The deal, reported to be worth around $30 million, means Automattic have now acquired the entire Woo brand—including all their other themes and plugins. It’s Automattic’s biggest acquisition to date, and shows that Automattic believes that eCommerce will play an integral role in WordPress’s expansion plans, as they attempt to reach a 51% market share.
Automattic, best known for WordPress.com and its Jetpack plugin, have always been in the business of democratizing publishing. Now, they want to focus on helping people to sell online more effectively.
The Future of eCommerce
Targeting eCommerce and opening the WordPress doors to a new audience has been on the agenda for years.
Rather than building their own in-house solution, though—as many speculated they might—Automattic has gone down the acquisition route. The team of 55 Woo employees will now join Automattic’s existing 370-strong team, to continue developing the eCommerce plugin.
WooCommerce is already the eCommerce solution of choice for millions of WordPress users—the plugin stats show more than 7.5 million downloads and over one million active installs. It’s one of the best known names in WordPress circles, and as such will continue to operate under the WooCommerce brand.
Although WooCommerce is already user-friendly, the nature of eCommerce stores make them more difficult to manage than, say, your average blog—there’s the added pressures of taxes, stock levels, and payment gateways to deal with for starters.
Automattic aims to make running an eCommerce store more accessible than ever before by improving WooCommerce’s user friendliness. Expect to see an array of intuitive, beginner-friendly features added in the near future—one-click installation, anyone?
How the Changes Impact You
For the time being, though, nothing will change; if you run a WooCommerce-powered eCommerce store, there’s no cause for alarm. It’s business as usual over at Woo, with all the usual themes, plugins, and extensions available as per usual.
The same goes for those using Automattic’s WordPress.com service with one of the platforms existing eCommerce solutions; the acquisition of WooCommerce will not impact any of WordPress.com’s existing eCommerce partnerships. Over the next year, however, expect to see a WooCommerce option over at WordPress.com.
It’s worth pointing out that in Q&A session on Matt Mullenweg’s blog, he announced that “WooCommerce will not be integrated into the WordPress core, it works great as a plugin.” Matt has also confirmed that WooCommerce will not be rolled into Jetpack.
In my opinion, WooCommerce has always been a viable alternative to dedicated eCommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce. With the might of Automattic behind them, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for WooCommerce.
WordPress really has revolutionized the way we publish content online. With Automattic’s grand plans to use WooCommerce to revolutionize the way we sell online, WordPress could soon be the platform of choice for eCommerce businesses, too.
What do you think to the news that Automattic has acquired WooCommerce? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!