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How to create a Private Sale with ProductCart

Private sales and private shopping clubs

Private sales are an increasingly popular and successful business model for e-commerce merchants. See the ProductCart blog for a recent article on this topic:

Elsewhere in the ProductCart documentation we have covered how to create a Private Shopping Club using our shopping cart software. With a private shopping club you are applying the idea of a private sale to your entire ecommerce Web site.

However, you might want to do the same only for certain products, rather than for the entire storefront. You can do so in two ways:

  • You can create Customer Pricing Categories and simply run special prices (for a limited time or indefinitely) that will be seen (and will be used) only by customers belonging to those Pricing Categories. ProductCart supports multiple pricing categories and allows you to easily assign customers to a specific category.
  • You can leverage the Not for Sale feature and Not for Sale Override feature (ProductCart v4.1 and above) to restrict access to certain products. Here we will focus on this second scenario.

Creating a sense of exclusivity

With ProductCart v4.1 you can make a product Not for Sale for all customers except those that belong to one or more special categories. This allows you to very easily make products viewable and searchable (and indexed by search engines), but not available for sale unless… you are one of the few lucky ones that are allowed to buy it!

  • This automatically creates a sense of exclusivity around those products
  • You can change the prices at the product level for a specific Pricing Category, thus creating a Private Sale for the customers that belong to the category.
  • The Not for Sale message, which is easily defined at the product level (for one or more products) can include links to a page that explains how to get these exclusive deals.

Example of not for sale product

How to create a product-specific private sale

In ProductCart you can easily make one or more products Not for Sale. You can also show a custom message when that feature is turned on. In ProductCart v4.1 we expanded this feature:

So, if you wanted to restrict access to a specific product, and only make it available for sale to “Preferred Customers”, you would do the following:

  • Set the product as Not for Sale by editing the product or using the Global Changes feature.
  • Enter a message that explains why the product is not available. The message could link to a Content Page that provides more details (e.g. details on how to become a “Preferred Customer”). See the example on the right.
  • Set the “Preferred Customers” pricing category to override the Not for Sale property.
  • Now, then customers that belong to the “Preferred Customers” category log in, they will be able to view and purchase the product. All other customers will not be able to purchase it (and may not be able to see the price either).

Announcing the private sale

Customers will want to know when there is a private sale that they're interested in (rather than hearing about all sales you ever run). In ProductCart you can leverage Special Customer Fields to store information about what kind of private sales your customers might be interested in (e.g. women or men fashion?).

If you want those preferences to automatically be turned into independently managed e-mail lists, you can use the integration with MailUp. When you use MailUp and ProductCart together, you can setup multiple lists (e.g. Men Fashion, Women Fashion, etc.), and have those lists be displayed automatically as newsletters that a customer can subscribe to when registering with the store. Subscribe/unsubscribe is then managed separately, at the list level.

The integration with MailUp also allows you to easily filter customers in ProductCart and export the filtered list as a “group” to your MailUp console, so that you can target that group with a targeted message sent from your MailUp e-mail marketing console.

Multiple "private sale" prices for different customers

Since you can have multiple Customer Pricing Categories, and specify different prices (i.e. different discounts) for the same product for the various Pricing Categories, you can not only restrict access to customers that don't belong to any of the categories, but also provide different pricing to customers depending on which Pricing Category they belong to.

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