Tutorial: Magento catalog price rules and promotions

Magento's built-in shopping cart rules feature is a powerful tool that enables you to increase sales through targeted promotions. Whether it's free shipping, 10% off branded goods or buy one get one free, it enables you to offer promotions and discounts that incentivise customers to buy.

Working with Magento's attributes, promotional rules are extremely flexible and can be applied to a variety of scenerios in order to captivate loyal customers and increase average order value online. So how do they work I hear you ask? Magento has two tools that enable you to manage and create promotions and discounts on your website; catalog price rules and shopping cart price rules.

As the names suggest, catalog price rules are applied directly to the catalog. This enables you to give fixed price and percentage discounts based on attributes such as brand, category and product price. This feature is ideal for global promotions that you want visibly displayed in your catalog.

Shopping cart price rules are discounts applied at the checkout stage. These can be created with no coupon, a specific coupon or using auto generation and then tailored to offer fixed and percentage discounts on basket combinations.

Catalog price rule

Creating a new rule can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. The complexity of set-up depends on the details of your promotion; approach your promotion logically and you shouldn't have any issues.

new magento catalog price rule

The first step is naming your 'rule', specifying who it is available to and when it will be active.

magento catalog price rule information
  • 'Rule Name' – The name for the rule that you are creating i.e. 10% off
  • 'Description' - What will the rule do?
  • 'Status' – Choose whether you want to make the rule active (on) or inactive for the time being (off).
  • 'Customer Groups' – If you have a collection of customers that have been categorised into groups, choose here whether you want those customers to receive this discount or simply apply it to anyone. 'NOT LOGGED IN' customers and 'General' customers will make the discount available to everyone.
  • 'From date' – When will the promotion start?
  • 'To date'- When will the promotion finish?
  • 'Priority' - Priority is given from 0 up. If you have other rules already in place and you'd like this rule to be applied first, set it to 0.

Once you have entered the information, select 'Conditions' from the left hand side menu.

You'll now need to specify the criteria of your promotion. For example, if you want it to be applied to all products or a specific brand. Condition logic is 'and' / 'or' / 'if'.

Start by select the '+' icon in the left hand pane under 'If all these conditions are true:'

magento catalog price rule conditions

In our example promotion, our rule will be applied to the 'Canon' and 'Brother' categories. To do this you need to select 'Category'. Always start with the conditions that must be true to avoid confusion if/when further conditions are added.

You can also add multiple conditions by selecting the '+' icon to add further ones. If you aren't happy with what has been chosen, simply select the 'x' icon to remove.

Once done, select 'Actions' from the left hand side menu.

What is the rule removing from the original price? Is there a percentage deduction or a fixed deduction? Do any of your products have sub-products that also need discounting? In our example we've simply opted for a 10% discount from the original price.

magento catalog price rules actions
  • 'Apply' – Choose either by percentage, by fixed amount, to percentage of original price, or to fixed amount.
  • 'Discount Amount' – The percentage amount or fixed price.
  • 'Enable Discount to Subproducts' – Should this be added to subproducts within the main product? For example if you have any extra options on a product that cost more.
  • 'Stop Further Rules Processing' – Do you want a customer to be able to apply more than one discount? Simply choose yes or no.

Once you are happy with the choices that you have made, select the 'Save and Apply' button option from the upper right menu section.

NB: Rules will only work if they have been applied.

Shopping cart price rules

Similar to catalog price rules, the new rule can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be. Shopping cart rules are not visible in the product catalog and can only be applied in the basket.

new magento shopping cart price rule

Rules can use singular or multiple conditions, making it straight forward for simple cart deductions or more complicated ones.

magento shopping cart price rule information
  • 'Rule Name' – Give your rule a name that is easily identifiable e.g. free shipping
  • 'Description' - What will the rule do?
  • 'Status' – Choose whether you want to make the rule active (on) or inactive for the time being (off).
  • 'Customer Groups' - Again, if you have a collection of customers that have been categorised into groups, choose here whether you want those customers to receive this discount or simply apply it to anyone. Usually you'd expect this choice to be 'NOT LOGGED IN' customers and 'General' customers.
  • 'Coupon' – Is a coupon / discount code needed? If so, you can state what that needs to be or generate them according to your requirements.
  • 'From date' – When will the rule start?
  • 'To date' – When will the rule finish?
  • 'Priority' - If you have other rules already in place and you'd like this rule to be the best promotion offered, set to to 0. However, if you don't have any other rules, you don't need to complete this section.
  • 'Public in RSS Feed' – Is the rule open for RSS feed followers to see? If so, set this to yes, wise choose no.

Once you are happy with the information, select 'Conditions' from the left hand side menu.

'Conditions' define in which case your promotion will be applied e.g. If a customer spends more than a specific amount. Choose the '+' to start adding in your promotion criteria. Multiple conditions can be applied where necessary.

In our example, we're targeting basket total. We want our rule to apply to any order that is greater than £125 (our store currency) and therefore taken advantage of the option to specify that it must be 'equals or greater than'.  

magento shopping cart price rule conditions

Once you are happy with your choices, select 'Actions' from the left hand side menu.

 'Actions' determine what benefits a customer will get if he fulfils the promo conditions e.g. get 5% off consumables. It is here that you specify what you want to happen when your rule is applied.

magento shopping cart price rule actions
  • 'Apply' – If applicable, choose either by percentage, by fixed amount, to percentage of original price, or to fixed amount. For our shipping promotion, none of these are needed.
  • 'Discount Amount' – If applicable, the percentage amount or fixed price.
  • 'Maximum Qty Discount is Applied To' – If applicable, do you need to cap the discount? 'Discount Qty Step (Buy X)' – Is your rule based on buying multiple quantities? If so, you can specify this.
  • 'Apply to Shipping Amount' – If applicable, do you want to discount shipping
  • 'Free Shipping' – Will free shipping be given when the rule is met? In our example, we do want this for matching items only.
  • 'Stop Further Rules Processing' – Are you allowing any other promotions to also be applied? Simply choose yes or no.

Once you are happy with how your promotion is going to be applied, select 'Labels' from the left hand side menu.

Enter a label for the rule. This will appear in the checkout when your promotional rule has been applied. If you have multiple stores set up in one Magento instance, you can give the rule a specific label per store view if required. Use 'Default Store View' if you don't need to be this specific.

magento shopping cart price rule labels

To save the rule, choose the 'Save' button option from the upper right hand side menu.

This process should now confirm that your rule has been saved. Make sure to test your rule in the checkout to ensure it is behaving how you expected.

For more information on Magento promotions don't forget to visit magento.com where you'll find details on setting up specific promotions in your admin. 

What's next?

We want to help as many Magento store owners as possible make the most of 2016 by making the best decisions for their business. 

If your looking to make the move to Magento or simply need help maximising the potential of your ecommerce store, why not give us a call

Catherine Durham

Catherine Durham

Digital Marketing Manager (Dip DigM)

Digital Marketing Manager at Netmatter, Catherine Durham graduated in Press & Editorial Photography. She has since gone on to work in digital marketing and ecommerce, with experience in SEO, copywriting, design and photography.

Comments and feedback

Have something to add? Join the discussion and let us know your thoughts via the comments.