The new Aelia website is live, and we have great news!

We launched our new website, with a new look and new features

At the beginning of October 2021, we went live with a new website, completely redesigned. The work took significantly longer than we expected, but the important thing is that we finally made it. The new website has a more modern look, a colour scheme that’s easier on the eyes, and it’s also significantly faster. Our tests indicate that it’s up to 30% faster than the previous one, but we will still work to optimise it, to offer you the best experience.

In addition to the look, we made an important change to how we distribute our products. We partnered with our friends at Freemius, and moved all our solutions to their platform. From now on, the Freemius service will take care of handling sales, licensing and distribution for all the Aelia plugins, giving us more time to focus on improving the solution that our customers grew up to know and trust over the years.

The advantages for our visitors and customers

The series of improvements we applied to our site will bring significant advantages. It would take time to list every single change, therefore we prepared a short summary, for your convenience.

New design

We improved the look of the website, using softer colours. This will make it easier to navigate the content and find the information you need. The new layout also includes better support for mobile devices. Mobile browsing is a key aspect of the Internet and, although most of our visitors and customers reach our site via a desktop, we wanted to cater to our “mobile friends” as well. As a further cosmetic touch, we replaced the old, ugly icons with much better ones.

Freemius integration

We moved all our products to an external service, called Freemius, to offer you a better user experience, right from the moment you choose to purchase one of our solutions. To explain the reason behind this decision, we would like to share a bit of “background story”.

As soon as we launched our first premium product, the Aelia Currency Switcher for WooCommerce, we faced a challenge that turned out to be harder than we thought. It was 2013, and neither WordPress, nor WooCommerce offered a reliable, scalable solution to manage software licences and distribute updates for our products. We tested some of the available plugins, but none of them worked too well for us. In some cases, we even received a disgruntled response from the author of a plugin, when we asked about the feature set, so that was a clear roadblock.

Our first solution – The Aelia Licensing System

Due to the lack of a suitable solution, we opted to implement our own licensing system, starting from scratch. For the last couple of years, our Aelia Licensing System has been handling licences and serving automatic updates to thousands of our customers. This worked fine for us, until we had to face some important challenges:

  1. When we first designed our licensing system, we deliberately left renewals as a manual operation, because that was what our customers asked. That request changed fairly quickly, and nowadays most of our customers would like to have licences that renew automatically.
  2. Our customer base grew faster than we expected. Our in-house licensing system, which was still working fine, risked not to be able to handle all the traffic it received.
  3. An increasing number of our customers asked us to provide trial versions of our products. We are not fans of the idea of offering limited versions of plugins, that don’t reflect the true capabilities of the paid product, therefore we had to find a way to implement some sort of “time limited trial”.
  4. In 2021, Brexit finally became effective, introducing new rules to sell to UK consumers (i.e. customers who are not registered for VAT). Merchants are required to charge VAT to all UK customers who don’t have a valid UK VAT number. At the same time, the same merchants can’t charge VAT unless they have a UK VAT number, which we don’t have. Registering for VAT in the UK would have introduced a significant amount administrative costs, that we could not sustain. Due to that, the only viable option left to us was to block sales to UK consumers. Needless to say, this caused us to be unable to offer our products to such customers.

Our new choice – Freemius

With so many different aspects to handle, we realised that we could not longer rely on our own resources. Due to that, we tested the Freemius platform, and found that it allowed us to address all the above, automatically. Their service handles automatic renewals, is fast, and it can serve customers from the EU, the UK and abroad. This allows us to reach a broader audience, remain fully compliant with VAT regulations and save a significant amount of paperwork.

The Freemius platform offers our customers a modern, responsive and performing user interface. Thanks to that, our clients can find what they need, quickly and easily. On top of that, the work we did for the integration can also benefit our fellow developers!

If you’re a plugin developer interested in Freemius, we have something for you

The Freemius platform offers a simple integration guide. We could have just followed the instructions anded add a purchase link on our website, manually, on each product page. However, as Engineers, we like to automate these aspects, so we came up with a solution. We prepared a Freemius Integration plugin , which allows to link a WooCommerce shop to the Freemius service. Some of the key features:

  1. Manage product prices, from WooCommerce, and update them in Freemius automatically. This feature also works with WooCommerce’s variations to allow you to configure as many prices as you like, in any combination. For example, you can create monthly, annual, lifetime payment options, for one site, or multiple sites, and link each one to a variation.
  2. Manage and synchronise product prices in multiple currencies. The Freemius Integration is also fully compatible with our Aelia Currency Switcher. This feature allows you to synchronise, and keep up to date, the product prices all the currencies supported by Freemius. You can enter the prices manually, directly in WooCommerce. or let them be updated automatically whenever exchange rates change.
  3. Display a smart widget to allow your customers to purchase your products. You can use the shortcode provided by the Freemius Integration and let it take care of showing the available options, with each price, to your prospective customers. Simp
  4. ly drop the shortcode anywhere you like, and it will display a user friendly purchase interface to your customers.

If you wish to see the Freemius Integration in action, you can simply visit one of our product pages. You can find the purchase widget towards the bottom of the page, or simply click on the “buy plugin” button to scroll right down to it.

Interested in the Freemius Integration for WooCommerce?

If you would like to know more about the Freemius Integration for WooCommerce, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to share more details about it, and collect your feedback and feature requests, in preparation for its release to the public.

 

Brexit – Changes to our sale policy from the 1st of January, 2021

Update – October 2021

Our products are now distributed via the Freemius platform, which can handle the sale of our products to UK customers who are not registered for VAT. If you are resident in the UK, you can browse our products and purchase them, without having to enter a VAT number.

Brexit – What’s new

After a long period of changes, negotiations and changes, the “infamous” Brexit will reach a major milestone. From the 1st of January 2021, the United Kingdom and connected countries and regions, such as the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland, will no longer be part of the EU. During the transition period, we kept in contact with several authorities, to ensure that we can remain compliant with the regulations that apply to the sale of our product and services to UK residents. Unfortunately, it was only in the last few weeks that we were given some clearer instructions on how we will have to proceed. Due to the new rules, we will have to make some changes to our sale policies. For convenience and brevity, we prepared a summary, which you can find below.

Changes from the 1st of January, 2021

From a customer’s, things will remain mostly the same, with a notable exception. The UK Revenue Office informed us that, since we deal exclusively in services, we will have to account for VAT on all our sales, regardless of the amount. Like it happens with intra-EU sales, we will have to make a distinction between sales to consumers and sales to businesses:

  • Sales made to UK businesses, i.e. customers with a valid UK VAT number won’t have VAT applied to them. The buyer will account for VAT like they did, with the reverse charge mechanism.
  • Sales made to UK consumers, i.e. customers without a valid UK VAT number, will be subject to the applicable VAT, like it happens now. Note: UK businesses who are not registered for VAT will be treated as consumers, in this scenario.

What described above is exactly what happened in the past, for intra-EU sales. An important difference is that, to charge VAT to UK consumers, we will need a UK VAT number. We already applied to get such number from the UK Revenue Office, but we haven’t received one yet.

How the changes might affect our customers

Unfortunately, without the UK VAT number, we can’t charge VAT to UK consumers. Still, the UK Revenue would ask us to pay them the applicable VAT, which we can’t collect. They suggested us to just increase prices, to “cover” for the VAT, but that is not feasible, as it could affect all other clients as well.

Due to this “wrinkle”, we had to take a difficult decision. Starting from the 1st of January 2021, we will no longer be able to sell our products to UK consumers. If you try to place an order with a UK billing address, you will be required to enter a valid VAT number to complete the purchase.

This restriction will be in place until we will receive the necessary documentation from the UK Revenue Office, which will allow us to resume charging VAT to UK consumers. As of today, we don’t know how long that is going to take. The officer informed us that this registration process can take several weeks, and there isn’t much we can do to speed up the process.

Update – May 2021

Due to the additional administrative work required to have a UK VAT number and file the necessary returns, we opted not to register for VAT in the UK. Instead, we will move our products to an external platform, which will handle the VAT aspects on our behalf. We are aiming to have the migration completed by Q2 2021. After that, UK customers who are not registered for VAT will be able to buy our products.

 

We are aware that this is an unpleasant change, unfortunately we couldn’t find another viable alternative. The whole Brexit process has been chaotic and poorly managed for everyone involved. We will do our best to resume normal operations as soon as we can. In the meantime, if you have any question, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to answer your queries.

 

The Aelia Team

Important news about Currency Switcher for Easy Digital Downloads (updated June 2021)

At Aelia, we aim to offer the best quality of products and services to our customers. We review our performance on a regular basis, and prepare a strategy to ensure that the high standards we set are met, or exceeded. One of the steps of the performance review is the analysis of areas that need improvement, as well as products that, for any reason, aren’t performing as well as expected. When such products are identified, we review past performance and take one of the following course of action, for each product:

  1. Evaluate the market demand of the product, as well as the challenges that may arise in the future, in relation to the product support.
  2. Compare the demand with our available resources, to ensure that we can dedicate sufficient time, to each product, to offer consistent results in terms of quality.
  3. Depending on the result of #2, take one of the following actions:
    1. If the demand is sufficient and can be met by our existing resources, adjust their allocation accordingly.
    2. If the demand is sufficient, but we have insufficient resources, prepare a plan to increase our availability.
    3. If the demand is insufficient to cover the resources dedicated to the product, we try to transfer it to a 3rd party who might be interested in it. In some cases, we might have to retire the product altogether.

During the reviews performed between 2018 and 2020, we identified a couple of products that have been underperforming. One of them appeared in each analysis, and it’s our Currency Switcher for Easy Digital Downloads. The market demand for that solution didn’t grow as we expected, despite our efforts. In addition to that, the demand for our WooCommerce solutions grew significantly, to the point that they become the main focus of our business. As a result, we find ourselves in the difficult position of not being able to dedicate sufficient resources to Easy Digital Downloads, and the Currency Switcher we developed for it.

Future plans for the EDD Currency Switcher

Through the course of 2020, we contacted a couple of parties who showed interest in the possibility of acquiring our Currency Switcher for Easy Digital Downloads and maintain it in the future. Although we’ve been asked not to disclose their names, we’re currently discussing with them how the transfer could take place, as well as the work involved in promoting, maintaining and supporting the existing solution. We hope that we can reach an agreement soon, so that the EDD Currency Switcher can continue to exist under another brand. Of course, we also have to take into account the possibility that the negotiations might fail. In such case, we will have to retire the Currency Switcher for Easy Digital Downloads.

Effective immediately, we will no longer be able to offer new or renewal licences, for the EDD Currency Switcher. Of course, we will keep providing support to all the customers with an active licence, until the end of their subscription. We will also release maintenance fixes, but we won’t release major updates for the plugin.

This was a difficult decision to take, but we came to the conclusion that we have to focus on what we can do best, to ensure that we can keep our offers to the high standards that our customers have come to expect from us. Our business evolved almost exclusively around solutions for WooCommerce, and we would like to hand over the portion related Easy Digital Downloads to someone who can dedicate to it the time it deserves.

Update, March 2021: we will keep offering the EDD Currency Switcher for the time being.

Update, June 2021: following a technical review Easy Digital Downloads 3.0, we came to the conclusion that the EDD Currency Switcher would need a significant amount of changes to become compatible with the new major release. Unfortunately, that is not a viable option, from a business perspective. Due to that, we can no longer guarantee that we will be able to update the EDD Currency Switcher to support EDD 3.0. Sadly, we had to go back to our original decision, and we suspended the sale of the EDD Currency Switcher indefinitely. You can find a summary of the reasons behind this decision and the future plans for the Currency Switcher below.

Summary (tl;dr)

  1. Our performance reviews indicated that our Currency Switcher for Easy Digital Downloads has been underperforming, with its sales not even covering the day to day support costs.
  2. Due to the low demand and resource availability, we’re no longer in the position to dedicate sufficient attention to the EDD Currency Switcher. A technical analysis of EDD 3.0 also indicated that the EDD Currency Switcher would need significant changes, to become compatible with the new major release of Easy Digital Downloads. The poor sale performance of the EDD Currency Switcher don’t allow us to allocate sufficient resources to do that.
  3. We’re currently discussing the possibility of transferring the EDD Currency Switcher to other developers, who could be interested in maintaining it. Should the negotiations be unsuccessful, we will have to retire the product.
  4. We will keep supporting the EDD Currency Switcher for customers who have an active licence. We won’t be able to offer new licences, or renew existing licences.
  5. For the time being, we will only release maintenance updates for the EDD Currency Switcher. We don’t plan to release any major update. The last version of Easy Digital Downloads supported by the Currency Switcher will be 2.9.x.

What to do if you’re using the EDD Currency Switcher

If you purchased a licence for the EDD Currency Switcher, the following will apply.

  1. You can keep using the EDD Currency Switcher. The plugin is still working fine and, as anticipated, we will honour existing licences until their expirations, and keep providing support and bug fixes. If the negotiations with the 3rd party developers will be successful, they will take care of updating the Currency Switcher in the future and provide the support service afterwards.
  2. You can keep using the EDD Currency Switcher, while planning the switch to an alternative solution. You can find a list of the available extensions on the Easy Digital Downloads website: https://easydigitaldownloads.com/3rd-party-extensions/
  3. If you have some developers who can take care of technical aspects, you can  keep using the EDD Currency Switcher, and they can maintain it for you. All our code is 100% open source and documented, to make it easier for other developers to work on it. If they have any questions, they can also contact us directly. We’re always happy to share our knowledge and experience.
  4. Since this is an extraordinary scenario, we extended our money back guarantee for the EDD Currency Switcher. If you purchased your licence on or after the 1st of March 2021, you can request a full reimbursement until the 30 June 2021.

Of course, if you have any question about the Currency Switcher for Easy Digital Downloads, or the support plans, please feel free to contact us. We will be ready to answer and clarify any doubt you might have.

If you’re a developer and you think that could be interested in acquiring our product, we would also invite you to get in touch. We will be happy to share all the information about the product, and discuss with you the terms of the transfer. 👍

The Aelia Team

Business All-Stars Accreditation Logo 2020-White Background

Aelia Receives All-Star Quality Mark from AIBF for the second year in a row

Our beloved Grinzing, located in one of the most beautiful districts of Vienna, has received a massive boost this week with one of the resident businesses achieving international recognition for excellence, confirming its highest standards of service and trust. Diego Zanella, the founder of Aelia, was awarded the coveted All-Ireland Business All-Star accreditation for the second year in a row. One might ask why an Austrian business, founded by an Italian entrepreneur, would receive such an important accreditation from a foreign country, and it would be a legitimate question. The answer is simple, yet interesting.

Some background story

Diego Zanella founded Aelia in Ireland, in 2013. From the first day, he founder focused all its efforts in producing high quality solutions, and offering top class service, to owner of e-commerce websites. Thanks to the flexibility offered by modern technologies, the business can operate from anywhere in the world, while still keeping in touch with its thousands of customers. Aelia moved around Ireland a couple of times, then, in mid-2019, Diego Zanella planned a relocation to Austria.

The All-Ireland Business Foundation came into play, just in time

At the beginning of the same year, he had submitted Aelia to the selection for the Business All-Star accreditation. He was supposed to receive answer was supposed within a couple of days, and the selection process take a few weeks. However, due to a technical issue, the submission remained “pending” much longer than it should have. As soon as the All-Ireland Business Foundation Team found it, they reviewed the performance of both Aelia and its founder. The score was high enough to place them amongst the top candidates.  Even though our founder informed the AIBF Team of the imminent relocation abroad, they were more than happy to let our application proceed anyway. Then, in October 2019, Diego Zanella received the first Business All-Star accreditation.

In 2020, the AIBF Team contacted our founder again. Although our Aelia and its founder are no longer resident in Ireland, their result were so high that the Foundation offered to make an exception, and participate to the selection again. Diego Zanella was given the opportunity to become the first “ex-indigenous entrepreneur” to be accredited by the All-Ireland Business Foundation.

Obviously, since we’re writing about it, the result was a success. At the end of October 2020 (yes, we’re a bit slow with news), Aelia’s founder received the accreditation certificate, confirming Diego Zanella as a Thought Leader in e-commerce and WooCommerce solutions.

Aelia - Certificate of Accreditation 2020

Aelia – Certificate of Accreditation 2020

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Gold Medal Ceremony was replaced by an online event. Our founder, Diego Zanella, attended it on the 30th of October, 2020.

The importance of get accredited for the second year

Like in 2019, we are pleased to have reached the high standard required by the the Business All-Star accreditation. We strive to keep high level of performance, trust and customer satisfaction that distinguishes our offer . Furthermore, we are the first to having been invited to participate into the selection, despite the business being now resident in another EU country, and it feels like a special honour. The All-Ireland Business Foundation is so impressed by our results that they would like to keep us in their register of top class companies. 👍

We would like to thank everyone for your continued support. Our customers, who keep trusting, our business partners, with whom we will be working on more incredible projects and, most importantly, our families.

Thanks again for your invaluable help. We wouldn’t be here, if it weren’t for you. 🙏

The Aelia Team

WooCommerce Prices by Country – WooCommerce 4.6 update, October 2020

WooCommerce Prices by Country – What’s new

Our Aelia Prices by Country for WooCommerce has been updated to version 1.11.1.200904. This update brings the following improvements and fixes:

Features and improvements

  • Tested with WooCommerce 4.6 and WordPress 5.5.1.
  • Fix – Fixed logic to clear the regional sale prices at the end of a scheduled sale.

Fixes

  • Fixed logic used to filter the product query when option “Filter invisible products from the catalogue query”, to reduce the possibility of conflicts.

How to get latest version

New customers

Simply place your order and you will get the latest version.

Existing customers

If you activated your licence in WooCommerce > Setttings > Aelia, you will see a notification informing you about the update. You will then be able to install it automatically.

If you haven’t activated your licence, you can download the updated file using the link you received with your order. If the link doesn’t work, please contact Support to receive the latest version. Thanks.

WooCommerce Currency Switcher – WooCommerce 4.6 update, October 2020

WooCommerce Currency Switcher – What’s new

Our Aelia Currency Switcher for WooCommerce has been updated to version 4.9.1.201005. This update brings the following improvements and fixes:

Features and improvements

  • Tested with WooCommerce 4.6 and WordPress 5.5.1.
  • Tweak – Improved WooCommerce Admin Analytics integration. Added option to generate reports with all data and totals in base currency, like in standard reports. This feature requires WooCommerce 4.6 or later.
  • Tweak – Removed obsolete jQuery library jquery.ba-bbq.min.js.

How to get latest version

New customers

Simply place your order and you will get the latest version.

Existing customers

If you activated your licence in WooCommerce > Setttings > Aelia, you will see a notification informing you about the update. You will then be able to install it automatically.

If you haven’t activated your licence, you can download the updated file using the link you received with your order. If the link doesn’t work, please contact Support to receive the latest version. Thanks.