WooCommerce launches as a free plugin, new e-commerce monthly fee on the way

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WooThemes has launched WooCommerce, a free e-commerce plugin along with a handful of paid themes and extensions. WooCommerce has been the joint effort of Mike Jolley and Jay Koster of the newly launched WooLabs, which started up after WooThemes announced they would be forking Jigoshop into WooCommerce a month ago.

WooCommerce itself can be used on its own, though WooThemes has created themes specifically for use with their e-commerce plugin. The launch introduces Wootique, a free theme designed especially for user with the WooCommerce plugin, as well five other paid e-commerce themes. Nine new e-commerce extensions are also available for purchase, ranging from $15 for Sale Flash Pro integration to $50 for PayPal Pro gateway integration.

The launch of WooCommerce has brought with news of further membership options at WooThemes. Of the themes and extensions released today, three of the themes and all of the e-commerce extensions must be purchased on their own, with a WooThemes membership or without one. According to the announcement WooThemes has plans to offer an additional monthly fee to gain access to their full catalog of commerce products, which seemed to bother some of their members in comments on that post.

In response to the questions from WooThemes members, co-founder Adii Pienaar said the new child themes and extensions “are a new class of themes that requires specific & extended support,” and that the WooThemes team “felt it was justified that club subscribers should pay more for this.” In another comment he explained further:

I think it’s important to note that somewhere we needed to put a peg into the ground and differentiate our offerings going forward. Whilst we can continue to deliver 2-odd themes / month and make them available for $15 / $20 per month to club subscribers, this pricing model isn’t viable if we were to release everything we do for free to subscribers.

Pienaar said that the development time and cost isn’t so much the issue, as is the support that will be required with the new products. Further information on the new e-commerce membership rates will be live, he said, by the end of the week.

If you’d like to see a bit more of WooCommerce, you can watch their promotional video that we posted a few minutes ago. It gives you a look into what you can expect from the plugin. Also keep an eye out for our review of WooCommerce, which should be coming yet this week.

The launch post by Mark Forrester also included a list of the changes that have been made since forking Jigoshop. For those interested in the changes, the full list is reproduced below:

  • A revamped admin interface, which is more native to the WordPress Dashboard and thus more familiar to the average WordPress user.
  • Improved reporting, with more stats, graphs and built-in support for Google Analytics e-commerce (goal) tracking.
  • New front-end features, including catalog sorting and built-in up-sells/cross-sells.
  • Revised coupon system complete with coupon expiry dates and usage limits.
  • Built-in HTML email templates.
  • Improved order management.
  • Simplified product data entry plus better product sorting/duplication within the WordPress Dashboard.

For those who participated in the discussion around the Jigoshop forking last month: are you satisfied with the work WooThemes has made since then? Will you consider WooCommerce when your next e-commerce project pops up? Also, do you agree with the WooThemes team’s plan to create a new membership fee for those users who want the e-commerce extensions and themes?

16 thoughts on “WooCommerce launches as a free plugin, new e-commerce monthly fee on the way

  1. And why they are not using it for selling their items (themes and new extensions)? At last the extensions, because infrastructure of the old platform.

  2. My only question is whether or not they’ve built in SSL support. When attempting to get other carts working in WordPress it’s always a nightmare getting it to work with an SSL because WordPress is not secure with lots of external calls. Does Woocommerce solve this problem?

  3. They have since changed the terms for Club Members. The WooCommerce Themes and Child Themes are now available part of the Club Subscription. They are going to announce a commerce add-on to the club subscription for the plug-ins or you can just buy what you need. They also said they would be offering a 30% off coupon for plug-ins to Club members soon.

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