If you logged into WooCommerce.com over the weekend, you may have noticed a distinct change. In order to sign into the site, users are now required to have a WordPress.com account. The change occurred without warning and surprised those who manage multiple WooCommerce stores for clients.
“When dealing with businesses, asking someone at a corporate level to take their email address and make a WordPress.com account is a bit problematic,” Griffin said. “They’re confused as to why they need to do this. They don’t have immediate access to that email address on a Saturday or Sunday.”
“So, without warning, without notice, without a heads up or anything else, no one can now access anything in the back-end of the WooCommerce account unless there is a WP.com single sign on account using oAuth.”
For those not interested in signing in with their WordPress.com account, WooCommerce.com attempts to alleviate concerns in an article that outlines the benefits. The benefits include an option to enable 2-Factor Authentication, access to eCommerce services, and viewing purchase history.
After speaking to Todd Wilkens, Head of WooCommerce at Automattic, Griffin published video, explaining the change and offers suggestions for those who manage multiple WooCommerce stores for clients. The suggestions are:
- Make 100% sure that you, your client, your store, your account, or anything else has a WordPress.COM account ~ not just WordPress.org!
- Once you’ve used an email and login and you are setup for WordPress.COM (not .org), make absolutely certain that you are using an incognito browser window when logging into WooCommerce.com.
Using a private or incognito browser window won’t remember the login as the cookie is not saved. If you don’t use incognito mode and like, comment, or subscribe to items on WordPress.com or any site that uses WordPress.com’s oAuth protocol, those actions will occur under the client’s account. “Many users might not fully realize how far-reaching that one little oAuth endpoint actually is and the vastly significant number of touch-points it can affect,” Griffin said.
Wilkens published a post on the official WooCommerce blog explaining why the login system was switched, “We found that a lot of customers were using two accounts to access services from one company,” he said.
“To simplify that, we are centralizing on the WordPress.com login. Automattic has done this with previous acquisitions, like Polldaddy, for the same reasons. Now you can use only one login to access all Automattic services, including WooCommerce, Jetpack, VaultPress and more.”
So far, the WooCommerce team has tracked more than 10K successful logins to the new system and are monitoring feedback on social media. Only a small subset of users have reported issues due to confusion, “Over half of the 1% of users who opened tickets were confused between having a WordPress.com login vs. the login they use for their self-hosted WordPress install,” Wilkens said.
A Better Way to Manage Multiple Client Accounts Is in the Works
WooCommerce.com joins a growing collection of Automattic services, sites, and products that require a WordPress.com user account. As the number of reasons to have an account increases, perhaps it’s time for Automattic to create a client management system. A system that allows users to assign people who can act on their behalf, similar to a power of attorney.
An example that comes to mind is GoDaddy Pro. GoDaddy Pro allows consultants to access all of their client’s products in one place. They can also manage aspects of their hosting and purchase products on their behalf.
The change to WooCommerce.com has emphasized the unfriendliness of the site’s current system for those who manage multiple client accounts. “We had already re-prioritized a number of features on our roadmap to make life for developers managing dozens of client accounts much smoother, and hope to have something to be able to announce there soon,” Wilkens said.
If you manage multiple client accounts and are affected by this change, Wilkens suggests opening a ticket for advice. You can also provide feedback by voting on a poll at the bottom of the post that asks how your experience was switching to a WordPress.com login.