It all started with a line of code:
add_action('wp', 'woocommerce_init', 0);
Today, Monday 27 September, marks a very special day for us here at WooCommerce, as we are celebrating our 10th birthday! Woo!
A lot has happened over the past 10 years, and we’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings. Join us on a trip down memory lane as we reminisce and explore the exciting journey of WooCommerce.
eCommerce for WooThemes
In 2010, WooThemes started to look into the idea of introducing eCommerce functionality to their collection of popular themes.
After exploring a number of different ways of doing this (including one idea which would have involved making eCommerce functionality available as part of each theme), it was announced that WooThemes would be hiring two of the developers behind Jigoshop to create a dedicated eCommerce plugin called WooCommerce.
Say hello to WooCommerce
On September 27, 2011, an internal team of just four developers launched the first iteration of the WooCommerce plugin. The hotly anticipated release was well received within the WordPress community and beyond, with the news being picked up by major publications such as TechCrunch.
WooCommerce 1.0 launched with nine extensions and six themes available for use, including ‘Wootique’ – a free offering that had been specifically developed for the WooCommerce launch.
Here’s how the first WooCommerce product dashboard looked:
And this was how sales reports looked:
Things progressed quickly and, in 2012, we put our money where our mouth was by using WooCommerce to power WooThemes.com, demonstrating just how scalable it had become in such a short period of time.
The journey to five million
Just 16 months after launch, the team celebrated reaching 500,000 downloads. And a mere 137 days after that, the confetti was brought out again as we hit the 1 million downloads milestone – demonstrating the huge appetite for eCommerce in the WordPress space, and a testament to the quality of the plugin.
In 2014, we launched our first WooCommerce event – WooConf. Held in San Francisco, more than 300 people attended the two-day conference which celebrated and educated on all things WooCommerce and eCommerce.
And if putting on your first conference wasn’t exciting enough, the night before the big day WooCommerce surpassed five million downloads.
Unbeknownst to the team at the time, it was at WooConf 2014 that the WooThemes co-founders started discussions with Matt Mullenweg about a potential acquisition by Automattic, but more about that a little later!
Later that month, Storefront – WooCommerce’s first-ever eCommerce-focused official theme – was launched in the WordPress Theme Directory.
A new era at Automattic
Four years after launching WooCommerce, in 2015 WooThemes was acquired by Automattic. In a video announcing the acquisition, Matt Mullenweg gave insight into the decision:
“At a WordCamp a few years ago, someone stood up and asked me when we were going to make it as easy to create an online store as we’d made it to create a blog. Everyone applauded; there’s long been demand for better eCommerce functionality, but it’s been outside the scope of what Automattic could do well.”
In addition, the WooThemes team shared a number of similarities with that of Automattic – being fully distributed, having a passion for open-source technologies, and a strong link to the existing WordPress community to name just a few – it was a perfect match.
At the time, the team of 55 was the largest acquisition Automattic had ever made and signaled that the future of eCommerce and WordPress was one to be taken seriously.
One year after joining Automattic, the WooThemes brand was retired in favor of one focusing solely on WooCommerce. WooThemes.com would now redirect to WooCommerce.com, and theme development continuing to be a part of the business – but under the WooCommerce brand.
That same year, the second WooConf event was held in Austin, Texas, and attracted attendees from all over the world.
The team continued to grow, and we were able to start developing our own suite of products to further support our merchants. A few notable mentions being WooCommerce Subscriptions, WooCommerce Shipping, and more recently, WooCommerce Payments.
In addition, at the beginning of 2019, we launched our mobile app for iOS and Android – giving our users the power to manage their business on the go.
Fast-forward to today; thanks to the commitment from our talented team, key partners, and community of contributors, WooCommerce has reached an incredible milestone of 150 million+ downloads.
Our Marketplace now has more than 730 official extensions and themes, the team is over 300 people strong, and WooCommerce has also been translated for 66 different locales. One in four stores are powered by WooCommerce, including Chaka Khan, AeroPress, and the New Zealand All Blacks Official Store.
10 years of WooCommerce
We wouldn’t have made it without you. On this special day, we’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey – our merchants, developers, expert agencies, partners, and community.
Here’s to the next 10 years and beyond – there’s an exciting future ahead of us.
We have ambitious plans, and see these first incredible ten years as just the beginning of a long and successful future. We’re committed to empowering anyone, anywhere, to sell anything with truly unlimited extensibility, flexibility, and control over how they build and evolve their business.
The next 10 years are set to be even better, and we’re looking for ambitious individuals to join us across the business. Now’s an especially exciting time to work on commerce – the industry is experiencing astronomical growth, and evolving every day.
If you’re interested in a career at WooCommerce, there’s no better time to grow with us and shape the future of commerce, than now.
WooCommerce has been a big success and helped a lot of people, like me, to build viable businesses.
However, whilst looking back with gratitude, we also need realism. For several years now (especially since the time Mike Jolley stopped being active in Github) the hard problems in WooCommerce have been ignored, and the leadership team have focussed on the low-hanging fruit of routes to more profit.
Hard problems like dedicated order tables, eliminating SQL row scans, most things to do with the needs of large-scale shops – all such things get punted until “later”, year after year, whilst more focus is given to marketing extensions, a home page where more marketing can go, and other window-dressing. Running a large-scale WooCommerce score means becoming an expert in the internals and learning lots of power-tweaks, regular analysis to see what unaddressed problems (they usually have been in Github for a long time) may be causing performance issues. 842 open issues in the Github tracker going back to April 2017 (Mike Jolley used to clear them down to zero before every release). The “high priority” label can mean “no progress for 2 years”.
This change more or less coincides with the buy-out by Automattic. An outsider would conclude that, at that point, it changed from being a developer-led project that gave equal priority to quality, to a management-led project that prioritised financials above everything else, whilst just “doing enough” to keep it viable technically. Technical quality and aiming for profit don’t have to be in conflict (quite the contrary) but it’s clear that the latter has come to dominate the former in a way that harms the quality.
Yes, nobody’s going to complain too much whilst the pie is growing larger and we’ll all eating. But as a developer as well as a business-person, it is disappointing to see that the hard technical challenges have been allowed to just drift for so long. It’s obvious now that this isn’t going to be a problem that fixes itself; the team need to take a deliberately different approach. The cascade of monthly releases gives a false impression of progress – there’s lots of activity, but the hard problems just don’t get attention. The WooCommerce blog post I want to see is one that a) acknowledges the problem (sometimes people have come close to this) and b) announces the real changes that are going to directly tackle it.
Here’s to another ten years – and, as I say, may they be more like the first five than the latter.
It’s not just the quantity of issues in Gitlab issue tracker that’s the problem. It’s really become an anti-issue tracker, where issues go to die. They can’t be reported again – they’re already reported in open issues! But neither do they get fixed. So, most WooCommerce site owners are probably unaware that their “options” table is bloated with around 800% extra unwanted junk created by a particular bug, which was reported 16 months ago, marked “priority” and has a patch provided – https://github.com/woocommerce/woocommerce/issues/27103 . That’s not an unusual example either.
I’m Allen, a developer advocate for WooCommerce here at Automattic. I definitely hear what you’re saying, and I would like to connect with you directly to learn more about your experience using Woo with large scale stores. We’re constantly looking for ways that we can improve the platform to better serve merchants and developers, so I appreciate you highlighting those specific issues above.
The “hard problems,” as you accurately put it, are big challenges that affect many stores, and I just wanted to acknowledge that our teams recognize the impact these limitations have on folks whose livelihoods depend on shops running efficiently.
As we work through big technical challenges stemming from underlying data structures, we want to make sure we’re building solutions in a way that won’t break things for stores or extension developers in the WooCommerce ecosystem. This constraint increases the complexity of these challenges quite a bit, and long-standing issues like the ones you mention have unfortunately not been able to receive the focus and prioritization necessary for moving them forward.
For dedicated tables specifically, I’ll mention that we have begun exploring technical approaches. You can read a bit more about some of that work in this blog post: https://developer.woocommerce.com/2021/03/23/exploring-variation-filtering-and-custom-tables/
Please feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. As I mentioned before, I’d love to learn more about how these challenges are impacting the work you do with Woo.
Platforms like Shopify make WooCommerce look bad, especially for end users (non-technical types). But at the same time, existing in the WordPress system means I can accomplish a whole lot more alongside WooCommerce than I can on Shopify, all while owning the end result.
It’d be great if WooCommerce were rolling out truly meaningful features and UX improvements to stay competitive with these other platforms.
Built a WC site recently, some products having 10k+ variations. I feel your pain with the SQL row scans. Viewing some product pages literally killed the server. Should have been fixed a long time ago. There are many issues that need resolving when it comes to scaling for larger sites.
Congratulations, what a ride so far. I can’t wait to see what coming next next. So many opportunities to tackle…
Thanks so much, Dave – we’re excited too!
I come to know Woocomemrce today from the BNBPay (BPAY) cryptocurrency coin. It is amazing to see such success of a blockchain technology applied in e-commerce, and in its 10th anniversary, it s just amazing, great project and great team.
Appreciate the wishes, Mo! 💜
With woo, possibilities are endless. I am very pleased to meet you in wordpress world.
Keep improving woo
Thanks, Kose – we definitely will! 💜
Great thanks to woocommerce this web e-commerce Solution help me to launch our first version of startup called Dailyle. Now going well but really great for anyone who want to build MVP software product.
Founder & CTO, CEO
That’s exciting news! Congratulations, Nabin.
A company selling crypto mining rigs from a website claiming to be using Woocommerce software may have stolen quite a bit of Bitcoin from me. I realize it is my fault for not doing my due diligence (their email doesn’t work, their phone number doesn’t work, and their address is not real), but is there any way you can help?
I am so sorry to hear that!
Unfortunately, unless the website is hosted using Automattic servers (via WordPress.com, for example), there is very little we can do in this situation.
I’d recommend following the steps detailed on this page: https://docs.woocommerce.com/document/abusive-content-on-a-store-built-with-woocommerce/ to try and determine where the site is hosted, in order to escalate this issue.
I hope that helps!
Thank you, Laura. Not looking too good.
Congratulations to everyone – it’s surreal to see myself in a few of these pictures back when and I hope you all have another great ten years!
Thanks, Danny! We’ll always appreciate the role you played in this journey. Hope you’re well! 💜
Who is http://www.wfcsale.com??????
Are you creating website for a scam company????
They say they represent Wayfair, but Wayfair says
they are not part of their company.
Can you verify they are legitimate???
Thanks for your message.
If you suspect a business is using WooCommerce for illegal or harmful purposes, you can follow the steps on the following page to report it: https://docs.woocommerce.com/document/abusive-content-on-a-store-built-with-woocommerce/
After WordPress, WooCommerce is my 2nd Love.
Thanks to the core team for developing such a wonderful tool.
Thank you, Niloy 💜
WooCommerce hasn’t changed much over the past 10 years. I’m waiting for a customer facing easy to use system. It literally takes to much setup to get a system that just works. Really wish it was easier to use and thought about the end user. Out of the box approach. All these extensions and bloated settings are going to kill the next 10 years of Woo.
Hi Woocommerce Team,
We really thank your entire team for developed such products which everyone needed in their daily business activities. We have been using woocommerce from the beginning for our Dry fruits and Nuts business (https://www.mynuts.in) and we are really happy with that. We wish you the 10th anniversary.
Sudha Gowri Shankar
This is awesome. I can’t believe it’s been that long. I started using WooCommerce about a year before the San Francisco WooConf and didn’t know much. I remember scraping all my pennies to make it out to the SF wooconf to see what it was all about and to see if it was something that would be around and reliable. I even slept in the airport the night before to save money. lol.
After attending the conference and meeting the people behind the code and culture, I knew there was something special and lasting.
I got to meet Brent Shepherd and the people at Prospress and that was an awesome experience as well. I realized you guys all really cared about this on a level that forged a foundation of the most amazing eCommerce platform I’ve ever worked with.
I got to attend the Austin and Seattle WooConf and continue to connect and grow with WooCommerce. I left my full time job over 5 years ago to work for myself building eCommerce sites and teaching people how to design and build their own sites.
I love what I do and so much of that is because of the hard work put in by WooCommerce team members and all the awesome developers who contributed to the ecosystem.
Here’s to another 10 years and more! Thanks for making the world a better place to live!
Ben Jenkins | Wodobo
Fond memories Ben!
It’s amazing how much Woo, and the world, has changed since WooConf SF. I look forward to the next time we can hang out in real life again!
What an incredible story, Ben! Thank you so much for sharing, and for being a part of our journey 💜
It is a great site. I had a great experience with it
perfect team woocommerce
My website is also with WooCommerce
I have been working with WooCommerce for more than 5 years
some of you consumers are taking peoples money and not giving them the product I would like my money back or my shed please
We’re really sorry to hear that you haven’t received the goods that you’ve paid for.
WooCommerce is open-source eCommerce software that businesses can use to build an online store – I’m afraid we don’t have the ability to process refunds or check on shipping status on behalf of those who use our software. Your best bet would be to reach out to the store you ordered from directly to see if this matter can be resolved.
Alternatively, if you believe someone is using WooCommerce for malicious or illegal purposes, you can follow the instructions on this page: https://docs.woocommerce.com/document/abusive-content-on-a-store-built-with-woocommerce/ to try and report them.
I’m sorry we can’t be of more help here!