Archive for May, 2013

WebShopApps goes Platinum

Posted by: Karen Monday, May 20th, 2013

It seems barely yesterday that I was trawling the internet in search of a good eCommerce platform to use for my husband’s site. I remember looking at osCommerce and thinking there has to be something better out there. I was fed up with hosted solutions, I wanted control, I wanted flexibility. This was 2008, just over 5 years ago. Magento was the platform I chose, and shipping seemed to be the area I fell into.

Today in 2013 WebShopApps sit here with the honour of obtaining Platinum Industry Partnership status with Magento, and well it’s pretty shocking we have come so far in such a short space of time. I didn’t give up the day job until summer 2009, took on my first employee Josh in Feb 2010. Now in 2013 we have just signed leases on our US Office in Dublin, Ohio and by the summer will have employees in the UK, Australia and the US.

Something people maybe don’t appreciate about WebShopApps is that much of what we do and achieve is down to sheer hard work and determination. You can often find me sitting on skype at night, answering calls, dealing with chat, helping people out with their shipping configuration, coming up with new ideas with customers on how to improve their shipping rate calculations. Nothing here has changed since the early days, maybe its because I’m terrible at delegating(!) or maybe its just that I like to keep it real.

With this Platinum Partnership we remain a small company, bootstrapped, trying to find our way in this chaotic world of eCommerce. I personally value each and every customer that has or will buy our extension, we truly appreciate and value your business with us. Thanks to all the one-man bands that support us, whether you are a small eCommerce store or a lone developer. Thanks to the agencies that we love like Yoma, Blue Acorn, Lyons & Something Digital. We appreciate your business, and I personally appreciate your support and friendship.

I have to also thank Magento, not just for being a great platform for companies like WebShopApps, but also to our Industry Partner contacts Carly, Ryan and Aleza, for well just being there and supporting our business. You have put your faith in us over the years, and I hope we will continue to deliver innovative products that meet the demands of this fast paced industry.

We are embarking now on a change in our business, we will shortly be opening up the Early Access Program for our cloud based offering ShipperHQ to the Magento community. We have learned a lot about shipping and eCommerce over the past 5 years and I believe will be a game changer in shipping rate calculation logic. We look forwards with you to the next chapter.

Using Video to market your Software & Brand

Posted by: Karen Friday, May 17th, 2013

I thought I’d take a moment today to acknowledge the work of video production company The Buzz Lab and describe their impact on WebShopApps.

If you’ve seen any of the promotional or explainer videos on WebShopApps or our YouTube channel over the past couple years, you were watching the handiwork of these esteemed production wizards from Los Angeles. If you haven’t heard of them, these are the guys that worked with Magento to put on the fantastic production at Magento Imagine 2013.

Why Use a Video?

As a small company WebShopApps has to be careful where we spend out money. We don’t have a large marketing budget, and there are quite a few choices for us around where we use it. Do we spend it on Google or Facebook ads, push it out to the masses and see what happens? Well we could, but personally I’d rather see something tangible, something that projects our brand and helps our clients understand us and our products.

When I look at the costs of these videos I’m looking at how many I need to sell in order to make it worthwhile. I’m also looking at the brand of WebShopApps, so the indirect marketing around our image and whether people feel safe working with us.

Shipping is….well boring. I mean I find it fascinating, but I can see its not everyone’s favourite topic, especially a web designer who just wants to get his site finished so he can get back to playing with the latest new hot technology. And because shipping is often complex & critical, well our extensions have a fair bit going on. We needed a way to explain who we were as a company and a way to explain what the hell our extensions do and how they might help merchants and web design agencies work better.

Enter The Buzz Lab

This is where The Buzz Lab came up trumps for us. We first connected with them back in late 2011, we created a couple of explainer videos for our extensions. The results were significant. We did a re-brand of the site at the same time so its hard to be totally specific, but we saw an almost overnight doubling of our sales. Suddenly people were understanding what we did not just via word of mouth but because they could view our videos and it made sense.

Six months later we entered the Magento Imagine Challenge 2012 and they made us a truly unbelievable mockumentary. Again our sales doubled off the back of this. We are now in a position where we are known & respected as a brand throughout the Magento community, I believe in large part due to the videos done by these guys. Let me remind you, in 2009 I was still working at Thomson Reuters and WebShopApps wasn’t a domain name.

The Process

Whilst I’m no ‘creative’ I have very firm views on my software and how I want it portrayed. I’d had some experience with video production before with 2 other companies, and hadn’t been impressed, in fact we threw the videos in the bin! So getting the Buzz Lab involved was something I did with a lot of trepidation. After all these people are weird socialites aren’t they? I’m a techie, I can’t speak to weirdos(!). What do they know about technology, and more to the point how the hell am I going to ever explain what shipping is about?

I needn’t have worried. The Buzz Lab are part of this new generation of companies that are able marry technology with art & design. A prime statement of this is a comment Joe (Chief Production Officer) made to me the other week – ‘Who isn’t working in technology these days?’. They understand Commerce, they understand the technology behind it, and they understand how to communicate those things to a wider audience.

For my part, being a company owner time is hard to find. I like to work with people that are low maintenance. With The Buzz Lab our relationship now is such that I can have a 10 min Skype call with them, give a brief via email, and they can push out something I know will be fantastic. They understand communication.

Thanks Guys

At the risk of inflating their egos any further, I’ll just say that Ryan, Carson, and Joe are all great fun to work with, fabulously intelligent and personable, but also dead serious about what they do. They absorb your ideas, share their own, and deliver results in a timely fashion. So if you’re in need of some ace video work for you own company, I can’t recommend them highly enough.

I almost don’t want to publish this blog, its a little like that review on Trip Advisor for that fantastic resort that no-one knows about but you. Why tell everyone what a treasure of a company The Buzz Lab is?! But I will, because if we work together to partner with great resources like The Buzz Lab between us we can create something great.

Thank you guys. We are proud to have your name on our videos.