The Future of WooCommerce / Woomattic

It’s been little over 2 weeks now since the news of Automattics acquisition of WooCommerce (Woomattic) welcoming them into the fold so to speak. Nothing new has been mentioned and it’s all business as usual. Reading through the announcement posts from WooThemes, Matt Mullenweg, Mark Forrester & Magnus Jepson it again seems business as usual for WooCommerce.

WooCommerce powers over 600,000 websites selling products online, having been forked from JigoShop in 2011 which is an astonishing feat in itself. The fork in question did raise some concerns in the community at the time, you can read JigoShops own views on the fork here, it’s an interesting read with some interesting comments.

So How Much Did WooCommerce Cost Automattic?

Speculation is rife however Recode estimates that the acquisition was in the region of $30 million, which in itself is a hefty sum. For a company with over 50 staff (in different countries) and dozens of paid for extensions is it sustainable? I’m sure Matt has his reasons for the purchase, as WordPress powers over 20% of all websites on the web there is plenty of new opportunities to push WooCommerce to WordPress.com users in time.

What About Me? I Use WooCommerce What Does It Mean To My Business?

That’s a good question, what does it mean? Well at this stage and as I mentioned earlier it’s business as usual for WooCommerce no firm plans have been mentioned however you could expect to hear something in the coming months about a road map and the future of WooCommerce.

What about WooCommerce themselves?

Well apart from the announcement post stating nothing will change for the foreseeable future scrolling down the page and reading the comments (all 263 so far) is interesting to say the least. Sure there’s lots of congratulation messages and such but delve a little deeper and there is one sticking point that cannot be ignored:

Interesting to see how this merger can (hopefully) consolidate and make the all the WooCommerce options affordable and more bundled to the newcomer eCommerce WordPress website owner.

Congratulations on the merger! You guys have contributed to WP, and the community and this news is very cool! Also, I agree with Travis. With a 24% market share, there should be a large enough customer base to make WooCommerce plugins more affordable – perhaps offering bundles. They’re currently too expensive for the small business startups.

Agreed with all the comments here about making the extensions more affordable. I also hope that Automattic can help with all of the WooCommerce flaky problems.

If you’re not willing to spend a few hundred dollars to set up an online store then forget it right? Well you could say that, nothing in life is truly free and let’s not forget WooCommerce is pretty awesome. It’s functional a breeze to use and comes with some great features out of the box.

To get the most out of it you will have to spend some money. I’m not going to go into how much it would cost roughly I’ve already done that, take a look at the true cost of WooCommerce post I wrote a while ago.

It’s the pricing model that I believe is preventing more people from adopting WooCommerce, if the pricing level was more reasonable then the uptake of WooCommerce users would grow exponentially. Perhaps Matt has his own ideas on where to position WooCommerce pricing?

Obviously like everything there is a cost association. So for Auttomatic they will more than likely see WooCommerce as a cost center a business within a business it will need to make money to sustain itself within Auttomatic. Even with the weight of Auttomatic behind them the current cost structure will inhibit them. So perhaps that would be one of the first things addressed? Who knows.

What about WordPress.com

Matt has stated that no firm plans were in place for pushing WooCommerce this side of 2015, however with the purchase of WooCommerce and the number of people that use WordPress.com it will more than likely become a staple part of their premium service. Which is great news for WordPress premium customers, unsure of pricing and such but will be interesting to see how this pans out and how much they do eventually charge for the additional service.

What will also be interesting to see is what level of extensions come with a premium service. Will they simply charge a bulk price for everything so it’s an all in one solution? If they do then the cost of all the extensions for WordPress self installs for a single site would certainly sky rocket. I mean table rate shipping is $199.00 on it’s own and as I have said elsewhere that is a staple part of selling online.

Will it be cheaper just to run a WooCommerce site on the premium plan from WordPress themselves? It’s a difficult one to answer and Auttomatic has to be careful here not to alienate current users of the platform and push an all singing and dancing version on it’s premium or VIP service for less than the sum of the pivotal extensions for WooCommerce.

Personally I would be more than a little annoyed if this did happen as it would feel like self installs are subsidising those on premium or VIP plans. This is just speculation you understand but I do think that it needs to be addressed.

What about new features?

WooCommerce has an ever growing number of extensions, will some be reserved to WordPress.com only? Will they get preferential treatment to make the premium version on WordPress.com more attractive? I certainly hope not, you would see a major shift in usage as many would make the transition to another plugin/system, I can’t see this happening truly. However we do not at this stage know the intentions Auttomattic have for WooCommerce

The Benefits of the union

There is no denying that this acquisition will benefit both parties moving forwards, providing they get things right. As a user of WooCommerce there will be benefits. WooCommerce will be working alongside seasoned WordPress developers within Auttomatic and looking at new ways to speed it up and streamline it down ensuring it’s optimized for the general WP populace.

Dealing with GPL resellers how will they handle that one!

It’s a well known fact that a lot of the WooCommerce extensions are available via various GPL Reselling websites that frequent the web for a fraction of the price. I’m not going to list them here a simple Google search will show you what I mean.

How will Auttomatic handle that one? I mean WooCommerce is 100% GPL and there are websites reselling extensions and themes, surely Auttomatic must be thinking for every single extension that is purchased through WooCommerce for x you can bet a significant number are purchased elsewhere on GPL Reselling websites.

This means loss of revenue, as much as the GPL is revered surely as a business you have to take stock of what is going on elsewhere and try to stamp it out. Although this in itself is an insurmountable task, how will they handle it?

What do you think?

I’ll say it again, I love WooCommerce I’ve used it on many WordPress installs and use it here on WPin in a directory capacity. I’ll continue to use it as it does what I need it to do. It’s exciting times for WooCommerce and Automattic I for one wish them well it could lead to an even more dominant share of the web, however it needs to be handled correctly. With over 600k stores powered by WooCommerce it’s a massive responsibility and it will be interesting to see how things progress.

My questions to you are: Do you use WooCommerce? Are you looking forward to what the future will bring for it? Or are you concerned/skeptical (delete as applicable) either way do let me know with a comment would love to hear from store owners and businesses.

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