Demystifying E-Commerce: How to Create Discounts by Customer Segment

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This series by Mohannad Ghashim of is part of our Demystifying E-Commerce series. It will explore various technical issues involved in starting up and running an e-commerce site.

To learn more about E-Commerce firsthand, come to our CoE E-Commerce event this June 2nd & 3rd in Amman, Jordan. Learn more and register on the CoE E-Commerce website.  

One of the most important requirements of e-stores, especially those specialized in the distribution sector, is the ability to divide customers into different types, in order to grant different discounts to different segments.

In this article, we will demonstrate how easy it is to perform this division, and how your store can benefit from this feature. That way, all distributors are updated on the latest prices without the need to call or fax them. Also, they will be able to send orders directly through the e-store with the discount (provided through the store platform) already taken into consideration.

The following steps will walk you through this process smoothly on the Magento platform:

After logging in to the Dashboard, go to Promotions > Shopping Cart Price Rule.

We will "create a new rule" in order to offer a discount that can be applied to any given segment customer. You can create as many rules as you like for as many different discounts as you want to offer your customers.

To create the new rule, add the customer type and the level of discount. It helps to create a descriptive title, that explains the nature of the discount, so that anyone working on the platform can easily understand which discount to apply. For instance, if you have 12 to 20 rules, and all are described merely as "discount," no one looking to apply the right discount will know which to apply. But if you name them accordingly, such as "wholesale discount," "new customer discount," "quantity discount" (say, for ordering 10 pieces and above) or "amount discount," (say, if a customer exceeds a given amount of purchases a month), then it will be simple for employees to understand which discount to apply to which customer segment.  

In the next step, you can specify the actual amount of the discount. For example, you might place a “customer group discount” at 20%. There is flexibility here when it comes to specifying the merchandise involved. For instance, if you are a store that sells electronics and furniture, you can specify different discounts for different merchandise groups even if both are allocated to the same customer segment. Just to be clear, in this part of the interface, you are leaving a description for other employees. 

Now, in the "action" section, you have to specify the amounts of the discounts, by merchandise and by customer segment, for the software.

This step involves specifying the discount by the merchandise type, which makes it simpler to offer discounts on specific item types rather than your whole store at once. In this example, we selected "Laptops."

Now, after we've added this rule, head to your frontend interface and test it as a customer, to see how the rule shows up in the shopping cart. For example, when we add a laptop to the shopping cart, it shows up with a 50% discount.

You can test for multiple discounts by creating multiple dummy accounts under different customer segments. If the discount applies to a specific customer segment, it should appear with the product in the shopping cart when you add items.

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