Overview

A major update has been made in the latest version of WooCommerce – WooCommerce 4.0. This version was released on March 6, 2020 after tons of hard work from the WooCommerce team since 2018. It’s an absolute refreshment in early 2020 in the hope of boosting efficiency in workflow by improved management panel and brand new reporting features!

This WooCommerce update primarily focuses on transitioning towards a more react-driven experience and better utilize the power of WordPress for store owners.

In this article, we will indicate to you the key changes that have been made in this new version as well as guiding you through the WooCommerce upgrade process following two available methods. One method is from WooCommerce instruction and another one is by using our automated migration tool. Covering an overview comparison of the two methods, this post can later help you decide which method should be your optimal choice.

For those of LitExtension’s regular readers, you can go through this article while referring back to our article about WooCommerce 3.7 release to see how things have been changed and improved just after 7 months of development.

Key changes of WooCommerce 4.0

Here comes the great news for WooCommerce community! This new WooCommerce update has made the integration of WooCommerce Admin into WooCommerce Core. This innovative change brings in extraordinary features that we would discuss in detail below.

Before we get started, please keep in mind: In order to enable a certain number of the features listed below on WooCommerce 4.0 (eg: Activity Panel), you need to make sure your store is running on WordPress 5.3. For more information on requirements, visit WooCommerce Documents.

1. Streamlined dashboard

WooCommerce Admin, a modern JavaScript-driven interface for managing your store, is previously a plugin for WooCommerce but now available to everyone and built directly into WooCommerce Core.

The new streamlined dashboard allows you to perform multiple tasks smoothly such as filtering out data bundles and comparing factors within adjustable date ranges. You can have an overview of how your business is being implemented online in terms of sales, revenue, inventory status, high-grossing products. As well as adding capabilities for improved customer management and analytics.

WooCommerce 4.0
Source: WooCommerce.com

2. Enhanced reporting tools

One of the biggest features included in this WooCommerce update is a new and improved reports system. Collecting and interpreting data has never been easier with the WooCommerce 4.0 as it offers you 14 data points such as total sales, net sales, orders, average order value, returns, shipping, etc. Hence, you can imagine how convenient it is to have a quick review of how your store is performing.

These various choices of statistical indicators, for sure, are going to efficiently help you reduce cost, make the most out of supply management and increase sales.

WooCommerce 4.0
Source: WooCommerce.com

3. Improved store management tools and simplified notifications

Together with the WooCommerce Admin, a new Activity Panel which has been added to the WooCommerce 4.0 version helps you have quick access to the management tools you use most often. Also, an inbox system has been added to simplify notifications to make sure everything you weed through is relevant and useful!

Just by hovering on and clicking desired selection, you can view:

  • Orders: showing recent order data such as status, total value, customer name, time of completion, etc. and navigate to fulfillment with the click of a button
  • Stock: checking which products and variations are out of stock or running low
  • Reviews: keep an eye on reviews and respond if needed
  • Notices: get reminders for additional tasks that should be addressed
WooCommerce 4.0
Source: WooCommerce.com

To encapsulate this new WooCommerce update, it is the integration of WooCommerce Admin into WooCommerce core that has made key improvements. This integration was carried out thanks to the popularity of the plugin which has been actively used on more than 1 million stores.

If you’re ready to benefit from WooCommerce’s new, streamlined dashboard and time-saving store management tools, move on how to upgrade your store to WooCommerce 4.0!

How to upgrade your store to WooCommerce 4.0

This section of the article provides you guidelines on how to upgrade your store to WooCommerce 4.0 by two different methods.

Which method is more suitable for you depends on your ability to accomplish technical tasks. If you are a tech-savvy person or at least well-equipped with basic technical skills related to WooCommerce upgrade, you can follow step-by-step instructions from WooCommerce with your own risk.

However, if you are not and want to avoid potential technical problems arising along the manual migration process, you should skip to how to upgrade your WooCommerce store using automated migration service.

1. Upgrade following WooCommerce instructions

Step 1: Backups

First and most importantly, always remember to create a backup of your site to ensure there’s no irreversible surprises. So whatever happens you can always return to the working version of your site.

Two parts of the process involved:

  • Using FTP set a path to your wp-content directory to backup theme and plugin files. Highly recommend you make a backup of your theme in case you’ve made customizations.
  • Backing up your database.

Step 2: Testing updates

What to test

  • Updating: Update your site. In many cases, it might require a database update.
  • Customer’s journey: Check your updated store from the role of customers with normal activities to assess purchasing experience.
  • Compatibility: Current theme on your WooCommerce store plus extensions/plugins might not be compatible on the newly updated version or change significantly on the storefront, so you’d better check if everything runs as expected.

Local

Most developers will start with a local install. This means that WordPress is set up on their computer and it acts as a server. They can use a code editor to build, update and test updates on their computer.

It’s recommended that you should use version control while working on a local install. Whether that is Git, SVN, or something else it should benefit you a lot reverting back to something that works.

Staging

Create a second WordPress install with your host and restore a backup of your live site. This replica of your production site is a safe place to test updates. A staging site is shareable with others for receiving help testing. Make sure to test on different devices.

Production (Your live site)

Ensure that everything is perfectly in control during staging before heading to update your live site. You can do it whichever way you prefer but remember to put your site in maintenance mode while upgrading to avoid payment lost from people checking out.

Step 3: Updating Extensions and Payment gateways

From WooCommerce

To get updates on anything purchased from WooCommerce.com, simply follow these steps:

  • Go to WooCommerce > Extensions > WooCommerce.com Subscriptions and ensure that your store is connected to your WooCommerce admin account.
  • Connect your WooCommerce account to your WooCommerce site/store which allows you to view WooCommerce status, extensions, payment gateways and determine which extension and payment gateways are compatible with what version of WooCommerce.
WooCommerce 4.0
Source: WooCommerce.com

For example, WooCommerce PayPal Checkout Gateway is known to be compatible up to WooCommerce 3.9. If you have WooCommerce 3.9.1+ installed, take caution and test on a Staging site first.

From 3rd party developers

It’s recommended that store owners should contact the third-party developer directly for support on updates and compatibility.

Step 4: WooCommerce database update

A WooCommerce Database Update notification would appear upon having upgraded to a new version of WooCommerce.

WooCommerce 4.0
Source: WooCommerce.com

Also, note that Update WooCommerce Database starts the process of updating your database to match WooCommerce 4.0 plugin you installed or updated to.

Make sure that you have prepared a backup and then click the “Update WooCommerce Database” button. The update process will start:

WooCommerce 4.0
Source: WooCommerce.com

Now, when it is done, click View progress and you will be taken to the Scheduled Actions section and show the Pending actions for the update.

Once it is completed, next time you view an admin page you will see the dismissing update complete banner like this:

WooCommerce 4.0
Source: WooCommerce.com

That’s how you can upgrade WooCommerce under the platform’s guidelines. For merchants who have technical knowledge, the process is obviously quite specific and easy to follow. But for those who don’t, it will be complicated and may take a lot of time and effort to ensure no error during the migration. Bear in mind that you will not receive direct and responsive support from the platform.

Moreover, one risk both techies and non-techies have to face when upgrade WooCommerce through system process is the compatibility of plugins and extensions with WooCommerce 4.0. If not careful, you’re likely to mess up your database.

In case you are not tech-savvy and want to avoid potential technical problems arising along the manual migration process, you should skip to how to upgrade your WooCommerce store using automated migration service.

2. Upgrade WooCommerce using automated migration tool

An advanced migration tool developed by LitExtension will surely help you upgrade WooCommerce (or any other platform) with ease. Just by going through a few simple steps with instructions to the smallest detail along the way, you can complete the migration successfully without any technical knowledge required. More importantly, you’re guaranteed with a 30-day money back policy so you can totally rest assured of the excellent result.

Before you upgrade WooCommerce with LitExtension, you need to create a fresh WooCommerce 4.0 site as a target cart to migrate to.

The process includes 4 steps. First of all, let’s register and login to LitExtension’s site.

WooCommerce 4.0
Demo migration with LitExtension

Step 1: Set up WooCommerce as a Source Cart

After having done logging in, on the Migration Page:

  • Click Create New Migration at the top right button on the screen
  • Choose WooCommerce as source cart and fill in your current WooCommerce site’s URL in the corresponding field.
  • Click LitExtension Connector to download the connector. This connector will set up a connection to your old store. Extract the zip file and upload the Connector folder to WooCommerce’s root folder on your server.
Woocommerce-source-cart
Set up Source cart

Note: Should you have any problem with setting up the connector, please reach out to our support team.After all is done without a mistake, a successful connection notification will automatically appear.

Step 2: Setup WooCommerce as a Target Cart

WooCommerce-target-carte
Set up Target Cart

Repeat the same setting procedure of the target store and remember that the Target Cart URL here in this step is the URL to your newly created WooCommerce 4.0 store.

Step 3: Select Data entities you want to migrate

WooCommerce update
Configure the migration

You can either choose all your data or only necessary categories. LitExtension developed additional options feature for you to extend data import functionalities. You can easily customize your desirable target store without facing common problems following migration.

For example, if you want to maintain your Pagerank after migration, you can choose option Migrate categories and products SEO URLs to have your old SEO ranking to be preserved in the target store.

WooCommerce update
Language and order status mapping

In addition, you are able to map order statuses in this phase. Choose necessary descriptions and every data will be migrated respectively.

Step 4: Perform migration

After selecting what data entities you want to migrate, you can run free demo migration with a limited number of entities. Or if you want to immediately proceed full migration, click on the box “Skip demo migration”.

Our tool will display a report showing the number of entities you have selected to migrate after demo migration.

WooCommerce update
Demo migration result

Along with additional options selected and its corresponding price.

WooCommerce update
Demo migration result of additional options

The full migration process running display looks similar to how you see when running demo migration.

WooCommerce update
Perform the migration

After the full migration is completed, LitExtension would send an informing email, remember to check your migration results on your WooCommerce site admin.

Before, during and after the migration, we still keep your source store active normally and so it can still receive new entities, such as new customers and their orders. In case you’re too busy setting up your new store and don’t want to manually update those entities, we provide you 3 available solutions: Re-migration, Recent Migration and Smart Update. Remember that you have unlimited access to Re-migration and Recent Migration within 3 months after you made your migration.

All-in-one Migration Service

If you are too busy to take care of your own migration or just simply want to give it to experts, here we have the exact solution you need. With LitExtension All-In-One package, your migration will be taken care of by our experts from top to bottom. All your necessary customization will be supported and a lot of time will be saved.

WooCommerce update
All-In-One migration progress

During All-in-one migration, you’ll be regularly informed about the progress of your migration so you can rest assured that everything is always perfectly implemented.

Conclusion

The latest WooCommerce update – WooCommerce 4.0 is expected to be a major improvement that has surpassed its predecessor WooCommerce 3.x. Even though it has just been a few weeks since the publish and still need more feedback from the community, you can still see a lot of benefits from this new version.

Compared to the system upgrade method, using LitExtension’s automated migration tool is a lot more simplified, effective and applicable to everyone. You can easily perform the migration as we have set the detailed instructions on every step you make.

Ready to roll or still hesitant? Don’t worry, you can contact our support agent at any time to have further detailed instructions, also you yourself can check how the process is implemented by trying a free demo migration to have your doubt cleared in a blink of an eye.

Thank you for visiting our blog and hope you find it helpful. Best of luck and joy for your migration!

Author

Prepared myself with decent manner to venture into the unknown, I'd love to absorb new knowledge and grow to a better version of me. Always available to land a helping hand to those seeking for their own definition of success.