WooCommerce, the most popular eCommerce platform, just released its latest update. The newest update, WooCommerce 3.8, is the third and last release of WooCommerce in 2019. So what does that mean for your eCommerce store running on WooCommerce? And for those of you who want to switch to the WooCommerce platform? How important is the latest Woo update & what can you expect from it? We are gonna address each & every one of these questions as we discuss the latest Woo update in detail.
WooCommerce 3.8 is indeed a minor update, which means there is no need to be anxious about your eCommerce store. The new strategy of WooCommerce involves releasing smaller and frequent updates. Which makes sense as it’d mean the updates are gradual and more streamlined. What WooCommerce is trying to accomplish with smaller and frequent updates is a smooth transition from an older version to a new and improved one with minimal repercussions.
What Changes can you Expect in WooCommerce 3.8?
As I have already mentioned, WooCommerce 3.8 is a minor update and makes only a few changes to the existing version. The biggest advantage of WooCommerce 3.8 being a minor update is that everything is backward compatible.
Having said that, let’s take a look at the things that did change with the release of WooCommerce 3.8. The latest version of WooCommerce introduces WooCommerce Blocks 2.4. The latest WooCommerce Blocks comes with a new suite of product blocks and includes
- Reviews by Product
- Reviews by Category
- All Reviews
- Product Search
WooCommerce Blocks 2.4 - All you Need to Know
WooCommerce Blocks is an eCommerce-focused block collection which is created especially for eCommerce. They created this block collection after adding several blocks suited specifically for eCommerce to the beloved Gutenberg (WordPress 5.0).
The new WooCommerce Blocks 2.4 is a refined version of its predecessor - WooCommerce Block 2.3 (used in WooCommerce 3.7) and is equipped with new & improved eCommerce-focused blocks. The update introduces new blocks to display product reviews and a product search.
Review by Category
With the new update, WooCommerce introduces the Review by Category block. Now you can display reviews from specific categories, whereas most eCommerce platforms are still stuck on single product reviews.
Online shoppers often want to search for a product when they are already browsing through the website. Maybe they just remembered it, or maybe seeing a different product triggered a desire for something else entirely. With the new Product Search block, you can place a search box in specific locations of your eCommerce website and help your customers find the product they are looking for at any given point in time.
Review by Product
The “Review by Product” allows reviews of a specific product to be displayed and gives you full control over the content that’s displayed on your eCommerce website.
The “All Reviews” block is a useful tool by which you can list all product reviews on any page on your eCommerce website. Let it be a landing page, a blog post, or any other page for that matter; the latest Woo update has you covered.
What are the Other Enhancements Made on the new WooCommerce 3.8?
WooCommerce 3.8 comes with a variety of enhancements. It provides full support for PHP 7.4, even though there is no change in WordPress and PHP requirements for the latest version. However, WooCommerce is scheduled to upgrade the minimum supported version of PHP to 7.0 and WordPress to 5.0 with the next release.
The enhancements made on WooCommerce 3.8 includes the following:
- Full support and integrated testing for PHP 7.4
- Added the wording “Available on Backorder” for the products that are available on backorder.
- You can now opt-out for usage tracking in the setup wizard.
- Added a new template (content-widget-price-filter.php) for displaying a price filter widget.
- Ability to allow hidden products to be selected and shown in the Hand-picked products block.
Apart from these enhancements, the latest Woo update contains tweaks, new hooks, and fixes that streamline the WooCommerce platform.
Upgrading to WooCommere 3.8?
There are a few things that you should be aware of, regardless of whether or not you’ve made up your mind to upgrade to WooCommerce 3.8.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, the minimum requirement for this update remains the same for now. However, the next release, WooCommerce 3.9, will ask for an updated PHP as well as WordPress. For this upcoming update, which will most likely be a major one (as compared to the 3.8), you’ll need PHP 7.0 along with WordPress 5.0. WooCommerce further states that the update is necessary to keep up with changes in the WordPress and PHP ecosystem.
As with any WooCommerce upgrades, the 3.8 also went through an array of tests before it got launched to the public. The tests conducted by WooCommerce included the following:
Tested on a variety of hosts running popular extensions and themes.
All extensions and themes were internally tested.
Ran managed upgrades on staging sites for real store owners to detect conflicts or bugs.
Tested the release on WooCommerce.com.
Before you Update to WooCommerce 3.8
So you’ve decided to upgrade to the latest WooCommerce 3.8 or at least thinking about it? If your answer is yes, then I suggest you keep a few things in mind.
Now, the first thing you should keep in mind before upgrading to WooCommerce 3.8 is a no-brainer. Make sure that you have a backup in place before you upgrade your eCommerce store to the latest WooCommerce 3.8. Albeit the latest WooCommerce update is a minor one but, it’d be a clumsy mistake to not have a backup in place before any upgrade. To make sure everything runs smoothly & to avoid any unnecessary trouble. The safest thing you can do is to test the new version on a staging site and once you are sure everything is running smoothly you can make the changes on the live website.
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