November came with good news for the Shopware community and for users all over the world. The platform released version 22.214.171.124, and aside from bug fixes and various system improvements, the star of the show and the most important new function of this version is the long-awaited Flow Builder, which can be utilized to design and control business processes easily, by drag and drop.
The powerful Flow Builder
Ecommerce businesses often require various actions triggered by certain milestones. For example, when a new customer is registered, a confirmation email needs to be sent. Or, if a payment fails, the user has to be notified. Without some sort of automation, merchants would have to manually do these repetitive, time-consuming tasks.
The need to automate some of these actions is not new to eCommerce and with some platforms, certain workflows were available as standard. But if you wanted to customize them to suit your business, it was often the case of going to a trusted development agency. This meant a huge development effort and high costs for the client.
With this in mind, Shopware took a different approach and over the past months, worked on this easy-to-use function called the Flow Builder. What is really new is that the Flow Builder allows you to create automatic processes from the admin interface, without having to write a single line of code, by simply using drag and drop.
What can be done with the Flow Builder
The new function can be used for a wide range of automations, thus saving time and giving owners more control over business operations. Merchants can now create individual emails, generate invoices, customer surveys and other documents, send data to API-based third-party systems with webhooks, set order statuses and customise order, delivery options and payment procedures. A whole range of automation processes are available for business communication, thus simplifying interactions with suppliers.
Using the Flow Builder to design a workflow
Merchants have complete control over 3 aspects, which allow for designing fully customized processes: triggers, conditions and actions. Setting the trigger will define when the process will be executed, choosing the condition and the actions will specify what actions will run once the condition is met.
The Flow Builder was designed with simplicity in mind, allowing users to spend their valuable resources on doing things that really matter and have more flexibility and control over their business operations.
Even more, for the Professional and Enterprise editions, Flow Builder presents a connection option via webhooks, enabling different web services to be linked together. So, instead of using the usual email, users can link webhooks with communication services and send a message via Slack, Telegram or other messenger services. In this way, they can tailor Flow Builder in a way that is even more customised to their company’s specific requirements and tools.
Other implemented functions
Another new function available with this release is a new filter condition for the dynamic product groups. Until now, with Shopware, users could create dynamic product groups and display them in different parts of their online shop, for example in categories or Shopping Experiences. By setting rules, users could determine which products belonged to certain dynamic product groups instead of manually adding or removing products. With the new release, users can now use a new filter condition – has cover image yes/no. This enables them to display only products which have a cover image in a dynamic product group. In this respect, they can prevent products which have been poorly maintained from showing up with a placeholder image.
A new dynamic access feature is also available in the Professional and Enterprise editions. Merchants can now make content visible to certain customer groups only and hide it for everyone else. This leads to numerous application scenarios for both B2C and B2B shops, like making exclusive categories, products, variants or landing pages accessible only to VIP customers or specific wholesale partners.
Another important feature available with this release is particularly advantageous to shops which want to ship their products outside of their country. The Rule Builder has two new conditions now – billing postal code and shipping postal code – so from now on, users can also set international postcodes as a condition as well as German postcodes.
An important security update, the Symfony Rate Limiter, was implemented to protect the Storefront customer login, Storefront after order guest login, Storefront password reset, the Contact form, the Admin panel login and the Admin password reset in the application from brute-force attacks. After triggering the limit of failed requests, the user receives a message that the limit has been exceeded and with the waiting period until the next request can be processed.