Shopware 6 is a platform designed from the scratch to the needs of eCommerce. It combines key and innovative tools for comprehensive building and running of an online store.
This German platform has been developing for over 20 years, and currently serves over 100,000 businesses around the world. It is also gaining popularity in Polish companies, which is why we would like to take a closer look at it.
The latest version of the platform has been available since the beginning of May but the test version named Release Candidate was introduced on March 2021. It is not a big secret that the range of the introduced modifications can be considered as massive.
Price adjustment related to currencies
The Shopware 6.4 update introduces the adjustment of price rounding of the last decimal figure with regard to different rules that apply to particular currencies. In addition, the function enables you to individually determine the place where the rounded price will be displayed - whether for each product in the cart or only as a final price.
Prices "from -"
Many product offers include items with different variants of size, material, pattern, and colour. Accordingly, the price may also differ from one product option to another. At the first, the cheapest version is of course the most attractive for the customer, and this is the moment when the "Price from..." information plays a significant role.
Apart from matching prices to product variants, the system allows displaying only the cheapest option in the form of ‘Available from’. In the previous version, the possibilities were limited to specifying the price range of the available variants.
Interface - Client First
For the target customer, the final moments of the purchasing process are of key importance while considering the CX (Consumer Experience). If choosing the form of delivery or payment causes problems, there is a risk that the customer will postpone the completion of the order, and thus it is for such a person most likely to forget about it or resign from it.
To avoid it, in Shopware 6.4 the number of actions regarding order payment has been maximally reduced.
In the previous version, the system only had a button which redirected the customer to the view of the available payment methods. Now, the buyers can see all of them in the window of order fulfilment.
It is a simple functionality that is very popular and willingly used by consumers in online stores.
To be sure that customers would not forget about products they liked, there is the Wish List module. Because of that, the user can save his favourite products from any store level (in the cart, in the main catalogue or in the product card).
New index and hierarchy of search results
Each group of recipients is different, and the developing companies will constantly be examining the behaviour patterns of their customers on the website of the online store. Such information is of the great potential when it comes to increase the efficiency of matching many solutions in the e-store to the scheme of the customer behaviour.
Once we have an overview of the consumers' needs, Shopware 6.4 gives us also the possibility to conveniently manage the search index of the online store.
Depending on the product offer structure and the business sector, we can define the way in which the search index of the store responds to phrases consisting of at least two words. By selecting the Settings -> shop -> search, we can choose one of two methods of search requests processing - AND/OR.
- The AND option is responsible for displaying the results that contain all the phrases written in the query. Example: while entering "yoga pants", we get a list of those products that contain both of these words - so only yoga pants.
- In the case of the OR option, the search results contain phrases related to one of the written words. Example: while entering "yoga pants", the products displayed are for instance yoga mats, blocks, and also pant belts, and other elements containing a fragment of the written phrase
Functionality affects not only the type of searched items, but also the quantity. The quality of the results also was not overlooked. In the part of the search engine management panel, we will easily adjust the hierarchy of search criteria, and even their probable impact, on the final customer experience.
The menu that controls the actions taken in the Shopware platform was optimized with several key modifications. Shopware developers have redesigned the palette of colours available, because of which it is possible to optimize the display of the states of "hover" and "active". This concerns the dynamic change of the highlighted button, CTA, or any element containing a hyperlink when hovering the cursor over it and at the moment of clicking.
As the creators of Shopware assure - the use of the menu was significantly improved because of the implementation of the smooth navigation among its levels while using the PC mouse. What is more, numerous requests from developers have been answered and the third level of the menu was introduced.
In the previous version, there was a limitation to one displayed tab, or part of menu at a time. Fortunately, the issue of menu improvement has been comprehensively examined, and now the users can open as many sub-menus as they want without the risk of closing the previous one.
Product details are now editable in the administration panel
Another implemented modification is the Shopware 6.4 administration panel is the flexibility of configuring product details. Now we can freely manage what details about the sold item we want to edit in the panel. Apart from the obligatory aspects, such as name, product number, tax rate, price (gross, net), and stock levels, you can now adjust the remaining ones with a view to the needs of our business.
In the process of creating catalogue cards, we have access to the use of a product mask or a simplified mode. The redesign of the product details page in Shopware 6.4 is entirely focused on achieving maximum clarity and flexibility of functions.
Individual grids are now saved in the user settings panel
The latest Shopware update saves time and nerves of users working on creating an online store. The grids that a given user works with are now saved individually in their admin panel instead of, as it was in the previous version, locally for all of the users. This eliminates the need of re-entering the personal grid settings regardless of the device you are using.
Plugin management for the self-hosted users
An important novelty in Shopware 6.4 is solving the problem of rather inconvenient management of plugins and all other extensions. The Shopware team has placed the entire extension management process into the menu panel Extensions -> My Extensions. Integrated applications can be found right next to the extensions tab Extensions -> Store.
The separate plug-in manager, which was responsible for these processes in previous versions had a much narrower range of options, starting with integration with extensions in the form of plugs only. Each attempt to integrate with the applications was associated with a rather considerable amount of work and the use of another plugin in the process.
Now, we have all the information and activities related to the management, purchase, or rental of any e-store extensions in one place.
What is new in CMS
New layout for product pages
The modifications include the functional part of the Shopping Experiences module. An essential element of the store's CMS system serving as a place to create engaging pages, subpages and categories in the online store. It is an undeniable convenience when you take care of the highest quality of consistent text and multimedia content. The latest update has extended the module's capabilities with new functions of individual design of product catalogue card. What is more, all elements used on the product detail pages can be reused in other places of the e-store without a hitch.
Rich text editor with variables
The version 6.4 presents new CMS functions, which facilitate the process of designing and personalizing store and content subpages. The new editor enables, for example, using variables that can be placed in the content as a placeholder.
Because of that, you can reuse generic texts over and over again. Depending on the situation you can then apply them automatically. For example, you can use a placeholder for a product name that will be applied dynamically when displaying the product later on. It works also for other text fields such as category names or category descriptions.
One of the new CMS system functionalities is the site builder. Its introduction is connected with several significant improvements, such as:
- Improved handling of the category tree,
- Creating Landing Pages outside of the category structure,
- Direct entry points of sales channels into the category,
- Site navigation has been moved from the header to the footer to reduce the problem of customization in the mobile version or on the cart page.
Extensions and changes in packages
1. Enterprise Edition
Shopware Publisher is the latest CMS extension for the Enterprise Edition. Its most important functionalities certainly include an unlimited number of drafts of Shopping Experience, which we can create without the risk of changing the version that is currently displayed on the website. The new tool introduced with the Shopware 6.4 update also has an activity panel where you can find all information about previous modifications and about people responsible for them. All drafts that have not been published are still available for viewing in the internal storefront. We can return to them at any time, and after some time we may find inspiration in them. The creative department of the company that is responsible for engaging content, now has much more freedom and flexibility in the system.
By working with the highest edition offered by the Shopware trading platform, we can see even more improvements. We can search more easily now 6.4 system version focuses on optimizing the connection with the Elasticsearch tool. We will find there an optimised indexing process, accelerated data processing and transmission to Elasticsearch.
2. Professional Edition
The Form Builder is a CMS extension for the Professional Edition of the Shopware platform. By using the new Form Builder, we can freely configure the forms that are placed on the website and, at the same time, keep all the requirements.
Each change that has appeared in Shopware 6.4 facilitates the work of system users. In this case, drag&drop is the most intuitive solution for linking, matching, and creating fields in forms.
3. Self-hosted versions
For all of the self-hosted versions, regardless of the platform's price category, a paid Shopware Markets plugin is available. Simply speaking, because of that, we will integrate an online store with marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
The transmission of data is direct, and all activities related to orders or notifications about delivery, payments, etc., can be conveniently processed from within the Shopware platform. It is a good and major step for stores that start to work internationally because of the fact that it does not require extra amounts of work.
Another important feature, the creators of Shopware, when releasing the system version 6.4, strongly marked that a change in name will be announced. By far, we have been using 'plug-ins' and 'apps', but in the future, the company wants to introduce a change in wording by using only the term of "apps".
Such a change is made to facilitate the process of introducing new users to the Shopware system. The company's aim is to focus on reducing the need to have a technical knowledge to use with the platform.
What does the service offer for developers?
PHP 8 compatibility
The required PHP version supported by Shopware 6.4 has been updated. Currently, the minimum required version is 7.4, but there are even more novelties. Shopware, while releasingn the latest update, was the first on the e-commerce market to enable the use of PHP 8.0 technology.
New versions of systems
- Composer 2 - this update may affect work of plugins. It is related to the used naming, which must be consistent with composer.json according to the requirements of Composer.
- Symfony 5.2 - this PHP framework is updated to version 5.2. There also the changes in the use of plugins can be expected.
Themes familiar to the Release Candidate
When it comes to themes and templates, all of the options offered in the Release Candidate test version were maintained. You will find more details for developers on shopware.com.
Changes, changes, and even more changes... The creators of the platform focused on mechanisms supporting the improvement of customer service and experience. Both for administrators of online stores and the buyers. Learn more about the Shopware 6 platform.
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