WooCommerce 3.1 Adds New CSV Product Importer/Exporter, Improves Extension Management

WooCommerce 3.1 was released today after four weeks of beta and RC testing. Although it is just a minor update, the release was a large undertaking with 1,600 commits from 84 contributors.

The most exciting feature in 3.1 is the new built-in product importer/exporter that supports CSV files, a feature previously offered through extensions. The importer makes it easier to migrate stores from other e-commerce platforms, as well as add and update product information for existing stores. Users can select whether to update existing products or create new products and can map the data against product fields:

The tool is also useful for those selling across multiple storefronts or marketplaces and is capable of matching up data based on product ID or SKU. Please note that it only handles products and not customers and orders. Store owners looking to import those additional items will still need to use an extension.

Version 3.1 also introduces the ability to manage WooCommerce.com extension licenses within WooCommerce core, eliminating the need to install the helper extension and copy subscription keys over. Customers can now connect their WooCommerce.com account to the site and download, manage, and activate extensions in the admin. Developers or agencies that have purchased extensions on behalf of clients will need to contact WooCommerce to transfer the subscriptions to a new owner in order for them to show up within the clients’ admin.

This release also includes several other improvements, including the following:

  • Add oEmbeds to the product short description, more useful error messages
  • More useful error messages
  • Add oEmbeds to the product short description
  • Customers can accept ‘Terms and conditions’ without leaving checkout
  • Set stock statuses for variations in bulk from the edit product screen
  • Small improvements to the setup wizard
  • WooCommerce Services Plugin: Add live shipping rates for USPS and Canada Post and print discounted shipping labels for USPS without leaving the store
  • New search helpers for orders to allow developers to query orders by multiple props

Many WooCommerce store owners experienced considerable difficulties in updating to 3.0 due to extension incompatibilities. This is one of the reasons why WooCommerce recommends making backups of your store and testing the 3.1 update on a staging site to see how it affects themes and extensions. The changes in 3.1 should be backwards compatible with 3.0.x sites, but impact on extensions needs to be tested before pushing the update live.


7 responses to “WooCommerce 3.1 Adds New CSV Product Importer/Exporter, Improves Extension Management”

  1. All these are true, and well done, but with 3.0 they broke a very important function, which I reported a month ago at wordpress.org, and no one responded yet, a whole month later. Again, this worked with Woo. 2.6 and prior versions.

    If you have a downloadable product, with let’s say 2 downloadable files, and people buy it, they can download both items, so far so good. Now, if you add a third downloadable file to that same product, the people who previously bought the product don’t get access to this third downloadable file. This was not an issue with Woo 2.6, but it is since 3.0. Support is horrible and extremely slow, and basically Woocommerce is now run like Automattic, which is just like a big bureaucratic government. Nobody cares… I even reported this bug at woocommerce.com, and after 2-3 days I got a response that the support system there is for paid customers who bought their premium products – translation: we don’t care, and give us your money if you want help! Sad but true…

    • When I read your comment I felt like I’d read something about that before, and it looks like that’s actually included as a performance improvement in the changelog for 3.0.0:

      * Performance – Removed the feature where old orders get access to new downloads on product edit. Looping potentially thousands of orders to do this is too much of a performance burden for stores and this can sometimes be unexpected behavior too. This does however updates *edited* downloads.

      In other words, it’s not technically a bug….

      The WooCommerce FAQ on downloadable products mentions this change as well: https://docs.woocommerce.com/document/digital-downloadable-product-handling/#section-8

      And links to a plugin to restore the functionality to 3.0+: https://github.com/woocommerce/grant-download-permissions-for-past-woocommerce-orders

    • Sad you had to go through this, please note that with 3.0 this is a feature and not a bug. If you need any other help you can always post your question on WordPress.org or stackoverflow instead of blaming Automattic or Google. Remember these are free products made by hundreds of developers with families to feed.

      • Thanks for your reply Pablo,

        I did post it on WordPress.org as mentioned above, over a month ago. I guess next time I’ll blame my grandma or climate change… Once again, I do apologize for my original strong language, my frustration levels with this, and Gutenberg is off the charts lately. At the same time I want to sincerely thank Woocommerce and Automattic for providing a plugin to reverse this feature, which some clients of mine need to make things work as before again.

        As far as in remembering that this is a free product, and they have families to feed propaganda, I’m not going to comment on that, since I got a very satisfactory answer (finally), and are now trying to play nice, as far as this issue is concerned. That said, we have to understand some basic open source economics, and if done right, you can become the king of the world. Matt understands that, and executed his business plan perfectly, that’s why he is the king of the internet. If WP or Woocommerce were even $1, things would have been a lot worse financially, and probably Joomla would have dominated everything.

    • It does! I’m learning alot from the WC 3.1 import/export codebase! :D

      Seeing that it only supports CSV tells you what file format the majority of suppliers and distributors are providing store owners with re: Product catalogs in 2017… XML and JSON use is growing but CSV/TSV (with all its kinks) is king.


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