A local SA company powering ecommerce around the world, with PayPal

As a follow on from my last post I wanted to talk a bit more about WooCommerce. I touched on them in a blog post two weeks ago but I didn’t really get into the detail on why.

Why I think they have built something incredible, why their latest acquisition deal is an inspiration to entrepreneurs across Africa, and how (I think) they managed to achieve all this.

When you’re enabling the not-so-web savvy customers to venture into ecommerce, often for the first time, there are a number of things you need to get right from the start – but keeping their money secure is the first on the list. Thanks to their partnership with PayPal, these guys managed to take the most complex thing on the internet (payments) and make it simple for day-to-day people to process them. There really is no better business model than making something simple, and accessible for everyone to use.




That’s the thing about ecommerce, when moving over to that model your products can become available on an international scale. Naturally that makes payments a little more complicated, which is why using PayPal as a payment method on your e-store is worth a thought. Cross border payments are made simpler with PayPal that fully supports 26 currencies, is active in 203 markets and provide global reach of 173 million active accounts worldwide. In fact, in addition to making it simpler, offering PayPal payments can potentially increase your online sales due to the high usage and preference of PayPal, especially for international transaction. In a 2014 research by PayPal and Ipsos, it was found that on average, 63% of shoppers in 22 markets worldwide, use PayPal for their international transactions, compared to PayPal’s main competitor in the market[1].

We’re living in a digital world, and selling products online is slowly becoming a necessity for businesses. But ecommerce is not only for the corporate world, you and I can create an

online store on a blog or a fully developed website and sell anything we want to. Whether it be homemade jam, or handmade figurines of your favourite Marvel superheroes. For the big corporates a complicated cross border payment is easier, but for us regular people it can be more challenging.

WooCommerce speaks from experience. In 2014 they suffered a malicious hack that resulted in them moving all their payments to PayPal. They communicated this to their community – announcing their new found strength and security through the partnership, making PayPal not only available for their customers using their plug-ins, but also as their preferred payment method to accept their own payments online.

That brings me to my next point about partnerships. One thing I see most businesses struggling with is the fact they try to own everything. When I look at how WooCommerce expanded globally I wonder if that would be possible without partnerships. Like the PayPal partnership for example. Joel Bronkowski, business development manager at WooThemes (WooCommerce’s parent), said: “In many ways, it’s simply the standard for global electronic payments, if ease of use and quick payments is your thing.”


We live in a world where everything is fast-paced, and we expect everything to happen at the click of a button. If it doesn’t, we simply look for a faster alternative. That’s probably another reason why WooCommerce brought in PayPal for themselves and their customers. With PayPal’s Express Checkout, businesses have the flexibility to accept PayPal payments as well as credit and debit card payments. The product also offers a 3 click checkout experience for customers, significantly shorter than traditional checkouts, helping merchants minimise their churn rate and convert more users into customers.

Launched in 2011, WooCommerce has simply exploded, and there are currently 660,000+ sites around the world powered by WooCommerce, including our very own GeeksDoingStuff.com eStore!

What’s next for WooThemes and PayPal?

“In the same way that PayPal allows us to concentrate on what we are good at by taking care of our payments safely and securely, we want to simplify the process for our merchants to take their business online. We are working more closely than ever with PayPal to make it as easy as possible for our merchants to enable PayPal payments for their customers,” said Mark Forrester, WooThemes co-founder and CEO.

Well played Mark. You did SA proud!

Have questions? Contact PAYPAL

 [1] ‘Ipsos study for PayPal reveals opportunities and best practices for online merchants who want to grow their international business’, in ipsos MORI research publications. Viewed 22 December 2015, https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3486/Ipsos-study-for-PayPal-reveals-opportunities-and-best-practices-for-online-merchants-who-want-to-grow-their-international-business.aspx


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