When Adii Pienaar, Magnus Jepson, and Mark Forrester created WooThemes in 2008, they never envisioned a future where the lion’s share of the company’s revenue would be derived from e-commerce. After establishing WooThemes as a major player in the WordPress themes marketplace, the company’s founders launched WooCommerce with the goal of increasing revenue by selling e-commerce themes.
Before being acquired by Automattic in May 2015, WooCommerce accounted for 85% of overall sales at WooThemes. The plugin’s extensions model generated far more revenue than theme sales ever could, as e-commerce stores require much more functionality. WooCommerce has been downloaded more than 15 million times and currently powers 37% of all online stores.
“We’ve moved our site over from WooThemes.com to WooCommerce.com to provide focus for our team, clarity for our customers, and to reflect what has become Woo’s core business,” Forrester said.
The company is still selling themes, but the WooCommerce branding now takes top billing on the website. The team will continue to focus its efforts on the Storefront and Canvas themes while refining the WooCommerce customer experience.
“Over the next months, we will iterate fast on new user experience both within the WooCommerce platform and on this site,” Forrester said. “We’ll continue to hire and train ninjas to improve customer experience and ticket response times. Our elevator pitch will be perfected and we won’t leave quite as many people scratching their heads.”
Tightening the WooCommerce Brand
This milestone is a major step forward in tightening the WooCommerce brand, which became even more tangled and unclear after Automattic purchased WooThemes. This is a common branding problem among WordPress companies that have evolved away from theme sales over the years. As WordPress core became more flexible, new business opportunities exploded. However, company owners who started with building themes have been reluctant to abandon the brands they had already built.
“Somewhere along the way the line between WooThemes as a business and WooCommerce as a product got a little blurry,” Forrester said.
Automattic is moving forward with WooCommerce Connect, its new SaaS architecture created to offer services, payments, and shipping in a more user-friendly way. Forrester announced that the project is entering Alpha 2. Clarifying the WooCommerce brand will be vital for attracting new users who are not familiar with the WooThemes/WooCommerce/Automattic journey of the company.
For now, WooThemes.com is redirected to WooCommerce.com, but the domain is not going into retirement. Forrester hinted that the company has plans to “perform a heart transplant and build a new WooThemes.com” that caters to all Automattic themes. The themes previously hosted at WooThemes.com are still available to customers but are now found under the WooCommerce branding umbrella.