Customers

Introduction

The Customers section, like Products, is the heartbeat of your SparkLayer integration and allows you to manage the ordering rules for your customers.

Customer groups

It's common for B2B customers to have terms agreed when they place orders with you. For example, brand new customers may only be allowed to pay via credit/debit card, whereas long-term customers may have more favourable payment terms. The Customer Groups section lets you define specific rules for specific customer groups, giving you flexibility in how your B2B customers order online.

The default customer group

By default, SparkLayer has a 'Base' customer group that is a catch-all for all your B2B customers. If you're looking to have just a single B2B customer group then the 'Base' group will be sufficient. Any changes you make will automatically apply to all your B2B customers unless you create new customer groups.
Understanding 'Inherit'
When you see Inherit in a customer group you create, it means it will inherit the Base defaults. For example, if your Base is set to a specific price list or has specific payment methods, any new customer groups you create will start off by using these same settings.
You can easily modify this by simply clicking the Edit icon and changing as you need to

What can be configured

It's possible to configure the following rules
Rule type
Description
Minimum order
This is the minimum order value the customer must reach before being able to checkout on the SparkLayer Frontend
Payment methods
The payment methods that the customer will see when they checkout. Learn more
Price lists
The price lists that are assigned to that customer group. For example, you may have different price lists per customer group

Setting a minimum order

To configure a minimum order per customer group, click the Edit icon in the Minimum Order column. If the customer group doesn't already have a minimum order set, click Add new, select a currency and then enter minimum order value. Note: All order values are in net pricing.
Once you've set this, when you access the Quick Order on the frontend, you'll then see corresponding messaging.
How minimum order totals show on the SparkLayer Frontend

Setting payment methods

You can specify what payment methods are shown for each customer group by clicking the Edit icon in the Payment Methods column. You'll then see the following options
Payment method
Description
Payment by invoice
This will allow the customer to place an order without having to enter in payment details and apply a Zero-value order - For Shopify Plus merchants, customers can optionally be taken through the Shopify checkout - For standard Shopify merchants, the order will be submitted as a Draft Order
Payment on Account
Similar to above, the customer can place an order without needing to enter any payment details - For Shopify Plus merchants, customers can optionally be taken through the Shopify checkout - For standard Shopify merchants, the order will be submitted as a Draft Order Learn how to set Credit Limits in Shopify.
Upfront Payment
The customer will be required to enter credit/debit card details and will see the payment methods you have set up during the checkout process. This is sometimes referred to as Proforma payment within wholesale operations. - Customers will be taken through the Shopify checkout
Request for quote
The customer can submit their order without choosing a payment method. The order will be marked as a 'Draft' order and can subsequently be edited. Learn more here - The order will be submitted as a Draft Order
When the customer activates the Quick Order, they'll see whichever payment methods are allowed and can then select as appropriate.
Payment methods in Shopify By default, when you set up SparkLayer on your Shopify store, unless you're using 'Upfront Payment', all orders created by customers will be generated as Draft orders within Shopify (learn about Shopify Draft Orders). One of the big benefits of using Draft orders is the ability to make changes before you then take payment and fulfil. Learn more

Assigning a price list

Depending on which price lists you have set up in the Price Lists section, you can assign specific price lists to customer groups. Click the Edit icon in the Price Lists column and then choose the available Price List from those shown.

Creating new customer groups

New customer groups allow you to create different rules for different customers. When you create a new customer group, you'll see the following screen where you can enter a Display Name and a Handle. The Handle is a unique identifier that you can then use in your eCommerce platform (e.g. Shopify) to match with (see below for more details).

Synchronising to Shopify

For your Shopify store to recognise the customer rules you set up in SparkLayer, it uses the customer tag feature within Shopify. Once a customer in Shopify is tagged, when they sign into your Shopify store they will see their unique B2B ordering rules such as pricing and payment methods.
For the most simple set up, if you're using just the Base customer group, you can synchronise your customer rules with Shopify by simply tagging customers with b2b as shown below.
How customer tags show in Shopify for a customer record
If you've set up additional customer groups, the process works as follows:
  1. 1.
    First, within SparkLayer create your customer group and give it a unique Handle, e.g. vip
  2. 2.
    Under the Shopify Tag column, make a note of tags that are shown. You'll note there is an additional tag b2b, so in our example, the tags we want to note are b2b and b2b-vip
  3. 3.
    Find the customer record in Shopify and assign it the tags shown. So for our example below, if you wanted to assign them to the VIP group, you would tag them in Shopify with b2b and b2b-vip
How customer tags show in SparkLayer
How customer tags are then assigned in Shopify
Remember, you need to always tag a customer with b2b even if you are assigning them to an additional customer group

Testing a customer

To simulate a B2B customer on your store, you can configure a sample customer within your Shopify admin.
  1. 1.
    First, within your Shopify Customers admin, find an existing customer record or add a new one
  2. 2.
    Fill in all the form fields, including the address. It's important that an address is specified otherwise SparkLayer won't find the customer record
  3. 3.
    Next, tag the customer with b2b
  4. 4.
    If you're creating a brand new customer record, you'll need to click 'Send account invite' and then confirm the account once you've received the activation email (learn more here).
  5. 5.
    Finally, return to your website and visit the login page (url /account) and enter your customer email and password. If you can't access this page, make sure you have customer accounts enabled (learn more here)
  6. 6.
    You'll then see SparkLayer load and you can browse your store as a B2B customer

Customer Import

The Customers Import section works in much the same was as the Product Import, giving you visibility of the Customer data that is being received by SparkLayer. As with Products, you'll need to ensure you've configured your platform first and data is being sent. For third-party platforms using the SparkLayer Connector, this will happen automatically.
The feed status box will notify you of the following states:
Status
Description
Green
Feed successfully working and data being received
Amber
Feed successfully working but errors have been found
Amber
No feed being received and configuration is required.
From within the interface, clicking the customer feed status box will show further details, such as:
  • Customers synchronised
  • Last import time
  • Errors with the feed
Customer data that gets sent It's important to note that SparkLayer will only import customer data that has been specially tagged as a b2b customer or sent through with meta fields with the namespace of 'sparklayer' . This is to ensure that you have control over the types of customers that get imported.
Customer data from Shopify For third-party platforms, such as Shopify, this is set up within the platform itself and you can read our guide here on how this works.
Learn more about common errors you may encounter

Customer data lookup

As with the product data lookup, you can drill in to the details of the customer data that gets sent to SparkLayer. The search results will display all relevant data in JSON format and you can access the details you need.

Finding the Customer ID

The customer data lookup works by matching on either the internal or external customer ID you send to SparkLayer. For third-party platforms such as Shopify, you can also find this ID in the URL when navigating a customer within the admin. For example, the URL in your browser may look something like this:
https://your-shopify-store-url.com/admin/customers/5917633347819
In this example, the external customer ID would be 5917633347819
For valid results that are returned, you can also view specific records in your third-party platform such as Shopify by clicking the results returned.