A Technical Guide On WooCommerce Cart Data. Where Is It Stored?

Have you built an eCommerce store with WooCommerce, and now you’re wondering where all that cart data is stored? As a store owner, it’s important to understand how WooCommerce handles customer data behind the scenes. 

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about WooCommerce cart data – where it’s stored, how it’s used, and how you can leverage it to better understand your customers. 

By the end of this, you’ll have a solid understanding of the technical details powering your store’s cart and be able to use that knowledge to make data-driven decisions to improve sales and the customer experience.

What is WooCommerce Cart Data?

WooCommerce Cart Data

So what exactly is WooCommerce cart data? In simple terms, it’s all the information about the products your customers add to their cart. This includes details like:

  • Product name, description, image, price, etc.
  • The quantity of each item
  • Coupons or discount codes applied
  • Shipping and tax details
  • Customer information (if they’ve set up an account)

All this data is stored in your WooCommerce database and used to keep track of your customers’ carts and purchases.

When a customer adds an item to their cart, that info is saved as cart data. If they create an account, their cart data will be linked to their account, so they can pick up where they left off on their next visit. Cart data is also used during checkout to calculate totals and complete the purchase.

Understanding how WooCommerce handles cart data is important for store owners and developers. You’ll want to know where this sensitive information is kept and how it’s used, so you can properly maintain security and privacy for your customers. Cart data also allows you to do crucial things like abandoned cart recovery, personalized product recommendations, and targeted marketing campaigns.

This is why it’s important to make sure that first-time customers complete their checkout process, as the data procured from their cart can help improve their experience next time onwards. 

Your customers’ cart data contains a goldmine of insights into their shopping behavior and preferences. If you utilize that info proactively, you can watch your sales grow!

Where Is WooCommerce Cart Data Stored?

So you’ve set up your WooCommerce store and customers are adding items to their carts, but where exactly is all that data being stored? As a store owner, it’s important to understand the basics of how WooCommerce handles customer data.

WooCommerce cart data is stored in two places:

  • Your WordPress database. When a customer adds an item to their cart, that information is stored in your WordPress database. The data includes details like the product ID, quantity, variations selected, and price.
  • On your customer’s browser. A cookie is stored on the customer’s browser that contains their cart data. This allows them to continue shopping, leave your site, and come back later with their cart still intact. The cookie expires after 30 days of inactivity.

If the cookie is deleted for any reason, the customer’s cart will be emptied. However, their data still remains in your database. You can view all customer cart data by going to WooCommerce > Orders

WooCommerce orders page

You’ll see details for each customer like their name, email, cart contents, date created, and more by clicking on that customer and heading to the Edit Order page.

Edit Order page

Additionally, if you wish to only view customer data and not their cart data, you may head over to WooCommerce > Customers.

WooCommerce customers data page

Cart data remains in your database even after a customer completes their purchase. This allows you to look back on their order details and purchase history when needed. The data will continue to accumulate over time, so be sure to periodically clear out very old, unused cart data from your database.

When running an eCommerce store, your customer’s cart data is one of the most important aspects. This information helps your customer and the store remember and understand what products are being added to the cart. In order for the customer to have a smooth experience, this process should happen seamlessly.

WooCommerce handles this data in a bunch of ways, such as:

WooCommerce Session Data: What They Contain and How They’re Used

When a customer adds an item to their cart, WooCommerce creates a unique session ID to store information about their cart until they check out. This session data is stored in the WooCommerce database and includes details like:

  • The contents of the customer’s cart (product IDs, quantities, variations, etc.)
  • Coupons applied
  • Shipping rates
  • Taxes
  • Anything else related to the customer’s order.

The session ID is stored in the customer’s browser as a cookie so WooCommerce recognizes them when they return to the site. If the customer clears their cookies or uses a different device, the cart will be empty since WooCommerce can no longer identify their session.

Once the customer proceeds to checkout, WooCommerce creates an order in the database and associates it with their session ID. At this point, the session data is cleared since the order is now being processed. If the customer abandons their cart before completing the checkout, the session data will remain for a set period of time, usually around 48 hours. You can adjust this timeout period in your WooCommerce settings.

It’s important to understand how WooCommerce handles session data so you know where customer cart information is stored, how long it’s retained, and what happens if a session is lost. The session ID is a key part of connecting the customer’s cart to their order during the checkout process. 

By grasping these technical aspects of WooCommerce, you’ll be better equipped to troubleshoot any cart or checkout issues that may arise.

WooCommerce Cart Cookies: What They Contain and How They’re Used

WooCommerce uses cookies to store cart data and keep track of customers as they shop. Cookies are small pieces of data stored in your browser that websites can access each time you visit. WooCommerce cart cookies contain essential information to keep your cart running smoothly.

Cart Contents

The cart cookie stores all the products you’ve added to your cart, including details like:

  • Product IDs
  • Quantities
  • Variations (size, color, etc.)
  • Prices

Without this cookie, your cart would empty each time you left the WooCommerce store page or refresh your browser.

Customer Details

Basic customer info is also saved in the cart cookie, such as:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email address

This allows WooCommerce to pre-populate the checkout form with your details for faster checkout. Your full customer account and order history are stored in the WooCommerce database, not in cookies.

Cart Security

WooCommerce uses cart cookies to help prevent fraud and ensure security. Details like your IP address and user agent string (browser info) are saved to detect if the cart is being accessed from an unauthorized location or device. WooCommerce also generates a unique cart ID and hash to verify the integrity of the cart data.

WooCommerce cart cookies make the shopping experience seamless by keeping your cart active and secure as you browse the store. Understanding what data they contain and how they’re utilized gives you insight into how WooCommerce works.

WooCommerce Database: What They Contain and How They’re Used

To handle its data, the cart data is kept in various tables in the WordPress database. The following are the primary tables for the WooCommerce cart:

  • wp_posts: This table houses the fundamental data about the cart, including its ID, status, and client information. The cart is represented by the post_type “shop_order”.
  • wp_postmeta: This table includes extra metadata about the cart, such as the products in the cart, their quantities, their costs, and other relevant data.
  • wp_woocommerce_order_items: Individual line items from the cart, such as goods or services, are kept on this table. It contains information such as the product ID, quantity, cost, and taxes.
  • wp_woocommerce_order_itemmeta: For each line item, the wp_woocommerce_order_itemmeta database stores extra metadata, like as variants, custom fields, and other product-specific data.

The prefix is usually “wp_” by default, although it may be changed during the WordPress installation process.

This data is added to the cart table when a customer adds an item to their cart and removed when they checkout or empty their cart. The cart data allows WooCommerce to keep track of what’s in your customer’s cart, calculate totals, apply coupons, and more.

Front-end view of the WordPress data content table

When a customer proceeds to checkout, the data from the cart table is used to populate the checkout fields and passed to the payment gateway. Once an order is placed, the cart is emptied by deleting the records from the respective table.

Knowing how the WooCommerce cart works backstage and where the data is stored in your database will help you better understand how to manipulate cart data, troubleshoot any issues, and build custom functionality. WooCommerce is a flexible eCommerce platform, and the cart is a core part of what makes it work.

Emptying the Cart: When and How Data Is Cleared

As a shopper browses your WooCommerce store and adds products to their cart, that data is temporarily stored. But what happens when they complete their purchase or abandon their cart? Let’s go over when and how WooCommerce cart data is cleared.

Once an order is completed, the cart data is emptied since the items have been purchased. This ensures the cart is clear for the customer’s next order. 

If a cart is abandoned, meaning the shopper leaves the site without completing their purchase, WooCommerce will clear the cart data after a set time period. However, store owners can adjust this time period to be shorter or longer based on their needs.

It’s a good idea for store owners to test different abandoned cart time periods to find what works best for their business and customers. Keeping some cart data for a longer period may allow you to re-engage shoppers with reminder emails about their abandoned carts, especially if they had high-value products. 

On the other hand, clearing the data sooner ensures your database stays tidy and cart statistics are more accurate.

In the end, finding the right balance for your store will take some experimenting. But with WooCommerce’s abandoned cart settings, you have full control over when customer cart data is wiped clean. Shoppers will appreciate starting with an empty cart when they return, and your database will benefit from not being bogged down by old, unused data.

The process of understanding cart data and other relevant information in order to prevent abandoned carts can be a little tricky and technically challenging. 

For the sake of convenience, we would suggest using the ELEX Abandoned Cart Recovery With Dynamic Coupons plugin to automate the abandoned cart recovery process alongside providing reports on the abandoned and recovered carts, easing the process of viewing cart data.

ELEX Abandoned Cart Recovery With Dynamic Coupons plugin


So there you have it, a deep dive into how WooCommerce stores its cart data. Now you know exactly where that data is stored and how it gets there. With this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to troubleshoot any cart-related issues in your store such as abandoned carts, and have a stronger understanding of how WooCommerce works in the back end. 

All the data syncing and caching going on behind the scenes to give your customer a seamless shopping experience can seem a little complicated to understand for newbies, but do not worry! An ELEXtensions plugin can solve your problem without any hassle!

We hope this post has given you a better understanding of WooCommerce cart data!

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