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Separate Pricing 4.2 – What it Solves, What it Does & How it Works

What it Solves

Separate Pricing was created to allow a website to have different pricing for the same products for different users. This is particularly useful for sites that need to retail & wholesale the same products or for sites that have customers that get different pricing depending on their past volume of purchases.

Because the stock osCommerce release doesn’t support this scenario the site owner can only have one pricing level on their entire site. This creates some problems for businesses that need to both wholesale & retail products because the site owner has to choose what pricing to display. For instance;

If he chooses wholesale pricing then everyone on the Internet can see the discounted rate – and that’s something that wholesale account purchasers don’t like. If a business’s wholesale customer knows that the whole world can see & get their pricing then they usually won’t do business with you ever.

If the site owner chooses to display retail pricing then a different problem occurs. If wholesale customers come to your site then they will be put off by your ‘high’ prices.

 

As a real-world example, suppose you are selling plumbing supplies.

The general public should see the regular retail rate and contractors that deal with you in volume should see a lower wholesale price. This is what Separate Pricing was created to do – display different prices for different people. 

 

What it Does

In addition, Separate Pricing allows you to do more then just show different pricing. Some of it’s many features include:

Multiple Pricing Groups. You can create groups such as Retail, Wholesale, Volume Purchase Agreement or whatever you like. Retail is required and is installed by default, but you can create as many groups as you desire with names of your choosing. After groups are created you can then specify pricing for existing or new products. Additionally, you can set group pricing for attributes (plus hide them for one or more groups).

Taxes on a Per Group Basis. You can edit a customer group and either enable or disable tax for that group. In addition, you can can choose whether or not to display the price with tax included – something that’s useful for European stores where law requires displayed prices to include tax plus (new in version 4.2) you can be specific which tax a customer group is exempt for. This is needed for example in Canada or when a tax (like VAT) is different for retail versus a company (say 20% for retail and 10% for a company). Then you can add both taxes to the product and edit the settings to make each group exempt for one of those taxes.

Define Specials for different groups. This means you can have the same products on sale for different groups – with different prices as you see fit.

Tax Number field. When a customer creates an account on your site they have the option of including a tax number. If they enter a tax number then an email is sent to the site’s administrator letting him know that the account needs to be approved. Once the site admin actually verifies that the customer is legitimate he can then move the customer to whichever group the customer belongs in. The default for all accounts is Retail and customers will only be able to see retail pricing until they have been approved. In addition to the email, the Customers section of the osC admin will show a red light next to any accounts that need to be approved for a wholesale account.

Payment & Shipping Modules. Existing Payment & Shipping modules can be enabled or disabled on a customer group basis or on an individual customer level. This is a very powerful feature. Let’s assume you have a customer that buys a lot of products from you. They may require credit terms and refuse any other courier then UPS. If that’s the case then you can simply edit that particular customer and only show a payment option of credit terms and also only show a courier option of UPS – regardless of how many payment or shipping modules you have installed. It should be noted that this contribution does not contain any payment or shipping modules – this feature works with whatever modules you have installed or the pre-existing ones that are enabled in the stock osC release.

Administrator Log-On. The site’s administrator account has the ability to log-in as a member of any group. This saves you from having to create several accounts for testing the customer groups.

Cosmetic/Appearance Functions. In the osC Admin you can sort customers by any field such as company name, last name, first name, customer group etc. In addition, the Customers section will show how many clients you have and what groups they belong to.
In the orders page the customer group will be shown (if you choose to add that to the page)

Send Newsletters or E-mail to certain Customer Groups only (optional install.)

 

How It Works

The first thing you will want to do after installation is to create customer groups. These groups are created by going into your site’s osC Admin and selecting the Customers link. After that you will see a link called Customers Groups. Click on that and you will see the default Retail Group. Select Insert to create a new group. At this point you can choose the name, whether to display the price with tax included, whether the group should be taxed and also define which Payment & Shipping methods will apply to that group. Create as many groups as are required for your business.

The next step will be to edit your existing products and enter the new pricing for each product. You do this in the conventional osC manner, by going into the osC Admin and clicking on Catalog and editing each product. Once you edit a product you will see a field for each customer group you created. Enter the discounted pricing you desire in each field.

After that you may want to define specials. This is done in the standard osC manner, by going into osC Admin, clicking on Catalog and then Specials. At this point you can create new specials by choosing the New Product button and then selecting the product from the drop-down list. You then define what group the special applies to, the price and also the date it should be in affect (if desired). To make the same special for another group just follow the same steps and choose a different group and price.

To test your newly entered prices just go to your website and log in as the defined Site Administrator. The Site Administrator is defined by entering their email address into the catalog\includes\languages\english\login.php file. If you do a search of that file for the word root you will find the specific area to enter the address. Once you go to log in you will be presented with a screen asking which group you want to log in under. From that point the site behaves exactly as if you were a member of that group.

From an operational perspective you can just move any of your existing customers into whatever groups you have defined. If a new user registers with a tax number then the Site Administrator will receive an email notifying them that the account needs to be approved. As well, a red light will be set next to that customer in the osC Admin’s customer list. You then enter the osC Admin, highlight the customer and then select Edit. You can then assign which group the customer belongs in (whether or not they have been approved for a wholesale account) and also turn off the red light notification next to their name. From that point on, when that customer logs into your site they will see the pricing for the group that you assigned them to (wholesale or what have you).

It should be noted that customers will not see updated pricing unless they log off and log back in or if their session expires.

Support

Support for this contribution can be found in the Separate Price Contribution Support Thread at the osCommerce website. Please note that support for this contribution is provided on a limited basis. It’s not the author(s) responsibility to ensure the contribution works with other’s that are installed nor to trouble shoot installation issues.

A great deal of testing time has been spent on the documentation to ensure that it is accurate and reliable so conflicts with other contributions should be the only potential issue that may arise. In that case, if courtesy support is not forthcoming, you might find it worthwhile to consult a dedicated PHP programmer.

While every effort has been made to ensure this contribution is as bug free as possible, as with all osCommerce contributions, they are installed at your own risk.



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