stick with the shortcode copy and paste model?

[00:31:40] Kelly Muro: Yeah. So as of right now, we'll probably stick with the. The copy and paste shortcode model. I'm not entirely sure how that will evolve with other builders. I think maybe Gutenberg might be the first one we look into and see what we can do in terms of just like adding those elements to a page.

But for the most part, what you'll be able to do is create the e-commerce element in our micro builder, that'll generate the short code and then you can place that anywhere in the builder. And then And then as you start to see how it renders in within your builder container you can from there set the width and the, and or the columns within your builder to customize it from there too.

So yeah, we'll have to see how it all evolves. But the goal is to give you as much creative control as possible. Within your own personal below that you like, and then our micro builder.

[00:32:39] Nathan Wrigly: Thank you. The other menu item. I mentioned integrations earlier. We went through all of those and the other menu item is the change log.

And it's, uh, it's as a fair bit in there considering you've only been going since. June this year. There's several updates. The last one as of this moment in time was in August 20, August 27th, 2021. Which is all about modifying emails inside of your own custom email builder, which is really nice.

I'm interested in at this point in how, where did you are to what you've got in other words if loads of people hop on board and they are clamoring for something, are you still in that kind of, yeah, it's all up for, it's all up for grabs. I'm totally willing to backpedal on some things that I've done or maybe even completely redesigned other things, depending on what the crowd that you get in your pre beta alpha stages, wherever we're at.

Are you willing to really change things around, depending on the human cry that your community.

[00:33:44] Kelly Muro: Yeah. Um, I'd say that there's I'm pretty committed to the core features of North Commerce. But there really is. No I'm not romantic with, or there's no ego around some of the other features.

And um, for example, if the the HTA, the HTML and CSS editor for the email builders was wacky or something, or people wanted You know, people wanted an actual builder for the emails versus just like I'm copying, pasting, HTML and CSS in there. Then you know, that's something I would absolutely look at if there's something with you know, order creation or over, you or, or certain integration or a certain user experience with the builder and people have collectively voice their opinions.

That's something should change then. Then me and the team are a hundred percent on board kind of adapting and modifying, whatever needs to be changed for, the community, so like I I have my kind of workflow that I like, and, um, Working with North Commerce, I'm not building around myself, but I want to build around the entire community and all their use cases.

And so we definitely will consider all those, but there's no ego or, um, you re no romance as they say sometimes with with some ideas. If we need to pivot or change something, then we're all on board to do that. If it's if it's gonna be that's best for the plugin. Yeah. I

[00:35:17] Nathan Wrigly: guess the crucial message here is if you get involved and you submit your email address and get stuck into it, you've got a chance to forge a future of something.

With Kelly, if you don't, then you're gonna, you're going to see what the product of that community will be. Now, speaking of that community, obviously there's some. Quid pro quo, let's call it that you've offered already that people who become involved and help you out and give you some pointers and some guidance about what they want.

You're going to give them some financial benefit at some point, going forward. Speaking about that. Have you got a model for how the pricing is going to work? So we're on the WooCommerce side, we've got totally free. We've got the free version of WooCommerce. And then we are, it's almost like death by a thousand paper cuts.

Isn't it? The, the little incremental things add up and all of a sudden you're spending a lot of money. I'm just curious about what the base product is going to cost and whether you're going to go for pay for little things here and there. If you want extra functionality, it's about blue sky thinking you may not have any of these integrations in mind, but whether there's going to be a free model with bits that are added in, or is there a one size fits all payment that you're going to require off people all around pricing.

[00:36:34] Kelly Muro: Yeah. Um, I will say PR prices are subject to change. I haven't fully decided on on the prices yet, but what we're to what we're the model we're choosing to do now is kind of a pay to play. So there will be an option to download a free version of the plugin. You can mess around with it.

You could even build your entire store with it. And but you just wouldn't be able to accept live. You would just be able to say except test payments, and then when you're ready to go live, you would just purchase a license. But what we'll do is we'll have everything is included within a license.

We'll have you know, a small, monthly payment for that. So we're flirting with the 15 to $19 range a month for a single site license. And then we'll have multi-site licenses, which will range, from, you five to 10 sites for, some more amount of money, maybe 65 to a hundred bucks.

I'm just giving ranges. Cause I don't want to get to a certain spice, um, and then we'll have and then our last sort of tier will be for agencies where they can pay you know, Either a yearly amount and then get um, you know, a couple hundred to a, you know, to a thousand license, a site license for.

For other clients as an agency. Yeah. And so they both have you know, monthly payments and a discounted yearly payment as well. I

[00:38:05] Nathan Wrigly: am I get it. So the intention really is you're going more down the model of a per site license as opposed to every single little bit costing a little bit extra that's interesting.

Yeah. We have to see how that develops, but obviously nobody's going to hold you to it. You have to see how the economics stack up. The other thing, which I think people are going to want to know is. The support and how long you intend this to be around. Obviously, it's easy to say.

Yeah, we're gonna, we're gonna keep it going forever. Yeah. It's all well and good. But if people begin building their shops, their online stores on top of this state, they really do need. Clarity that there's a commitment from your end, that you're going to keep it up through adversity it's through the good times and the bad times.

Uh, however you want to take that question over to you?

[00:38:57] Kelly Muro: Yeah, absolutely. That's a great question. Um, I think a good example would be our, what we're doing with that original divvy checkout plugin that we created. Um, We'll no longer support that once North Commerce comes out, but those who you know, purchase a license for that will continue to get support from us.

And and then we'll give them, we'll get them on you know, North Commerce license that's, at, at the grandfathered in price that they paid for you know, divvy checkout, which would be a massive discount. And so we would do the same thing for them. I think both me and. The developers I'm working with are very committed to this project.

Me as the founder I'm in it for the long run. So if you plan on you know, building with us, then no matter what, we'll we'll make it work one way or the other. If something catastrophic happens, then you know, we'll coordinate some sort of migration and help you get to get cleared up.

But there's something that there's a lot to say, with when it comes to You know, the plugin props failing or something like that. But, um, kind as an e-commerce owner, myself, store owner myself, if, if I continue to use it for my stores, then we'll continue to support it.

And um, I think there's you know, there's no worries in terms of You guys, not receiving any support from us or anything like that. If something was to happen, we're here to help you either continue to use North Commerce or if in the catastrophic event then we helped migrate you over something else and it won't be a problem.

[00:40:40] Nathan Wrigly: I really appreciate that. I think that's a really forthright and honest answer, mentioning the fact that if something catastrophic happens is a step further than I thought you'd go. So that's really nice to hear. Thank you. Uh, the, the podcast today has one intention. It is to spark your interest in North Commerce.

The way that you're going to do that is to go, like I said, go to north plugins.com, have a poke around it's. As of this exact minute, there's a couple of pages there to look at, so go and have a look. If somebody wants to, or should have say, if somebody gets interested in that and they want to know more and they want to know more directly from you or your team Kelly, what's the best way to get in touch.

[00:41:23] Kelly Muro: So the best way would be to either submit that form on the homepage and then an automated email will go out to you. And then I always will reply to your replies personally. Uh, Usually I welcome you with an automated email. And then I, I asked you a question then, and then once you respond to that question, then we go from there.

One-on-one so I'll always answer your emails back to the, that first automated email. And that's probably the best way if if you don't want to do that, you can always just click the help button at the bottom, of north plugins.com and basically submit a ticket and I'll be on those as well.

I'll be more than happy to hear any questions or feedback you guys have and and show you where to get started. I

[00:42:11] Nathan Wrigly: think this is such an interesting project. I think you're very courageous to have put so much time into something that, you're up against. Like I said, right at the start you're up against a great big that Leviathan of of, of a competitor.

So all I would say is, I wish you the very best of luck. This podcast gets some people looking at your solution. I really do. And thank you so much for spending some time with us today. Talking about your new adventure North Commerce.

[00:42:40] Kelly Muro: Thanks so much for having me, Nathan. I appreciate the conversation and being invited on here.

Thank you so much.

[00:42:46] Nathan Wrigly: I hope that you enjoyed that podcast. Very nice chatting to Kelly Muro and very exciting at the very beginning of a new commerce plugin intended to take on WooCommerce, North Commerce. As I said, we're in alpha possibly beater stage, depending on what time of the year you've listened to this podcast.

So it may well be that you'd be able to get in. Join that community and possibly influence the direction that the plugin takes. Hopefully you got something out of that. I really hope that you did. If you did. Don't forget to leave a comment on the WP builts.com website. You're looking for episode 258.

Alternatively, head over to WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook and join our Facebook community over 2,900. Very friendly and polite WordPress's and you could leave a comment there in the thread in our Facebook. Don't forget that we'll be joined by some notable WordPress guests on Monday each and every Monday.

In fact, 2:00 PM UK time WP Builds.com forward slash live for our this week in WordPress show. Really appreciate all those people who show up and give us comments. That person could be, you do join us this Monday, and if you can't join us for that, we'll be back next Thursday for a podcast episode. But because it was an interview this week, I'll be with David warms in the next.

Okay, I'm going to feed in some cheesy music. I would wish you a very safe and happy week. And I'll say bye-bye for now.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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