The great battle for the small business side of the web is for a customer’s first web interaction. Want to create a website? Where do you go?
That’s the battle that every player wants to win: Automattic, GoDaddy, EIG, Envato. These are the heavy hitters on the WordPress side. They are competitors. They may also at times be partners, but they are in the long run, competitors.
It’s worth mentioning this in an explicit way. When someone enters the web from a website owner perspective, each of these companies (and many others) want to capture that customer, and hold on to them.
The customer has a life-time value (LTV), and the company wants to make that number as high as possible. The way to do that is to add complementary services to do more for the customer in one place.
Entry level customers are price sensitive, and the mix of price and service will help determine customer choice.
Every company out there that targets the small business owner — the entry level business owner, the 50%+ of small businesses without a website — wants to grab them and keep them forever.
In addition to price, it must be an easy process. That’s where the real threat to hosted, proprietary systems come in. There are fewer hurdles in technology, onboarding, and otherwise — enabling these businesses to cater an onboarding process to please the customer.
Of course, it’s possible with WordPress too, but as an industry we’re not doing enough.
This mindset is where a lot of product decisions come from. Whether past product decisions, or future ones, you should think of new customer capture and retention in this light. It’s the framing I use for a lot of the analysis that I do.