WooCommerce Memberships 1.11.0 is here! The new version is packed with important features both above and under the hood. This release of Memberships represents an important milestone in the evolution of this extension, and we’re very excited to see what it brings next.
We have a really cool new integration, tools developers will love, and better guidance for new users. Let’s dive in! ????
PHP 5.3 is now required
Starting from this version, Memberships will require PHP 5.3. According to WordPress statistics, only a tiny fraction of installations still run PHP 5.2, which has been unsupported since January 2011 (which means this version of PHP is older than WooCommerce!). We can build more performant software with better security by building on new technologies, so most of our extensions are beginning to require PHP 5.3 or PHP 5.6. You can read more about upgrading PHP here.
We still maintain compatibility with WooCommerce 2.6, although we will phase out support for this version within a few months as well. Just like PHP, you’re better off running updated software on your server — keep the engine for your online store well-oiled. 🙂
Of user onboarding and wizards
Memberships is a large plugin, and a powerful one. To build a member system on top of WooCommerce, it adds new settings and emails, introduces unique concepts like plans and members, and adds data to products and other content. Many users feel just comfortable with this, but it can be intimidating for others who are new to WooCommerce or WordPress.
While much of our customer feedback indicates that Memberships is easy-to-use, we can always improve the experience for new users and make it even simpler. A first step in this direction is the addition to Memberships of what we call a Setup Wizard ????: an onboarding tool resembles the WooCommerce wizard that users see the first time they activate WooCommerce.
In the first screen, we introduce the concept of restriction and explain how each mode affects non-members. We’ll save the answers here to the Memberships settings, breaking up the “getting started” process for new users, while taking the time to explain more complex concepts.
We then ask questions that are directed at creating a membership plan right away. The wizard helps users get acquainted with Memberships concepts they’ll find in the plans creation pages later on.
Rules determine what is restricted or offered to members only, so it’s important to introduce this concept early with explanation. For teaching purposes, we limit the screen to set one rule per group (content restriction, products restriction, and purchasing discount). But, as the new plan will be saved (as a draft), more rules can be added later with this foundational knowledge in hand.
Finally, users can enable Member Emails and define their sending schedule. You’ll notice from the screenshot below that there’s also a new group of emails! We’ll show you more in a moment.
We wrap up by letting users know they can edit their new plan, and point them to helpful resources to get started.
A RESTful API for Memberships
So those new email types we just mentioned? They’re made possible because Memberships now supports the WordPress and WooCommerce REST APIs!
This means that external systems can now interact with Memberships via the common WordPress API — this is also used by WooCommerce and other extensions. This is very handy if you plan to build apps or tools that need to read your membership data, from command line tools to system tools, mobile apps and so on.
For this first step we will provide support for v2 of the API and list read (GET) endpoints for Membership Plans and User Memberships. In future versions, we will add full CRUD support.
The two main endpoints that have been added under the WooCommerce namespace are:
api/wc/v2/memberships/members for User Memberships and
api/wc/v2/memberships/plans for Membership Plans.
There is a limitation to be aware of: rules are not listed in the plan endpoints or as an independent object yet. We are still debating how rules should fit into the Memberships API, and will collect feedback on the best way to implement API support. Your voice matters as well, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you plan to build something with the Memberships REST API: we’d love to see what you’re working on!
We have published documentation for the Memberships REST API where you can learn more about the responses delivered by these endpoints and how to query the API. We will keep updating this document as we add more features and endpoints. We plan to add more code examples as well.
If you’re interested in contributing to this project, you can also log an issue or submit a pull request.
WooCommerce webhooks support
With the REST API support, of course, we could also easily introduce support for WooCommerce webhooks.
You can now configure new WooCommerce webhooks to be triggered every time a membership event is fired: when a membership is created, when it is updated, when it expires, when it is transferred to another user or when it is deleted. CRUD events for plans are supported too.
With the added webhook support you can now connect WooCommerce Memberships to third party apps and services that are informed when a membership event takes place at your site! The payload delivered is equivalent to that of the REST API responses, for consistency.
Jilt-powered membership emails
So a REST API on its own isn’t necessarily too exciting, right? It’s most valuable when an app or integration uses that API to connect to your store. As part of making a great start on read-only endpoints, we wanted to be the first consumer of this API. I’m happy to say that Jilt has already integrated with WooCommerce Memberships. (You can learn about Jilt here).
Developers on our Jilt and WooCommerce extension teams have been working in tandem for several weeks to accomplish a couple of things:
- help Jilt evolve from sending automated order emails, to being able to send other kinds of automated emails, too.
- ensure that Memberships has a robust starting point for its API by building an end-to-end integration with Jilt.
This means that advanced member emails are here.
One of our most common requests from merchants was to be able to send more emails to members. However, we were hesitant to add more scheduled emails than the basic ones that are already built into Memberships — WordPress isn’t great at a few things: managing thousands of scheduled events, and sending emails are two of them.
However, Jilt is great at these things, so offloading your automated emails to a system that can schedule them, send as many as you need (with excellent deliverability), and segment your members as much as you choose (by status, plan name, or other membership properties) was a clear path forward for our team.
If you connect your WooCommerce store to Jilt, you can enable the WooCommerce Memberships integration. Then, you’ll have several membership templates available for your campaigns:
- New member welcome — Every new member should feel valued, and know exactly what they’re going to get out of your membership. You can send a single welcome email or a series to thank your new members, get feedback, and outline what to expect from your membership.
- Paused membership reminder — Keep in touch with members who have paused memberships to help them re-activate. This is useful if your site uses WooCommerce Subscriptions, as a subscription-tied membership can be paused by your member. Help reengage these paused members with a reminder. Or, if you pause memberships on request manually, this reminds your members to get back in touch when they’re ready to reactivate.
- Membership ending soon — Send one or more emails before a membership ends to encourage your customers to renew a membership. This can help you ensure that the membership end date is no surprise, and that your customers can purchase again to extend memberships before they lose access.
- Cancelled membership win-back — Did you member request cancellation, or cancel via their subscription? You can send a win-back email or series to get feedback to understand why they left, or to see if you can save the sale.
- Expired membership win-back — Should your members repurchase when their membership ends? Send a series of 3 emails to win-back members after their membership expires. Jilt will even automatically stop sending emails if your member does renew.
You can completely customize the content of these member emails, and can segment your audience using Jilt’s built in rules for memberships and customers. Target specific plans with different content, change the timing of your emails based on plan time, and more!
We’re not done with this integration yet, and we’re very excited to unite two of our most popular products here at SkyVerge.