Better Support for a Better Product
As an free open-source project, Woocommerce’s revenue and staffing model has meant that tech support has always been a mix of official Woocommerce support and users helping each other on online forums, Slack channels, and blogs. But with Woocommerce’s growth both into larger businesses and in small, DIY stores better access to Woocommerce Support is a welcome improvement which put is at the top of my 2016 in Woocommerce Review.
Connecting Online Stores with Offline Selling
Woocommerce made the situation much better in 2016 with the release of not one but two plugins that allow inventory synchronization between Woocommerce and established POS players Lightspeed and Square. Now, instead of maintaining two different sets of product descriptions, photos, specs, variations, and prices, you can keep your Woocommerce catalog in sync with the catalog your POS uses, all automatically. And a great cheer was heard from artists, makers, and small businesses everywhere.
Speedy Stores with Dashing Dolphin
To address this, January 2016 saw the release of Woocommerce 2.5, code named “Dashing Dolphin”. Version 2.5 was focused on making Woocommerce a faster, and more efficient database user, which in turn allows it to scale up to even larger stores.
Keeping Your Store Secure
In June 2016 Woocommerce 2.6, “Zipping Zebra”, was released, and with it came changes to the default payment gateways bundled with Woocommerce. Woocommerce now uses Stripe for credit cards and bitcoin, and PayPal powered by Braintree as an alternative. Crucially, both of these payment gateways use tokenized transactions to send credit card information.
This means that the customer’s payment information is encrypted even before it leaves the customer’s computer, and is sent directly to Stripe’s or Braintree’s servers where it is decrypted for processing. This means that Woocommerce stores using these gateways don’t need to be fully PCI compliant as they never store or transmit unencrypted financial data.
PCI compliance is still a good idea for online stores, and some hosting companies like SiteGround offer packages that are PCI-compliant out of the box. But Woocommerce’s use of tokenized payment gateways takes risk off the shoulders of small online stores and earns it a spot in my 2016 in Woocommerce Review.
Foundations for the Future
We Find out What’s in a Name
Happy Birthday to Woo
Five years of success is a major achievement for any business. Five years of success on the internet is doubly impressive. In their announcement of their name change, Woocommerce had this to say:
“eCommerce has been driving our business for years. Continuing to lead the charge in changing the way people do business online is what makes us tick. We remain committed as ever to open source, the open web and being a business that enables other businesses to thrive.”
With the promise of Woocommerce Connect, the infusion of resources brought by their 2015 acquisition by Automattic (the corporate steward and development lead for WordPress), and an ever-growing community of developers, designers, and customers, I can’t wait to see what the next five years of Woocommerce brings.