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Coming Soon: WooCommerce Marketing Hub

Our vision at WooCommerce is to democratize commerce. It’s why we’ve introduced WooCommerce Shipping, WooCommerce Tax, and most recently, WooCommerce Payments (Beta). These services — designed by WooCommerce, exclusively for WooCommerce stores — help thousands of merchants fulfil and transact more efficiently. In parallel, we’ve started work on a new experience that will help store owners accelerate their businesses growth: WooCommerce Marketing.

With increasing competitiveness in online business, we all know that “build it and they will come” just isn’t enough. Marketing needs to be strategic, proactive, impactful, and efficient to manage. The current marketing experience within WooCommerce has room to improve as merchants encounter all kinds of hurdles before they even get to try their first marketing activity.

As such, there’s a real and meaningful opportunity for WooCommerce and the WooCommerce developer community to elevate the way store owners engage with marketing tools. Creating smoother, richer marketing experiences will enable our merchants to drive more store growth faster, which benefits us all.

Simplification, Curation and Education

WooCommerce 4.1 adds a new Marketing tab to emphasize its importance in merchants’ growth. This is the foundation for the development of a robust marketing hub to enable central management, control, and guidance for effective marketing.

The new marketing tab in WooCommerce

This dashboard focuses on:

  • Simplifying management, installation, and set up of marketing extensions.
  • Curating the right marketing extensions at the right time: Store owners will see a limited set of recommendations, taking the guesswork out of identifying extensions that help merchants market their stores.
  • Educating merchants: Relevant articles and marketing guides right on the dashboard will help our merchants understand where to focus, and how to make impactful marketing decisions.

While our plans for WooCommerce Marketing are expansive, we plan on starting with a small selection and growing the number and scope of integrations based on merchant usage and feedback. Although we anticipate iteration to fulfil our long-term vision, we’ll maintain focus on simplification, curation, and education.

Beyond v1

This work represents a small first step towards a more integrated, cohesive marketing experience in WooCommerce core.

We’ll be expanding on the work in this initial release to give ourselves, our partners, and extension developers a centralized hub from which merchants will be able to launch, manage, and measure their marketing activities. Think automations, campaigns, customer segmentation, coupon management, marketing focused analytics, and reporting…our roadmap is long and exciting, and we’re just getting started!

If you have ideas or suggestions feel free to leave them on the WooCommerce ideas board, or if you have general comments – let us know in the comments section below.

By Gary Murray

Product & Focus lead at WooCommerce.

56 replies on “Coming Soon: WooCommerce Marketing Hub”

Please don’t make this a top-level dashboard menu item as is shown in the attached screenshot. As described above, what v1.0 is is mainly a presentation of up-sells. I’m pretty sure the demand for having that taking up top-level space will be high. Put it in the “WooCommerce” sub-menu.

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While part of the dashboard does make “recommendations” for some extensions it is not a screen of “upsells” only and forms the basis upon which we plan to build out a number of different features. Alongside this, it is important to note that in order to market your store – you more than likely are going to need to install “an” extension.

Putting it as a sub-menu item under WooCommerce also limits the way we can include new features via sub-menu items itself which then results in lots of tabs (i.e. the WooCommerce settings).

We’d also rather start with where it will be versus move it in 1/2 versions time for instance.

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The inclusion of the marketing hub itself will be native to WooCommerce, and some features may become ‘native’ – while others would still make use extensions/plugins.

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I’m concerned that Woocommerce is slowly embracing the freemium model with advertising for extensions and plugin in the admin area. I think you are better off keeping Woocommerce lean and offer things like this as an optional extension. Having the marketing hub as a native component is useless if I don’t want any of the promoted extensions.

Will you earn commissions on apps I install that you promote in the admin area of my store? I’ve spent money on WooCommerce extensions but don’t feel comfortable having paid promotions appear in the management area of my shop.

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I had advocated for a focus on marketing for a long time. Glad to see some initiatives beyond just development. Would this promote only WooCommerce.com extensions and content or would you allow 3rd parties as well? How could we contribute our content and plugins?

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Hi Mike

We would be looking to include extensions that are sold/offered on WooCommerce.com as well as content via our own blog.

If you have any content you feel would be suitable for our blog please get in touch with us here: https://woocommerce.com/contact-us/ of as a WooExpert (which I think you are) you could reach out via those channels.

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Gary, I have disabled Woocommerce Marketplace suggestions in my settings.

Will your new Marketing screen obey this setting?

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The marketing tab is not the same as the marketplace suggestions so it won’t inherit that setting.

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That’s a bad idea. The setting is worded in a way that ordinary human beings will interpret as meaning that they won’t be shown up-sell suggestions. It offers to not show you “official extensions that may be helpful”. If that’s ticket, then only extensions that WooCommerce should show are ones that aren’t unhelpful…

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I’d love to understand what you feel about the extensions we are going to recommend there are not helpful? We are currently looking at including: Facebook, Mailchimp, Google Ads, Hubspot, Amazon & eBay, AutomateWoo and potentially Hubspot.

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Gary, where is this Marketing tab roadmap? I’d be very curious to see it. You didn’t link it in the post.

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We don’t have a public roadmap yet – but I did highlight a few of the things we will be working on in the post – which include automations, campaigns, customer segmentation, coupon management, marketing focused analytics, and reporting.

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Hi Hendrik – thanks for your comment. There was a similar comment earlier and as mentioned then putting it as a sub-menu item under WooCommerce limits the way we can include new features via sub-menu items itself which then results in lots of tabs (i.e. the WooCommerce settings). We’d also rather start with where it will be versus move it in 1/2 versions time for instance.

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Hi Gary,

I’m basing my opinion on what I see on the screenshot you posted. A blogrol and some plugin recommendations does not warrant a top level menu item in my opinion. it seems a few other commentators agree with me. It makes sense to be a submenu item. If and when new features are introduced, you can still move the menu item to a more appropriate location.

I think this forum is meant for people to voice their concern/opinion. By now a few of us have done so 🙂

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You are correct – this is a forum for people to voice their concern/opinion – and I do see that there are some that agree with you. On the other side we have people that are very much in favour of this – and based on our understanding and knowledge of what we plan to build we still believe our decision to make it a top level menu item is the best decision.

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I think the people that are “for” this suggestion are developers looking to promote their apps/extensions directly in the store back-end. Of course, this is attractive for Woocommerce and for developers.
However, as a store owner it is not attractive to have a top level menu item exist solely for the promotion of various apps and extensions that we might not even want.

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it is not attractive to have a top level menu item exist solely for the promotion of various apps and extensions that we might not even want.

That is not the long term plan for this top level menu item as was outlined in the post itself.

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If it’s to do with future limitations, then I think to avoid making users think “ah, the Marketing tab, that’s just another pile of adverts for their store” and avoiding it, you should not launch “1.0” until you other stuff dominates the page.

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I think this is part of the problem here – you are assuming the majority of users think these are ‘irrelevant” adverts and ignore them. The intent is to show a small set of recommendations to services that actually can help them market their stores, so I think the result will be quite different to your assumption.

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“The problem” is not when your users give you honest feedback. WooCommerce has that tick-box to allow store-owners to opt out of having extensions marketed to them precisely because lots of users feel the way I do. WooCommerce has a track record in recent years of over-estimating how much marketing store-owners want to be presented with – and yes, even when that marketing is presented as “we’re showing you this to help you make your store better!” (is there ever any other kind of marketing). This is my feedback. Take it or leave it. But don’t tell me that I really do want to be presented with up-sells and just don’t understand that well enough yet!!

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Any serious woocommerce developer will be removing this on every single project they create. How is that helping the community?

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Hi Isaac – thanks for your reply and voicing your concerns.

I agree that removing it on every single project you create will not help the community – but I also hope that you can see that our intent here is to build something will be really useful and valuable for customers – which will include things like automations, campaigns, customer segmentation, coupon management, marketing focused analytics, and reporting (as mentioned in the post).

If you feel that the stores your build/or customers you serve don’t or won’t need these things, it is ultimately your decision to remove it – but I hope as we continue to build out new features here you might change your mind.

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Please dont make this a mandatory menu,make it a optional one or even a seperate plugin. Also please get good amount of feedbacks from the user community before implementing this as a main menu. In my point of view i personally dont like to have another menu and 3rd parties collecting data from my site.

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Hi Gayan – thanks for your feedback.

Please dont make this a mandatory menu,make it a optional one or even a seperate plugin.

I’ve explained our rationale behind adding this as a new menu item already – to recap – putting it as a sub-menu item under WooCommerce limits the way we can include new features via sub-menu items itself which then results in lots of tabs (i.e. the WooCommerce settings). We’d also rather start with where it will be versus move it in 1/2 versions time for instance.

Also please get good amount of feedbacks from the user community before implementing this as a main menu.

We will and are monitoring feedback – thanks for sharing yours.

In my point of view i personally dont like to have another menu and 3rd parties collecting data from my site.

Any data that the Marketing hub collects is controlled by the same policies used by WooCommerce itself – which you can opt out of.

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I really don’t understand what we’re supposed to be looking at – especially without either a roadmap or even a general sense of what is to come.

From the screenshot, it seems this is a place for ya’ll to market WC extensions to site owners – something that already exists in its own sub tab, and permeates almost every WC settings pane.
A separate top-level page that exists to highlight and install a subset of plugins is heavy handed overkill, directed at a community that is already pissed that A8C’s monitizations schemes come at the cost of it’s users.

Now, if the goal is actually to create a centralized hub for the user to manage their marketing efforts – campaigns, reports, heck even move email templates to this tab – then fine. But make that the V1. Start with an API that makes it easy for marketing plugins to display their screens on that page (instead of their own top-level menus), and offer some value to the user before you beat us into submission with more upsells. Otherwise you’re just burning more bridges.

(And please, whatever you do and as a general rule, don’t require Jetpack!)

Side question: how will this affect site speed/resource usage? WC is already pretty bloated (custom tables can’t come soon enough), and with small sites not needing extensive marketing solutions and enterprise sites relying on external CRMs, for many users this is just additional bloat (if not technological, at least cognitive). Will there be a way to disable this, or ideally only enable it if the user wants to use / is using marketing features?

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I really don’t understand what we’re supposed to be looking at – especially without either a roadmap or even a general sense of what is to come.

I tried to cover the roadmap/general sense of what is to come in the actual post.

Side question: how will this affect site speed/resource usage?

We’ll be take into account any impact our work might have here.

Will there be a way to disable this, or ideally only enable it if the user wants to use / is using marketing features?

No, there is no current plan to be able to disable it with a ‘setting’ as such.

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This should not be a top-level menu item, please add an option to disable this feature, or I will be having to manually remove this from all my websites.

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I agree, providing localised options (where possible) would be beneficial – ultimately though the recommendations do come from what is available on WooCommerce.com – so we’d need more localised marketing options on there to draw from.

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I think, as all other devs/site admins I’ve asked, this is bad move. Making it top level is nonsense. If you think otherwise please add an option for disabling it. Thanks!

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A few comments on this planned update:

There are three major functions proposed. They are as follows:

Simplifying management, installation, and set up of marketing extensions.

There is already WooCommerce -> Extensions and Plugins for managing extensions and plugin and adding new ones. To have a third place doesn’t necessarily simplify but rather the opposite. It could maybe be tab under WooCommerce -> Extensions. And at present, it is just promotional content.

Curating the right marketing extensions at the right time: Store owners will see a limited set of recommendations, taking the guesswork out of identifying extensions that help merchants market their stores.

Also promotional content but with logic and tracking to make it relevant.

Educating merchants: Relevant articles and marketing guides right on the dashboard will help our merchants understand where to focus, and how to make impactful marketing decisions.

Again, promotional content.

All of this is promotional content and doesn’t really justify a top level menu position nor to be included by default in WooCommerce. But, let’s move on to the future planned updates.

We’ll be expanding on the work in this initial release to give ourselves, our partners, and extension developers a centralized hub from which merchants will be able to launch, manage, and measure their marketing activities. Think automations, campaigns, customer segmentation, coupon management, marketing focused analytics, and reporting…our roadmap is long and exciting, and we’re just getting started!

Some of this is currently handled by plugins (such as MailPoet, Google Analytics) or native to Woocommerce (coupons). I would assume since these features are quite involved and complicated, they would be offered as paid extensions and automations. If this deep functionality needs to be paid for in order to unlock it, it is again promotional content.

I prefer Woocommerce to be an impartial open-source platform where anyone (including Woocommerce) can build plug-ins and extensions without bias. It maintains the spirit of open source. Any paid functionality could be offered in a plugin, such as the case with Jetpack for WordPress.

By adding promotional content as a core function of WooCommerce, you do the free market a disservice by picking favorites, and don’t send the right signals to the thousands of plugin- and extension developers who already make similar, competing software to the ones you now propose to curate in the “Marketing” menu.

Just my two cents.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts Karl.

There is already WooCommerce -> Extensions and Plugins for managing extensions and plugin and adding new ones. To have a third place doesn’t necessarily simplify but rather the opposite. It could maybe be tab under WooCommerce -> Extensions. And at present, it is just promotional content.

That could have been one approach, but what we are trying to do here is centralise all things related to marketing to one place rather than have those things appear in various places all over the wp-admin – ideally this will make it easier in the long term.

Then related to some of your other comments, as mentioned in the initial post and in the comments, this new feature is designed to make our end users more successful – that means we get to grow the ecosystem and community.

More advanced used, merchants or developers, might not need this and that’s ok – WooCommerce is almost completely customisable to suit your needs.

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Thanks for your reply. Will there be an option to opt out of any tracking the Marketing module might do? I think your intentions are good and it’s ok to point new users to the right direction. But consider offering an opt-out for more advanced users. You could place the privacy settings for the Marketing module in WooCommerce > Settings > Advanced > Marketing (Tab)

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If you have opted out of usage tracking during the install of WooCommerce – we will get no data on how you use the marketing tab and/or any of it’s features. If you have not already opted-out and would like to you can do it via the Advanced tab in the WooCommerce settings – more here: https://woocommerce.com/usage-tracking/

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This whole thing is pointless as currently presented. I agree wholeheartedly with the numerous other comments asking for this “feature” to have the ability to be disabled by the user. It would be quite easy to add a checkbox to the setup wizard that asks for the user’s consent to use the marketing hub. WP-Admin is cluttered enough. I don’t need another place to try to sell me on solutions when I can do my own research. It seems as if this feedback is falling on deaf ears, so take from it what you will, but while I appreciate the intent to help users, this is far too heavy-handed an approach.

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Thanks for the feedback – and I can tell you that the feedback is not falling on deaf ears.

It would be quite easy to add a checkbox to the setup wizard that asks for the user’s consent to use the marketing hub

I don’t think this makes sense as marketing a store is not really something optional – most, if not all stores need to do it – so giving you the option to ‘remove’ the marketing hub seems counter intuitive to trying to help merchants succeed.

I don’t need another place to try to sell me on solutions when I can do my own research.

If you would prefer to take this approach, you could by all means remove the Marketing menu item.

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We do not currently plan to have a filter that will disable it.

Then

If you would prefer to take this approach, you could by all means remove the Marketing menu item.

I’m confused, can the marketing hub be disabled or not?

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You can remove it, as you can with anything in WordPress – we don’t plan to include an option to disable it via a setting/check box though.

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Please stop adding unnecessary stuff to Woocommerce CORE.

I personally have no intention on updating the plugin anymore ever since the WC Admin was added and which is absolutely useless for my websites. Not to mention the heavy scripts and the extra database tables that come along with it. It should have remained a separate extension/plugin.

And now this Marketing tab thing? Oh, boy.

In my opinion, the CORE plugin should ALWAYS remain as clean, lean and lightweight as possible and that any other extra functionalities should be made available ONLY via extensions / 3rd party plugins and ONLY as per one’s needs.

Now, I could totally understand that this Marketing tab could be more than just a place for promotional content. However, it doesn’t matter at all, even if it would provide some (more or less useful) marketing tools, it should still be left completely outside of the core plugin, not even under the Woocommerce admin menu.

Worst case scenario: a filter should be put in place for any such extra thing that still gets into Core, in order to for us to be able to completely disable it.

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Thanks for your feedback, Robert. It’s a balance we try to strike between being lean for our developers and offering the right functionality to our merchants.

Our goal is to help our merchants grow their business and we know the majority need easier access to marketing tools on our platform. If that’s not what you specifically need, thats ok — we don’t expect everyone to use each feature we develop within the core product.

As Gary mentioned above, you can remove this menu item if needed.

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Our goal is to help our merchants grow their business and we know the majority need easier access to marketing tools on our platform.

You guys are making a major mistake. If you honestly wanted to do what you say, you could just as easily include a prompt for people to download the marketing module as an extension.

The real reason appears to be more about monetizing Woocommerce installs by stubbornly including this module in core. It’s like forcing WordPress users to install Jetpack. Jetpack is another plugin tailored to help beginners but is also extremely bloated with lots of tracking scripts which benefit Automattic.

Why don’t you keep making Woocommerce lean and fast and offer the marketing tab as an extension? Then you would be forced to make it useful to earn installs. At the moment this feels like a slight conflict of interest. Woocommerce now needs some competition.

I remember when Woocommerce was removing features and moving them to extensions to make core leaner. have you departed from that philosophy?

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No we haven’t departed from that philosophy. But, we do have to attend to our merchant’s needs and will always attempt to do so in a way that’s flexible and extensible for our developers.

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…we do have to attend to our merchant’s needs and will always attempt to do so in a way that’s flexible and extensible for our developers.

I’m just skeptical that this is really the needs of merchants. Did you quantify that assumption in any way such as surveys or feedback? It would be very interesting to know.

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Hi, Warren.

Then, have you guys ever thought about having 2 separate WooCommerce plugins? Like, one for developers and one for merchants.

In terms of maintenance from your part, I see no extra work in such a case. The clean, lightweight core code would always be kept in the “WooCommerce for Developers” plugin, while any other extras (such as WC Admin, Marketing Tools, etc.) that you might want to add on top of core would be added only in the “WooCommerce for Merchants” plugin.

This way anybody can easily choose between them, depending on their businesses and preferences, and thus you will obtain that balance that you say you strike for.

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Is there a filter I can use that disabled the Marketing tab? I don’t want this as part of my clients admin areas.

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