This week marks the first public release of WooCommerce’s new mobile app for Android and the improved version for iOS. WooCommerce began beta testing the Android app late last year and the original iOS app has been updated to offer the same features.
This first release should be considered a basic start that is mostly useful for tracking store performance with detailed stats and getting alerts for new orders and product reviews. Users cannot add or edit products and the app does not yet allow for switching between stores. The first release offers basic order management and fulfillment but does not include the ability to change order status. The mobile apps don’t yet live up to their tagline of “Your store in your pocket,” but it’s a good starting place.
According to the Google Play Store, the WooCommerce app has been installed more than 10,000 times and the response from users has been mixed. The app is averaging a 2.5-star rating after early reviews from 45 users. The iOS app has received similar responses. Many of the negative reviews are due to connection/login issues and the requirement for stores to use Jetpack.
“This has promise, but get rid of the need for Jetpack,” one reviewer wrote. “There are other secure ways of syncing up. Other apps have done it for years. This app has been long overdue, but is poor in execution when you need to install a plugin that tends to bog down your site and that most don’t need. Give an alternative means of syncing and allow us to edit at least the basics of a product on the go.”
WooCommerce marketing representative Marina Pape explained the Jetpack requirement in a post announcing the mobile apps’ launch:
The Jetpack plugin connects your self-hosted site to a WordPress.com account and provides a common authentication interface across lots of server configurations and architectures.
Both Apple and Google only allow a single trusted sender for pushes for security reasons (read more), making Jetpack the best way for us to give you modern mobile app features like push notifications.
In order to connect sites with the app, Jetpack creates a shadow site on WordPress.com’s servers and syncs quite a bit of data. Although this list of data is transparently outlined, the Jetpack requirement is a deal breaker for some users. They either object to sharing their data or believe the plugin will slow down their stores. Until the app’s features are more compelling than the detriments users perceive in Jetpack, it may lose a few users based on this requirement.
According to BuiltWith, WooCommerce is now the most popular shopping cart technology used by 22% of the top 1 million websites, with competitors Shopify and Magento not too far behind at 17% and 13% respectively. Having a new mobile app should help WooCommerce remain competitive, but the team needs to keep iterating on the app to make it more useful for those managing stores on the go.