Barr WP Standard

Seven years ago, back in 2013, WP Standard won Shopify’s Design Award, giving it some serious exposure to their target audience and going strong since. It’s one of the top examples of how design can play a huge part in the success of a Shopify website and, naturally, we’ve asked it’s founder, Ryan Barr, for a short interview.

WP Standard started in 2009 as a one man show mostly out of need, but also as a way to express Ryan’s interest in design and beautiful craft.

“I wanted to go into business for myself and had always been interested in design. I had no real money and no business training so, when I started, the challenges were manifold. Luckily eCommerce was just starting to take off and there were tools available for me to dip my toe in the water as a side hustle to begin and then later a full-time gig”, he recalled.

He truly believes he managed to create a unique product and the team tries really hard to achieve the perfect designs with the best materials. “We also stand by the product with warranty and repairs. We truly want our customers to be happy and have a good experience”, he says.

What are the specific challenges of the industry? A handful of players have “cornered it”

eCommerce, in general, “is tough”, as a few major players like Facebook, Google, Amazon, have “sort of cornered the industry in a way”.

“In the beginning you could find lots of free traffic, but now you have to pay one of these guys to get in front of people. You need to make sure you have enough margin and know how in one of these platforms to be successful”, says Ryan Barr, basically echoing the concerns of entire communities of startups and not only.

Actually, when asked by ecomPedia what would he instantly change to his business if he had a superpower, he immediately answers: “cheap customer acquisition!”.

As for Shopify, Ryan says he picked up this platform instead of Woocommerce or Prestashop just because “it was just the first one I saw. And boy, was I lucky to find them! They’ve been a wonderful partner since”. As for apps, he recommends Inventory Planner and Ordercup, “these are very helpful operationally to begin with”.

Coronavirus didn’t deter his business

Even though he doesn’t disclose actual numbers, year on year the sales have grown bu 40% in 2020. “Tote bags are popular. Most of our customers are US based, though we do ship a fair amount to Australia”, he says.

As for COVID-19, he says it really affected their supply chain.

“We’ve had, and continue to have, stock outs. Luckily with our goods there isn’t really a risk of contamination shipping our items out, but we did have to take precautions in the shipping center”, he concludes.

What’s your take on the state of eCommerce nowadays, in terms of acquiring new clients? Let us know in the comment section below.