Tuesday, February 13, 2018

How catalogs, pricing and promotions are structured in Experience Commerce 9

When picking up Sitecore's Experience Commerce 9 for the first time, one area which can be tricky to conceptualize is the structure of pricing and promotions. This post aims to explain this structure and provide base knowledge for anyone new to Experience Commerce. To start off with, is my very rough diagram of pricing and promotions:

Experience Commerce 9 pricing structure

At a high level, the blue (larger) boxes are the key areas each of which have their own administration section. The smaller green boxes are children of the section above (for example a price book will contain price cards). It's also worth noting that, as the diagram flows down, there is a 1 to many relationship (this means that an inventory set can contain may catalogs, a catalog can have many price books and so on).

Experience Commerce Business Tools

Pricing and promotions for Sitecore Experience Commerce is administered on a separate web site from the main Sitecore administration area. This can be access via the Commerce Business Tools shortcut on the Sitecore dashboard:

Business Tools shortcut on the Sitecore dashboard
Which will lead to the Experience Commerce dashboard:

Experience Commerce Dashboard
This web site contains a lot of functionality, however for this post we will be focusing on the Merchandising, Inventory, Pricing and Promotions sections.

Inventory set

Inventory sets appear under the Inventory section inside the Experience Commerce Business Tools administration web site. An inventory set will contain the products ranged by a particular store. These products are all stored in one large bucket and are not categorized at this level.

A product is able to be transferred to another inventory set as well. 

Sitecore Experience Commerce Inventory Set

Catalog

Catalogs will appear under the Merchandising section inside the Experience Commerce Business Tools administration web site. A catalog will reference an inventory set and allows you to create categories which can then contain products. These products are either referenced from the same inventory set or created directly in the catalog (these ones will not be contained in the inventory set).

Sitecore Experience Commerce Catalog

Price Book

Price books appear under the Pricing section inside the Experience Commerce Business Tools administration web site. A price book is able to be associated with multiple catalogs and will contain many price cards. 

Products contain their list price (which is the RRP), these price books are more to control multi-buy pricing. What this means is that when the user buys x of a product the price is y. It allows discounting of price based on the number selected.

Experience Commerce Price Books

Price Cards and Snapshots
A price card contains a number of Snapshots which is date/time scheduling for the pricing (run through workflow as well). This is a level on top of the pricing which will allow merchandisers to setup pricing in advance for any campaigns, promotions, etc. Once you select a given snapshot, you get access to set the actual pricing.

This is done once for each currency, and then you are able to configure as many prices as required. The example below has two pricing examples for USD: Buy 1 for $600 and Buy 2 for $500 (each).

Experience Commerce Price Snapshot
A price card is assigned to a given product, so you would likely have one of these setup for each product (or group of products) which require volume based discounting. 

Promotion Book

Promotion Books appear under the Promotions section inside the Experience Commerce Business Tools administration web site. A promotion book much like a price book is able to be associated with multiple catalogs. Contained within the promotion book are promotion items.

Experience Commerce Promotions

Promotions
Each promotion has Qualifications which is rules based for when the promotion will apply (for example the cart value is above a certain amount). They also have Benefits which is rules based outcomes for the promotion (such as discount the cart total by 10%).

Promotions can automatically apply themselves once the qualification is met, or a coupon may need to be entered. If a user enters the coupon for a given promotion and they meet the qualification, then the benefit will be added.

Promotions in Experience Commerce is a huge area with countless different configurations that lead to many outcomes. For the purposes of this post I have kept the details light, however be aware there is a lot of power in this section.

Pricing in action

With the Storefront example site which comes with Sitecore Experience Commerce 9, the pricing will work as follows:
  • A inventory set contains all the products
  • A catalog contains a number of categories which reference the products in the inventory set. This is what is displayed to the front-end.
  • There is a price book which contains some volume based price cards. On the product detail page the list price will always display, however it's inside the cart where the price card pricing is shown. Custom business logic would be needed to display price book information on the product detail page for examples.
  • The promotions in the promotion book are applied as the various qualifications are met.

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