WooCommerce 4.0 Is Here! But What Does That Mean Exactly?

For businesses that rely on online sales, picking the right e-commerce platform can be the difference between success and failure. Just as your customers depend on you, you need to be able to depend on your e-commerce site to facilitate customer demand. And when our partners depend on Timmermann Group to build them a site that will do just that, we use what’s known as WooCommerce. So you can imagine our excitement when we heard that the WooCommerce developers were rolling out a new and improved version of their platform. Allow us to get into what that means for you, the business owner.

In a nutshell, WooCommerce is a popular WordPress plugin for e-commerce websites. It is an open-source feature which means it is free to access and customize to fit your site. It is a highly effective way of selling products and services on your WordPress site and is by far the most preferred e-commerce option our development team uses here at Timmermann Group. To learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about WooCommerce, check out this previous blog.

What’s New With WooCommerce 4.0?

The biggest feature that did not exist with previous WooCommerce versions is the rollout of WooCommerce Admin, a handy feature that makes managing your online store even easier. Previously, this feature was only available as a separate plugin. Now it’s standard and built directly into the WooCommerce platform.

It’s through this feature that you’ll be able to monitor and track your sales and revenue by way of an interactive, yet user-friendly dashboard. With this dashboard, administrators now have the ability to set customized date ranges, view and compare pertinent data sets, and get a quick and visual depiction of how sales are trending. Admins will have the freedom to pick between 14 different data points including total sales, net sales, orders, average order value, returns shipping, and downloads as well as and 12 newly-unveiled reports for these processes.

Even better, the new Action Scheduler 3.0 (included as part of the WooCommerce upgrade) makes running your e-commerce site even quicker and easier by allowing administrators to run customized reports and schedule actions with just a few simple clicks. The program makes it easy to export report data into .csv files, making integration with other systems even easier as well.

What Do I Need In Order to Run WooCommerce 4.0?

Because of JavaScript requirements, WooCommerce 4.0 is compatible only with sites that use WordPress 5.3 or higher. So if your site is using an older version, you’ll want to take the steps necessary to upgrade your CMS before doing anything else. Your developer should be able to help you with these measures if they aren’t already. (Also worth noting is that WordPress versions prior to 5.3 will have the WooCommerce admin feature disabled so you wouldn’t be able to run the newer WooCommerce feature anyway.)

Is WooCommerce 4.0 Compatible With Previous Versions of WooCommerce?

Not exactly. See, WooCommerce 4.0 is what they call a “major” release which means that it’s not fully backward compatible with sites running previous versions of WooCommerce. For this reason, we highly recommend testing the upgrade on your staging site before rolling it out to the live site. And just to be safe, you’ll want to back up your code and database before implementing the newer version of WooCommerce so that you don’t risk losing your online store should something go awry. We don’t expect that to happen, but better safe than sorry. Should you have any questions regarding your WooCommerce upgrade or backing up your existing online store, we suggest reaching out to your web developer who should be able to walk you through the process.