It’s been a long time coming, but WooThemes has finally released a new version of WooCommerce. Affectionately called Handsome Hippo, WooCommerce 2.3 puts a lot of focus on making the web’s most popular eCommerce software easier on the eyes and easier to use in general. They have also squashed a few long standing annoyances.
What’s New in WooCommerce 2.3?
First and foremost is the updated interface. WooCommerce has adopted a flat design so it is more inline with the current web trends.
There is also tons of small tweaks, like rearranging the locations of some buttons and the creation of responsive tables for some elements. The backend has also been reorganized to make it more responsive and easier to navigate.
There is also a great new geo-location feature that automatically sets a users location, making it easier to calculate the appropriate taxes.
One of the most important changes in WooCommerce 2.3 is how coupons are handled. Previous versions allowed coupons to be applied to the after tax total (there was an option to turn this on or off) – unfortunately this is a completely wrong way of handling coupons and is actually illegal in most countries. WooCommerce 2.3 has changed all this and coupons are now always applied before tax. Click here to learn more…
A few features have been completely removed and replaced with plugins if you really want to restore the lost functionality. The most obvious is the removal of the quantity increment buttons used on the WooCommerce Shopping Card page. Most browsers now support <input type=”number” /> so this feature isn’t really necessary anymore. WooCommerce Quantity Increment, available on the WordPress Plugin Archive, allows you to add the quantity increment buttons back to the cart page.
WooCommerce Colors, also available on the WordPress Plugin Archive, allows you to easily customize the colour of buttons and other WooCommerce elements.
Updating to WooCommerce 2.3
As always, upgrading to the latest version of WooCommerce is dead simple, just navigate to your Plugins admin screen and update WooCommerce as you would any other WordPress. Just be careful though – there are a lot of small changes to WooCommerce 2.3 that may break older WordPress themes. If your theme is not ready for the latest version of WooCommerce you may be left with a non-functional web store. Check out the change log for your WordPress theme and plugins to ensure they are compatible before you even attempt to upgrade.
Best practice, as with any other major WordPress or plugin update, is to test the updates on a staging environment that is identical to your live website. WooThemes has a great article on how to get a staging site up and running. You can use the amazing (and free) All in One WP Migration Plugin to easily set-up a staging environment for your online store. We reviewed this plugin a while back and it’s a good read before you get started.
If you’re just getting started with WooCommerce, check out our list of Amazing WooCommerce 2.3 Ready WordPress Themes!