WordPress.com Business Users: eCommerce Has Arrived!

It’s incredibly exciting to see WordPress.com offer eCommerce, but a real shame to see the many excellent open-source options snubbed – especially those built specifically for WordPress.

A good sign that there are many great opportunities for a hosted WooCommerce (and hosted Easy Digital Downloads for that matter).

Update: after reading Chris Lema and Brian Krogsgard’s excellent posts on the matter, I now suspect WordPress.com would actually prove to be the perfect hosted WooCommerce and hosted EDD. As I mentioned on Chris’ blog:

With the exception of WP e-Commerce, none of these WordPress plugins have an official hosted service yet. I think that’s because their greatest selling point is in being fully integrated with your WordPress site …. A hosted WooCommerce alone wouldn’t do that and ultimately, wouldn’t add that much more value than Shopify or Bigcommerce.

WooCommerce inside WordPress.com is a whole other story.

WordPress.com News

We’re thrilled to announce that, starting today,  WordPress.com Business users can connect their sites to their online stores. With three leading ecommerce partners to choose from — Ecwid , Shopify , and ShopLocket — you can showcase, promote, and sell products to your customers directly from your site.

If you’re already a WordPress.com Business user, or are thinking of becoming one, here’s how the ecommerce feature will power your WordPress.com site.

A simple, hassle-free connection

Users with the WordPress.com Business upgrade already enjoy great features like live-chat support, unlimited storage, and free access to all our premium themes. Now, you can turn your site into a sleek online storefront, and let visitors shop from any post or page. The partners we’ve teamed up with — Ecwid, Shopify, and ShopLocket — all provide a smooth and secure ecommerce experience for you and your customers.

Connecting to your store is…

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Why Vertical Incubators Are More Interesting to Investors

The first time I’ve seen the “incubator for x” category given a name: Vertical Incubator.

It’s important to give it a name, because it’s a model we’re going to see grow tremendously in popularity, even outside of tech.

Hunter Walk

According to AngelList there are 1,530 organizations listed as “incubators.” Even assuming several hundred of these are using the broadest definition of the word to describe themselves, it’s an incredible number. Many (the majority?) are what I’d categorize as “horizontal” – that’s to say, they don’t focus on a specific industry but rather try to help a group of startups generally advance their development. Whether you want to call them incubators, accelerators or any other name, the template is pretty similar: fixed amount of time inside the program in exchange for equity (and sometimes a cash investment).

As a seed fund investor here’s what I want from an incubator: (a) serve as a selection filter for me to meet interesting companies and (b) give their startups a competitive advantage via deep network beyond their incubation. I know that many incubators commit to doing more than this – mentors…

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One Year of Subscriptions

I can’t thank you enough for the Subscriptions plug-in. It’s really making a dream come true and taking my business to the next level. – Sean

A year ago today, WooThemes released Subscriptions. At the time, I’d been developing Subscriptions for just short of 3 months. I made the first commit in Git on the 3rd of April, a measly 304 lines of code. The code base is now 40 times that size, with 12,000+ lines of code. It’s been a busy year!

But cutting code has been only half the fun. The rest comes from being at the intersection of the rapid growth of the WooCommerce eco-system and the rise of subscription commerce.

The Growth of WooCommerce

In December last year, I spoke at the WordPress Brisbane Meetup about being a WooCommerce extension developer. I included in my presentation a slide with a “A Brief History of WooCommerce”.

A Brief History of WooCommerce

A Brief History of WooCommerce

The slide was intended to show WooCommerce’s explosive growth. Looking back, just 6 months later, I’m a little embarrassed – I thought 400k downloads was impressive? Last week, WooCommerce hit the 1,000,000 downloads mark. Just 6 months after the 400k mark. In the week since that milestone, there has been almost another 50,000 downloads.

In fact, according to BuiltWith, WooCommerce is now the fastest growing ecommerce software on the web *.

WooCommerce Usage Stats from BuiltWith

WooCommerce Usage Stats from BuiltWith

Subscription Commerce

I started building Subscriptions simply because I’d found it way too hard to sell support subscriptions to my software. I knew I couldn’t be the only one with that problem, and saw the opportunity to build it on a new and growing platform. I figured people might use it for membership sites and perhaps even magazines. How naïve I was!

Subscriptions is now used to sell nail polish, soap, gluten-free diet plans, fishing tackle, nappies, piano lessons, cleaning services, martial arts classes, desk space, razors, yoga passes and much more.

There’s an inherent enjoyment in seeing someone build something new with your software. It’s especially enjoyable to see such creative and unique ideas come to life around something you’ve built. But then, ecommerce software also provides a pleasure not all categories of software can offer – the opportunity to help others make an independent income from something they love. Seeing people achieve that, and receiving feedback like the quote at the beginning has been the best reward in my first year with Subscriptions. I look forward to many more years for this reason above all.

* When measured across the whole of the web. It lags behind when using figures for the top 10k, top 100k & top 1m sites, but I figure that’s just because it’s the new kid on the block. Big sites will clue on eventually.

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Visualisation: 2 years of WordPress Code in 2 minutes

A visualisation of the last 2 years worth of SVN commits to the WordPress code base (as used in my WordCamp Sydney presentation).

Checkout the slides here. Inspired by Jon Cave’s visualisation for WordPress 3.1. Built using Gource.

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Word to the Future

It was a great morning presenting at WordCamp Sydney.

Thanks to everyone in the audience who allowed me talk about my three favourite topics – WordPress, the future & Deloreans.

View the 2 years of WordPress Code visualisation here.

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Cancelling Subscriptions Created with PayPal Standard via the Express Checkout API

PayPal makes it possible to accept payments via just a few pieces of HTML on your site with its Website Payments Standard service. This service includes a Subscriptions button to sell products or services with recurring payments.

The trouble is, PayPal doesn’t make it as easy to cancel a subscription on your site. The documentation on cancelling a subscription only provides instructions for manually cancelling a subscription from the PayPal administration interface.

The good news is, there is another, undocumented method to cancel subscriptions on your site.
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