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BigCommerce for WordPress & Commerce-as-a-Service Tutorial :)

Everyone so I’m here representing Bigcommerce and I’ve got a couple of compatriots in the room so I got Topher DeRosa he’s I butchered your last name didn’t I yeah he’s our WordPress developer evangelist and Karen white who’s one of our developer advocates and Jason Flagg who I don’t even know what your title is yeah hey you work with partners you work with developers you work with sales so all the above so to make it kind of a read of the room how many of you are like marketing agencies

or yeah cool a few of you how many of you work in WordPress or use WordPress or recommend WordPress and how many of you are EECOM cool so pretty good mix and then just make up of like technical versus non-technical we raise your hand if you’re somewhat technical so somewhat okay well I’ll preface all this by saying that I’m actually technically in the marketing side but I can swing one way or the other depending on conversation.

So brief history of just commerce platforms go back go back 20 years and it was you know novel for a business to be able to get online and just have a website right  that’s table stakes now 10 years ago it was really cool if you could transact and sell and do that securely and start generating orders online and now in 2018 it’s actually pretty table sticks to be able to have a website sell something except money ship and order and do it really effectively and so that’s kind of the evolution that we’ve had so way back when you were tied to you the monolithic beast so new features required the entire platform to be updated and built where we’re at right now or we were at is kind of the Commerce led approach.

So you know go back 10 years when we started in a little bit before that’s when sass started becoming a thing where we’re gonna host everything related to commerce cart checkout catalog orders fulfillment anything that you need and with that commerce lead approach we were attracting retailers we were attracting b2b customers kind of the gambit of anyone who wants to sell online but recently and where everything’s going if all things are equal.

You now have to differentiate online you have to brand yourself you have to have an experience that people want to engage with from a Content perspective and the ability to shop – without having a redirect through three affiliates to get to Amazon and then you lost that traffic you lost that visitor but a year and a half two years ago I pitched the idea of hey what if we took what if we did something crazy what if we got rid of our storefront which you know if you are a Bigcommerce customer manage everything in the background we create a presentation layer for you what if we remove that and let you use whatever you want it on the front end and this was the time that I started going to some really interesting events for the one that really hit for me was it was a conference for like box of the Month clubs and there are probably 500 vendors there and they all start on WordPress and at some point.

Once they start getting about I don’t know maybe 2,000 orders they have to process a month and you know doing 500,000 in annual revenue or greater that’s when the horror story started the I have to take my site down on the weekend so I can batch process these 2000 bucks of the month payments and orders or I just got hit because somebody posted about me and I don’t know BuzzFeed and now site traffic’s fine but people trying to buy anything is horrendous.

So I actually didn’t realize that there is so much latent pain in the WordPress community from how do you keep scaling on WordPress because we all know WordPress I mean it runs TechCrunch, New York Times, BBC you name it but I didn’t realize that commerce didn’t scale and so that’s kind of what we started with so Bigcommerce always been known as the sass everything in the box platform plug in related commerce functionality to the backend we’ve now taken everything that is our platform and started building api’s for it api’s web hooks and pause looking into 2019 graph QL.

So we want to make it so that developers and agencies and users can say you know what I really like WordPress maybe you were a Content site first and now you’re getting you know a couple hundred thousand hits a week right now and you’re trying to add commerce it’s to do at scale so what we came up with this commerce as a service idea so we’re gonna take the core competencies that we do as a business really well at scale and deliver it where everybody might want to shop so if that’s a mobile app if that’s a kiosk at the mall that’s touchscreen in the back of a taxicab you don’t have to worry for us to build that feature first because we specialize in commerce we don’t know what the next big things going to be that’s going to make or break your business but we don’t want to limit that too.

So where we’re going now is a very API driven future so rather than looking to a single tool or platform to be everything that you need to run your entire business or for each this – it’s now a hub or it could be a spoke or it could be the sign link glue that kind of holds everything together in the background it doesn’t matter we have this opinion.

Now that we’ve solved for what commerce at scale looks like whether that’s your primary business secondary or just part of your you know enterprise operations so commerce is a service kind of has two tracks where we’re at right now is the headless commerce meaning we’re letting you use whatever front-end you want to build whatever experiences your brand needs I’ve hosting providers under here too because well we’re obviously here with WP engine and something like a wordpress plug-in actually works quite well especially when it’s been you know tested battle tested in their environment and they don’t want to run into issues with people at the upper end you know running out of runway for you know their commerce needs they shouldn’t WordPress is highly performant and it should continue to scale and then looking to the future as we keep opening up more and more of our platform.

The options are kind of out there for like the example I like to use is like there’s a company called mind body which is a SAS software company for like reservations and massage bookings and things like that somebody like that could take all of these api’s and they could actually say you know what we don’t want to deal with commerce the complexities of payments the risk of PCI compliance the hosting everything we just want to offload that to something that works in a programmatic way and they could start embedding us into those things.

So that’s really far up market so that kind of led us to where we’re at with WordPress right now is you know what else do we need to fill in to take all of the data that lives in Bigcommerce and replicate that in WordPress so that you can build your front ends and whatever you want on WordPress free up the resources on the backend that commerce typically occupy and continue to scale your business.

I’ll show you these two sites in a little bit one of them just went live and the others going live in the next couple of weeks and we built this for developers we wanted to not say this is the thing you can’t touch it you can’t modify it no we built this it’s open-source license you can take our plugin you can do whatever you want with it and you can start doing really cool things so like this example right here is actually building a kiosk offline kiosk that maps to their online store.

So that you can start selling at this serf ranch that they have I’ll tell you about that a little bit too and then even beyond WordPress so we don’t want you to have to find where our limits are and then have to reap lat form because that’s an expensive exercise it takes time it you know it you take an overall hit and a loss so with us scaling commerce you don’t have to stop it at just WordPress.

So this example right here is actually coded completely in react which is you know kind of the front-end does your language right now and all they did was consumed our api’s and follow exactly what we had built with the wordpress plugin and then this one is just you know this is I could show you this after while we’re having a beer but one of our developers over the weekend took the Apple our kit and connected our api’s to it and that’s what now we have augmented reality shopping and it wasn’t something that we had to go develop and invest hundreds of thousands of dollars Sprint’s and you know a year of engineering time but you can connect this commerce technology to whatever need to be connected to so with WordPress specifically we kind of had three key use cases one content sites that started as a blog or you know whatever and are now adding commerce later in the game so that scalability issue that you have when it comes to commerce versus the known performance scalability that you can do with just content.

Second is the experience driven side so you want to make something to smoke you want to have that online experience that differentiates you from your competitors we don’t want that to be the limiting factor why you didn’t choose Bigcommerce to run the commerce side of things when we know that we can we can play ball up market with you as you grow but you might have bigger ideas than you know we can serve today and then you know brands going international so when you start probably around though the 1 million in revenue mark that’s when you really in annual revenue that’s when businesses start to go you know maybe this is a full-time thing how do I grow this you might look to Amazon or Ebay to start selling things you might want to add you know a european site that you can start selling but we found a lot of that use cases from kind of like the upper end churn from WooCommerce that were coming to our platform we’re looking for so I’ll breeze through these like don’t get me wrong.

WooCommerce’s is great like it is so easy to set up if I have a blog I can have the plugins you’re gonna have a cart I can have a checkout I’m up and running really soon there’s a lot of wide adoption there’s you can tweak it to do whatever you want you can extend it how you want and you can really make it right sized for the business but the area that we’re looking at has always been the upper end of the market for where people turn off of WooCommerce and what we were finding is that people weren’t necessarily going with another plug-in on WordPress.

They were literally going to Magento or if you’re doing 10 million in annual revenue you probably have three or four developers on staff already and so they were just going hey maybe I’ll build will bring this in-house will do a complete custom build because some of the issues with scale and risk associated we’re just not panning out and so what brought is kind of the best of both worlds so removing the back end bloat from your wordpress instance so WordPress can do what it does you know incredibly well which is scale to you know soaring heights for site traffic and taking all the complexities of catalog management at scale as you start growing into being a bigger business maybe you have multiple warehouses and you need an ERP connected and a pin for you know enterprise resource planning and product information management tools because guess what your catalog for the u.s. is different from your catalog in Australia but it’s still housed and fulfilled by the same company that you manage your warehouse fulfillments from so we take all of the 10 years of commerce experience that we have and we’re bringing it now to WordPress solving for a pain that we didn’t really realize existed and kind of bringing the best of both worlds.

So wait works right now it’s actually quite simple so have WP engine up here so Bigcommerce back-end again manages your products Topher puts it best you said WordPress is how you present yourself to the world Bigcommerce is how you manage the commerce and and fulfillment of of the world that you’re serving and so way we have this working right now is that everything that’s in Bigcommerce gets piped over via API to WordPress and that’s actually cached as you know actual posts so you don’t lose any SEO.

Here’s no I framing in or you know JavaScript after page loads that you know loses the SEO value that is inherent with WordPress and this is telling a few of you today the checkout experience today is wildly different than what will be available on Tuesday so I’ll speak to the Tuesday version which is the checkout will actually be embedded inside of WordPress with an iframe and we’ve solved for cross-site analytics too so you can have your entire shopping experience within WordPress and not know that it’s Bigcommerce powering that and then everything from hey maybe you’ve got to upload twenty thousand products to your catalog you no longer have to do that in the WordPress admin you can do that through API or a spreadsheet upload or whatever system you want from the BigCommerce back-end because like I said we’ve got about ten years of experience doing this and we’ve solved for that both for small and businesses at scale.

So I’m gonna just kind of quick go against bad rules of thumb and and show you live demos so this is wpengine sandbox that we installed the plugin today on and this is what you get so if you’re familiar with any other type of plug-in based commerce you know that you have to come in here you would add your products.

Here you can manage your product pages and everything in here but right now you can sync this in different intervals so if you add you know products every half hour then you’d obviously choose the 5-minute interval and if you’re a developer you can actually go in and manually change this to near-real-time if you’d like cart lives right in WordPress and I should preface all this by saying that when you install the Bigcommerce plug-in in WordPress it Auto populates all of these pages so your cart exists as a page currencies are I’m sorry accounts and registration exist as a page and you know it’s not a stretch to say that you know PCI compliance is no longer an issue your WordPress site getting hacked cool they could change everything on the front end but all of your user data and tokenize payment information that’s still stored on BigCommerce none of that exists in WordPress.

So not only does it remove some of the scalability issues but it solves a lot of the security risks that people face – and then since it is an iframe for the checkout we want it to solve for a cross-site analytics because I haven’t talked much about the Bigcommerce back-end but the way we’re treating this is so this is bigcommerce back and this is the demo store that was connected that is connected and again this is a Tuesday thing.

So historically you create a product catalog in Bigcommerce and if you wanted to sell on eBay or sell on Amazon you could select products send them there and connect your accounts and you could have you know your own little multi-channel retail operation what we’ve done is we’ve created the channels API which on Tuesday will allow me to create my WordPress North America site here my WordPress Canada my WordPress Australia site you can add as many sites as you want because we don’t charge based on the number of storefronts that you have we just want you to have your commerce operation simplified in salt for at scale this is kind of the last slide.

Right now we’re still in early access developer beta next week we’re going to have or can open up our github repo and it will be the first version of the publicly available beta version of the plug-in and we’re going to submit to wordpress.org so you can download from there that’s that’s cool I have here the agency that wants to learn more hit us up chat with Jason if you’ve got some projects in mind and Karen and Topher put a lot of work into launching our new dev forward stuff we’ve got all of our API is what looks in documentation for the plug-in is set so happy to have you guys ask questions or contact us now if you need help with Bigcommerce for wordPress & commerce-as-a-Service setup.

By KrishnaDasa

A shri krishna dasa devotee, follower of Shrimad Bhagavad gita, Shrimad Bhagavatam and a member of Iskcon Bhopal.

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