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Customer Pricing Categories: unlimited pricing levels

Great flexibility in managing prices

Pricing categories is definitely one of the most powerful, innovative features that was introduced with ProductCart version 3. It gives you tremendous flexibility in pricing your products as it allows you to setup an unlimited number of categories and assign customers to them. The pricing scenarios that your store can support are now as many as you’d like. For instance:

  • Preferred customers could be assigned to a Preferred Customers category that gives a 10% discount on most products and a 5% select, lower-margin products.

* Resellers could be divided into several different categories depending on their sales volumes and moving a reseller from a 20% discount category to a 30% one would be as easy as removing the customer from a pricing category and adding him/her to another.

  • Here at ProductCart we actively use this feature to provide our ProductCart reseller with special pricing on our software, for example. We are a true believer in that a feature has to work for our own company before it can work for anybody else. Well, we have been using Pricing Categories since the day our development team added it to ProductCart ;-)

Adding and Managing Pricing Categories

When you add a new pricing category, you will be presented with the following options:

  • Name
    The name of the pricing category (e.g. “Silver Resellers”, “Gold Customers”, etc.)
  • Description
    A description of what this pricing category is (e.g. “Silver Resellers receive 10% off all outdoor furniture). This is for internal purposes.
  • Apply Wholesale Customer Privileges
    If a customer is assigned to a pricing category that has Wholesale Customer Privileges, the customer is treated as a wholesale customer. This means that the customer will have access to wholesale-only payment options, wholesale discounts, etc.
  • Apply custom pricing - You have two options:
    • Across the board: If you plan to give customers that are assigned to this category a special discount that applies to all (or most) products in your store 'across the board', choose this setting. This setting saves you time because you will not need to assign a special price to each product.

      ProductCart will calculate the special price “across the board”, based on the discount that you specify. Note that you can overwrite the price determined by this automatic calculation by manually entering a different price on a product by product basis.

      If you chose “across the board”, specify these additional settings: the percentage discount (e.g. 10% off: enter 10) and whether it is calculated off the wholesale or retail price.

      Technically speaking, in this first scenario the pcCC_Pricing table in the store database is not populated with any price unless you choose to overwrite the default price (online or wholesale price minus across the board discount), with a special price.

    • Product by product: If prices vary product by product, choose this setting. This assumes that for each product in your store, you will specify the special price that customers that are assigned to this pricing category will pay.

      If you chose “product by product”, assign a first “product by product” price for this pricing category by applying the following discount off the current online price. You can then edit the price on a product by product basis when editing products or through the Global Changes feature.

      Technically speaking, in this scenario, the pcCC_Pricing table is populated with a price for each product in the store.

If you are undecided between the two options, create an Across The Board pricing category. You can always overwrite the product prices individually or using the Global Changes feature.

Pricing Limitations

There are two limitations to your ability to set prices based on a pricing category:

  1. The price differential associated with a product option can be set for retail and wholesale customers, but you cannot set a separate price differential for a pricing category.
  2. When you create quantity discounts by product and/or by category, you can set different discounts for retail and wholesale customers, but you cannot set those discounts at the pricing category level.

In both cases, depending on whether you have assigned wholesale privileges to a pricing category, ProductCart will use the retail or wholesale value. So if a customer is assigned to a pricing category that has wholesale privileges, the price differential on an option will be the wholesale one (if any). Similarly, if a customer has been assigned to a pricing category that does not have wholesale privileges, the quantity discounts used will be the retail ones.

Pricing Categories in the Storefront

Only store visitors that are logged into their account and that have been associated with a pricing category will see the corresponding prices in the storefront. Pricing categories have no affect on customers that do not have an account on the store (e.g. first-time visitors) or are not logged in.

The price for pricing category that a customer has been assigned to is shown immediately below the online price, as shown below. This is true not only on the product details page, but also in most other pages where prices are shown (e.g. search results, best sellers, new arrivals, etc.).

  • When a customer is logged in…
  • … and the customer account has been assigned to a pricing category
  • … then the customer will see the special price associated with that pricing category throughout the storefront.

Example of how a pricing category price is shown in the storefront

Specifically, on the product details page the pricing category price is shown right below the Online Price, as shown above.

When a customer is not logged in, but the customer belongs to a pricing category, prices are recalculated automatically during the checkout process, and the correct prices are shown on the order verification page (pc/orderVerify.asp). That is, a customer that belongs to a pricing category will receive the correct prices for his/her order even if the customer is not logged in at the time they start shopping on the store.

Resetting Prices within a Pricing Category

Pricing categories allow you to set prices product by product, even if you are using an Across The Board category. What if you need to change them back to their default value? Select Customers > Manage Pricing Categories > Reset Prices for a Pricing Category to do so. You can reset the prices that you have manually overwritten for any products in your database to the default price for those products within the selected pricing category.

For example: assuming you have a pricing category that sets prices to be 10% off the Online Price and you edited N products to have the price for that pricing category be higher or lower than 10% of the Online Price, this feature will allow you to quickly remove those edited prices. All products will go back to having a price that is 10% off the Online Price for that pricing category.

If you are running a store with the Build To Order version of ProductCart, you also have the option of resetting any prices that might have been overwritten within specific BTO product configurations. Check that check box to reset those prices. This option is not shown if you are using the standard version of ProductCart.

Technical Note: all records associated with the selected pricing category are removed from the pcCC_Pricing table (and pcCC_BTO_Pricing table if that option is selected on a Build To Order store).

Excluding or including products

Once you've created the pricing category, all products will follow that rule, unless you “override” the prices at the product level. To do so for multiple products at once, you can use the “Products > Global Changes” feature.

For example, assume you want only products within category XYZ to receive the discount defined by a certain Pricing Category, and not other products. Here is one way to accomplish this:

  • Create a new pricing category, for example “Premium Golf Shirts Distributors”
  • Set the discount to 0%
  • Use “Products > Global Changes” to change the “Premium Golf Shirts Distributors” price for products under the category “Golf Shirts” to whatever you would like (e.g. 20% of retail). The “Premium Golf Shirts Distributors” price for all the other products will remain equal to the retail (or wholesale) price. Only “Golf Shirts” will show a different prices to customers logged in within that pricing category.

Automatically assigning new customers to a Pricing Category

Experienced developers can change the way customers are added to the storefront by editing the file login.asp. Here is an article that describes how to assign a new customer to a special Pricing Category.


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