TL; DR: Online retailers, take note: Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce Hosting is increasing the speed, reliability, and performance of WooCommerce stores while helping them streamline operations and capture lost revenue. Between a wide range of scalable plans, generous features, and transparent pricing, the platform offers a wide range of solutions geared toward taking the hassle out of online selling. WordPress guru Chris Lema, now working with the maestros at Liquid Web, shares with us the new partnerships and extended features on the horizon, along with how the company is on a never-ending mission to take the hassle out of online selling.
As the 2015 holidays approached, a prominent online lipstick company knew they needed a strategy to support sales on Cyber Monday — the busiest shopping day of the year. That’s when they met Chris Lema and his team at a digital agency. Together with their internal developer, the team worked to help the WooCommerce store scale.
When Cyber Monday finally arrived, shoppers didn’t gloss over the opportunity to score $6 lipstick. Bolstered by a scalable, lightning-fast WooCommerce solution, the site withstood the digital stampede, which ultimately resulted in $1.6 million in sales.
That wouldn’t be the first or last time Chris worked on WooCommerce stores. After all, he’s been working on eCommerce since 1997 and WooCommerce from when it was first launched. By the end of 2016, Chris joined Liquid Web as VP of Product, and together, the team designed a high-performance hosting solution specifically for WooCommerce that sits on top of WordPress. Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce Hosting effectively combines the flexibility of owning an eCommerce platform with the ease of managed hosting. Now, online store owners can rely on Liquid Web to optimize images, create actionable reports, manage abandoned carts, provide 24/7 customer support, and more.
A Lightning-Fast Solution That Helps Reduce Cart Abandonment
Shopping cart abandonment, which occurs when a visitor adds items to an online shopping cart and then leaves without making a purchase, is a frustrating and all-too-common obstacle in the eCommerce world. In fact, research shows that the average documented online cart abandonment rate is almost 70%. Although it’s impossible to end cart abandonment completely, certain precautions allow online retailers to minimize its frequency.
Jilt, a SaaS solution that enables users to send recovery emails to customers who have abandoned carts, is one such measure. Jilt’s emails contain a one-click link back to the abandoned cart, and users have full control over scheduling. Since Liquid Web values SaaS products for their ability to reduce server load and enhance page load speed — both of which have a substantial impact on conversion — Jilt is included for free within Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce Hosting platform.
“WooCommerce itself doesn’t come with an abandoned cart solution, but when you sign up with us, you’re going to get the Jilt SaaS for cart abandonment already connected, integrated, and ready to run,” Chris said.
In addition to an abandoned cart solution, the platform contains multiple plugins that make it more intuitive while enhancing performance.
“By working with a couple of partners and installing a couple of plugins on top of WooCommerce, we’ve taken care of the most common issues,” Chris said. “Picking a WordPress theme? We take care of it. Image compression? We take care of it. Plugin updates? We take care of them, too.”
An Array of Scalable Plans Designed for Diverse Users and Stores
Chris told us Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce Hosting was developed to serve a spectrum of store types. “Customers can install any additional plugins to add features they would need to create any type of store, whether you’re selling courses, memberships, or actual products,” Chris said.
The platform also delivers an ideal supplement to Amazon. “Our research with customers that sell on Amazon indicates that the No. 1 priority many sellers have for 2019 is to add another channel, such as their own site,” Chris said.
Imagine, for instance, that you’re a professional hatmaker who sells caps made of cobalt felt. “If you’re on Amazon selling blue hats, every time someone searches for ‘blue hat,’ Amazon shows them all of your competitors,” Chris said. “On top of that, Amazon has its own brand — AmazonBasics — and they sell blue hats as well.”
The competition would make any hatter mad. Chris said it makes Amazon sellers want to launch independent sites in addition to their Amazon storefronts. This type of client typically prefers to start small, often opting for the company’s $28 Beginner Plan (after 28% discount for first two month promo).
“It’s primarily for really small stores or owners with new ideas they want to try out,” Chris said. “The onboarding is a little less high-touch because it’s just $39 a month, but it’s still a fairly robust approach.”
Clients seeking a white-glove service would benefit from the company’s Standard Plan, which starts at $249 a month. “We provide a total solution,” Chris said.
Abundant Features with Transparent Pricing Starting at $28 Per Month
The beauty of Liquid Web’s Managed WooCommerce Hosting is that it allows anyone to try their hand at the platform. Have you conjured up a store idea but are not entirely confident it will take off? The Beginner Plan is your best friend. And, with a simple design that allows customers to create a storefront from scratch, the platform makes it a cinch to launch a WooCommerce store.
“Our target market for the Beginner Plan includes internet personalities who want to monetize their blogs, startups, and new companies looking to test out their ideas,” Chris said.
It’s also a great option for businesses with existing WooCommerce stores looking to monitor site speed. “Perhaps a number of people visit your page, but they never check out,” Chris said. “That may be due to site performance. If you’re hesitant to invest in our $249-a-month plan, we say, ‘Why don’t you bring a few of your products over and try ours out for $29 a month? You’ll see it’s so much faster, so much better.”
Chris warned that other eCommerce platforms may operate under deceptive pricing schemes.
“If a plan starts at $29, and you say ‘I also want PDFs for my invoices,’ they’ll tell you it’s $9.99 a month more,” Chris said. “You’ll ask, ‘What about product bundles?’ and they’ll say, ‘They’re $14 a month.’ Cross-sales are another $19.99 a month — and the list goes on. By the time you’re done, you’re paying $100 a month plus 2% on transaction fees.”
In the long run, the company’s goal is for its clients to succeed. “We want to grow with you,” Chris said. “We’re willing to subsidize some initial costs to get you on the platform and realize, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’”
An Evolving Platform to Include Inventory and Tax Management
As with many of the company’s innovations, Liquid Web’s Beginner Plan was born out of attentive conversations with customers.
“Early on in the process, we had a customer who said, ‘I can’t do it. It’s $250 a month, and I don’t even have my store idea fleshed out. Maybe I’ll test it out on Shopify and then bring it back over here later,’” Chris said.
Liquid Web knew that once customers wander elsewhere, they never return — and instantly implemented the Beginner Plan. The product development technique worked so well that the company has leveraged it ever since.
“We keep evolving the platform,” Chris said. “Soon we’ll announce a partnership with an inventory management system. We’ll also be looking at taxes and fraud — several things that will enable us to take care of customers and use their feedback.”
From there, the company plans to tackle dedicated solutions for drop shipping — a retail fulfillment technique where the merchant purchases items from a third party — and marketplace stores, such as Etsy.
“We expect those offering to roll out sometime in Q4, and they’ll be full-featured,” Chris said. “You’ll sign up, get a WooCommerce store, and have a marketplace already in place.”
Whether you’re an online lipstick company looking to navigate a sales frenzy or a skilled hatmaker looking to even the playing field, Liquid Web makes WooCommerce more intuitive and efficient.