Magento E-commerce Promotion Creation Series Part 1: Catalog Price Rules

Promotions can be a great way to attract new customers, turn over old stock, and either entice customers to make a larger purchase or give a gentle push to those who are sitting on the fence. The Magento E-commerce platform provides two ways of creating these promotions: through Catalog Price Rules and Shopping Cart Price Rules. These two methods can be found under the Promotions tab on the Magento administrative back-end. These are called rules because they follow a very logical if-this-then-that format, which makes them extremely versatile while logically easy to understand. In the first part of the series we are going to look at Catalog Price Rules.

Catalog Price Rules are promotions that are applied to a product prior to the customer adding it to their shopping cart. These types of promotions are good for targeting specific customer groups and setting promotions on a storewide basis. Think of them as ways to affect the price of an item, such as a category wide sale of 10% or all red items at 40% off.

Once you have selected the Promotions > Catalog Price Rules menu option, you will be presented with a grid of existing promotions. This is where you can edit/remove previously created promotions. For the purpose of this overview, we will assume you have no existing promotions and are here to create a new one.

Select Add New Rule in the upper right hand corner.

You should now see Catalog Price Rule in the upper left corner with three tabs below labeled Rule Information, Conditions, and Actions. These tabs are used to navigate through the rule setup. So let’s have a quick overview of these tabs and then we’ll get to the nuts and bolts of what makes this system so powerful.

Rule Information

This tab is where you set the basic information for your new promotion by giving it a name and saying if it is active or not and who it applies to. Now let’s go through the options in detail.

 

Catalog Price Rules Information Rules Tab
Promotions > Catalog Price Rules > Information Rules Tab 

Rule Name
The Rule Name provides a name to easily identify the promotion from the management grid for future editing.

Rule Description
You should provide yourself a note for the future to easily determine what a rule does. Many people ignore this field but here is my word of warning: As your business grows, or as time passes, this field will ensure you know exactly what the promotional rule does in an instant without having to dissect the logic.

Status
Is the promotional rule active or not? If the promotional rule is active, it will affect prices throughout the catalog. If it is not active, there will be no affect on prices.

Customer Groups
Here, you will select which customer groups will be affected by this pricing promotion. Remember, Magento differentiates between customers who are not logged in, whether or not they have an existing customer account.

From Date
The From Date is the date from which the promotion will be active. The promotion will not appear prior to this date.

To Date
The date of which the promotion will cease to exist. It is important to note that the promotion will be active until 11:59pm server time on the date set. So if June 16th is the promotion To Date, it will run until 11:59pm on June 16th.

Priority
The priority is the order in which rules are processed. It is inputted in the form of a number, 0 being processed first. The values are arbitrary, with lower numbers being processed prior to higher numbers. A rule of priority 7 will be processed before a rule with priority 11. This is an important option to understand because it can affect the amount of the discount.

Because of the importance of this concept, the following is an example to highlight how this could affect the end price of your promotion: You regularly sell red shoes at a price of $100. Now, for a great summer promotion, you create two rules: “20% off all shoes” and “$10 off all red items”.

 

If you prioritize them as follows:
20% off all shoes – priority 1
$10 off all red shoes – priority 2
Following the order of priority:
20% from $100 = $80
$80 – $10 = $70
There will be a total discount of $30

 

However, if you prioritize them as follows:
20% off all shoes – priority 2
$10 off all red shoes – priority 1
Following the order of priority:
$100 – $10 = $90
20% off of $90 = $72
There will be a total discount of $28

 

Conditions

These are factors that must be met by the product prior to the promotion being applied. If you wanted the promotion to apply to all products within the store, leave the Conditions field blank.

E-commerce Magento, Catalog price rules conditions

Now let’s take a look at how conditions affect the generation of a promotion.

Starting from a blank Conditions field, you will see:
“If ALL of these conditions are TRUE” is the basic conditions combination. You can click on ALL and change it to ANY, and on TRUE and change it to FALSE.

What this means is, additional conditions you set within the combination will only affect products that meet those original conditions. Confused yet? Let’s break it down with an example of shoes and sandals. You add conditions by clicking on the green + icon inside the conditions fields. You can remove conditions by clicking the red x to the right of them.

 

If ALL of these conditions are TRUE:
Product is in the footwear category

Because both shoes and sandals are something worn on the feet and are in the footwear category the promotion would be applied to both products. We can take this logic a little further…

 

If ALL of these conditions are TRUE:
Product is in the footwear category
Product attribute set is shoes

The promotion would only be applied to the shoes because ALL conditions must be TRUE.

 

If ANY of these conditions are TRUE:
Product is in the footwear category
Product attribute set is shoes

Now both the shoes and the sandals would have the promotion applied to them because the sandals match the footwear category and the shoes match both the footwear category and the shoes category. It is checking if ANY of the conditions are true.

 

If ANY of these conditions are FALSE:
Product attribute set is shoes

This would apply the promotion to the sandals only, because the sandals are not in the shoes category. They are only in the footwear category, making it a false return. Now that we have a handle on how the conditions combination works, let’s take a look at the other conditional options we can add to trigger a promotion.

 

Attribute Set
This will create a condition based around the attribute set within which the product was created. The options are IS or IS NOT, along with a selection of an attribute set used within your store. Let’s look at an example where the store sells shoes, pants, and shirts, and has separate attribute sets for their creation.

To apply a promotion based on products made with the shirts attribute set use:

If ALL of these conditions are TRUE:
Attribute Set is Shirts 

 

If, however, you want to create a promotion that affects every product except for shirts, you could use:

If ALL of these conditions are TRUE:
Attribute Set is not Shirts

 

Remember, these are logical operators and as such, there are multiple ways to set up the same promotion through different logical steps. The previous example could have been created by altering the conditions combination with the same result as follows:

If ALL of these conditions are FALSE:
Attribute Set is Shirts

 

Category
The Category conditional operator works the same as the Attribute Set’s conditions, except for an increased amount of conditionals. They are as follows:

 

Category is category_id
Product exists in the specified category

Category is not category_id
Product does not exist in the specified category

Category contains category_id
Product exists in a category which holds a category matching the specific id

Category does not contain category_id
Product does not exist in a category which holds a category matching the specific id

Category is one of category_id
Product exists in one of these specific categories

Category is not one of category_id
Product does not exists in one of these specific categories

 

Actions

So by now you know how to apply a promotion to selected items. But how the heck do you specify the promotional price? This is all handled in the Actions section of the price rules.

Catalog price rules actions for Magento E-commerce

Apply
How do you want the discount to be applied? In the Catalog Price Rules there are four options. The key to focus on here is the By and To in the beginning of each Apply option based on the value placed in the discount amount field.

By Percentage of the Original Price
This takes the original price of the item and removes the percentage from the price. If the discount is 10% off of the original price, and it’s a $100 item, the promotional price would be $90.

By Fixed Amount
This removes the discount amount from the original price. If the discount is $10 off of the original, the promotional price on a $100 item would be $90.

To Percentage of the Original Price
This option sets the price to a percentage of the Original Price. So if the discount is 10% of the original price, on a $100 item, the promotional price would be $10.

To Fixed Amount
The To Fixed Amount option sets the promotional price to the amount set within the discount amount field.

 

It is important to note that the term “original price” is a little of a misnomer. It is, in fact, the price of the item at the time the rule is run. If other rules have run prior they will have adjusted the “original price”. An example of this is if we have two rules which both provide 10% off the original price on a product priced at $100, the first rule runs and reduces the price to $90, the second rule then runs and reduces the price to $81. This is 10% of the original price the product was at when the rule started and not 10% of the product’s price prior to any rules being run.

Discount Amount
This is a numeric value, which can either be a percentage or a dollar value based on what the Apply option is set as.

Enabled Discount to Sub-products
If set to No it means that any products associated with a bundled or grouped product will not receive the discount. If set to Yes these bundled and grouped products will be included in the promotional calculation.

Stop Further Rules Processing
This is a yes or no setting. If set to No, Magento will continue to process additional price rules after the current price rule is applied to an item. However, if after running the current catalog price rule you want Magento to ignore this product for further discounts, set this value to Yes.

After having set up your Catalog Price Rule, you can either save the rule, or save and apply the rule. Until a rule is applied it will not show up in calculations on the website. You can apply all rules at once by clicking the Apply Rules option on the Catalog Price Rules grid, located at Promotions>Catalog Price Rules.

 

 

Hans-Eirik Hanifl

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Hans-Eirik Hanifl is a forward thinking e-commerce and marketing consultant. As an advocate for the free exchange of knowledge, he founded E-Commerce Gorilla as a place where like-minded individuals can ask questions and share their expertise on practical solutions in the area of e-commerce and marketing. He is the owner of TRM Marketing and an avid supporter of the open source community.

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