2020 yearly round-up

December 31, 2020 . by Aaron B

I’ve never been so glad to see the end of a year as I have with 2020.

Which is weird, in some ways, because we’ve had our most successful year to date! (in the middle of a global pandemic – WTF?!)

I have been glued to the news, like most people, throughout the year and seen how this pandemic has taken a devastating toll on so many people around the world.

Friends have lost loved ones, others have not been able to see loved ones for months on end. Friends and colleagues have lost all their work within a matter of weeks. The stress, social isolation and mental health has taken its toll on many.

As I write this here in Scotland, just before Christmas, we are still looking into the unknown, but I am hopeful things will change for the better in the coming months, even if it’s just getting a bit warmer.

Today is the last day I will be “working” this year before June and myself have a well-earned break for a week.

As I mentioned before, 2020 was a good year for us. We released some new plugins, we became partners with some of the leading payment providers and we have had continued growth in sales. 

Let’s dig in a bit more.

The plugins

This year we released five new plugins for WooCommerce.

Ingenico ePayments

PostFinance e-Payments 

Tyl by NatWest

Viveum Multipay

First Data Connect

For the last few years around 90% of our customers were from the UK. I wanted to open us up to other markets and new customers; my main goal for the year was to work on some gateways for the EU market (three of the new plugins did this for us). Having a finger in different pies (markets) will allow us to grow the business faster.

Since releasing these new plugins we have seen our European customer base grow. It’s been an interesting time for us, shortly after seeing our sales grow in this other market it encouraged me to decide to work on these plugins and make them translation ready (we even included some local translations to help our new customers). 

2020 was not just about new plugins. One of our plugins (our best seller) was audited and from this report we were able to make some big improvements to all our plugins, these ranged from security improvements to general performance. It was an amazing learning exercise for us as a business and has improved how we work on this end.

We also released our own setup wizard and this is  now in most of our plugins. Having this has allowed our customers to get set up on their own as if we were holding their hand throughout the whole process. Enabling this in our plugins has cut our support tickets by more than half. Just this stat on its own means we have more time to fix bugs or build out new features, this is a huge win for a small team like us.

New partnerships

2020 opened the door to four new partnerships/relationships for us, bringing the total to five now.

This was one of the biggest highlights for me this year; we work closely with the payment companies’ support teams and to be recognised and become a partner is a huge deal to us. Having regular meetings with these partners means we can stay ahead of any changes that may come in the future; it also allows us to flag any queries we get from our customers about their system and hopefully make some changes for the good in the future.

To all our partners and their support teams, we thank you deeply and cannot wait to work with you in the new year!

Growth

2020 for many has been super hard. At the start of the pandemic, I was quite worried about how things would pan out and the first quarter was relatively the same growth as the previous 6 months.

Nice and steady. (something I was quite pleased about) given what was going on in the world.

It was not all doom and gloom, I had put my head down and was working hard on some of the new plugins we released this year. 

By the second quarter I had started to roll out our new set-up wizard to our plugins, and this was around the time when we started to see some healthy growth starting to happen. The feedback we got from new customers on how easy it was to get up and running, something some users had struggled with in the past with other plugins. This was a win-win for us, cutting down our support time needed to help customers get setup. This allowed me to continue getting the new plugins built.

At the half-way mark for the year I started to roll out our new plugins. We started getting sales within days of releasing some of these plugins, others needed a little more time but this was the stage where we started to boom. 

The next few months I spent most of my time rolling out some new features to the plugins, translation-ready (inc translations to some of the plugins), a new feature to enable our customers to store sensitive API details outside of the database (this was not asked for but I felt it was a right feature to add to our core codebase). June spent most of his time going over all the documentation, adding in some new content to the website and helping our customers.

From September onwards we saw growth that I didn’t think was possible, Month on month we smashed targets I had set in my head.

Looking over our sales stats for the past 12 months I am blown away. 

To date we have seen a 70% growth in new sales compared to last year… 

70%?! 

During a pandemic.

This growth enables us to work more on our plugins feature set, improve our documentation and offer the best support on the market.

I am truly humbled and grateful to all our customers, new and old. We would not be here without you all.

Thank you!

Throughout the year we also welcomed some household names on-board.

Lindt Chocolate (Belgium)

Kettle Chips

Slush Puppie

BP

Just to name a few.

I am super proud to support and watch ALL our customers grow, some have been with us since the beginning.

https://raven.gg/ was one of our first customers for our ePDQ Direct plugin, it’s been amazing to watch them grow as a business! Thank you Sam for trusting us and allowing us to come on this journey with you. It’s been an honour!

Giving thanks

My number one thanks must go to June! Some of you may have met him when emailing in. He has been my right-hand man the whole year. Dude, I cannot thank you enough!

Although you beating me today 2 – 1 in chess (Xmas games “party”) might make me change my mind 😉

My next round of thanks must go to my Big Orange Heart family!

Tim, Piccia, Phil, Giles (Giles currently has availability in January, if you need a project manager you should get in touch! – highly recommended) and not forgetting the wonderful Babs.

You guys have been my rock this year! I could not ask for a better group of friends. I can’t wait to see what you all achieve next year!!

And I could not forget AJ, your insight and guidance has been key this year. Having someone who is a marketing wiz on your side is important. Thank you, dude.

Wrap up

2020 is a year none of us will forget.

As the year comes to a close, and I have been thinking back over the year, my deepest feeling is gratitude. Many have lost so much this year, and we have been OK. 

For that I am truly grateful.

I am proud of what We are AG accomplished in 2020. 

I am excited for what 2021 will bring us and how we can further enable our customers’ success…

Thank you for coming on this journey with us!