Challenge: adopting new technologies

In December 2018, a new editor came to WordPress: Gutenberg, a block-based, Javascript-driven editing experience.

Gutenberg fundamentally changed how users would edit content in WordPress, which WooCommerce and Bookings are built on, and that presented a challenge for our team: it would take a while for the majority of users to adopt Gutenberg, and we needed to support the wide range of existing options for our products both with and without Gutenberg.

We knew that we couldn’t make any of the existing parts of Bookings dependent on Gutenberg or risk alienating loyal customers, but we also knew we couldn’t wait to get started with Gutenberg.

Solution: use it for new features

To both dig into the new technology and avoid disruption for existing customers, we determined we’d use Gutenberg to build new features that were not yet available with Bookings. That let us experiment with a new technology, and also build something that would add value for users, rather than creating a problem for them.

It also allowed us to test a couple of hypotheses we had around Bookings customers:

  1. Based on qualitative research conducted for Google 2-way sync, we identified four profiles for Bookings customers, each with slightly different needs. We believed we’d need to deliver different flavors of Bookings to different segments, and wanted to test whether offering features as an add-on (vs part of Bookings) was effective.
  2. Monetization was a focus for the division, and our Customer Survey research suggested that Bookings customers may have a greater ability to spend than other customer segments. We had a free add-on for Bookings, but not a paid upsell. We wanted to see how lucrative this might be.

Results: a successful launch

WooCommerce Bookings Availability launched as a paid add-on in Q2 of 2019, to positive response from customers. It was the first paid product we launched in three years.

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