The tanking WIX stock is no surprise pt2

By
@iampure
Thursday, March 24, 2022
5 min read

Another bad week for the WIX stock. And another bad week for building a business on the Wix/EditorX platform.

(If you haven't read part 1 yet, here is where you can catch up.)

So what happened since I started writing part 1.

I got excellent help from a very friendly developer at the Velo/Data team. In addition, I got offered phone calls and dialogue to help the product teams understand my customer view. This is all great.

Unfortunately, some issues got worse, and I got confronted with new unbelievable quality issues. Also, the promised help (people will look into it) did not appear for nearly a week now. Not even a first contact about the reported issue.

Too often, the reaction time, or let's call it the not-reaction, time is far too long. So, to give you an impression of what a week with EditorX looks like, here is my actual week:

On Monday, I've reported that my member/profile section is messed up. The member/profile section is based on the 'Wix App - Members Area.' With this app, members can see their user profile, shopping wishlist, liked blog posts, and members can follow each other. But it is broken on different parts.

  • Pages need up to a minute to load. Sometimes they don't load at all.
  • The navigation does not fit into the screen on mobile.
  • The navigation shows the wrong items as active.

On Monday said they would look into it. Today is Friday, and nothing has happened!

If a part of your business model is to build a members community and people, have to pay for it, but even with a blazing fast 250Mbit/s internet connection, the member/profile section needs a minute to load a page - what do you think how many people will pay for it?

I call this a showstopper bug. From Monday to Friday, there is no fix, no ticket number, or even a message that they are working on it. Literally nothing.

On Tuesday, I wondered why my organic blog post traffic was very low, and I did some forensics. It turned out that google excludes my blog posts from search results because they are not mobile-friendly, and there are too many code errors. Unfortunately, none of these problems can be fixed by myself because the 'Wix App - Blog"  has very restricted access to code and design.

So I wrote a forum post and answered that they would open a support ticket. Then I got a blank email that said: "untitled ticket" and a number. There is no link, no info, no telephone number to ask for, no chance to look into it or provide any additional information. Also, until now, nobody has reached out to me regarding this issue.

If a part of your business model is to write blog posts, but your blog posts get excluded from google search results - what do you think your business will end up?

I call this a showstopper bug. From Tuesday to Friday, neither a fix nor any information on how to proceed. Literally nothing.

But some people are trying to help. On Wednesday, I tried to code a simple functionality with Velo but did not get it running. The available Velo forum posts confused me even more. So I wrote my own forum post and explained what I wanted to build. A super friendly and supportive Velo member helped me write some code. Unfortunately, this code only worked on the Velo members' environment but non on my side. After some "have you tried this," "it could be this," back and forth, neither the Velo member nor I could find out what this error even was. I typed the error message into the forum search and googled it - no information. So I wrote a ticket. Writing a ticket at Wix means talking with a bot, providing a title, a description, and, if available, screenshots. I provided everything. At the end of this bot conversation, you get no ticket and no email. Until now, nothing happened.  

So my week with EditorX/Wix ended with a broken member section, my blog posts excluded from google search results, and a Velo error message nobody can tell me what it is.

Does this customer experience translates to a bad online reputation, weak KPIs, and a tanking WIX stock? Absolutely.

From 2017 to 2019, I lived at WeLive on Wall St., New York. What I'm experiencing now with Wix reminds me more and more of my endeavour with WeWork.  

My question to the management of Wix:

  • Does anyone at Wix.com Ltd believe the editors' and apps' quality has no impact on customers leaving the platform frustrated?  
  • Does anyone at Wix.com Ltd believe the poor ratings and bad online reputation of editors and apps have no impact on customer acquisition?
  • Does anyone at Wix.com Ltd still believe that they can fix the unsatisfying KPIs just with marketing and sales?

I mean, the quarterly numbers don't look any good, and the competition is growing. Obviously, EditorX lacks an apparent secret sauce; therefore, the quality and user experience significantly impact business numbers.

I still can't believe how a product like EditorX could get released in this bad shape? I see only four plausible scenarios of how it could happen to release EditorX with those disastrous quality issues.

  1. The responsible person on the C/VP level did not know about the state of the EditorX.
  2. The responsible person on the C/VP level did know about the state of EditorX but did not told investors about it.
  3. The responsible person on the C/VP level knew about the state of EditorX but bent to the pressure of management and investors and released EditorX despite knowing about its shortcomings.
  4. The responsible person on the C/VP level knows about the state of EditorX but doesn't know how to fix it and released EditorX despite its shortcomings.

No matter what I choose, it doesn't look good to me. But all options kind of make sense when looking at the tanking WIX stock.

After releasing part 1 of this trilogy (part 3 is already in the making), people asked me if I had ideas on tackling the problems or if I just put my finger into a wound. Fair enough. And yes, I do.

Besides more people and structure (pt1) and customer-centricity (pt1, pt2, pt3), I see three levels of problems: Quality, Product/Market-Fit, and Ego/Attitude (pt3).

Here is what I would do to tackle these problem levels.

1. The overall quality of the EditorX.

Everybody on the EditorX team has to feel the pain to fully understand this problem's actual dimension. But I assume there will be some egos in the way to go down this rabbit hole. So my approach from digital transformation projects is the following. First, it needs to hurt to initiate significant change.

Product managers and product designers must know the user perspective and their painful daily struggles. To do so, there is no better way than being the user. I did this to understand the tanking WIX stock—using the EditorX platform for a side project.

Who builds better bicycles? Those who commute with their own bikes or those who commute with their SUV?

So here is what I would do:

  • Build small teams of product managers and UX designers. A max of four people per team. No developers or people with advanced JavaScript skills are allowed.
  • Let them build a side project with 10-15% of their time for the next three months.
  • The side project is a web-based delivery service.
  • Do not limit them to tools if they want to use Google Sheets. Fine. If they like to use Airtable. Fine. Whatever speeds up their solution. Real entrepreneurship.
  • Give every team one part of the project.
  • The restaurant search page.
  • The meal search page.
  • The order flow.
  • The delivery tracking page.
  • The delivery rider pick-up page.
  • The delivery rider navigation page.
  • The application page for new delivery riders.
  • The application page for new restaurants/bodegas.
  • The restaurant page to upload meals.
  • The restaurant page for order management

But here comes the twist. Let them build it on Webflow. And when they are ready, mix which team is making what part and let them build it again. But this time with EditorX.

Strange? And you think this is too much work and too many people-hours?

Wrong. This is going to blow their minds. Not because everything is better somewhere else. Of course not. But:

  • They will learn the pain points of EditorX.
  • They will also learn the paint-points of Webflow, which opens opportunities.
  • They see where Webflow did a better job and where EditorX needs to improve.
  • They learn to think like entrepreneurial customers.
  • They learn to think like EditorX users.
  • They learn how to prioritise the backlog better.
  • They feel the pain of missing features.
  • They feel the pain of missing functionalities.
  • They feel the pain of needing Velo skills for standard functionalities
  • They learn the impact of the existing user experience debt.
  • They learn to rate the impact and provided user value of features better.

I also would exclude everyone who did not participate in this side project from decision-making roles in the product and design department.

To turn the costs into good public relations and an internal academy, you can focus on providing meals and necessary goods to elderly people and families who need social support. Newly hired junior designers, product managers, and Velo developers can maintain this project. Make it a real-life nonprofit project.

DeliveryX.

It also shows that EditorX is capable of more than a blog, a portfolio for photographers, or a simple online shop. It demonstrates that EditorX can be the right tool for nowadays entrepreneurs to build the frontend of their businesses.

But I agree that it needs guts and willingness to swallow down pride and ego.

Spoiler Alert: Subscribe to the EditorX vs. Webflow step by step Comparison Report report.

2. The overall quality of Apps by Wix

Reading the marketplace ratings of Apps made by Wix hurts. I have read them for hours. And potential customers read them as well. The ratings are devastating, and probably they don't even show how bad it is for real. This needs to change. It's damaging the brand.

So here is what I would do:

You need to use the swarm intelligence and some time to let it sink in and brew.

Put all App teams together into a room or zoom and let them read aloud all ratings from the last year. And let them vote how many of the 4-5 star ratings sound fishy, like fake ratings. Next, do the math to determine what your customers think about your products. Then give all team members 30 minutes to write down three action items they believe need to be done to get an average rating of >4.5.

Give them one week to read all the ideas and let them sink. Then do it again. Let them write three actions items with the same goal. This time variety will decrease, and there will be much more focus in round two.

This is your new rough backlog. Prioritize with impact and user value in mind.

3. Positioning - The feature set and product/market fit of EditorX

Of course, I don't know the product strategy behind EditorX, and for sure, there were reasons behind every decision. But even after talking to plenty of friends and former colleagues (CTOs, Product Managers, Entrepreneurs, Investors), I still have no clue how feature-set and product-market fit adds up in 2022 and beyond.

EditorX is very limited in its functionalities. For basic features like blog, online shop, community features, or subscription models, you need to code it from scratch or add Apps by Wix. If you do the latter, you're very limited in the design of these features. If you decide to build it from scratch, you need heavy JavaScript skills and deep pockets.

The EditorX product website reads like EditorX is made for designers. So what do designers want from a web editor that builds the frontend of their web application?

  • We want to use known UI/Idx patterns as we are used from tools like Figma or Sketch.
  • We want to get the designs we've made in Figma or Sketch somehow into the web editor without making everything new from scratch.
  • This can be a plug-in for the design tools.
  • This can be a plug-in for tools like Zeplin or Abstract.
  • This can be the option to copy and paste CSS from the design tool to the web editor
  • This can be an export/import or sync of styles between the design tool and web editor.
  • This can be an export/import or sync of design tokens between the design tool and web editor.
  • We want the web editor to follow our design process and not us to change our design process to the web editor.
  • We want to use templates and overrides.
  • We want an user-interface to build logic without code.
  • We want an user-interface to build simple micro animations.
  • We want the most common functionalities that need scripting as plug-ins.

Does EditorX check these boxes? Not even close!

On the other side, no designer mentioned Velo or JavaScript as a reason to go with EditorX. Of course not. If you have proper JavaScript skills in your team, you have many other appealing routes to choose from.

So what are small teams with proper JavaScript skills looking for when deciding their platform?

  • Can I use Storybook to build UI components?
  • Can I use design systems like Blueprint, Carbon, or Material Design to start with a stable foundation and community around it?
  • Can I import react code from Figma?
  • Can I sync design tokens from Abstract or Zeplin?

Does EditorX check these boxes? Not even close!

When you have web developers in your team, there is simply no need to use EditorX with its closed architecture and limitations.

Suppose one thing is for sure. There is a worldwide lack of skilful frontend/web developers. The demand is much higher than the market. And especially for not so fancy start-ups outside the bubble of San Francisco, NYC, or Berlin, it is hard to get some promising talents. One reason why no-code is skyrocketing — is the lack of developers.

How smart is it in 2022 to positioning EditorX heavily dependent on JavaScript developers?

If the lack of developers is one reason for the rise of no-code, the other one is speed. It's nothing else than insane that every day hundreds of companies are coding the same functionalities again and again and again from scratch. With EditorX, even simple and essential functionalities needs Velo/JavaScript to make them possible.

The new generation of entrepreneurs is not willing to do this anymore. The majority of small solutions are already there, and you can just combine them without writing a single line of code.

How smart is it in 2022 to position EditorX in the exact opposite direction?

I haven't talked to a single person who understands the positioning of EditorX and how it matches the needs of customers, and how it fits the market.

Is EditorX positioned as a tool for designers? If yes, it failed.

Is EditorX positioned as a tool for web developers? If yes, it failed.

Is EditorX positioned as a tool for modern entrepreneurs? If yes, it failed.

Continue reading part 3. It is going to be about ego and attitude.

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Spoiler Alert: Subscribe to the EditorX vs. Webflow step by step Comparison Report report.

Behind the link below I will continuously add my disastrous experiences with EditorX. You can sort the database by shortcomings of EditorX on the level of embarrassment from "Seriously?" to "Someone needs to be ashamed."

It's a work-in-progress database and not finished yet. Atm it's still just a rough and short list to remind me what to describe next. I will continuo working on this.

Desaster Backlog

Georg S. Kuklick
Founder