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Welcome to the e-commerce playbook brought to you by IWD agency where we share tools tips and tactics from industry-leading experts to help you take your e-commerce game to the next level now here's your host Joe McFerrin.
Bradley: Hello world, welcome to the debut episode of the e-commerce playbook. This is going to be a weekly podcast featuring topics and issues related to the current eCommerce business that we're hosting weekly from beautiful downtown Austin, Texas. My name is Bradley Markham, Lead Marketing for IWD agency and I will be hosting today's episode.
Going forward our guest of honor today will be your host for the e-commerce playbook his name is Joe McFerrin. He is the founder and CEO of IWD agency which is the eCommerce agency based here in Austin Texas. So without further ado welcome Joe McFerrin to your podcasts.
Joe: A good warm welcome and glad to be kicking off this podcast in downtown Austin. I am really excited to get this started we've been talking about it and thinking about it for a long time and I am super excited to get it kicked off.
Bradley: Hello everybody and thanks for joining us for this eCommerce playbook we're excited about having some great topics and some great guests going forward. I do want to get to the podcast because the topic of today's episode is just the introduction to the podcast and what it's going to be about. But, before we get there I wanted to kind of talk to you a little bit about IWD agency, how that got started and maybe we can start with you specifically like how did you get into e-commerce what was the impetus there?
Joe: It's been a long road and that could be a really long answer but I'll go into some details. I guess at a young age I was always interested in business. My dad was an entrepreneur. He was a chemical engineer and had a chemical company and he always kind of raised me as an entrepreneur and talked about running a business so I always had an interest in that. Getting into college, I had an interest in web development so I got a degree in business and computers and a minor and graphic design our visual communication. From there I got into web development.
How Joe McFerrin, CEO of IWD got his start
One of my first clients was eCommerce and I started dabbling around kind of as a hobby doing some eCommerce work after I graduated. I got into the corporate world and started doing kind of a corporate life but I was always interested in web design and e-commerce since I did that on the side. A few years into it I wasn't really feeling the corporate life and the web development eCommerce thing kind of started taking off so I started taking my life of its own right.
I decided you know, I can always come back and do the corporate life but let me take a shot and try it try this eCommerce thing and really at that point eCommerce wasn't really churning as well as it is today.
One of my first merchants was a jewelry store and she sold engagement rings. Someone slapping down a credit card and buying a $10,000 engagement ring was like a huge deal this is probably 2005-2006 early on you know so people just didn't trust online shopping a lot. Especially to put down a credit card to buy an engagement ring they've never seen before so it was a lot of hurdles to get over that kind of stuff.
I did an automotive store, I did a couple of other stores, but people kept hitting me up to do e-commerce stores and for a little while I was doing web development and e-commerce. I was also doing lawyer sites. Eventually, I decided you know, let's be one expert at something and not a jack-of-all-trades so we decided to hone down on e-commerce and this was actually prior to Magento being a thing.
We used to build the sites on an open-source platform called OS commerce and then there's a spin-off of that one called CRE loaded so we did sites like that but I saw Magento coming up before it was released. The alpha-beta versions actually had a cool UI and looked like it had a lot of features and someone was actually putting some effort into it.
The CRE loaded and OS commerce at that time was so dated and nobody was updating the core code. It was just really a mess so when that came out I jumped on the ship and got onto the alpha-beta version and started building shops on it.
I was building shops on in the beta version which you weren't supposed to do but I was just so excited about doing it and so slowly started building up a team from that. Slowly getting a developer here and there and getting a designer in there and eventually built a full team.
IWD in 2019
I think we're like between 30 and 40 people now. Some full-stack designers, Quality Assurance project managers and developers so yeah it just kind of grew homegrown from natural demand. Obviously a lot of people were starting agencies and as you said at the beginning if they do websites for lawyers it's not a development agency but maybe they're doing marketing services for all sorts of websites but IWD focuses on eCommerce only right now.
Most of our business has been Magento historically but we do support other platforms and have started by building stores on other platforms such as big commerce and Shopify. So, in this podcast to I do want to mention that we're not just focused on one platform. We do want to make sure we're covering multiple platforms.
We want to be focused on e-commerce in general and not just one platform. One of the phrases that we say internally is that we are the wedding coordinators of e-commerce so we like to connect people to the right solution. We don't ever want to say we only support this one vendor or hey we only support this one platform.
Our team wants merchants to come to us and say hey where do I need to go and then us be able to tell them hey this platform is too much for you or this one's a bit better fit for you or you know this other solution isn't good for you. We don't want to be too biased into one area.
Our eCommerce Podcast Plan
For the podcast, in terms of guests we gonna go more merchant and technology provider side. They will all be eCommerce related so we're gonna have some merchants on, we're gonna have solution providers, technology providers and people from the actual platforms from Magento or Shopify, Big-commerce.
Also, designers, project managers, UI experts, and Quality Assurance experts. I think we want to bring everybody together and talk about what's the best for the eCommerce industry and not just segregated like hey this is just merchants or hey this is just for technology providers or people providing solutions. So yeah, just bring everybody in and let's have some real conversations.
Join us next time with guest Quinten from ShipperHQ
I want to let everyone know that in the following episode we're going to have a great guest his name is Quinton. He's the chief operating officer over its shipper HQ. They do a lot of awesome stuff with shipping integrations and e-commerce and they're a partner of IWD agencies so it ought to be a really interesting conversation.
Joe will be having that conversation with Clinton so please listen in. We're so excited about it that we'll be talking about complex shipping and then also how it affects conversion rate. I'm really excited to have him on!
So again, this will be a weekly podcast and before we go, I want to mention a big shout out and thank you to the people here at proof technologies in Austin who have helped us now set up this podcast from a technical standpoint and get it going.
Please tune in to this podcast going forward because we're going to have a lot of fun with it and we're going to have some great guests! Thank you, everyone.
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