Chapter 6: Customers

Last modified by bcipes on Fri, November 4, 2011 08:27
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Default Customer Options

Before creating customer accounts, or allowing your customers to create their own accounts, it is important for you to configure your customer settings. To do so, navigate to System > Configuration and select the Customer Configuration tab in the left column.

Account Sharing Options
  • Share Customer Accounts - When a customer creates an account in a given Store View, that account will be shared with every Store View in the same Website if you select Per Website. If you select Global, that account will be shared with every store view in every Website that you have created.
Create New Account Options
  • Email Template - Select the template for the email that will be sent to a customer when they create a new account. There is more information on how to configure these templates later in the chapter.
  • Email Sender - Designate the address from which New Account emails will be sent to your customers. There is more information on how to configure these addresses later in the chapter.
  • Default Email Domain - This field is primarily used during admin Order creation. In this process, the email field is optional. If it is left blank, Magento will automatically generate an email address to associate to the Order. The format will be [Customer ID]@[Default Email Domain]. During this process there is a checkbox allowing you send an Email Order Confirmation. If you left the email field blank, you would not want to send an Order email. The automatically generated email is fictitious, so it would bounce back.
  • Default Group - Designate the Customer Group that will be assigned to all customers when they first create an account. This drop-down will list all existing Customer Groups other than NOT LOGGED IN. There is more information about Customer Groups later in the chapter.
  • Need to Confirm - Select whether or not you customers will need to send an email confirmation reply in order to activate their account.
Password Options
  • Forgot Email Template - Select the template for the email that will be sent to a customer when they click the Forgot Your Password? link during log in.
  • Forgot Email Sender - Designate the address from which the Forgot Password emails will be sent to you customers.

Contact Options and Emails

Throughout Magento there are options to send your customers email notifications for various purposes, from newsletter subscription, to invoice creation. Each option requires you to select the template of the email, and the address from which the email will be sent. Each of these two aspects is configured in a different location. In addition to being able to contact your customers for various purposes, you also have the ability to allow your customers to contact you via the Contact Us feature.

There are two different methods for updating the email templates: Updating via Magento admin panel, and updating template files directly.

Updating Email Template Files Directly

Email template files are stored in /app/locale/LOCALE_CODE/template/. Modifying these files directly is dangerous because changes may be overwritten in future upgrades. A module has been created that enables you to create email templates in your theme directory that will override the templates in the default directory. The module is available here: http://www.magentocommerce.com/extension/1416/cls-upgrade-proof-email-templates

Updating Email Templates Via Magento Admin

To create new email templates, navigate to System > Transactional Emails, and click Add New Template in the top right of the page.

  • Template - From this drop-down, you can select one of the many pre-existing email templates that are included with Magento by default. These have been created for a number of purposes, including currency rate update warnings, Order updates from the admin, and product stock alerts.
  • Locale - If you have Locales other than English (United States) installed, you can select one of those Locales from this drop-down prior to loading the pre-existing templates. This will load the selected template in the corresponding language of that Locale. Click Load Template and the template data will load into the Template Subject and Template Content fields, where you can customize them for your store.

email_template_create.jpg

  • Template Name - This is the name of the template as it will appear in the drop-down menus throughout the admin, where you can select to use this template for various purposes.
  • Template Subject - This is the subject of the email that will be sent when you designate to use this template. This can be loaded from a pre-existing template above, or you can create your own.
  • Template Content - This is the body of the email that will be sent when you designate to use this template. This can be loaded from a pre-existing template above, or you can create your own. All stylization must be in HTML format.

At the top of the page there are buttons which offer several more features. If you have loaded a pre-existing template, or if you have created your own using HTML tags, you can click Convert to Plain Text. This will remove all HTML tags in the Template Content field and display only the text. You can then return the tags by clicking Return Html Version. If you leave the tags, you can click Preview Template, which will load the Template Content into the browser window so that you can see the formatted content as it will display to your customers in the email. When you are finished with your edits, click Save Template, and you will be able to select this template to send to your customers for various purposes. It will also add to the template list, where you can Preview each template by clicking Preview in the Action column, or edit the template by clicking on it.

Email Sender

To configure the addresses from which your customer emails will be sent, navigate to System > Configuration, and select the Store Email Addresses. There are five different sender to which you can associate an email address: General contact, Sales representative, Customer support, Customer email 1, and Customer email 2. For each of these senders, you must designate the Sender name, which is the name that will appear in the drop-down menus throughout the admin (where you can select to use these Senders for various purposes), and the name that will appear next to the Sender Email in the emails sent to your customers. You must also designate the Sender email, which is the address from which the emails (that you associate to this Sender) will be sent.

Contact Us

If you wish to allow your customers to be able to send comments to you via email, Magento offers a Contact Us feature. In order to enable this, navigate to System > Configuration, click the Contacts tab from the left column, and select Yes from the Enable Contact Us drop-down. This will create a Contact Us link in the footer of you site on the front-end. When your customers click this link, they will be directed to the Contact Us page, which enables them to enter their name, email address, telephone number, and a comment. When they click Submit, this information will be sent via email to the address entered in the Send Emails To drop-down in the same configuration page as above. The Email Sender drop-down determines the address from which the email will be sent to the specified address. The Email Template drop-down determines the template that the email will use.

Creating Customers

Customer accounts can be created multiple ways. Perhaps the most typical method to create an account is for your customers to do so themselves in the front-end. However, Magento allows you to create new customer accounts in the admin.

In Front-end

There are two sections in the front-end where your customers may choose to register and create a new customer account: Log In and Checkout. The process for both of these is very similar.

Log In

In the top right of your store is a Log In link. When a customer clicks here, they will have the option to log in using their pre-existing account, or, if they don’t already have an account, they can create one by clicking Create an Account. This will redirect them to the Create an Account page, which will require them to enter their First Name, Last Name, Email Address, and Password (they will have to confirm the password as well). They will also have the option to sign up for the newsletter by checking the checkbox. When they click Submit, the customer account will be created in Magento, and the customer will by redirected to the My Account page. There is more information later in the chapter about the features offered to your customers in this page.

new_account_log_in.jpg

Checkout

If a customer is not logged in when they click the Proceed to Checkout button, they will have the option to log in using their pre-existing account, or, if they don’t already have an account, Checkout as Guest (if you have enabled this) or create a new account by selecting Register. If they select Register, and click Continue, they will be redirected to the standard one-page checkout page. This is the same process that previously registered customers go through when checking out, except that the First Name, Last Name, Email Address, and Password fields will be blank. When all of the information is entered and the Order is submitted, a new account will be created using the information used in the checkout, including the address information, which will automatically be saved to the account.

Please click the image to see a larger version.

In Admin

To create a new customer account in the admin, navigate the Customers > Manage Customers and click Add New Customer in the top right of the page. This is the same process that your customers will go through on the front-end, with some small differences.

Account Information

  • Create In - This is the Website in which this account will be created. You can also choose to create it in the Admin. If you have configured customer accounts to share Per Website, this will affect in which Websites your customers will have accounts. If customer accounts are shared Globally, this has little effect.
  • Customer Group - You have the option to select the Customer Group to which this customer will be assigned. Customers who create an account on the front-end will automatically be assigned to the Customer Group designated in System > Configuration, as described above. There is more information about Customer Groups below.
  • Send welcome email - By checking this checkbox you can choose to send a new account email to the customer. This is the email you designated in System > Configuration, as described above. Customers who create an account on the front-end will automatically receive this email.
  • Password - You will not be required to confirm the password, because the characters are not hidden in this field. Instead of entering a password manually, you can check the checkbox to auto-generate a password for the customer. Either way, the password will be included in the email sent to the customer.

Addresses

In the Addresses tab, you will have the option to enter one or more addresses for this account while creating it. For each address you wish to create, click Add New Address. As you enter the information in the fields on the right, the address manager panel on the left will update. The address manager panel will have a separate entry for each address, and you can designate which address is the Default Billing Address and which is the Default Shipping Address by selecting the radio button. The default addresses will automatically be selected from the address drop-down each time an order is placed with this account in the admin or front-end. When an address is selected as either of the defaults, the red X button will disappear, because it will not be able to be deleted.

Please click the image to see a larger version.

When you are finished, click Save Customer. Once a customer has been created, you will have access to several additional tabs in the left column. There is more information later in the chapter about the features offered in these tabs.

Customer Groups

For each customer who has an account in your store, you have the option to configure a Customer Group. Customer Groups are a means to apply other features in Magento to groups of customers all at once. This is useful in many areas, from allowing certain customers to use Catalog and Shopping Cart Price Rules, to assigning Customer Tax Classes.

Creating Customer Groups

To create Customer Groups, navigate to Customers > Customer Groups, and click Add New Customer Group in the top right of the page.

  • Group Name - Enter the name of the Customer Group as if will appear throughout the admin.
  • Tax class - Each Customer Group will have one Customer Tax Class assigned to it. Select that tax class from this drop-down, which will list all existing tax classes you’ve created in Sales > Tax > Customer Tax Classes. Tax classes are not assigned directly to customers, but rather to Customer Groups, which are then assigned directly to customers. For more information about Taxes, refer back to Chapter 4: Get Ready for Selling.

By default, Magento comes with two Customer Groups: NOT LOGGED IN and General. NOT LOGGED IN is the default Customer Group for all customers who have not created an account, such as those who have used Guest Checkout or Google Checkout (if you have enabled those features), which do not require creating an account in Magento. General is the default Customer Group for newly registered customers, although this can be changed in System > Configuration, as described earlier in the chapter. Neither of these Customer Groups can be deleted, and the Group Name for NOT LOGGED IN cannot be edited. When you are finished, click Save Customer Group, and you can now assign this group to your customers.

Managing Customer Groups

Assigning Customers to Customer Groups

Now that you have set up all of your Customer Groups, you can assign them to customers by navigating to Customer > Manage Customers. When customers first create an account, they will be assigned to the Customer Group you designated in System > Configuration as described earlier in the chapter. To re-assign the customer to a new Customer Group, locate the customer and click the Edit button in the Action column. Click the Account Information tab in the left column. You can select a new Customer Group in the Customer Group drop-down, which lists all existing Customer Groups other than NOT LOGGED IN. There are also a few other places where you can change a customer’s Customer Group, such as when creating a new order in the admin, or creating a reorder in the admin. To re-assign the Customer Group for several customers at once, refer to Batch Updates below.

Using Customer Groups as filters

There are several places in Magento where you can filter features to only apply to certain Customer Groups. You can filter Catalog Price Rules by navigating to Promotions > Catalog Price Rules, and you can filter Shopping Cart Price Rules by navigating to Promotions > Shopping Cart Price Rules. There is more information about both of these feature in Chapter 5: Promotions, Marketing, and Content Pages. You can filter Tier Pricing by navigating to Catalog > Manage Products, selecting a product and clicking the Prices tab. More information about this feature can also be found in Chapter 5.

Batch Updates to Customers

Similar to Batch Updates for products, this feature saves you time by allowing you to change certain settings for multiple customers at the same time. To make Batch Updates to customers, navigate to Customers > Manage Customers. Select the customers to which you would like to make updates. At the top of the customers list, you have the option to Select All customers or Select Visible customers (customers currently displaying on the page). Or, you can simply check the checkboxes of each customer to which you wish to make updates individually. You can see the number of items selected at the top of the customers list, and it will update each time a checkbox is checked or unchecked. When you have all the desired customers selected, chose your preferred Action from the drop-down menu, also at the top of the customers list.

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  • Delete - This will delete the selected customers from your catalog when you press Submit.
  • Subscribe to/Unsubscribe from newsletter - This will subscribe/unsubscribe the selected customers to/from the newsletter when you press Submit.
  • Assign a customer group - Selecting this will produce a Group drop-down menu to the right, which lists all existing Customer Groups other than NOT LOGGED IN. Select a Customer Group, and this will be assigned to the selected customers when you press Submit.

Front-End and Back-End functionality for Customer Accounts

Front-End

Once a customer has created an account, and logs in they will have access to features on the front-end that they otherwise would not have. This includes the My Account page, My Wishlist, and Checkout with Multiple Addresses.

My Account

When a customer clicks on the My Account link, they will be taken to the Account Dashboard. This is a summary of the most important account information, including Recent Orders, the general Contact Information, Newsletter status, default addresses, and Recent Reviews. If they click Edit for any of these options, they will be redirected to the corresponding tab of the more detailed My Account page. This offers even more account information.

Please click the image to see a larger version.

Account Dashboard

Takes the customer back to the summary page.

Address Book

Lists the Default Billing Address, Default Shipping Address (these are listed separately even if they are the same address, unlike in the admin), and all additional addresses with the option to edit each individually.

Account Information

Here the customer can edit the general contact information, including the account password.

My Orders

Lists all Orders placed by the customer, with more detailed information available when View Order is clicked. Here, the order status of each Order can be tracked by the customer via RSS feeds (refer back to Chapter 5 for more details). Additionally, if an Invoice, Shipment, or Credit Memo has been created for an Order, an About this Order bar will appear above the Order information, containing an Invoices, Shipments, or Refunds link, respectively (or a combination of multiple links). Each link will contain more detailed information about all related Invoices, Shipments, or Credit Memos, with the ability for your customer to print a copy of each individually, or copies of all Invoices, Shipments, or Credit Memos simultaneously. Shipments have an additional feature. If a Shipment has one or more associated tracking numbers, your customer will have the ability to Track this shipment or Track all shipments, which will open a pop-up window containing the shipment status, which Magento receives directly from the shipment gateway. There is more information about Invoices, Shipments, and Credit Memos in Chapter 8: Managing Orders.

My Product Reviews

Lists all product reviews placed by the customer, with and a link to the product, and more detailed information when View Details is clicked.

Newsletter Subscription

Lists all newsletters, with a checkbox next to the ones to which the customer is subscribed.

My Wishlist

List all products that the customer has added to the wishlist, with an option to add comments and add each item to the cart. When the customer is logged in, they can also see a quick view of their wishlist in the right column, below the shopping cart feature. Additionally, the number of items in the wishlist will display next to the My Wishlist button at the top of the page.

Checkout with Multiple Addresses

In order to be able to use this feature, the customer must have an account and be logged in. Checkout as Guest is not available for this checkout process, even if you have enabled it. Additionally, there is no option to Register during checkout. If a customer does not already have an account, they will have the option to Create an Account, which must be completed as a separate process before they can proceed to the checkout page. For more information about Checkout with Multiple Address, refer back to Chapter 4: Get Ready for Selling.

Back-End

Once a customer account is created, you will have access to more features in the admin than are available when creating an account in the front-end. These features include those available to the customer in the My Account page on the front-end, along with several additional features.

Customer View

This is a summary of the customer’s information, including the most recent time and date the customer logged in, whether the customer is online currently, the time and date the account was created, the store in which the account was created, the Customer Group, Primary Billing Address, a summary of lifetime purchase information grouped by store, a list of all Recent Orders, and the items currently in the Shopping Cart and Wishlist.

Please click the image to see a larger version.

Account Information

This includes the general contact information, and has the same functionality as when originally creating an account from the admin. It will also list the Website and Store View in which the account was created.

Addresses

This includes all the customer’s addresses, and has the same functionality as when originally creating an account from the admin.

Orders

Lists all Orders created by the customer, or created for the customer from the admin. Clicking on an order will redirect to the Order page, which contains for detailed information and has additional features, such as creating Invoices and Shipments. For more information about these features, refer to Chapter 8:Managing Orders.

Shopping Cart

Lists all products currently in the customer’s Shopping Cart, with the option to Delete each product. Clicking on a product will redirect you to that product’s page in the admin.

Wishlist

Lists all products currently in the customer’s Wishlist, with the option to Delete each product. Clicking on a product will redirect you to that product’s page in the admin.

Newsletter

Here you can subscribe or unsubscribe this customer from the newsletter, as well as view a list of all the newsletters of which this customer is a recipient. This looks very similar to the Newsletter Queue, and includes both Sent and Not Sent newsletters.

Product Reviews

Lists all Product Reviews submitted by the customer, and clicking on a Review will redirect you to that review’s page in the admin.

Product Tags

Lists all Product Tags submitted by the customer, and clicking on a Tag will redirect you to that tag’s page in the admin.

Online Customers

You can see a list of every customer that is currently logged in by navigating to Customers > Online Customers. This list even includes customers who are not logged in. They are referred to as Visitors, and the First Name for all Visitors will be Guest. For each customer, you will be able to see the IP address from which they are accessing your site, the time their session began, the time of the most recent activity in your site, and the most recent URL they visited. When you click on a logged in customer, you will be redirected to that customer’s page in the admin.

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