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Wix website builder interview: growth and adaptation

Wix's Michal Bignitz
(Image credit: Wix)

Wix's website builder is an extremely powerful tool for getting your business online. It’s chock-full of useful features, which is one of the reasons we gave it such a high score in our Wix review, and why it tops our list of the best website builders.

We caught up with Michal Bignitz, Head Product Manager at Wix, to learn more about the company’s spectacular growth over the last year, its biggest wins and challenges, and how Wix navigated the COVID-19 pandemic.

In your own words, can you give us a brief overview of Wix and what the company does?

Wix is a leading global SaaS platform to create, manage and grow an online presence and is becoming the primary platform for every type of user around the world. Our goal is to offer products and services for any type of user and for any type of business. 

Our powerful technology allows everyone to get online with a personalized, professional web presence. Whether it’s your first time creating or you’re a long time expert, you’ll find the features and solutions you need to build a professional website with total creative freedom.

What do you view as the company's biggest success to date, and why? 

The migration online of brands, businesses and organizations of all types continues at a rapid pace. This shift online accelerated in 2020, as consumer behavior and business operations evolved—in 2020 alone we had 31 million new users join the platform. 

This has become a pivotal moment for Wix. More people are moving online than ever before, and years of investment have placed Wix in a unique position to meet the demand and push the boundaries of what is possible. We see our biggest success as helping our 200 million global users achieve success. 

In the last year we have made significant enhancements to our online commerce offering, and are constantly advancing the platform to meet emerging use cases and trends. To boost our Wix Restaurants offering, we acquired SpeedETab, enabling the seamless integration with various industry-leading restaurant POS platforms and delivery networks. 

We also acquired Rise.ai to bring users native gift cards, loyalty and customer re-engagement solutions within Wix for online commerce users, which was also one of the most requested features from Wix merchants. 

We are constantly working to improve our products for both our users and their site visitors. Some examples from this year include expanding our mobile app strategy, to offer business owners the ability to have their own native app experience to engage and transact with their customers, and enhancing our performance so site visitors' experience is as responsive and fluid as possible. 

And to support making the web more inclusive for everyone, we recently launched the Accessibility Wizard—the first-of-its-kind tool, providing users with a step-by-step interactive solution instructing them on how to improve and maintain their sites’ accessibility.

What are some of the challenges the company has had to overcome in recent years, and how does the team tackle them?

As we scaled from a small startup to a global company, it has been extremely important for us to maintain the collaborative culture of a startup. For instance, maintaining an open-door policy for all employees across the company, and a culture where everyone can pitch ideas and contribute in a meaningful way. 

We work in a unique structure that enables employees to work in both tight-knit teams and larger verticals, so everyone can contribute on both small and large scales. 

What impacts—both positive and negative—has the pandemic had on the business?

The shift to working from home on a global scale was a challenge, but we quickly pivoted in all of our sites around the world, and even hired and onboarded 1,000 employees remotely. We were able to maintain our company culture and productivity, and were fortunate to have one of our best years to date in terms of growth and product development. 

The pandemic meant that essentially all businesses needed an online presence, and we were here and ready to serve all sorts of industries and businesses. Our technology and digitally centered work speciality meant that we were still able to innovate, deliver quality customer care, and meet the needs of users in real time.

What new market challenges and opportunities have you seen emerge in your industry?

The intent of business owners is evolving rapidly. The importance of a fully functioning online presence, including marketing, communications, and sales is critical for success. This comprehensive approach is important horizontally—across all kinds of business—not just within a single vertical. 

We have evolved our platform to address these needs and become a full-blown operating system for businesses. In the last year we have made significant enhancements to our online commerce offering, leading to rapid adoption of our vertical applications and business solutions, and we’ll continue to take strides to expand the platform to help businesses succeed online and offline.

For example, to help businesses succeed beyond their traditional site, we launched Spaces by Wix, the first in a series of native mobile applications for customers to engage and transact with businesses built on Wix from their phones.

What are some of Wix's broader goals for the future? 

Our long-term ambition, as stated by our CEO Avishai Abrahami, is to become the main engine of the internet, democratizing access and providing a place where the majority of people will build their web presence. 

It is his belief that at this rate of growth, in the next five to seven years, 50 percent of anything new built on the internet will be done on Wix. We believe this is possible due to the diversified nature of our business. We don't just serve one specific segment that is all about online. We actually serve many different industries, and as global economies reopen, we’ll help connect the online and offline.

How do you see the website builder sector changing in the next five to 10 years?

The shift online is not temporary—this is the new normal, and it is fueling growth at Wix. The shift online is creating an opportunity massive enough for many creation platforms to succeed, and we believe that Wix is in a unique position to take meaningful share. 

We are in very early days of capturing this opportunity, and we believe that the runway for growth is just getting started.

Christian Rigg

Christian is a freelance writer and content project manager, with over six years' experience writing and leading teams in finance and technology for some of the world's largest online publishers, including TechRadar and Tom's Guide.