So how can you benefit from using memberships? Memberships are commonly used for:

  • deviding customers in groups (wholesale, retail, etc.) as described in User membership levels
  • granting a group of customers with a tax-exempt status
  • creating discounts for certain memberships

You can also provide special payment options for certain groups of customers or even sell memberships to the customers for gaining access to better prices. Hence you can not only promote sales with memberships but also earn on them.

Let’s review each option in detail.

Memberships for Products and Categories

In Setting up wholesale prices and minimum purchase quantites for different membership levels you’ve learned how to give special prices to the customers who buy bulk items. Setting memberships on a certain product, groups of products or even categories works a bit different. Using this function you can grant access to the items to the particular members of your site only and hide such items from the rest of the customers. The hidden products and categories are still indexed by Google, so this won’t affect the ranks.

To hide a category and grant access to it to the certain store members only you should go the the ‘Catalog: Categories’ section in the cart admin area, choose and open the category you need, and set the required membership(s) in the ‘Memberships’ field (Figure 1). Please don’t forget to press the ‘Update’ button to save the changes.

Hold Shift if you want to choose more than one membership at a time

Figure 1

Once completed you should also do the same to the products from this category. For this purpose please open the ‘Catalog: Products’ section in the admin area, choose the category you worked with previously in the ‘Any Category’ drop-down and click Search. (Figire 2)

Figure 2

The cart will show you a full list of all products from the chosen caterory as a result. You should scroll the page down, press the ‘Bulk Edit’ drop-down and choose the ‘Price and Membership’ option (Figure 3)

Figure 3

You’ll be redirected to a new page to edit product options in bulk. Choose the ‘Membersips’ option and click to specify the membership(s) you need. Press Save Changes. (Figure 4)

Figure 4

Doing this we closed a category and all products in it from the unregistered viewers and allowed the registered customers with a particular membership, e.g. Wholesaler, see the category and buy products from it.

If a non-member tries to open a membership category page using a direct category link the cart will show a page not found error. If the same with a direct product link, the cart will show the access denied error with a possibiity to contact the store admin and ask for membership. (Figure 5)

Figure 5

The contact the administrator link in the error will redirect a visitor to the ‘Contact Us’ page ( where s/he can ask for a membership. A cart admin can give membership to a registered customer only (Access Level - Customer), but not to an anonimous visitor. So to become a member a customer should register an account with your store first.

Memberships and Taxes

Using memberships you can boost sales by offering low tax rates or even tax-free orders for your VIP customers and attact them with lower expences this way.

To set special taxes for memberships go to the ‘Store SetUp: Taxes’ section of your cart admin area, make sure the ‘Use the same tax rates for all user membership levels’ option is disabled, create a new tax rate or edit an existing one pointing the required membership (Figure 6). Don’t forget to Save Changes when done.

Fig 6

The detailed description of the tax configuration process you can find in Setting up sales tax.

Membership Discounts

This is a feature in-demand in deed. Using memberships you can vary a discount level between different groups of customers, provide coupons of limited edition valid only for a particular membership, extend membership sales with special offers.

Membership discounts can be set up in the ‘Discounts: Volume Discounts’ section of the admin back-end as described in Configuring volume discounts and coupons in X-Cart 5. The process is rather straightforward - press the ‘Add discount’ button, define a subtotal the discount will be applied to in the ‘$’ marked field, define the discount value in % or $ and choose the appropriate membership (Figure 7). You can repeat the process as many times as you need and then press Save Changes

To allow customers use several types of discount at a time use % to set the value

Figure 7

Membership coupons can be defined in the ‘Discounts: Coupons’ section of the admin back-end as described in Setting up discount coupons. When creating a membership discount the main point is to set the applicable membership(s) in the ‘Membership’ area (Figure 8) and save the changes. You can edit the coupon later on by clicking the coupon name and enable/disable it using the On/Off button.

Fig 8

If a non-member uses a membership coupon at checkout a cart will display an error “Sorry, the coupon you entered is not valid for your membership level. Contact the administrator”

Special Offers for memberships can be set up using the Special Offers: Buy X Get Y and Special Offers: Spend X Get Y modules. Using these modules you’ll be able to grant your membership users and not only them with such offers like:

  • buy N items from specified categories to get a discount on M of them (the cheapest ones);
  • spend a particular amount in specified categories to get a discount on M of the items bought from these categories (the cheapest ones).

Set the discount to 100%, and customers will get the items for free.

To configure the offers you’ll need to have the modules installed first as described in How to Install Modules in X-Cart 5. Once installed the features will become available in the ‘Discounts: Special Offers’ section of your admin back-end (Figure 9).

Fig 9

Choose the offer you’ll set up first and press Create. You’ll see a form that you’ll need to feel in to create an offer that will meet the conditions you specify, e.g. dates, rewards, exclusions, etc. As for memberships you’ll need to specify them in the ‘Conditions’ section in the ‘Eligible membership levels’ field (Figure 10).

Fig 10

For detailed guidance on the offers set-up please refer to Special Offers

Memberships for Payments Methods

With the Memberships for payment methods module you’ll be able to give extra payment options to the certain groups of customers in your store, e.g. enable PayPal Express Checkout for the wholesale buyers only.

To enable the feature, please install the ‘Memberships for payment methods’ module first as described in How to Install Modules in X-Cart 5. Once installed a special ‘Memberships’ field will appear under each payment method in the ‘Store SetUp: Payment Methods’ section of the cart admin area (Figure 11).

Fig 11

You’ll need to define an applicable membership in this field and the payment will become available for the customers with the specified membership only (Figure 12). On checkout, a customer will see only the payment methods available for his membership.

Fig 12

The standard membership feature can be extended with a Paid Memberships module that will enable an ability to sell paid memberships as regular products. This module is usefull if you have an extremely favorable options for members worth paying for, e.g. closed sales, vip prices, etc.

To enable the feaure make sure the module is installed as described in How to Install Modules in X-Cart 5. Once installed you’ll be able to create memberships as products and sell them to your customers. For this purpose go to the ‘Catalog > Products’ section of the cart admin area and click the ‘Add Product’ button (Figure 12).

Fig 12

You’ll be forwarded to a page to create a new product where it will be necessary to fill in the fields, e.g. name, SKU, description, etc just like any regular product in your store. To make a product a paid membership you should enable the ‘Membership to assign to product purchaser’ field (Figure 13) and choose a Membership Duration (Figure 14).

Fig 13 Fig 14

If necessary you can set a special price for memberships in the ‘Prices & Inventory’ section if applicable (Figure 15). This way existing members can level up at a special cost.

Fig 15

Once created a membership will become available for sale for customers (Figure 16).

Fig 16

If anonymous checkout is enabled, and a customer, buying a premium membership access, prefers to checkout without an account creation, the membership will not be assigned automatically till the account is created. The admin will be notified about such an order with a warning, indicating the “action required”.

After the order gets a ‘Paid’ status a customer gets a paid membership automatically and therefore gets access to all membership privileges.

When the membership expires the customer will get an e-mail notification, that will be sent automatically. E-mail notifications for the Paid Membership module can be managed in the Store setup > Email notifications section of the admin area.