272 – Sell digital products with Lemon Squeezy

Interview with JR Farr and Gilbert Pellegrom with Nathan Wrigley

On the podcast today we have JR Farr and Gilbert Pellegrom from a new platform called Lemon Squeezy.

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That’s kind of a fruity name! It harks back to my days on the playground at school. Kids always used to say “easy peasy, lemon squeezy”, when something was obvious and straightforward. The intention of Lemon Squeezy is to make sales of digital product obvious and straightforward too!

Lemon Squeezy is a SaaS based platform with a WordPress integration. Which enables you to sell digital products online? So things like PDFs, eBooks, software licensing… anything you can think of really. If it’s possible to package it up and sell it directly on your website, Lemon Squeezy is here to help with that.

It’s quite a long podcast because there’s so much ground to cover and so many interesting areas of discussion.

We talk about…

  • what kind of items you can selly
  • where the data is held
  • how is software licensing handled
  • can you limit how many people can download your product
  • how it gets updated
  • how do you configure it to get up and running

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We talk about the fact that they are a merchant of record (a new term for me), which means that they are actually doing all the heavy lifting. They figure out all of the taxation, all of the refunds, pretty much everything.

This is interesting… what it means is that, when you use Lemon Squeezy, you are licensing your products to them, and they sell them on your behalf. This means that they take on the burden of some of the boring things that other solutions might stay away from. So, when you sell something, it’s actually being sold by Lemon Squeezy to the end user.

Wait… what? I told you it was interesting. In order to be able to do as much as possible to make the sales process easier for you to manage… so that you can just focus on your product and the sales thereof. No need to get involved in all the charges and tax and so on.

You can customise your experience though. You can brand the emails and, make the whole journey feel like it’s all done by you.

In the future, they’re going to have a marketplace of products on their platform as well, meaning that you won’t even need to have your own website if that’s more your thing. There’s a lot on the roadmap as you’ll be hearing.

As you’ll hear this is a very talented team of developers on that team of developers. It’s a laundry list of people who have been around the WordPress and eCommerce space for many years. So perhaps it’s worth checking out Lemon Squeezy next time you’re looking to sell a digital product.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Lemon Squeezy website

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Transcript (if available)

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

Hello there and welcome to another episode of the WP Builds podcast. You've reached number 272 entitled sell digital products with Lemon Squeezy. It was published on Thursday, the 31st of March, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley, and I'll be joined by my interview guests in just a few moments. But before then, little bit of housekeeping, if you are interested in WP Builds and you want to keep up to date with all that we do a podcast episode every Thursday.

That's what you're listening to now. Plus we do our live this week in WordPress show. You can go to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. And over there, you'll be able to sign up and keep updated. Another thing that we have is our deals. Page WP Builds.com forward slash deals.

And it's a bit like black Friday, but every single day of the week. So if you're in the business of buying something this week, go check that page out because you never know, after you've searched and filtered, you might find a coupon code for something that you deserve. Another thing that I'd like to mention is that the page builder summit is back.

We're coming back to you later in the year. It's version four of the summit. And we're interested in getting you updated. If you go over to page builders. Dot com that page will allow you to sign up and that will get you onto our waitlist. And from there, we will keep you updated as soon as anything happens.

Like I said, it's coming later in the year, but I would strongly recommend that you go and get updated and then we can keep you informed page builders, summit.com.

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Okay. What have we got today for you? This is really interesting. It's a new thing. And it's called Lemon Squeezy, which is a curious name. It harks back in my case to the days on the playground where children used to say easy peasy, lemon, squeezy. And the idea is that if something was obvious and straightforward, you'd say it was easy peasy, lemon, squeezy, and e-commerce selling digital products could be considered to be rather a difficult thing.

Lemon Squeezy hopes to tackle that it's a platform, which is suspicious. So everything is done on their side of things and they are, what's called a merchant of record, which means that they can take over all of the bits and pieces that really, if you're into selling digital products, you probably don't want to involve yourself in.

So that might be things like taxation or re. Those kinds of things. They've got a WordPress plugin, which means that you can have everything done on your WordPress website, but it's a really curious, interesting solution. And it's for selling specifically digital things. So it might be PDFs, eBooks, software licensing, all sorts of possible permutations.

And it's a really interesting podcast. I talked to two of the guys who work there Jr. Farr and Gilbert Pellegrin. But you're also going to find out that they've got a fairly heavyweight team of developers behind them as well. So really interesting podcast in case you reach out to them from this podcast, do be sure to let them know that you found them from the WP Builds podcast would really appreciate that.

Okay. So without further delay, I hope that you enjoy the pod. Hello there. Welcome to the interview. Part of the WP Builds podcast. Thank you for joining us today. We have two guests, which is fairly unusual for the podcast. Normally it's just one, but this seemed like the perfect moment. We got two fellows from a plugin.

I say a plugin. You're about to find out it's considerably more than a plugin. But they're from a Lemon Squeezy, which I confess is something new to me. So they're going to guide me through what it is and what it does today. But without further ado, let me introduce firstly, Jr. Farr, how you doing Jr.

Good. Thanks for having us so welcome. And Gilbert now, Gilbert, we never established, but I'm going to say. Yeah. Nice. Okay. That's very rare indeed, for me to get a name, right? So you guys are from Lemon Squeezy. I think probably the first thing I'm going to say, I often do this is go to lemon, squeezy.com.

Have that in the back of your mind whilst this whole podcast is going on. So it's www dot lemon, squeezy, S Q U double E Zed, Y or Z Y depending on where you live and go check it out. But I'm gonna, I don't really mind. Takes any of these questions. And if you want to cross talk and interrupt, that's fine by me as well.

But let's first of all, establish what it is. So give us the one minute elevator pitch. One of you.

[00:05:29] JR Farr: Yeah. So Lemon Squeezy is a hosted SaaS digital product solution. You can. So anything digital downloads, software licenses, subscriptions one of the differences of lemon squeezes, we do act as the merchant of record. So we take on taxes and VAT and fraud so it's really is easy peasy, lemon, squeezy and there's a lot of other features that are.

I think what we'd like to do is we look at something complex from a technical standpoint and we wrap it up in a pretty friendly UI. And so we really lean into the whole ECP. Concept. And so that's where we're headed with Lemon Squeezy, and you can pretty much sell anything with, even without a website with Lemon Squeezy.

It's a

[00:06:16] Nathan Wrigley: curious name, isn't it? Because in my head that phrase makes complete sense. I've as a child, we used to say that kind of thing at school. If something was easy, you just say easy peasy, lemon, squeezy. I just, I wondered how widespread that phrase actually is though. And whether or not you're going to have to overcome the.

The inevitable marketing problem of lemon. What lemon squeezer, why Lemon Squeezy that be an interest.

[00:06:42] JR Farr: Yeah, it seems like everyone loves it. So

[00:06:45] Nathan Wrigley: that's great. The, now let's talk about it from the WordPress point of view, because basically everybody listening to this is a WordPress fanatic. And how does this integrate with WordPress?

You mentioned right at the top that it was a SaaS solution. So how do we actually bind WordPress into your SaaS platform? And what capabilities do you offer on the WordPress side? In other words, how do we get.

[00:07:10] JR Farr: Yes.

[00:07:12] Gilbert Pellegrom: Yeah. So yeah, it's just grr said, hosted SaaS platform, which is great because it offers many like positives over the kind of alternative when it comes to sailing stuff digital stuff through WordPress, because normally you have to install a plugin and there's lots of bloat that comes with that.

And, your state can become slower. You've got to manage everything in the WordPress dashboard. So what we did is we thought we would do it the easy-peasy way, which is. Build a WordPress plugin where you just install it and then you literally just click connect. You authenticate your account with lemon, squeezy, WordPress plugin, and then it's ready to go.

That set. There's nothing else that needs to go into your set, your WordPress site. And yeah, that's it. And then in terms of features at the moment we are like base feature is basically been able to sell your digital goods from Lemon Squeezy using buy buttons on the, on your WordPress site. So you can imagine, and the block editor and Gutenberg and a poster and a page or whatever, you can add a Lemon Squeezy button.

And there's a nice, easy drop down to select a product wherever it is you want to sell from limits. And and that's it. And you just publish it on your page and straight away, you're able to sell your Lemon Squeezy

[00:08:32] Nathan Wrigley: products and work products. Okay. So we drop in some sort of, we log in to the SaaS side, grab some kind of API key or something like that.

Install the plugin on the WordPress site. And that then enables you to connect the products on that we put into our SaaS side. And you can then put buttons on the website. Is it, you mentioned that there was buttons for the block editor. Do you have other kind of integration? So I know that a lot of people listening to this, they happen to be elemental users or BeaverBuilder users or whatever it might be.

Do you have options to put buttons on the different page builders as well as Google? Not at

[00:09:09] Gilbert Pellegrom: the moment. But that is certainly something that we've talked about, something we'd like to do in the future. And one of the other features that we did launch with was the ability to run or provide like premium FEMEN plugin updates for if you were.

A software developer that sales, premium WordPress themes or plugins, something that a lot of people asked us for is for the ability to provide automatic upgrades and, through the WordPress dashboard, but via their Lemon Squeezy account. That's all built into the WordPress plugin.

So if you're, if you're a developer, if you're a WordPress developer and UCL premium plugins, that's kinda ready to go for you there as well. That's kinda the, what's in the plugin at the moment, but yeah, there's certainly lots of good,

[00:09:57] Nathan Wrigley: yeah. In the future with it as well. Okay. Okay.

That's good to know. So are we selling with Lemon Squeezy? Are we selling things one at a time? In other words, if I was to go to a Lemon Squeezy enabled site and I was to click the buy now button what's the workflow that, or the, the UX that I would be going through at that point, would I then get an immediate, pop-up saying great.

It's added to some kind of cart or can I can continue shopping. Like I might do with a WooCommerce store or something like that, and go around the site and add further things and then eventually go through some kind of checkout process. What's the experience look like?

[00:10:36] JR Farr: So in this case as it stands today, yeah, you can do, when you click a button it'll pop up either more dowel or we also have hosted checkout pages.

So if you don't even want to deal with it on your site and you want to just send it. To some secure place, we can host it for you as well. In terms of an actual cart, we don't have the ability to add things to a cart. We've actually found that everyone thinks that they need one, but they're not actually using it.

And it sometimes complicates just the checkout process altogether. So in a few, I think in the future with some of the things we have planned, I do think we'll open up the ability to do it. But as it stands today, we don't actually have a physical card that you can throw things in. Yeah.

[00:11:17] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. So w we're very much one thing at a time, and that suits a whole broad swathe of the market.

Doesn't that, there's a lot of people that were just trying to sell. I don't know an ebook or some kind of download. Thing a software license. It may be. Do you just want to run through the scenarios that you feel are best suited for where the product is right now? And it should make the point that we're recording this towards the very latter end of 2021 caveat emptor there may be improvements.

Maybe things will change. If we get to talking about pricing, that may be different. Who knows, but this is where we are right now. What are the things that you're seeing your customers are successfully selling most often? What should be people be thinking about when they're thinking, okay, I'll go check out lemons.

[00:12:04] Gilbert Pellegrom: Yeah. So I guess predominantly things like e-books is a big one, obviously. We see quite a lot of software, which is unsurprising, especially because of our kind of license key and subscription features like that. That's really appealing for software developers who are, selling stuff on charge a subscription on a, an annual basis, for example.

The other thing we see a lot of is like a design assets and packs, M like wire framing kits for Figma or sketch, or, these kind of things, like just design templates and assets, and maybe even themes and that kind of thing. So that's at the moment that's predominantly in the kind of things that we have.

We've seen them through the system.

[00:12:50] Nathan Wrigley: I would

[00:12:51] JR Farr: say it's interesting too. There's a there's definitely, we don't have a true like course builder, where you could build up a whole course and Lemon Squeezy yet, but there's a lot of people that use Lemon Squeezy to sell their course access to their course.

So that's been a big one as well. And then people are just selling like their services. And the reason for that really is being the merchant of record. They can actually. Use services like a Stripe or something like that to quickly send out an invoice for their service, whether it's their web designer or developer, and they're trying to bill for their time.

So they actually use Lemon Squeezy for that as well. So that's been an interesting use case that we didn't actually see when we'd launched.

[00:13:31] Nathan Wrigley: That is intriguing. Isn't it? I wouldn't have seen that one coming. Okay. Let's just go through some of those one at a time. Let's take the example of an ebook.

So we, we haven't talked about the backend of the SaaS platform and maybe this'll promote it okay. I've got an ebook. It's going to be a huge hit everybody. By it. W how do I enable that to be sold via Lemon Squeezy? I, I think we can work out for now that they will ultimately be a block, which is a button on our website, which people can use to buy it.

And that's all taken care of. What do we actually do on the SaaS side after we've registered.

[00:14:10] Gilbert Pellegrom: The process is really simple. You literally just create a product and Lemon Squeezy upload your files and put in your, your details, pick your pricing, your description, your name, all that kind of thing and publish it.

And then you'd go back to your WordPress site. Select that product from the button and that's it. And again, because we're the merchant of record, you don't need to connect any payment gateways. You don't need to even set up payer details to get going or anything like that. It's literally just it's available for sale and literally minutes you could be

[00:14:43] Nathan Wrigley: selling something, so w where. PDF actually live and are there options? So what I mean by that is, is it held on, is it held on your infrastructure? Do you have your own servers? You, I don't know, maybe using Amazon or Azure or something like that. And also do I have configurable options to say, I dunno, you, whoever downloads it, they can download it once they just get one hit or they can download it for the next month or they can download it 12 times or whatever.

Are there other limits and constraints that I can put on the download ability? All of that thing and, make sure essentially it doesn't get out into the wild and everybody gets a copy for free. So

[00:15:23] Gilbert Pellegrom: from a technical point of view, excuse me. It's all hosted on our site. And part of the reason for that is so that we can basically ensure that the security and deliverability of the, of the failed.

You can't necessarily, eh, necessarily limit that. We've put a lot of effort into making sure that the system was secure, you can download files if you're, if you've purchased a product, can you'll get a, an email with a link to download the file. And you also can access a dashboard on Lemon Squeezy that can us previous orders, your order history, and you can always go back there to download whatever fails you've.

Through the system and they could, that could be any, any products and Lemon Squeezy they'll show up in your dashboard. But we like saying URLs to make sure that there are temporary and the expire, so they can't be shared, with other people and we rate limit downloads. So you can only do a certain number of downloads per day.

And yeah we have quite a few safeguards in place just to make sure there's no kind of abuse of the, the system

[00:16:36] Nathan Wrigley: is. Yeah. I think it's often over overdone, isn't it? The idea of how safe do you need your assets to be there? The assumption being that everybody in the world's going to want it, but it is nice to know that you've put those kind of checks and balances in there.

The, on the sort of software licensing side, I feel that. There's obviously, the elephant in the room here is is a plugin, which will no doubt everybody listening to this has heard of easy digital downloads. And I would imagine just about everybody who's used WordPress for any length of time has come across this plugin, whether or not you've actually got a license for it or not, you've come across it because you've interacted and downloaded software using EDD.

So we're familiar. Yeah. The process that they have, but let's say that I'm a plugin developer or a theme developer or any kind of software developer, and I've chosen to use them in squeezy. How, what does that process look like on the backend? How do we take care of things like updates and downloading the plugin and making sure that the number of licenses that are applied are actually being used because on the EDD.

That's obviously you've been fleshed out over a number of years. So I'm curious to see where you go in terms of feature parity, or maybe you've got some unique thing that EDD doesn't have.

[00:17:54] JR Farr: No, it's a good question. So I think I actually, Gilbert, I think what would be helpful to this is good context.

So the team behind Lemon Squeezy, we've all been in this WordPress space for over a decade. We've all saw. Digital downloads. We all built platforms before EDD existed, before WooCommerce existed, we built custom things ourselves. And we've all used those as well. And so this is definitely a platform Lemon Squeezy is definitely built from people that have experienced the same, issues.

Yeah. So I would say even with the first iteration of our. That is something we really worked on and made sure that feature was available. Yeah, as a provider of these types of products, oh, plug-in or a theme that, that requires licensed keys, that's already pre-built into the plugin and you have to think about it.

You just handle your software versions within limit squeezy. Once you do that, it just notifies the, your customers that they needed to to a new version, whether it's bug fixes or feature updates or whatever it is it's all handled easy peasy, lemon, squeezy, and it literally takes just a second to add it.

And then it's all handled with the plugin. You don't even have to set anything up or do anything. And one of the things that I think is hard for people to do is there is a mind shift. Because we're all so used to the WordPress way, which is download a plugin. And then I got to go buy all these add-ons and I got to figure out which add ons I need for this.

And Lemon Squeezy out of the box has all those features pretty much included in the plan. And all the so you don't have to go and get all these different add-ons to throw in. It's already done for you. And so I think that's one of the nice things about it is, I don't have to go pay for this and pay for that or go get this third party plugin over here that might conflict with this plugin.

And my word was WordPress site. It's all taken care of for you. I think that's like the real power behind it

[00:19:57] Nathan Wrigley: so I can do all the things that I would expect. So let's just run through some, I can, you can set a limit to the amount of time that license is a usable. Check. Yeah, if you just say, yeah no, that's probably the easiest way of doing it.

Can I offer lifetime subscript? Yes. Yes. Okay. Can I limit it? So it's a deployable only on X number of websites. And is the customer able to the end user that is, who's bought the license for X plugin? Are they able to go in and say, actually I want to revoke that license on that website and put it onto this one instead, I'm going to, I'm going to, so that I don't end up with essentially I've got five licenses let's say, and I've used them all up, but this website is not using it anymore.

Can I deploy it over there? Yeah. Okay. Yeah, you can do that. Nice. I think that's probably enough for me. Yeah. That's great. That's yeah, so basically

[00:20:51] JR Farr: all. Yeah. And it's really, again, I can't overstate this, but it's so easy to do an interface. Like literally you can see all of your customers and all the licensed keys that they have and who's active and who's not.

And It's all

[00:21:06] Nathan Wrigley: there. Yeah. That's great. You mentioned that you would be notifying customers. So let's say again, that I've got a plugin of updated. It is on version two now, as opposed to version one. And you said that will automatically, I think you said something like that, notify your customers is that literally hands off, you will just email on mass.

Everybody. That is a purchaser of my plug-in with an existing line.

[00:21:33] Gilbert Pellegrom: So part of Fe where the oldest can have ties in is that, like with the several, like big features that we really want to bring together to make the wholesaler. Digital goods, really easy peasy. And we've had this vision from the start and, cause you can imagine like the way we used to do it or even the way you make do it now, you couldn't, you get websites, so you build a WordPress website and you've got the friends from where to host it and then you create a product and.

Sign up for your payment gateway and handle tax and all that. And then would get to the point of sale and you think, great I'm selling software. And then I need to release an update and you're like, oh, wait a minute. I need to email all my customers. Like, how am I going to do that? She set up some email marketing software or whatever.

Yeah. And, like all these services are like desperate and, complex, and you've got to integrate them all in. So one of the, they can have big visions for lemon. Squeezy was to really bring all these things together and tie it all together and basically just make it really easy PT, funnily enough, to use.

A big feature that we don't have yet, but one that we are working towards is email marketing. And it's going to be like completely integrated with the whole Lemon Squeezy experience. So the idea that, you can import your subscribers. You could email them once off, eventually we'll maybe have marketing automation, so you can email them automatically at different teams.

People will be segmented based on what products they've bought and different things. And yeah like one of the features that we'd love to offer is that. Here's an update for my plugin and it automatically sends an email out to everybody who's purchased a plugin saying, look, here's an update, run the update in WordPress or whatever it is.

Yeah, so that's kinda like the part of the bigger vision that we're

[00:23:16] Nathan Wrigley: working towards at the moment. Yeah. You feel that the easy peasy kind of offer is basically just, do as little as possible and get the most back in return. So the idea that you would update your plugin and if you'd continue.

Every single person who'd got it and was had a current license that was, they were still a paying subscriber was going to get notified. It just seems yeah. Why not? Why wouldn't I do that? That seems like a really nice idea. Yeah. Yeah, let's move along to this thing. Cause I really didn't understand this.

You've explained it to me in very brief terms. Again, I think it probably needs figuring out in my head, but you mentioned right at the top that you are the merchant of record. If I got that. Yeah. Okay. So you're the merchant of record. Now that to me is something that I don't really understand. So let's explain that right at the outset.

What does that really mean? What does that, what benefits does that bring and what does it mean for people subscribing to your platform?

[00:24:15] JR Farr: So I'll take a stab at this and then Gilbert can add some color and go from a technical standpoint. But it really, the best way to think about it is you either take the responsibility on, or you pass it off to services like Lemon Squeezy.

And what I mean by that is, handling, taxes is complicated. That is complicated, especially in the EU, right? Like how do I charge here? And what percentage do I charge over there? And it becomes. A lot and there's a lot of risk associated to it. And so services like Lemon Squeezy, and why we did this was it really just takes the pain out of having to handle any of that from an e-commerce perspective.

And so Lemon Squeezy takes all the risk. We essentially handle all your VAT collection. Tax collection, fraud issues. Any of that stuff, and there is services out there like this, but not focused on digital downloads, but like square PayPal. Those services are act like this as well.

But I think the beauty of it is it allows us to offer an experience like we've just described where you don't have to go fiddle around with creating merchant accounts and payment gateways and all that type of stuff. But from the responsibilities, from our perspective is. All the boring stuff, PCI compliance, and we're handling a lot of the cancellation and refunds and disputes with those people.

And we do have to make sure that the S the store owners that are coming under lemon squeezer, obviously acting, like good store owners, obviously. But yeah, it really just, it streamlines everything. And so I think it's a fresh take, and it's a, more of a modern approach that think sets us apart.

[00:25:57] Gilbert Pellegrom: Yeah. Yeah, no it's very much like the kind of dark underside of sailing, digital goods online. If you want to call it that, like anyone that's done this. This comes from our own experience of we've all done this and the make lemonade group, we've all been in this position where you have to deal with things like charge backs and vibe and, making sure you're charging the correct sales tax.

And if you're in the EU, you've got to, register for tax and the right countries. And it's different VAT rates for different countries and all the, just the, like the nasty bits of having to sell stuff online. And being a merchant record just means that we take all that responsibility on ourselves so that, our sailors don't have to write, they can just sign up, sell their stuff.

And we pay out at the end of the day and, they can walk away happy knowing that we're, we're responsible for all the kinda nasty bits that people. Really want to have to deal with

[00:26:53] Nathan Wrigley: it. It's not just the nasty from my point of view. It's just that, that not only are they nasty, they're just so dull.

It's really interesting doing that kind of stuff, figuring out all the time. Yeah, it is. And it's really time-consuming. And if like me, you live in the UK, I have no idea how the taxation system in the United States works. I really don't get it. And so the option to essentially. Buy into your service and go, actually now I don't need to get it.

That's quite, that is quite a powerful feature. I think that's, that feels to me almost like the feature of the yeah.

[00:27:31] JR Farr: And it goes we, we took it a step further. So to your point it provides a pretty easy entry into global markets. So if you just want to sell to anyone in the world, now, if you're on Lemon Squeezy, you don't even have to think it's done.

Like it's there's no, and we took it a step further where we support. From a, as a store owner on them and squeezy, we support 95 different currencies. So you can sell in your currency. We also, when it comes to getting paid, and this is an issue too, right? We have a partnership with wise dot. And so we'll support 79 different bank payouts.

And then we obviously, you can get paid through PayPal as well, which not everyone loves, but that option is available, but it's, but again, it's doing that work and spending our resources on that. So we've allowed. The input of the money, right? Coming in from an emo, a merchant of record standpoint, we allowed that super easy.

And then the output of it, when you want to get your money, we've made that even easier where a lot of people before had to use PayPal or something, now we've given him the ability to use a wise account or something like that. And they can just, they don't even have to set up a wise account. They set up inside of their Lemon Squeezy account.

They just add their bank account and they're automatically paid. And so it's, we've just spent so much time. In the, almost like in the WordPress way of democratizing it, right? Like it's very, just everything just. Is globalized for anyone to use.

[00:29:00] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Like I said, I think this is the killer feature.

I think this is the thing which will get most people interested is the sort of set it and forget it. And actually not, maybe not even the sort of crowd which you're speaking to on this podcast, it feels to me like just the regular people who are using WordPress and really don't know what they're doing.

They've managed to somehow get an install of WordPress going. Whoa. Wow. How does I've got a website and now. Fully start selling something, which is actually what they want to do. Not the website bit, not the downloading plugins, but they just want to start selling the thing. You go to your website, sign up, agree to the terms, literally type your text, your promotional make your promotional page, your landing page, put the big fat button on and you're done, that's all you need to think that.

[00:29:50] JR Farr: Exactly. And I think it's really important to us as creators ourselves, right? That you are all the power is still with you. This is your store. These are your customers. These are your products. This is your stuff. It's not, and so we, even though we do act as the merchant of record, it's still very important for us to. Make it feel like this is, and that a lot of our customers love that about us. They can that's on their custom. We offer custom domains and all that needs, obviously. Now you can use it on WordPress. So we've really tried to focus.

Really just being behind the scenes. You,

[00:30:26] Nathan Wrigley: if memory serves, when I was reading your literature the other day, you don't actually even need a website. Do you can you just use the SaaS platform and have like landing pages? Do you have a page builder in there or, something where you can create a landing page and that'll get you to.

[00:30:44] JR Farr: Exactly. That's a really good question. So two things, there's the, we have the ability to quickly just grab a link. So if you create a product, you could grab a link and send it to our hosted checkout. So people do that a lot of times they'll just post a link on Twitter or send an email to someone and just send it right to a hosted page.

They didn't have to do anything, but yeah are in the process of a launch. We're calling it our big website builder which, maybe isn't as exciting to the WordPress space, but we do feel like we want to offer different options to people. So our and our builder is, yeah, it's taken the same kind of concept with seams and you can build landing pages coming soon.

Pages, email opt-in pages to a full-blown e-commerce store with product agent. All that type of stuff. So we're pretty excited about it, especially with our, where we grew up, which is, myself, I ran mojo marketplace, which was arguably one of the biggest WordPress marketplaces. And Orman and Jason and Gilbert, we all know themes and what people want.

And that's another thing is we don't want to have, we don't want people to have to sit there and design their website and pay developers and figure out how to do this and get it to work right. We'll just have our themes. They're beautiful. And they work right out of the, yeah.

[00:31:59] Nathan Wrigley: I'm going to come onto the team a little bit later.

Cause actually for me, that was also something which made my ears. Stunned is stand up. That's not a phrase, but you get the point because you really have. Stella team. And so from a definitely from the point of view of building something, which I can trust, I think you've nailed that, but also something which will in the future be beautiful.

I think you've got all the right people on board there as well being the merchant of record. So it, it has all these fabulous benefits that we, I think we should address as we did just before we clicked record the. The fact that, and this may be of interest to people, I guess the, because you are selling the things they are in fact being sold by you.

So for example purchase receipts and so on, they're going to come from lemon, squeezy, I guess they can be branded with your logos and things. I'm assuming, I don't know. But ultimately you are selling them. And so that's something that we need to dwell on. How does that all.

[00:33:03] Gilbert Pellegrom: Yeah. So from a technical point of view, yes.

What happens is you can license your product to us in a way, and we sell it on your behalf. So technically that's how the process works when we are the merchant of record. Now, obviously the upstate of all of that is. We take on all the responsibility and the liability for the whole process.

But as Jay Jr was saying earlier that there isn't really any downstage to it because try and make the whole kind of thing as personalizable as possible. Th the email receipts will come from Lemon Squeezy, but, you can put your store. I am logo in there.

It'll be in there by default, with our website builder. One of the things that we were going to add to that is like a an email kind of editor as well. So you'll be able to customize, email receipts and your own text and buttons and all that good stuff. And so we really want to.

Feel it's still very much you that selling the things even all the way from a technical point of view, it's not, like in the, at the end we want the customers to feel that they're buying something from you as a seller. If that makes sense.

[00:34:14] Nathan Wrigley: That does make sense. That's the trade-off I guess isn't it.

You've got to, if you're going to go with Lemon Squeezy get it. Hassle-free and and that's just one of the things that comes along for the ride. One of the things that's just occurred to me is a lot of people who are selling one off products and things like that they may have a whole army of affiliates that they've got in the background.

And I don't know if that's something that you. I have even thought of if that's part of the platform or a roadmap. And so what I'm meaning by this is, let's say I've got a plugin. I want to sell it, but I also want to give an affiliate commission, 10, 20, 30, whatever percent to people who promote it and you make YouTube content or whatever on my behalf.

Is there any of that's possible in the platform?

[00:35:05] JR Farr: That's a really good question. And it's been. Big feature requests. So right now, no, we don't have the ability to offer an affiliate program, but it's 100% on the roadmap and. I think we just want to make sure we get this builder and the email marketing piece out.

And then I think the affiliate piece will be right after that.

[00:35:23] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. And maybe at this point we should mention, cause I don't think we've really dwelled on it enough that you really are just at the beginning of the journey here. Aren't you? How long have you been going at this how long has it been like out in the wild, be beyond the clutches of your BTU.

[00:35:42] Gilbert Pellegrom: Yeah. So we started beat at Jerry. You can correct me on this, but I think we had launched them to be at earlier this year. Certainly. I think it was like February and March time. And then we launched fully in, July. Open to the public in July. So yeah, we've been working on it for almost two years now, but really w you're right.

We're only at the very beginning. Of the journey is that where, we've got some big aspirations, big plans for Lemon Squeezy and what's to do.

[00:36:12] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. So speaking of that, let's say somebody listened to this podcast and they've, their interest has been peaked and they think, actually, I want to go and look at this, but I also.

I also want to be part of it and I want to help, and I want to be able to offer suggestions and get my ideas right. To the front of the queue of the roadmap. Are you still onboarding people in that way? Are you asking for suggestions for what the product needs to have in it that would make it more desirable or have you locked down the roadmap now and you're happy with what you've got for the next year or.

[00:36:47] JR Farr: Oh, no, I think it would be foolish of us to not take the feedback. I think we're always looking for feedback, but, and we've, even just a as yet, literally yesterday we had a pretty big course seller that needed some features. Quickly pulled Gilbert off of what he was working on, which is a big initiative and he literally built it and we pushed it out.

And so just listening to the consumer and what they need and what they want. Obviously, like that comes, there's a fine line, right? So we have to make sure we use our intuition and in what we think as well. But no, we're S we're still heavily.

Leaning on our user base to

[00:37:34] Nathan Wrigley: tell us what they need. I think you've answered that really well, actually, because you could get the impression that all things, there's, this sort of sense of atrophy that comes in after a certain amount of time, you've got the product out there. It's two years in the wild.

You've got millions of customers. There's a. Speed of development, which has to, you have to put the brakes on a bit more with that stuff, because you've got 2 million people whose livelihoods could be ruined if you mess something up. But right now, because you're still new you've what is it like five, six months into the sort of open-ended development.

The the possibility to get your voice heard is probably it's more likely to be heard now than it will be in five years time. Does that kind of make sense? That was really more what my question was. Yeah. Yup. Yup. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. That's really interesting. Let's get onto your team then.

And I know that there've been mentioned, but I could read them out, but it might be better if one of you guys did, because that always is important to me. Whenever I go out looking at a WordPress product and genuinely, this is what I now do, more or less, every time I buy something, I will go look at the pricing.

That's where I dwell first. And then soon after that, I'm on the about us page. And I want to know. Who you are how long you've been doing it and what your standing is in the WordPress community. And whether or not there's any kind of mischief that's happening in the parsha. We say those kinds of things really matter to me.

And when I saw your list, I was like, oh, okay. That's pretty impressive. So tell us who you are and what the background is of all the people individually, because I think that's really important.

[00:39:17] JR Farr: I'll take this one, Gilbert, cause this is, I think. It's tough. Like we actually do a pretty poor job right now on Lemon Squeezy talking about our team. And I think we're looking at redoing the site and doing more of a mission slash about us page and really showing who the team is. Cause weird, right.

To do the whole brag.

[00:39:39] Nathan Wrigley: But I also think in your particular case, there's no, you can really hit this one hard. I think.

[00:39:48] JR Farr: Yeah. So I guess so I'll start with the T I'll start with the founding team, right? And so there's Orman Clark who's from the UK. He really was the first kind of million dollar man on the marketplaces.

And he set the standard there and then he went off and built dunk.com along with Gilbert and that's. Over a hundred thousand designers used that to host their online portfolios, which is a really cool product. That's also part of now what we call our collective, which has make lemonade.

And we'll talk about that in a second, but the other founder is Jason Schuller and people know him. If you're an O G press 75, was his theme. And he did theme garden and he went off to build Plaza, which was acquired by GoDaddy. And it's been at Microsoft. So he's got a ton of experience from a front end perspective and Gilbert, our CTO.

Everyone knows him again from the old days of the new. Slider plugin at 5 million downloads. That was a massive hit part of dunk, part of delicious brains spin up WP. He's been a part of all those teams. And so we're lucky to have Gilbert on the team. And then myself rounding out the four co-founders.

I built a mojo marketplace which was acquired by endurance international group. They own Bluehost, HostGator, constant contact. I got that to about 6 million users and Integrated into all the hosting companies. And yeah, so I left after, being a part of that and we all teamed up and here we are, and doing all this lemon stuff.

[00:41:26] Nathan Wrigley: That's great. So they're the four founders, that's like the core team. And, but then there's more there's some other people involved, which is curious as well.

[00:41:36] JR Farr: Yeah, we have we have, what's called our collective and we call it a collective make lemonade. And there's a funny story behind it because when we all were sitting down, it was the tail end of 2020, which in our minds gave us everyone in the world, a bunch of sour lemons, that was a tough year for everyone. And we thought let's make this, let's make something positive out of this. Let's make lemonade. So we formed our. Avenger team and our Wu Tang client. And we've brought on once we launched it, there's been a lot of makers that we have been friends with for years that kind of wanted to join in on the collective as well.

And so they participate with us and they help us with all the products and primarily the teams focused on Lemon Squeezy. But just to name some of those guys, Mike McAllister he was part of a Ray themes and atomic blocks, which was acquired by Adobe engine. He's a big player in the space. You got James Kent who's everyone knows him as iconic WP and recently sold to liquid web and Patrick Posner out of Germany.

He's been a big WordPress plugin builder. He's got a ton of really neat plugins that are more technical in nature. He's got like a static site kind of generator builder. He's got some interesting stuff that he does, so he's really helped us on the plugin as well. Yeah, that's a, and we've got Nick and who come from the motor days as well.

And so they're more on the technical side, so we've got some nice teams I'll help with the collective. And so we've got a fun group. We get shot every week together and I guess really build cool things that we want to work on. Yeah,

[00:43:15] Nathan Wrigley: honestly, that is a real laundry list of excellent talent. I really, honestly, my jaw was on the floor.

I was a bit like, okay, there's another one and another one. And that, that for me, if I was going to be jumping on, that would mean a lot. Maybe not for everybody, not everybody's interested in the, who are they, but for me, that matters. And I see all these names and I recognize them and I know what they've done.

I, all of their back story just speaks volumes about being in the community and sticking things out and making sure that things work and just doing the grind over years, you've got a hundred. Combined experiences. That's pretty impressive. That's a good reminder. Yeah, no Bravo though, for assembling that team.

That's amazing. You mentioned something there that you wanted to come back to and I can't remember what you called it. It was something like it was definitely a lemonade reference, but it sounded almost like you were talking about like almost a marketplace of talent or something, people who might help you with, what was it?

You said I've gone out of my head. Yeah. I

[00:44:17] JR Farr: was just saying that we've opened up, make lemonade. We've done some interesting partnerships with different creators that we know, like for example, one of the pro if you go to make lemonade.wtf, which is a really funny domain name you can see all the projects that we're working on.

One of them is iconic and we teamed up with James McDonald, who I would argue is one of the better icon designers. Out there. And we built an iconic icon set together called iconic and that's just like an example of make lemonade teaming up with another really talented creator and building something.

That, thousands of people have already really enjoyed, purchased, bought, and we, that's been a really fun collaboration. So I think as time goes on, we're looking at make lemonade is like what we can do for the next decade together and build a legacy together and invite other creators that want to do stuff with the team and our audience that we've.

Tap into that. And so that's like the bigger vision of make lemonade. Okay.

[00:45:18] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. The way I took it was that you would have a marketplace of all the different products that you've had in your platform, but that's not speaking of that. Is that a thing, can you do that? Can you just say, look, here's.

I want to surface my product, a bit like Amazon resellers. So you can go to Amazon and products and you don't really know whether you're buying it from Amazon, what you do after a while, but initially off the bat, you don't really know. And let's imagine that in two years time, you've got, I don't know, a hundred thousand, 200,000 customers, and they want to go into some kind of collective marketplace.

You are after all the merchant of record, you could,

[00:45:58] JR Farr: yeah, isn't it funny how everything just like lays out. That's exactly where we want to head. And we most likely will help. We'll open up a marketplace for Lemon Squeezy, where you can just, when you add a product, just add a button, just say, put this in the marketplace too.

And now you've got it in the. Hopefully millions of people. Okay.

[00:46:16] Nathan Wrigley: Oh yeah. It's prescient for the first time. Probably in my life. The the thing that we need to talk about, cause we'll never hear the end of it if we don't is the pricing. Let's go through that. So if we head over to the pricing page, which is lemon, squeezy.com forward slash pricing, as you might expect what I'm seeing at the most.

Again, caveat emptor end of 2021. This may change. It may not. We've got three plans. We've got a basic plan. We've got a pro plan and then we've got an advanced plan. Do you just want to talk us through the different price points and how they differ?

[00:46:53] Gilbert Pellegrom: Yeah,

[00:46:53] Nathan Wrigley: I

[00:46:53] Gilbert Pellegrom: can do, I can do this one if you want cherish. So yeah, we've got em. So there are, they're all, no monthly plans. So it's all a kind of lowish monthly fee. And I say because when you look at the value that's actually provided in each of these plans and all the features that you get in each one that we actually can feel like it has pretty, it's pretty competitively priced, right?

Like you get a lot over the box with Lemon Squeezy. Yeah but there's a kinda basic plan, which is basically just for. Sh as you can imagine, somebody just starting out, somebody who wants to sell they've create a product and they want to sell it and they want to just get going and have somewhere to sell it.

And. Maybe have a storefront or whatever. You can do that on the basic plan. And then our pro plan, which is our middle planet moment. We have some kind of additional features in there. So one of them is selling subscriptions. Another one is P what you want pricing, which is I don't know.

You may have seen that. Or if you go to a page, you can select a value. To pay. And then we have some reasonably big features that are coming up for the pro plan as well. And yeah, so like one of them we've talked about affiliate market and that will be one that's in the pro plan. And then another like massive.

Or to similar massive features that we want to build that will be in the pro plan is eh, online courses and memberships. And they're similar but slightly different. So we want to be able to offer people to be able to. I sell membership, sell online courses and do that in a real easy way.

Yeah. Three minutes

[00:48:35] Nathan Wrigley: climate squeezes. So the basic plan, just so that, if you go yearly, you can get two months for free. So multiply by 10, the amount of the monthly plan, if you want to go annual. But the basic plan is $9 a month, pro plan $29 a month. And the advanced plan is $99 per month.

What I really like your pricing table that you've got the roadmap features in the pricing. I don't think I've ever seen that before. Yeah. Yeah, that's really intriguing. So they're all grayed out because they're not available, but there they are. So you're showing the roadmap features. So I can see that online courses is calming.

Selling memberships is calming email marketing, calming affiliate marketing. Ah, we mentioned that in we customer live chat, nice marketing automation coming, and it looks like, yeah, the website builder, we covered off a few of those, but they're there on the roadmap so that you can see. That's a really good example.

I like that you've done that. That's really clever. The okay. And one of the things that will catch everybody's attention is the transactional costs. So on top of the $29 or $9 plan, you pay something akin to Stripe, but it is slightly different to Stripe. It, I believe correct me if I'm wrong.

It's either. 2.4 or 2.9% per transaction. And I think 20 us cents your at 3.5% plus 30 cents per transaction. Just explain what, why that differs.

[00:50:03] Gilbert Pellegrom: Yeah. So I think that straight to pricing changes,

[00:50:06] Nathan Wrigley: depending on where you are

[00:50:10] Gilbert Pellegrom: in the us, it's 2.9 plus 30 cents. Yeah. But yeah so basically our transaction fees are to cover.

Th the peanut gallery transaction fees predominantly. So Stripe and PayPal will both charge you around 2.9% plus 30 cents. I think peoples is actually cannot recently. And eh, but the reason that it's slightly higher or recharge a slightly higher fee is because there's other fees associated with doing what we do that we actually observed.

So for example, like a PO notes, so we do bank PO it's and people opiates and we do bank payouts for your straight and weighs, as we've mentioned previously. And in both those cases, normally there would be a fee involved, but we really felt that we didn't. People to have to, pay or be charged a fee just to receive their money, right?

Like it's another kind of slice of their profit. Plus it also makes it harder to figure out what the real pricing is. If there's fees all over the place for doing all sorts of different things, it can make it really hard. Gage, what the, what you're actually going to pay in the end.

So we decided to absorb all the PO fees and so we cover them. And then we just decided that we would want, just one simple, straightforward transaction fee upfront, based in your payments. And then aren't, we, it's dead simple. To work. Yeah.

[00:51:33] Nathan Wrigley: It's actually weed costs. We've talked about the benefits of the system that you've got with your merchant of record and that there is a route to profitability there for you.

It's not just the not just the fee that you get, but also a tiny little amount that you get each transaction, which you'd like to cover those costs for all of the things that you're providing seems like a fair exchange to me, the. The thing about WordPress people is that they tend to want to connect things.

They always seem to, or they've got a MailChimp account over there and a convert kit account over there, and they've got Zapier doing a billion things and so on. And I wondered, I can see in the pricing table that you've got web hooks and things just very quickly, probably the last question of the day, if that's all right, what's the options are to connect to two other existing services of importance.

Or whether or not, you've got some of that stuff in the roadmap. I'm thinking of things like, Integra matins, Zapier and MailChimp and things.

[00:52:35] Gilbert Pellegrom: Yeah. So we've got M at the moment, we have two email integrations, which are actually built into them and squeezy. So one's for MailChimp and one is for convert kit.

And these are just to make it, simple to get email addresses, subscribed into those different services. If when somebody purchases your product, as you might do otherwise. So they're actually built into them and squeezy. Zapier is on the roadmap. That's something that we want to do because again, we know that everybody uses it and, connects all sorts of stuff with it.

We've not built it yet, but that is something that is on the roadmap and yeah. Web books is, are other features. So it wasn't that long ago actually we launched our API and it includes all sorts of stuff, but it also includes web hooks. And again, yeah, that's just a, another way to. Yeah, offer a kind of flexibility when it comes to, building our own stuff.

And it's funny actually, because our WordPress plugin that we've just released is built on the back of the API that we released and we don't use web hooks in it yet, but some of the features that we're planning will probably require, web hooks and that kind of thing in the future for WordPress.

Yeah, you're right. And yeah, it's just exactly that we know people are going to want it and going to use it. And we're trying to make it as flexible and easy as possible.

[00:53:48] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. I really do want to labor the point that this is really new and just because it's not there yet. It's not through lack of attention and care.

It just feels yeah, we've we're only five months into this being publicly available, so it's to be expected. Yeah, Bravo for what seems like a really an amazing product. Like I said, the URL is the Lemon Squeezy.com. If people would like to reach out to you guys, let's go for Jr. First. What's the quickest, easiest, most effective way to get in touch with you?

[00:54:22] JR Farr: Yeah, we're really active on Twitter. And then, obviously just, you can email us [email protected], but Twitter is always, we're always on

[00:54:30] Nathan Wrigley: there and it chatting with everyone just at Lemon Squeezy.

[00:54:35] JR Farr: I wish

I'll find it though. Yeah. It's LM squeezy, but,

[00:54:44] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, that moment where you talked it in to Twitter. No, it's taken down. Okay. And Gilbert, if there's anything you wanted to say different.

[00:54:55] Gilbert Pellegrom: No. Yeah. Just the same thing. Yeah. I'm Gilbert Tron on Twitter and yeah. Just tell us up any, anytime we're always

[00:55:01] Nathan Wrigley: happy to chat.

Thank you very much. You have a real pleasure chatting to you about Lemon Squeezy today. Thanks so much guys.

[00:55:07] JR Farr: Thanks for having us on the show. Thanks.

[00:55:09] Nathan Wrigley: I hope that you enjoyed that episode. Really curious and interesting solution. Don't you think Lemon Squeezy, a SaaS based solution, which allows you to put things digital products on your WordPress website, but takes away a lot of the burden by being the merchant of record.

As I said, if you reach out to them, I'd really welcome it. If you mentioned that you heard about them from the WP Builds podcast, that would be most helpful in.

The WP Builds podcast is brought to you today by Cloudways, Cloudways provides the ultimate managed WordPress and WooCommerce hosting solutions. Easy setup allows you to get started in minutes, focus on your business and say goodbye to hassles. Get started with their free three-day trial to enjoy unmatched performance, superb uptime and 24 7 active support. You can find out more at Cloudways dot com. And we do thank Cloudways for helping us to put on the WP Builds podcast.

Speaking of the podcast, we'll be back next Thursday. It will be an episode with David Waumsley and myself, but we'll also be back on Monday for our this week in WordPress show. It's live 2:00 PM UK time. WP Builds.com forward slash live. We'd love to have you there making. Okay. That's all I've got for you this week.

I'm going to feed in some cheesy music and 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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