It’s been a long journey for our Abandoned Cart for WooCommerce plugin. The original version of the plugin allowed the site admin to track abandoned carts and send reminder emails for them. A cron job had to be setup in the cPanel manually to send these reminder emails.
While it did the job, shop owners who did not feel at home using these tools found it to be a tedious exercise. As the plugin grew and expanded, we included the feature to automate the cron job. Now the shop owners have to simply edit the setting and decide the frequency at which the cron job should run to send the reminders. The processing has also evolved and we moved to background processing.
However, we still have a few queries coming in from users for both the lite and pro versions of the plugin. Some of our clients have the WP Cron disabled. This means that the plugin cron will not run and as a result, the reminders will not be sent. Some others have reported to us about performance issues due to the resources which are utilized by the cron job.
At the same time, the WordPress ecosystem is evolving and we believe in being right on top of those changes. At the same time, WordPress Cron is not reliable and many hosts and sites have WP Cron disabled. So, we’ve now decided to move to the Action Scheduler library.
Why the Action Scheduler?
We had specific requirements. We did not want this to slow the site down. At the same time, it needs to be accurate and not depend on WP Cron as well. We searched extensively and decided that this library fits all our requirement criteria.
It allows us the flexibility to run our operations in the background where an action is scheduled to send out the reminders.
How does this work?
The Action scheduler runs all the scheduled actions at the desired time/frequency. Yes, it does this with the help of the WP Cron.
However, in a scenario where WP Cron is disabled, the library runs the actions which have been scheduled when an admin page request occurs.
So now, the plugin and in turn the shop owners are no longer dependent on WP Cron to ensure that the Abandoned Cart plugin sends reminders to their clients to help retrieve lost orders. The action scheduler library will schedule the action to send reminders at the desired frequency.
What does this mean for our customers?
When you upgrade to the latest version of our plugin, you will now be able to see in Tools->Scheduled Actions, the send email action hook and at what time will it be run.
For those who have setup cron jobs in the cPanel: Upgrading to the latest version will allow you to remove these cron jobs if you wish to. However, we recommend removing this cron job which has been setup in the cPanel.
For those who have been using the automated cron: As mentioned above, the plugin will automatically transition to using the library instead of WP Cron to send reminders.
We’ll continue to add more such features and improvements as the year progresses ahead. Do let us know how these changes work for you in the comments section below!