Early last week, Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress and founder & CEO of Automattic announced Automattic’s acquisition of WooCommerce.
Logic Design have been busy analysing the move and determining what we can expect in the coming months and years.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with WooCommerce, it is the eCommerce extension for WordPress that opens up the possibility of actively selling products or services online via your WordPress website, rather than having to build your online shop upon a different eCommerce platform. Historically, WordPress was originally built as an open source blogging platform allowing users to manage content upon their website and publish freely, it has since developed into something quite unrecognisable from what it once was.
“…we want to make it easy for anyone to sell online independently, without being locked into closed, centralised services- to enable freedom of livelihood along with freedom of expression”.
Matt’s propitious comments found on his blog can only be characterised as rather virtuous, and reflect what Tim Berners Lee considered the world wide web to be, calling it his gift to the world.
Maybe Automaticc’s acquisition of WooCommerce is not as virtuous as Tim Berners-Lee’s ‘gift to everyone’ as otherwise the complimentary plug-ins would all be free(!), but it resonates with start-ups and small & medium sized businesses who often face an incredibly difficult and confusing task to identify an eCommerce platform that will suit their requirements and deliver this solution at an accessible cost.
The move should be seen as a positive for these types of businesses as it is believed that Automattic will look to package bundles of eCommerce extensions together at a more competitive licence fee rather than numerous licence fees for lots of complimentary modules. This in turn will mean that bugs and glitches that have historically plagued WooCommerce eCommerce Platforms when the administrator has used multiple extensions will likely be addressed in the near future and therefore communicate far more effectively with one another than they do at present.
However, it should be noted that as WooCommerce is an Open source software, many of these extensions have been created by an avid community of developers. If modules are to communicate far more effectively with one another, this may mean that Automattic will look to build these themselves and therefore compete with their avid WooCommerce community of developers to sell extensions which will inevitably cause a bit of consternation.
Today, websites built upon a WordPress CMS account for 23% of all live websites. Automattic aim to increase this marketshare to 51% within the next few years. The way in which they seek to increase their marketshare is to bolster the capabilities of WooCommerce and therefore appeal to a wider audience of prospective website owners who may be looking for a far more comprehensive platform from which to start up, stimulate, evolve and grow their businesses.
There are currently over 600,000 online stores built upon WordPress utilising the WooCommerce extension accounting for just 6.79% of websites using eCommerce technologies. While impressive, this falls short of Magento’s dominance as the primary company in the eCommerce sphere and a long shot off proprietary software that Matt refers to as ‘closed softwares’. These are eCommerce Softwares that have been built by website development companies and are therefore not accessible by an active community of developers to built upon.
There are great merits to proprietary eCommerce software, we here at Logic Design have our own called ‘Mint eCommerce’, however, as Matt points out, not all of these softwares are accessible to smaller businesses due to their expense. While true, some of these eCommerce platforms can be expensive, these do reflect the bespoke design functions that have been built by a skilled development team that are unavailable via other standard eCommerce softwares.
Our initial conclusions of the takeover here at Logic Design are positive. In Part 2 of our Article we will hope to continue our examination and unravel some more insights.