The third annual WooConf, the official conference for WooCommerce, is underway today. It started off with a keynote by Todd Wilkens, Head of WooCommerce, providing an overview of the project’s accomplishments over the past year and a preview of what’s to come.
— John Kent (@johnkentsf) October 19, 2017
When the crowd was asked to guess how much in sales WooCommerce stores would generate this year, guesses ranged from $10M to $1B. According to Wilkens, WooCommerce stores will collectively generate more than $10B in sales this year and says the figure could be as high as $15B. WooCommerce extension sales are expected to generate more than $30M.
Wilkens thanked and acknowledged the 616 contributors working on the platform. He then outlined three distinct user segments the company is catering too: store builders, store owners, and extension developers. These user segments are causing the company to reorganize internally and are providing the focus for features going forward.
WooCommerce is used by a lot of small-to-medium sized businesses but it’s also used by businesses that generate $100M or more per year. Wilkens profiled H-E-B, a large grocery retailer in Texas that uses WooCommerce for its sister company, Central Market. WebDevStudios built the site on WordPress and used WooCommerce to handle the company’s eCommerce needs.
Coming to A WooCommerce Near You
WooCommerce is making investments into its design and user experience with the insight of John Maeda, the company’s Global Head of Computational Design and Inclusion. The company is also investing in user research, testing, interviews, feedback, and doing what they can to learn about its users needs.
He acknowledged the hiccups users encountered when upgrading sites to WooCommerce 3.0 earlier this year and says the experience has placed a heavier emphasis to establish a reliable upgrade and maintenance path.
WooCommerce will combine its affiliate program with WordPress.com so that everything is managed under one roof. As WooCommerce has improved, it has also developed closer ties to Jetpack and WordPress.com in order to provide additional services.
Automattic has years of experience building and maintaining SaaS infrastructures. Instead of creating a separate infrastructure for WooCommerce, the team decided to leverage Automattic’s infrastructure with Jetpack. We’ll publish more about this relationship in a future article.
WooCommerce will revamp its mobile application and is opening its marketplace to extension authors. Extension authors can expect higher commissions, more control, and better access to their customers. Authors will also be able to provide support to their own customers on the site.
Earlier this year, WooCommerce dropped its 50% renewal discount forcing customers to pay full-price without explicitly notifying them. Near the end of keynote, Wilkens provided context for the move saying it was about sustainability. Although comments on the article indicated that many customers were upset with the change, Wilkens says it has proven to be successful and has led to a substantial improvement in customer support.
Those involved in the WooCommerce ecosystem can expect to see many more changes to both the website and platform in the coming months.