What's new in WC Autoship 4.0?
Choosing when to upgrade
Major version upgrades can be a tough decision. The major version change itself means that many core features have changed in the software, and you may not recognize what you have become accustomed to. We tend to follow this rule: if it ain't broke don't fix it. On the other hand, upgrading to a new version can be very rewarding if you are looking to add new features and all of the latest bells and whistles. Major version updates are usually based on customer feedback and experience, so it may be beneficial for you to learn and grow with the software platform. You should meet all of the requirements from the checklist below before making the decision to upgrade to a major version release:
- You want to implement specific features that are available in the new software -- You should never make a major software change just to see what happens. Have a specific goal in mind before upgrading.
- You have a staging/testing environment -- Never, never, ever make major changes to your production environment without testing them first. Don't assume that your custom environment is compatible with a new software package.
- You have a technical expert available to guide the upgrade process -- The key to a successful upgrade is to have someone who knows what they are doing. Don't wait until something goes wrong to find an expert.
What's new with Checkout?
If you have been using WC Autoship 3.2, you probably know that your custom checkout rules and WooCommerce checkout extensions don't carry over to WC Autoship orders. This was a major feature request in 3.X versions of WC Autoship. To put it simply, these 3rd party plugins didn't know when Autoship orders were processing on the back-end, so they were never triggered. Most WooCommerce extensions rely entirely on the cart and checkout steps to trigger their behaviors.
WC Autoship 4.0 now fully implements the WooCommerce cart and checkout process. This means that every plugin and custom rule that you have applied to the WooCommerce checkout will also apply to Autoship orders. This is a huge change that opens up many possibilities for custom plugins. However, be aware that any custom fields that you have added to your checkout will need to be handled on a case-by-case basis for Autoship orders!
What's new with Payments?
WC Autoship naturally requires the ability to store a customer's payment method and charge the customer as Autoship orders are created. WooCommerce did not have a standard way to handle this process in previous versions, so WC Autoship 3.X required proprietary payment gateway integrations to store payment data on behalf of the customer.
WC Autoship 4.0 implements the standard Payment Token API available as of WooCommerce 2.6. This means that WC Autoship no longer requires proprietary payment gateway integrations. WC Autoship 4.0 will work with any payment gateway integration that implements the standard WooCommerce Payment Token API, such as the official Stripe integration from woocommerce.com.
What's new with Shipping?
Shipping is one of the most complex processes in WooCommerce. Most shipping extensions for WooCommerce implement dynamic rates. More specifically, a dynamic rate means that there is no identifiable shipping rate that can be applied to an Autoship order. As a customer modifies her Autoship Schedule (adding/removing items), the original shipping rate that was selected is no longer valid. In addition, the dynamic rates most often require the customer to create a new shopping cart to calculate the shipping total. This was a major limitation in WC Autoship 3.X.
WC Autoship 4.0 now fully implements the WooCommerce cart. When the customer changes his Autoship Schedule, all 3rd party shipping integrations are allowed to run as normal and generate new shipping rates. You can rest assured that if your shipping integration works at checkout, then it will work for Autoship. This was one of the top feature requests since version 3.0 was released.
What's new with Taxes?
Similar to shipping, taxes in WooCommerce are very complex. Some plugin authors have developed creative solutions, such as TaxJar and Avalara, to bypass the standard WooCommerce tax system. As expected, tax integrations that work by un-setting the built-in tax system did not carry over to WC Autoship 3.X. These solutions rely heavily on the WooCommerce cart and checkout to function, and this was not available in WC Autoship 3.X.
With WC Autoship 4.0, any tax calculations that leverage the cart and checkout process in WooCommerce will carry over to Autoship orders. Version 4.0 gives all tax responsibilities back to WooCommerce to ensure that proper tax rates are calculated for Autoship.
What's new with Coupons?
WooCommerce Coupons are a great tool for merchants to create special promotions in their WooCommerce store. As in other cases, WC Coupons also require the cart to function. The cart was not available for Autoship orders in WC Autoship 3.X, so coupons could not be used for Autoship orders.
WC Autoship 4.0 introduces full support for WooCommerce Coupons and coupon extensions for WooCommerce. This allows a wide range of coupon features to use with Autoship, such as:
- Pricing coupons
- Shipping coupons
- Loyalty coupons
- Autoship coupons