State of the Woo 2023: WooCommerce Highlights AI-Powered Future and Continued Core Blockification

WooSesh 2023, the virtual conference for WooCommerce store builders, kicked off today with the State of the Woo address. This year’s theme is “Next Generation Commerce,” featuring advances across the e-commerce industry, as well as WooCommerce core and the wider ecosystem of tools and payment integrations.

WooCommerce CEO Paul Maiorana began the presentation with a few stats on Woo’s growth in 2023:

  • 4.4M+ live websites currently using WooCommerce (StoreLeads.app Woo usage)
  • 33% of the top 1 million online store are powered by Woo
  • 8.9% of the internet is powered by Woo (W3Techs)
  • 270M+ Woo downloads to date (WooCommerce internal data)
  • 908 products in the Marketplace
  • 66 languages supported

Maiorana highlighted a few e-commerce trends the company is watching, including the expansion of chatbots, on-site search, and AR. WooCommerce is seeing more merchants attracting non-local buyers through cross-boarder selling strategies, with high-growth stores focused on expanding across countries, languages, channels, and payment methods. Maiorana said customers are now expecting seamless experiences across devices and store must be fast, smooth, and intuitive from screen to screen.

Maiorana also shared insights from WooExperts, officially endorsed WooCommerce agencies, who are seeing an increase in merchants embracing multi-channel selling, diversified payment options, and immersive buying experience that leverage AI, AR, virtual try-ons, and 3D images.

The State of the Woo featured several milestones WooCommerce logged this year. WooCommerce Payments is now available in 38 countries. WooPay, the gateway’s opt-in single-click cross-site checkout experience, is out of beta. WooCommerce has also continued expanding its payment integrations covering more geographies and localized payment methods. The company recently launched TikTok for WooCommerce as a new integration to help merchants improve conversion by selling directly via TikTok Shop.

WooExperts onboarded 88 new agencies, who are ambassadors for Woo, building enterprise projects at scale. They are also invited to collaborate with WooCommerce on technical planning.

WooCommerce core has crossed several important milestones in 2023, including making High-Performance Order Storage (HPOS), more commonly known as custom order tables, the default on version 8.2. This major overhaul delivers significant performance gains and makes databases more scalable.

The full blockification of WooCommerce core is on the way a new product management experience using the Blocks API. It was auto-enabled for a subset of new stores in 7.9, released in July, and will be enabled for more stores as soon as WooCommerce adds variable product management support.

Block-based order confirmation is next on the roadmap, and block-based cart and checkout will soon be the default, as WooCommerce is working closely with partners to increase extension support.

Woo Express: More AI-Powered Features Coming Soon

During today’s WooSesh keynote, WooCommerce also highlighted a few milestones for Woo Express, the all-in-one WooCommerce plan hosted on WordPress.com. The product launched in 2023 as “Woo’s biggest bet ever.” It kicked off in September 2022, launched free trials in April 2023, and had 1,000 paying customers as of July 2023.

The team demonstrated the new onboarding flow and store personalization experience. Woo Express’ current priorities are making store setup easier with an AI-driven assistant to guide merchants through setup and growing stores, along with offering smart recommendations to drive more revenue, based on store analytics. The product defaults to a block-based theme, cart, and checkout. It includes the Woo AI plugin for early feedback.

Woo Express is currently only available on WordPress.com, but WooCommerce representatives said what its features will also be surfaced in Woo core. The product is being used as a proving ground for the next phases of product development.

WooSesh will be live again tomorrow with more sessions on using AI tools for support, creating effective landing pages, using Amazon Pay, shipping trends, case studies, and more. Registration is free but the sessions must be viewed live. The sessions will be recorded and published to WPSessions after the live event has ended, available with a subscription.

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