How to Manage Customer Groups in BigCommerce

How to Manage Customer Groups on BigCommerce

Customer groups, as the name implies, organizes your entire customer base into isolated groups.  This can be quite useful if you wish to create exclusive discounts, reward loyal repeat shoppers, direct customers towards certain products, and to restrict or allow access to specific areas of the website.  With BigCommerce’s customer groups feature, you can segment regular retail consumers from wholesalers, set up tax-exempt status, and create cart-level discounts that target a fixed group.  You can’t get that with Shopify.

In the retail world, there are two major types of customers: the standard retail consumer and the wholesaler, or business-to-business (B2B) customer.  Standard retail consumers are your average, everyday shoppers.  They’re a large population but as individuals, each shopper has his/her own unique habits as well as likes and dislikes.  In the end, retail consumers tend to purchase out of desire as opposed to necessity.  Wholesalers and B2B customers are a different kind of animal.  They tend to purchase out of necessity and are much more stringent with their practices and requirements.  Wholesalers regularly purchase in bulk quantities but at a lowered unit price.  The reason for this is because wholesalers depend on your business to provide them with goods that they can turn over for resale.  The providing store owner may feel inclined to offer these B2B customers a deal on bulk quantity purchases as to ensure consistent, continuous sales and a long-lasting business relationship.  This is quite common in retail.  Unless a company is fully self-sufficient and is able to sustain itself without involvement from outside suppliers, most, if not, all retail companies have some sort of symbiosis with another business (or multiple businesses).

In this article, we’re going to further explore the reasons as to why you might choose to set up customer groups in your marketplace.  Then, we will provide a step-by-step “how to” on the process.

THE BENEFITS

Segregated customer groups allow you to effectively and efficiently provide for your customers according to their respective needs.  Customer groups allow you to:

  • Identify the most-profitable and least-profitable customers.
  • Apply assigned discounts to select groups, such as B2B customers and regular repeat standard retail customers.
  • Fine tune your marketing efforts towards customers with the highest probability of response.
  • Improve customer service.
  • Stay on top of the latest shopping and purchasing trends.
  • Gain an advantage over your competitors in select segments of the market.
  • Manage customers by location, behavior, lifestyle, etc.
  • Discover new niche markets.

These are just a sampling of the essential benefits that BigCommerce’s customer groups feature has to offer.  By knowing your customer, you know how to best serve them.  Thus, you build better business.  Marketing 101.  Your B2B customers are just as important as your standard retail customers, although their situations are much different.  Typically, B2B customers are long-term shoppers who will routinely frequent your store if the product and the price is right.  Incentivize them and prevent these customers from taking their business elsewhere by offering exclusive discounts.  We’ll show you how to incorporate customer grouping and discounts into your ecommerce web store so that you, the business owner, can cater to all of your various types of customers.

HOW TO SET UP CUSTOMER GROUPS

How to Set Up Customer Groups

  1. Go to Customers > Customer Groups and click Create a Customer Group.
  2. Enter a group name in the Group Name field.  For identification purposes only; customers will not see this.
  3. Configure the Group Access settings.
    • Customer in this group can see products in all categories – Restricts group’s category access.  Uncheck this box to choose which categories can and cannot be accessed.
    • All new customers should be added to this group – When this box is checked, all new customer accounts will be automatically assigned to this group.
  4. SAVE YOUR CHANGES.

NOTE: Selecting the parent category does not select the child categories.  You must click the + symbol to the left of the parent category in order to select its child categories.

CUSTOMER GROUP DISCOUNTS

You can enable reduced pricing for specific customers and apply it to an entire category, specific merchandise, or the entire web store.  Keep in mind that coupon codes cannot be restricted based on a customer group.  If a customer in a group which has a discount applied to it also has a coupon code, the customer is able to use both the coupon code and the group discount for an even larger discount.

CATEGORY LEVEL DISCOUNTS

Category Level Discounts

  1. In the Category Level Discounts section, click Create one now.
  2. Click this category ().
  3. Select a category in the Control Panel pop-up menu and click Select.
  4. Enter your discount amount in the field marked group members receive a $.  No negative numbers.
  5. Choose Price Discount, Percentage Discount, or Fixed Price discount from the dropdown menu.
    • Price Discount – All products in the category are discounted by the specified dollar amount.
    • Percentage Discount – All products in the category are discounted by the specified percentage off.
    • Fixed Price – All products in the category are set to a single fixed price specified by a dollar amount.
  6. Select if your discount should apply to products in this category only or products in this category and its subcategories.

Click the + or buttons at the right of each discount to add or remove category level discounts.

PRODUCT LEVEL DISCOUNTS
  1. In the Product Level Discounts section, click Create one now.
  2. Click this product ().
  3. In the Control Panel pop-up menu, search for a product by selecting its category from the Search by Category list or by typing its name in the Search by Product Name field.
  4. Click Select to select your product.
  5. Enter your discount amount in the field marked group members receive a $.  No negative numbers.
  6. Choose Price Discount, Percentage Discount, or Fixed Price discount from the dropdown menu.
    • Price Discount – All products in the category are discounted by the specified dollar amount.
    • Percentage Discount – All products in the category are discounted by the specified percentage off.
    • Fixed Price – All products in the category are set to a single fixed price specified by a dollar amount.

Click the + or buttons at the right of each discount to add or remove category level discounts.

STOREWIDE DISCOUNTS
  1. In the Storewide Discounts section, enter your discount amount in the Group Discount field.
  2. Choose Price Discount, Percentage Discount, or Fixed Price discount from the dropdown menu.
    • Price Discount – All products in the category are discounted by the specified dollar amount.
    • Percentage Discount – All products in the category are discounted by the specified percentage off.
    • Fixed Price – All products in the category are set to a single fixed price specified by a dollar amount.

SET UP A CUSTOMER GROUP FOR GUESTS

How to Assign Customers to Groups

A guest is anyone browsing your website who is not logged in to an account.  Once you’ve created your customer groups, be sure to set up another customer group for guests.

  1. Go to Customers > Customer Groups.
  2. Select a group from the Customer Group for Guests dropdown menu.
HOW TO ASSIGN CUSTOMERS TO GROUPS
  1. Go to Customers > View Customers.
  2. Select a group from the Group dropdown menu.  Your changes will be automatically saved.

TIP: Customer groups can also be assigned by way of a CSV import.  This can help streamline the process if you are updating customers in heavy bulk.

DELETE A CUSTOMER GROUP
  1. Go to Customers > Customer Groups.
  2. Check the box next to the customer group (or groups) you want to delete.
  3. Click the trash can icon.
  4. Click OK to confirm.

TIP: An order export can be helpful for determining the percentage of orders originating from a particular group.

Congratulations!  You now know how to use BigCommerce’s customer groups feature.

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