Before we jump to any conclusions, let me clarify that WooCommerce is one of the finest WordPress plugins I have seen.
Not only has rtCamp used WooCoomerce on it’s own store in the past two years, we have worked on many WooCommerce customization projects, developed many WooCommerce Add-ons and used many WooCommerce code portions, design patterns in our other products!
WooCommerce is a great product and WooThemes is a great company with awesome customer support! 🙂
So what went wrong?
WooCommerce is not good for software stores! Atleast for our store.
Before I write down my observations with WooCommerce and EasyDigitalAddon, let me first list what we wanted!
Our Software Store Requirements
- License key generation – We need this to prevent unauthorized access to automatic upgrade service. We are getting request from thousands of unique IP addresses, much more than number of orders we have in the system. We are planning to add better support integration in our products. License key will help us limit this “super” premium support to premium customers only.
- Semi-Automatic Renewal – All licenses we are selling have time limit of 1-year. But we don’t want customers to enter into recurring payment agreement. As a customer, for downloadable software, we prefer to go with “buy now” option. If we find future upgrades worthy, only then we wish to pay for them. We hope our customers also get the same preference.
- Volume Licenses – We wanted to offer volume discounts to customers who wish to use our products on multiple sites. Also we want to offer our customers the ability to upgrade from a single-site license to bigger-licenses by paying only the difference. The idea is not to lure anybody to buy bigger licenses in advance!
Read more about License here http://docs.rtcamp.com/license/
WooCommerce for Software Store
WooThemes uses WooCommerce for its own software store and has a software addon on sale. But WooThemes doesn’t use the software addon they sell. What they use internally is not on sale!
Then there are two 3rd party addons. One is API manager addon which we used a few weeks ago. This addon has so many issues that when we started using it, we had to help every single customer in activating their licenses. On top of it, it doesn’t come with a nice example theme and plugin libraries. Sample libraries do not have support for multisite. They were not tested on PHP 5.2 and PHP 5.3 breaking few of our customer’s sites.
Todd Lahman, developer of API manager addon was quick to solve few issues and is working hard to make this addon ready for prime time. But this addon doesn’t have “manual” renewal mechanism unless we use WooCommerce Subscription with recurring payment. So this fell quite short on our requirements.
The second addon, actually addons, are by Nirav Mehta from Store Apps. They basically have two addons – Serial Keys and Renewals. With my discussions with Nirav, it seems StoreApps addons are more matured and might have delivered what we have needed. We have used many of their activeCollab addons in past and so we were not worried about quality of these addons.
But again there were few concerns, some with WooCommerce itself. Most notable, an issue with downloadable permission table and extra codes e.g. shipping etc which are not needed for software stores.
With API manager live on our server, we could not afford to experiment more. So we decided to give EasyDigitalDownloads a try this time! It seemed time to switch to Nirav’s addon and EDD was almost same.
EasyDigitalDownloads for Software Store
EasyDigitalDownloads is made exclusively for a software store. So when we analyzed their software addons, we were delighted to see it meeting our requirements listed above quite closely.
EasyDigitalDownloads does one thing very nice which I wish every WooCommerce addons to follow: they handle variations using post-meta only. For software, variations has different “number of active site limit” and “price”. Rest all is same. This has been taken care very beautifully here.
This was not first time that we felt that we tried moving our software store to EasyDigitalDownloads. As there wasn’t any automated migration script available, we could not do it before. But this time we coded one and put it on github in WooCommerce-to-EasyDigtialDownload repo. You are free to use this script to migrate your software store! 🙂
Migration Pain Points
There were many!
- As this migration involved all our premium customers, we had to write extra codes to make sure switch from WooCommerce API manager to EDD Software addon appears as seamless as possible.
- Coding itself! What initially appeared as a migration from one custom post to another custom post type, turned out to be much bigger task. We spent almost 100 hours in coding over the last 15 days and many hours in testing. More time will be needed for unforeseen issues that may appear in next few days.
- Direct Cost! We have purchased WooCommerce addons of hundreds of USD worth in last 2 years. They needed to be thrown out and we needed to buy EDD addons that cost a few hundreds of USD again! Well, this cost is small compared to coding and testing time we have spent. But Pippin Williamson was generous to give us a way to get 20% discount code here. 🙂
What we hope here is that going ahead, we will have far better and faster store optimized for software sales experience. These efforts will pay over the time.
rtCamp is proud of Udit, Rakshit, Nitun, Ritesh and our entire team which worked hard in last two weeks to make this migration as seamless as possible. We are also grateful to Pippin Williamson for all the help he offered.
WooCommerce v/s EasyDigitalDownloads
I really love both. We as a company will continue to provide WooCommerce customization services as well as make sure our future addons will continue to work with WooCommerce. Only difference now is that our stuff will work with EasyDigitalDownloads as well.
From a store owner perspective both are good. If you want to sell software, use EasyDigitalDownloads. For selling physical goods use WooCommerce. Very rarely it happens in WordPress community that two competing plugins not only offers equally good quality in every aspect, they set standards for others to follow! 🙂
Notes for customers
Nothing should break on your site. Your existing license key will be recognized by our license server and you will get an automatic update for next release. After that EDD-based upgrade codes will take over.
At all times you can access all your orders, downloads and licenses from the your-account section.
If you have any questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even though we do not work on weekends, this time our team will remain online on Saturday, so any support request can be immediately resolved.
We apologize in advance to our customers for some inconvenience they may face. Especially if you have activated licenses a few weeks ago, you may need to reactivate them again.
But rest assured, you will like the new “premium support” option we will be adding in next update to all our premium themes and plugins.
Additionally, if in past you have purchased any product twice, as we did not offer volume licensing, please contact support, so we can merge your orders to give you higher activation limits.
Links: Your Account Section | Licensing FAQ | WooCommerce to EasyDigitalDownload Migration Script