A new beta of CoCart v2.1.0 is now available for testing with new and improved support for guest customers by saving the carts in session to a new database table for storage, performance and ease of cleanup.
WooCommerce has a similar method of storing the cart data but it is only for logged in users and is stored under the usermeta table. While this is fine, it does not help those who are guest customers neither does the cart data expire unless the cart is emptied, an order has been made or all session data has been cleared via the tools section of the WooCommerce System Status.
In the first beta I simply saved the cart to the WordPress options table wp_options.
I realized that this was not the best solution should the cookie be removed on the users device, the cart would still be saved in the database which would eventually lead to increasing the size of the database due to human error.
The data not only needed to be stored but identified should the cart not have had it’s data updated or used for some time. This lead to creating a sessions table of my own wp_cocart_carts where the cart data per customer would be stored for a period of time.
When is the cart stored?
The data of the cart is stored the moment a customer adds the first item to the cart. The cart data is then updated when another item is added or an item is updated or removed. It’s also updated when a coupon is applied, coupon removed, fees and totals are calculated.
Cleaning the carts
With the large amounts of customers successful eCommerce stores get, maintaining the carts stored in the database needs to be kept in check and not overload the size of the database.
To achieve this, the carts have to expire after X amount of time. 48 hours should be enough but it can be overridden should the store owner choose to increase or decrease the time using a filter cocart_cart_expiration.
A cron-job is scheduled to run twice daily to clean any carts that have expired to keep the new table optimized.
For developers, I have added a new tool option to clear all carts saved in the new table via WooCommerce System Status. I recommend only using this for debugging purposes on a local environment as it does not clear the cookies stored on user devices.
Getting the carts
Once the customer has added at least one item to the cart, a cookie is created with a unique key for the cart. You then access that cookie to get the value of the cart key.
After getting the cart key you can then request to return the carts content for that cart like so.
There is no permission or authentication required to access the saved cart. As long as the cart key matches or the cart has not expired, you will be able to return the cart contents.
If you have already tried beta 1, it’s important to know that the cookie name has changed slightly to keep everything consistent throughout the code base.
In beta 1 the cookie name is called cocart_cart_id. In beta 2 the cookie name has changed to cocart_cart_key.
Wither you use CoCart for the REST-API or not, this new supported feature could be used to determine if a cart has been abandoned. This could be helpful to you with detailed information on what your customers are adding to their carts.
By default, storing the cart data was designed for guest customers only but it can also be used for registered customers too simply by filtering in the users ID as the unique key using cocart_customer_id.
Pretty sweet right!
Feedback is Required
For this new release I require you (specifically who are developing for Android) to test and provide me feedback. Getting the support right for you is important.
I’m not an Android developer nor do I have the time or tools to learn Android development so I urge you to tell me what works, what does not and what is missing so I can get it right for you.
No release date is set so there is plenty of time to test.
Thank you for reading and happy testing.
Just a Warning
A new database table will be created upon activation of the plugin for the carts to be stored. Please only install the beta on a local environment.
CoCart v2.1.0 beta 2 introduces improved support for storing cart data and is available for testing now.
This release introduces what I hope is support for guest customers. I have had a number of users telling me when developing an app that when a customer adds items to the cart and another user adds items to the cart on another device, all items are merged together.
To my knowledge these apps are developed for Android. I don’t know if this issue is the same in other apps developed for other devices.
Now I’m not an Android developer but that should not be happening and it became clear that it was not handling sessions correctly or at all.
So I have added my attempt at manipulating a session for guest customers in order to create an individual cart for them.
To do this, when a guest customer adds an item, for the first time a unique generated ID is created and stores that ID into a cookie called cocart_cart_id.
Once the item is added to the cart, the whole cart is then copied to the stores database under that unique ID. e.g. cocart_2e0eb609fe1a73a80405e7c4cf0ba8d7
That cookie is then used to get the unique ID so the developer can fetch the saved cart and return it’s content.
The cart is updated every time an item is added, quantity is updated in the cart, item is restored to the cart, a coupon is applied, a coupon is removed, cart totals and fees are calculated.
The cookie and the copied cart are only cleared from the database if all items were removed or an order was created.
For the time being I have only added the option to get the cart contents, (until I get positive feedback that what I have done works) then if all is good I will apply support to the other endpoints if needed.
So download and test CoCart v2.1 Beta 1 today and provide me your feedback.