WooCommerce: Bulk Replace Product Inside Existing Orders

Manual operations are always a nightmare for WooCommerce store owners. Thankfully, a bit of code can help and actions that would normally take hours can be executed in a few seconds via PHP.

Today, we’ll take a look at a very edge case, but this can still be helpful to understand the code and re-adapt it to other scenarios. If as a store owner you tend to replace products or product lines, it’s possible that you may need to replace the old products with the new ones inside existing orders, retroactively.

It’s a one-off operation that could take hours if it had to be done manually, based on the number of existing orders. With this simple snippet, however, you can edit an unlimited number of orders, and let the code replace ordered items. So, let’s see how this is done. Enjoy!

Login as administrator and append “bb-update-orders” to the current URL. Hit enter. The product replace function will trigger!

PHP Snippet: Function to Bulk Replace Products In Existing Orders, Retroactively

Important Note and Disclaimer: this function could mess up your entire WordPress database. Use only if you know what you are doing and also test it first on staging.

Usage: simply append the “bb-update-orders” URL parameter to any WordPress admin URL (e.g. https://example.com/wp-admin/index.php?bb-update-orders), hit enter in the browser bar, and the function will trigger.

 * @snippet       Bulk Replace Product @ WooCommerce Orders
 * @how-to        Get CustomizeWoo.com FREE
 * @author        Rodolfo Melogli
 * @compatible    WooCommerce 7
 * @community     https://businessbloomer.com/club/

add_action( 'admin_init', 'bbloomer_update_old_orders' );

function bbloomer_update_old_orders() {
	if ( isset( $_REQUEST['bb-update-orders'] ) ) {
		if ( ! current_user_can( 'manage_woocommerce' ) ) {
			wp_die( esc_html__( 'You do not have permission to bulk update orders', 'woocommerce' ) );
		$old_product_id = 789;
		$new_product_id = 123456;
      $new_product = wc_get_product( $new_product_id );
      $last_order = get_posts( 'post_type=shop_order&numberposts=1&fields=ids' );
      $last_order_id = $last_order[0];
		for ( $i = 1; $i <= $last_order_id; $i++ ) {
			$order = wc_get_order( $i );
			if ( ! $order instanceof WC_Order ) continue;
         $replaced = false;
			foreach ( $order->get_items() as $item_id => $item ) {
				if ( $item && $item->get_product_id() == $old_product_id ) {
					wc_delete_order_item( $item_id );
					$order->add_product( $new_product, $item->get_quantity(), array( 'order' => $order ) );
					$order->add_order_note( 'Replaced product programmatically' );
               $replaced = true;
			if ( $replaced ) $order->save();

Where to add custom code?

You should place custom PHP in functions.php and custom CSS in style.css of your child theme: where to place WooCommerce customization?

This code still works, unless you report otherwise. To exclude conflicts, temporarily switch to the Storefront theme, disable all plugins except WooCommerce, and test the snippet again: WooCommerce troubleshooting 101

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Rodolfo Melogli

Business Bloomer Founder

Author, WooCommerce expert and WordCamp speaker, Rodolfo has worked as an independent WooCommerce freelancer since 2011. His goal is to help entrepreneurs and developers overcome their WooCommerce nightmares. Rodolfo loves travelling, chasing tennis & soccer balls and, of course, wood fired oven pizza. Follow @rmelogli

2 thoughts on “WooCommerce: Bulk Replace Product Inside Existing Orders

  1. Hmm, no luck for me :(. I put my hopeful use case below but I tried just two simple products and no order notes were made, etc.

    The use case I wanted to try – WooCommerce Product Bundles

    We have Bundle 1 with Product A and B (digital downloads).
    Ten people purchase.

    Later, we add Product C so Bundle 1 is now Product A, B, and C.

    However the previous ten people do not have access to product C. Regenerating download permissions does not work.

    I thought this might work so I tested running it with the same product ID. (i.e. remove Bundle 1, but add Bundle 1) but doesn’t appear to work in that case. I know it is outside the realm of what you were intending but thought I would report.

    1. Thanks Shelley! Honestly I tried with simple products only, not sure how it goes for bundles.

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