The changing face of eCommerce.
A decade ago, the use of eCommerce platforms was heavily fragmented – often local purchasing decisions meant companies might operate a handful of different, and incompatible, platforms.
Much like the growth of WordPress itself, a new player WooCommerce has come to dominate the eCommerce space. And in doing so has hugely consolidated the use of platforms.
Even more impressive is its history, WooCommerce was born just four years ago yet it’s now comfortably the number one eCommerce platform in the world with an estimated 1,000,000 live sites. It’s the closest competitor, the eBay-owned Magento, has less than 25% of that. And in third place is Shopify with just 4% market penetration.
Launched as a native extension to WordPress in late 2011, WooCommerce is an open source e-commerce plugin designed for small to large-sized online merchants using WordPress. The native nature goes a long way to explaining its meteoric growth as it’s a natural partner to WordPress – as WordPress adoption grew, so did WooCommerce.
Additionally, the creators of WordPress (Automattic) purchased WooCommerce earlier this year making driving the integration and fit even tighter. So tight, that if you run a WordPress digital platform then you’d be quite mad not to use WooCommerce.
Where WooCommerce is weak is amongst the very largest vendors. Typically their procurement cycles are longer so you’d expect WooCommerce to steal the number one slot in the next year or two (it may have already done so).
So, despite the overwhelming numbers and growth, why would you trust your eCommerce world to what is essentially just another free WordPress plugin?
- Its Open Source. And that means the basic product is free but at the same time supported by the largest group of developers in the world. WooCommerce also offers extensive features straight out of the box and, via extensions, is ultimately flexible>
- WordPress Familiarity. As a WP plugin, it will directly and easily plugin to half of the top websites today. And your users, administrators, suppliers and partners will recognise the and benefit from that familiar WordPress feel.
- Owned by Automattic. This is a company with a very modern ethos and culture that ensures continued development, support and independence from the big boys. You’re guaranteed a long-term future with the Woo/WordPress partnership without lock-in and expensive licencing.
- Apps, customisation, extensions. There are almost unlimited options when you use WooCommerce; it’s open-source roots means there are lots of stuff to use off-the-shelf or customise yourself.
So it comes down to two triggers. a) Do you run WordPress and b) Are you re-thinking your eCommerce strategy. If its a YES to both then the choice is clear if its no to either then maybe hang fire until you have a reason to swap one or the other.