WooCommerce 2.3 is scheduled for release this week, and we’ve got a WooCommerce 2.3 review to catalog the changes in the newest version for you here.

Most of the major changes and features were included in the beta 1 and beta 2 announcement posts if you’re looking for further reading, but we’ll focus on the changes you’ll see as a shop owner (or customer) in this review.

WooCommerce 2.3 Review: Overview

WooCommerce benefits from a facelift in the most recent version, as both admin and frontend styles have been changed. Let’s start with the admin: all WooCommerce settings now use Select2 inputs rather than Chosen for settings fields, as Select2 is slated to be included in WordPress 4.2 as well. You’ll see new select and multiselect fields in your admin:

WooCommerce 2.3 Review: select2

WC 2.3 settings: Select2

The frontend styles have also been updated to help WooCommerce blend in with more themes. Rather than the previous default styles that used the gradients I loved to hate, all default WooCommerce styles now feature a flatter, simpler design. For example, here’s the difference with notices on the Checkout page:

WooCommerce 2.3 Review: 2.2 checkout notices

WC 2.2 Checkout Notices

WooCommerce 2.3 Review: 2.3 checkout

WC 2.3 Checkout Notices

There are also a couple of template changes we’ll talk about specifically.

WooCommerce 2.3 Review: Coupons

One of the biggest changes in this release is how coupons are handled within WooCommerce. The way coupons are applied has been rethought in version 2.3, and coupons are now only applied before taxes. The goal in this change is to address the fact that applying a discount after tax is illegal in many countries (not to mention that brick and mortar stores almost always handle coupons before tax).

As a result, the “Apply before tax” option has been removed from coupon creation.


WooCommerce 2.3 Review: 2.2 coupons

WC 2.2 Coupons



WooCommerce 2.3 Review: 2.3 coupons

WC 2.3 Coupons


No other coupon settings have been altered, but if you typically applied coupons after tax, you should be aware of how this will change from WooCommerce 2.3 onwards.

WooCommerce 2.3 Review: Settings Changed

Settings have also been adjusted in WooCommerce 2.3. The majority of the changes have been made to the “Product” settings to make them easier to navigate, but there are a few changes of note:

General Settings: The “Scripts and styles” section (which used to let you adjust default colors) has been removed in favor of simply allowing themes to change this. As most shops are using a WooCommerce theme rather than a default theme, these settings were not widely used.

Product Settings: While the settings themselves haven’t changed, they’ve been broken up into several new sections. In WooCommerce 2.2, the Product settings were divided into “Options” and “Inventory”.

WooCommerce 2.3 Review:  2.2 product settings

WC 2.2 Product Settings

They’ve now been subdivided further to make them a bit easier to navigate and better organized. There are now settings for “General”, “Display”, “Inventory”, and “Downloadable” product settings.

WooCommerce 2.3 Review: 2.3 product settings

WC 2.3 Product Settings

The settings page has also added a Webhooks UI. While Webhooks were added in WooCommerce 2.2, they were strictly limited to developer usage and were part of the API. This new UI is geared towards making them easier to use. You can add, remove, and edit webhooks, and can also view logs.

WooCommerce 2.3 Review: 2.3 webhook UI

New Webhooks UI

WooCommerce 2.3 Review: Default Style Changes

Most of the UI on the frontend of your site will remain the same. However, the default WooCommerce styles have gotten a facelift in order to help them blend in with most modern themes.

Notices, buttons, tabs, and sales flashes will also feature an updated look.


WooCommerce 2.3 Review: 2.2 product page

WC 2.2 Product Page



WooCommerce 2.3 Review: 2.3 product page

WC 2.3 Product page


These can be seen on the shop page where styles have changed as well (marked by "1"). If you use the “WooCommerce Cart” widget here, you’ll also notice that products can now be removed from this mini cart (marked by "2").


WooCommerce 2.3 Review: 2.2 shop page

WC 2.2 Shop Page



WooCommerce 2.3 Review: 2.3 shop page

WC 2.3 Shop Page


There are more updates made to the cart page, as this template and the structure of the order review table at checkout have changed. This is where you’ll want to pay attention to how your theme has handled the latest version of WooCommerce, as outdated templates bundled in your theme may cause issues and should be updated by your theme developer.

The most noticeable difference on the cart page is the location of the “Proceed to Checkout” button. This is now located at the bottom of the order review instead of at the bottom of the cart / product table.


WooCommerce 2.3 Review: 2.2 cart page

WC 2.2 Cart Page



WooCommerce 2.3 Review: 2.3 cart page

WC 2.3 Cart Page


The “View Order” templates seen by your customers from the “My Account” section have also gotten a facelift. While these changes aren’t substantial, the styling is updated and customer details are now displayed in a table format.


WooCommerce 2.3 Review: 2.2 view order

WC 2.2 View Order



WooCommerce 2.3 Review:  2.3 view order

WC 2.3 View Order


WooCommerce 2.3 Review: Emails

The rest of the major changes in WooCommerce 2.3 have been made to the WooCommerce emails. The email system has been refactored to send all emails through a common send() method. This means that all emails sent via WooCommerce will be able to use the core email templates, allowing plugins to either blend in better with your other shop emails or adjust the styles of your emails.

Speaking of email styles, there’s a new email-styles.php template that can be used to easily adjust email CSS. Changing the CSS for emails was previously a bit difficult, while now this template can be overridden and adjusted.

My preferred method to change these styles would instead be to use the new woocommerce_email_styles filter. This will allow you to add styles to emails via a companion plugin or your theme. Something like this code snippet would do the trick:

function sww_add_wc_email_styles( $css ) {
    
    ob_start();
    ?> 
        #body_content_inner { font-size: 20px; }
        /* Add your CSS here */
    <?php
    
    $css .= ob_get_clean();

    return $css;
}
add_filter( 'woocommerce_email_styles', 'sww_add_wc_email_styles' );

Finally, a Cancelled Order email added, which is sent to notify the shop admins if an order is cancelled.

WooCommerce 2.3 Review: Other Changes

There are a couple of other minor changes to note. First, support for JetPack Markdown has been added to product pages, which will now allow you to use markdown in your product descriptions.

Second, WooCommerce now includes the ability to geolocate customers using an IP address, which can be used to display tax based on the estimated location. This change can be helpful for EU merchants who need to display the correct VAT to customers while browsing.

WooCommerce 2.3 Review: Summary

While this WooCommerce release is more about refinement that revolution, the changes to the default styles are very welcome. It may not seem like it, but the changes to emails and coupons are also fairly large, and the email changes especially will help with extensibility moving forward.

My favorite feature of this release is probably a toss up between the improved default styles and the Webhooks UI. I think that having a UI in the settings will help users recognize and take advantage of the webhooks that were added in version 2.2, which can make it easier to integrate with 3rd party services. This should hopefully lead to some interesting integrations with WooCommerce shops.

Further Reading

Articles you may also like:

Posted by Beka Rice

Beka Rice manages the direction of Sell with WP content and writes or edits most of our articles to share her interests in eCommerce. Or she just writes as an excuse to spend more time jamming out to anything from The Clash to Lady Gaga. Who knows.

12 Comments

  1. Fantastic write up and thanks for posting all the different WooCommerce development beta links.

    1. Second!

      …don’t have quite the same effect, huh? :/

  2. […] Now back to the update. In a perfect world I would have had a post going over all the great new things you will find in 2.3. But this time around it didn’t happen. So instead, I am going to send you over to the SellWithWP site where Beka Rice wrote this great review. […]

  3. Great sumup there, Beka! A comparison with screenshots always makes it easier to understand 🙂 I had the new features of WooCommerce 2.3 in an infographic here, hope this contributes to better understanding of the changes in WooCommerce 2.3: http://www.woorockets.com/infographic-woocommerce-2-3-the-handsome-hippo/

  4. Hi Beka

    Thanks for the review. I am using the coupon for after tax rebate. We need to charge the full tax to a customer before we can apply an instant manufacture rebate. Ie. Sell at 100 x 5% tax = 105 – 20 rebate = $85. what do you suggest for me continuing to do this?

    Regards
    justin

    1. Hey Justin, I’d probably use a gift certificate (or similar) instead, as this would most likely be applied after tax and treated just like cash. I think Smart Coupons could be a good fit for this, but you may want to submit a pre-sales Q to be sure :).

  5. I currently updated my Woocommerce to 2.3 and since I am using a Cash on Delivery method, the default status has changed from On-Hold to Processing! I really want to bring it back to On-Hold once we receive such an order! Any ideas how?

    Thanks

  6. Hi Beka,
    I was wondering if you could tell me why you prefer using a filter to change the CSS of the emails instead of editing the email-styles.php? Can custom fonts also be included in the CSS?

    Thank you,
    Dora

    1. Hey Dora, I like the filter better because that way you don’t have to keep up with template overrides. If the email-styles.php template is updated in the future, you should pay attention to this and merge updates back into your override. Using a filter ensures that you don’t have to worry about the template changing.

      As for custom fonts, I think you could probably use Google Fonts by using the @import url(stylesheet-url); CSS and then setting the font, but not sure — worth a try though!

      1. Hi Beka,
        thank you so much, I used your code and it worked! Custom fonts also worked, but only in certain email programs, so I guess it is always advisable to use a fallback!
        By the way, I have submitted a question on Skyverge for another problem I have and that I can’t seem to get solved…

        Take care,
        Dora

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