The running battle between the two kings of e-commerce has probably just had a defining moment. Possibly.
Automattic, the parent of WordPress, has just bought Woocommerce. This could drive all serious Enterprise WordPress installations down the native, open-source, route of using Woocommerce.
On the face of it, the two products appear very similar. Magento, owned by eBay, appeared in 2008 and runs over 10% of the online market. It’s open source, built on the Zend framework, and needs Magento-specific skills and hosting. It’s arguably more powerful and flexible but doesn’t play well with WordPress when compared to Woocommerce.
In contrast, Woocommerce is a native WordPress plugin. If you use WordPress then it’s a no-brainer unless you really need a Magento-specific function. A newer kid on the block, Woocommerce appeared in 2011 and is now the preferred e-commerce solution for most WordPress agencies. It works out of the box with WordPress PaaS hosters and requires no specific configuration or setup outside of WordPress.
With Automattic acquiring Woocommerce yesterday it’s likely we’ll see a split in the marketplace with WordPress organisations heading down the Woocommerce route, and non-specific or Magento organisations heading their way.
The market consolidation was inevitable, as WordPress grows to power 30% of the web it needed to have a strong e-commerce offering and at the same time avoid splitting/diluting skills across multiple platforms. It’s a good thing and greatly simplifies deciding on, building and maintaining digital services infrastructure.
Of course, if WordPress can now do for online shopping what it did for online content then we’ll see the end of standalone and legacy e-commerce applications. Exciting times indeed. Hmmm, I wonder if there will be a stampede towards Woocommerce?