The new version of the Flexible Shipping plugin is a continuation of changes and an important step in the development of the plugin. We've moved from the problematic Flexible Shipping group shipping method to single shipping methods, added predefined scenarios and new shipping rules. And that's not the end of the changes!
We've been working very hard on the Flexible Shipping plugin team since the beginning of the year. Not so long ago we informed you about new table rate interface in version 2.0, and already we can demonstrate another major update of the Flexible Shipping plugin. This time there are even more changes!
On March 1, 2021, we released new versions of our plugins: Flexible Shipping (version 4.1) and Flexible Shipping Pro (version 2.2).
What can you expect from the update? First, you will be able to add a single Flexible Shipping method, that will replace the group methods, which we plan to gradually phase-out. For this reason, we provided the ability to convert group shipping methods to single ones. What's more, we have added ready-made shipping scenarios that can help you configure shipping. These scenarios will replace the import and export functionality that we separated into a new Flexible Shipping Import/Export WooCommerce plugin.
The most important thing is that the update won't affect the functioning of the plugin and the previously configured shipping methods in any way. We've done our best to make the transition from group to single shipping methods as smooth as possible, and all methods will work as before.
Single shipping method
The most important change in the new version of the Flexible Shipping plugin are single shipping methods. Since the update, you will no longer be able to add group shipping methods. We strongly believe that it's a milestone in the development of our plugin. With this change, Flexible Shipping methods will become just like standard WooCommerce shipping methods which should make it much easier to configure.
Another big advantage of that solution is the ability to integrate with many third-party solutions that were not compatible with the previous group shipping methods. The new shipping methods are basically the same as the previous ones. The only difference is the Tax Status field.
Conversion of group shipping methods
We plan to gradually disable the group shipping methods in the Flexible Shipping plugin. The first step is to inform our users, and adding the possibility to convert shipping methods. The next step will be disabling the possibility to edit the Flexible Shipping Group Methods on 1st May 2021. That's why we highly advise converting them to their single version up to this date. To make the transition from group methods to single methods easier, we have provided a conversion feature that will allow you to conveniently convert all the shipping methods within a group of methods. Please note that this migration must be done for each group method separately, and it won't affect the functioning of the shipping methods in any way.
How to convert the Flexible Shipping Group Methods?
We tried to make converting a group shipping method as easy as possible for plugin users. To do so, just simply go to the group shipping method and click on the Start Conversion link, which is located in the red notice above the shipping methods.
Once the conversion is done, the plugin will redirect you to the shipping zone where the conversion took place. If everything were processed correctly, you will receive a message like this:
If you have problems with the conversion, you can run the whole process again.
Please have in mind that the conversion is a major change. While it won't affect the functionality of the plugin itself, it may make it necessary to reconfigure other plugins that were customized for group shipping methods. If you use any custom functions or plugins targeting the specific shipping methods based on their IDs, e.g. Flexible Checkout Fields PRO, Active Payments, ShopMagic, or similar, please re-check their configuration in order to maintain their proper functioning after the conversion.
New Plugin - Flexible Shipping Import/Export
The single shipping method is not the only change in the Flexible Shipping plugin. We decided to take this opportunity to expand and improve the import and export option for Flexible Shipping methods. Based on all your feedback and a number of questions we steadily receive, we realized that on the one hand some of you would like to be able to import and export the shipping methods also in the Flexible Shipping free version, on the other hand, many of you admitted that you do not use these options at all. Therefore, we decided to simply split this functionality into a separate plugin - Flexible Shipping Import / Export.
This move made it possible for us to expand the import and export functionality of Flexible Shipping methods. The dedicated plugin allows you to update shipping costs for multiple shipping methods at once directly in a CSV file, as well as move shipping methods conveniently between WooCommerce zones or stores. What's important, we've also added an option to override methods during import, making it easier to update outdated price lists and keep shipping methods organized after import.
As the import and export functionality was previously available in the Flexible Shipping PRO plugin, we didn't want to take it away from our customers. For this reason, all customers who have an active subscription of the Flexible Shipping PRO on the release date of the plugin (1.03.2021) will receive a coupon from us for the Flexible Shipping Import / Export plugin.
As the import of shipping methods feature was also available in the free version of the Flexible Shipping plugin, we didn't want to leave users without adding a similar feature. For this reason, we created ready-made scenarios. These are ready-to-use scenarios built in the plugin. They allow you, with just a few clicks, to use the most popular shipping scenarios in your own store. Currently, there are three scenarios - two in the free version and one in the PRO version. Of course, we are planning to expand the scenario base based on our customers' comments.
To use the predefined scenarios, simply edit a single Flexible Shipping method and click Use ready-made scenarios in the rules table:
In a new window, you will see a list of available scenarios. To load a scenario, simply select the Use scenario button.
The plugin will automatically load the selected scenario overwriting the currently configured rules. No need to worry, until the changes are saved, the previous configuration of this method will not be overwritten. The loaded scenarios can be freely edited in the rules table, speeding up the configuration of your own scenarios or being used to test the plugin's capabilities.
New shipping rules
The plugin also has five new shipping rules that can be used to set shipping costs. We added them in the previous update, but they are certainly worth mentioning.
New shipping rules available since version 2.1 of the Flexible Shipping PRO plugin:
- Volume - based on the volume of products in the cart, according to the unit set in WooCommerce.
- Max dimension - based on the product's maximal dimension allowed. It will be useful in limiting the shipment of over-sized products.
- Single product total overall dimensions - based on the total overall dimensions of the single product in the cart. Especially useful for conditional hiding the shipping methods e.g. if a single product is too big for shipping or to verify if it fits the carrier's service dimensions limits.
- Time of the Day - based on the defined time frames. Allows you to increase the shipping cost or disable the method for a certain time.
- Day of the week - based on the day the order is placed. It allows configuring separate shipping methods available only for certain days.
All of the new shipping rules are available in the Flexible Shipping PRO plugin.
90,000 active installations of Flexible Shipping plugin
There is one more thing we want to share with you. A few days before this article was published, the Flexible Shipping plugin reached 90,000 active installations in the WordPress repository! All of this motivates us to keep going and keep developing the Flexible Shipping plugin. We have a lot of ideas for improvements and new features, so we will definitely be back on the blog soon with more good news.
And of course, we look forward to the round 100,000!
And this is how we (remotely!) celebrated the release of the last major update: