iThemes Exchange is going far in the next two months … with new product types, payment gateways and new people contributing to the project!
Today we released Exchange v. 1.1.2 with Duplicate Product core free add-on but I just wanted wanted to give you some more details on where our ecommerce plugin is going.
First, some quick background …
Last week we spent three solid days working through the next iterations of Exchange with its core developers Glenn Ansley and Lew Ayotte, Creative Director Brad Ulrich and COO Matt Danner, along with Elise Alley, our lead support team member for Exchange.
The last time we did this was in April before we even announced we were launching an ecommerce plugin and it turned out to be a turning point in the project as we were able to brainstorm, dream and plan together in one room for a couple of days.
Last week was no different and just as monumental for the project. The goal of the week was to scope out and freeze features for version 1 of two new product types in Exchange — Physical products and Memberships.
Here’s a snippet of what we planned out for the next product types in Exchange:
- Memberships – This has been THE most requested product types to add to Exchange and we’re super excited to be rolling it out in the next month or so. The goal is to allow you to protect access to content and sell it (or offer for free) to your clients and customers. Lew has been working on it for several weeks now and is focused full-time on its release to include recurring payments and drip / delayed content among other key membership features. We spent the bulk of our time last week working through the UI design of it and once we get closer we’ll be sharing more of those sneak peaks. We’ve taken a complex problem and done it “the iThemes way” making it easier to conceptualize and setup membership sites like never before.
- Physical Goods – We feel like for Exchange to be the complete ecommerce solution, we needed to allow you to sell your physical / shippable goods as soon as possible. So work has begun on simple shipping, with an estimated release in the next two weeks. Then, advanced shipping options for UPS, USPS, and FedEx will be coming after that. Our hope is to get the advanced shipping options out in late-September.
- Simple Invoices – This has been another hot product type request in our community of freelancers and we are keen on offering it to you very, very soon. The goal of this product type is to be able to create an invoice as a product, and then you send the client an email with a link to pay. We’re weighing some other priorities right now but look for it in the next month.
Other Projects Coming Up for Exchange
Here are some projects that are currently underway:
- Authorize.Net integration add-on – Work started last week and is roughly halfway through completion for THE most request payment gateway integration in Exchange. We’re hoping to get this released later this month. This means more people can use Exchange for their stores and sets the stage for selling your Physical Goods and Memberships / Subscriptions.
- PayPal Pro integration add-on – Work on the second most requested payment gateway started this week and we expect to see it released later this month.
- New Themes – We’ve been working with some great theme shops (Press75 and AudioTheme) to get Exchange-styled themes out soon as well as working on new themes of our own.
- Exchange on GitHub – We have a highly customized and efficient repository system at iThemes … but we’ve had a lot of requests by developers who want to contribute to Exchange on GitHub. We’re currently evaluating how to offer this without disrupting our current workflow and process while getting valuable contributions from the larger WP community.
More Help is On the Way
An ecommerce plugin with a roadmap like Exchange is a massive project.
It’s the biggest project we’ve taken on to date and requires a lot of people. In fact, for the past several months, we’ve had around 3 people focused full-time on it, and another 4 on it for a majority of their time.
But even that’s not enough for where we want to go with Exchange …
So in recent weeks, we’ve been reaching out to other developers we respect and trust to help us with certain add-ons and projects that we know we can’t get to but need to prioritize and launch.
I’m excited to announce today that Justin Sainton, of Zao Web Design, one of the leading WordPress ecommerce developers I know, will be building add-ons for Exchange. Justin is also the lead developer for WP-Ecommerce and a WordPress Core Contributor. Our team had the pleasure of meeting him in person for coffee in July in Portland and we’re super excited about his upcoming (and continued) work with Exchange. His first project with Exchange is already underway and we’re excited about its release in the coming week or two.
And I’m also elated that WebDevStudios, led by my good friends Brad Williams, Lisa Sabin-Wilson and Brian Messenlehner, will be contributing to Exchange. They have already started on their first project with Exchange, with many more in the works.
These two groups of people add some amazing talent to Exchange to help us offer the complete ecommerce solution for you fast and with excellent quality.
And you’ll see their work released very soon.
Suffice to say … watch how Exchange grows to serve you better in the next two months with new product types and new payment gateways … all in an effort to be your preferred tool for building awesome WordPress ecommerce sites!