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Shopware’s Rule Builder and its Importance to Delivering Best Practice eCommerce

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One of the key features of the new Shopware 6 platform is its Rule Builder functionality. This allows business logic to be defined and actioned within any site. This ensures that the platform is optimally positioned to adapt quickly and seamlessly to new business models and challenges.

In this article we will show you some of the use-cases that you can use now. We will also look at some of the additional areas that the Rule Builder will be able to support in future and examine why this functionality is of such use to extension builders and developers.

Why is it innovative?

All ecommerce platforms have the ability to offer price promotions and discounts to their customers – this is an essential part of the business of ecommerce and ensures that retailers can shift old stock (in the form of Clearance Sales) and offer tactical discounts on certain products to drive conversion and enhance Average Order Value. Shopware’s Rule Builder can do all this, as you would expect, but it goes much further:

  • Separates the ‘Definition’ from the ‘Action’

→ Rules can be applied in lots of different areas without duplication

→ Performance – separation of rule from the promotion itself ensures that they can be calculated and applied efficiently rather than having that awful pause as items are added to basket or checkout is initiated 

  • Goes much further than just product rules/promotions

→ Shipping and payment methods can be applied or restricted based on rules

→ Content - we are developing this so that specific content can be displayed or hidden based on rules

→ Individualised prices/pricelistse.g. specific pricing for customer groups or individual customers can be defined 

→ Cross selling - this functionality is also driven by the Rule Builder so that cross/up/related selling slots can be rule based too

→ Coupon codes, both general and individual 

  • Framework for further extension.The Rule Builder provides development hooks for further extension into whatever merchants require to make their stores unique and compelling. This is, of course, one of the great advantages of open source software that our merchants can benefit not only from Shopware’s vision, but also from the wide developer ecosystem, who have been working together for over a decade to deliver innovation and creativity.

What can you do with Rule Builder? 

For Merchants

As already indicated, the Rule Builder enables retailers and wholesalers to offer an amazing variety of price promotions and cross-selling opportunities. But the Rule Builder can do even more. You can easily create the following promotions with the Rule Builder:

  • Free or discounted Delivery - for instance for baskets of over a certain value
  • Sale of products based on any product property/attribute
  • Discount on the basis of a general or individual coupon/voucher code
  • Multiple discounts in one promotion (e. g. 10% off on one product and 15% on another)
  • VIP / Wholesale / Member - discount and promotions available for specific customer groups
  • Bundles & 3 for 2 price rules - get a bundle of products at a specific price, with one free item or with a specific discount  
  • “Meal Deal” Bundles - Rules that mix different product types for a configurable discount
  • BtoB specific customer pricing or specific pricing for customer group 
  • Discounts for First-Time customers

Our partner dasistweb explains lots of these promotions here. You will learn how to get the most out of Shopware 6 promotions following practical examples and will get an overview of the various possibilities for creating promotions.

However, there are also a number of much more complex scenarios that can be easily implemented with the Rule Builder, such as:

  • Wide range of criteria available– for instance time, days of the week, days since last order, locations, tags – and it’s extendable so any criteria can be added 
  • Shipping method application. You can use Rule Builder to either apply a specific shipping method on the basis of a rule, or to discount a particular shipping method
  • Segmentation. The ability to create dynamic customer segments (as opposed to fixed customer groups) is usually an Enterprise (and therefore costly) feature on most platforms, but the Shopware Rule Builder allows Segmentation functionality as a standard open source feature. So, with the Shopware Rule-builder you can create a dynamic VIP segment (e.g. customers that have made more than one order in the last month with a total spend of over £500) and attach promotions and actions to this segment.

For Agencies & developers

One of the core reasons why the Rule Builder is such a powerful feature is not just what it does now, but what it can be used for delivering in future. One of the great strengths of Shopware is its huge open source developer community, and the Rule Builder gives the community a framework to develop any number of applications and extensions to ensure that Shopware 6 remains at the forefront of eCommerce innovation.

So, if there is an essential piece of logic or functionality required then the Rule Builder can provide the basis for building that logic and delivering that functionality in a performant, updatable and compliant manner – something that always pays dividends over time!  Some of the ideas we are working on at present include: 

  • Session based rules – the ability to create rules that depend on live browsing information (e.g. IP address) and create resulting actions (e.g. specific content for specific locations) 
  • Rules to apply to the order management interface and order processing to improve store automation

What do other platforms offer?

So, we think Rule Builder offer merchants real control and flexibility. But how does this compare with other ecommerce solutions?

Magento

The Magento promotions engine offers similar functionality to the Rule Builder, but Segmentation functionality is only available as part of the Commerce (Enterprise) edition – which comes at significant cost. The big problem with Magento promotions is that they can seriously affect performance once you have a few running (and let’s face it most merchants can have loads running simultaneously). The way Rule Builder is architected specifically to minimise the load that these promotions and rules produce, and therefore ensure scalability. 

Shopify

Out of the box Shopify offer basic capability to offer blanket discounts (Specified amounts) but only one at a time (which can be limiting). There are extensions, but these can be expensive – and these can add the ability to discount based on product attributes (e.g. Discount all Red items). This really only represents the very basic level of what a sophisticated retailer requires from promotions, and as it is a ‘Software as a Service’ platform it is not easy to extend. 

Big Commerce

Has the ability to create discounts based on category, brand, order amounts, order frequency and coupon codes, as well as product specific promotions. However, these are all specific and pre-defined and does not offer the level of control over criteria and discount action that a Rule-Builder type solution does. It does have a neat “Auto add to basket” feature though.

Setting Up Discounts and Promotions

How to find the Rule Builder

The rule definition application is located in the settings area of the Shopware 6 Administration interface:

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There are currently two scopes of rule defined - Shipping Payment & Price. You can find detailed information on setting up Rules here. These instructions include details of all the conditions that can be used to help define the relevant logic. 

For further information and a practical starter tutorial, check out the webinar with dasistweb.

 

Conclusion

While all major ecommerce platforms offer a range of great promotional tools, Shopware is a good distance in front in terms of functionality and flexibility. However, the Shopware Rule Builder is still only in its infancy but already has the potential to revolutionise how ecommerce businesses deliver value to customers and automate internal processes for their staff. 

In these times of upheaval and uncertainty, it is Open Source platforms that offer a culture of constant innovation and have the flexibility and the diverse community to deliver real and relevant solutions.

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