In general, affiliation means a link to or an association with a group. In Commerce, an affiliation is a group of customers.
Affiliations provide a more flexible tool for customer pricing and discounts than the regular customer price groups and discount groups of the core pricing engine. The difference is that, in the regular pricing engine of Dynamics 365, different price groups are needed to define pricing and discounts, whereas an affiliation (through the linked price group) can be used for both prices and discounts. Another advantage is that a customer can belong to more than one affiliation and, hence, more than one price group, where in the regular pricing engine, they can only be directly linked to one price group for price and one price group for discount.
Working with affiliations proves useful in scenarios when the retailer wants to give discounts to specific groups of customers such as students, seniors, customers who are affiliated with companies that the retailer might be giving special discounts to, or to the employees of the retailer. Affiliations can also be discounts to loyal customers to provide extra benefits to them.
Additionally, affiliations can be assigned to a customer record to trigger the discount that is being applied automatically; however, they do not have to be linked to a customer, an ad-hoc affiliation can be used for a walk-in customer at point of sale (POS). Typical business scenarios include students or seniors who receive a discount when they show their group membership card (university ID or senior ID).
Frequently, affiliations are used with discounts; however, they are also a possible solution toward achieving differential pricing. Instead of giving discounts, perhaps you provide different pricing to a certain group instead. Affiliations can enable those scenarios, such as offering preferential pricing for B2B customers compared to B2C, or perhaps offering special pricing for your employees to incentivize consumption of your brand products.
These attributes make the affiliations functionality more flexible, less cumbersome, and a feature that can greatly streamline complex pricing structures.
To use the affiliations feature, several records must be created in the system, namely price group, discounts/prices, and affiliations. Subsequently, affiliations can be linked to a customer record so that when the cashier adds the respective customer to the transaction, the affiliation and the related discount are automatically applied to the sales transaction.
You can also restrict affiliation and loyalty discounts to specific stores. This enables scenarios where a retailer wants to run customer-specific discounts only in certain stores, for example outlet, mall, and full-line stores, you might use this feature if you only want to offer a student discount (an affiliation discount) at your full line channels.
You can enable this on specific discounts by assigning the channel price group to the discount.
- Go to Retail and commerce > Pricing and discounts > All discounts.
- Select the affiliation discount.
- If the discount has been enabled, you will first need to disable the discount so you can modify. You can do this by changing the Status field on the discount to Disabled, then select Save in the Action Pane.
- Once open, select Price groups in the Action Pane.
- Now, you will add the price group for the channels that you want to make this discount available.
- To add the price group, select New in the Action Pane.
- Then, select the Price group you would like to add using the Price group drop-down.
If a discount has two price groups, such as a student price group and a San Francisco store price group, then this discount will only apply in the San Francisco store for students.
To further illustrate this concept, consider the scenario where you are a retailer who wants to give 10 percent discounts to all university students who shop at your retail stores. The students must show their university ID cards to receive this discount at the POS terminals. To complete this task, follow these steps:
Create a price group that acts like a bridge between the discount and the affiliation. Go to Retail and Commerce > Pricing and discounts > Price groups > All price groups and create a new price group that will be associated with the university students discount.
Go to Retail and Commerce > Pricing and discounts > Affiliations, where you can create an affiliation for the students. To associate this affiliation with the price group that you created earlier, select the Price group button in the Action Pane of the Affiliation page and then add the respective price group to the students’ affiliation.
Define the 10 percent discount for the students in the system and then link it to the same price group that you previously created and associated with the affiliation. In this way, the price group connects the affiliation and the discount that is related to it.
Optionally, you can assign the affiliation to the customer record (if one exists specifically for the students) so that the 10 percent discount is automatically assigned at POS when the customer who represents the university students is selected in the transaction.
Go to Retail and Commerce > Customers > All customers and select the customer record that corresponds to the university students. Select the Retail tab in the Action Pane and then select Affiliations in the Relation information section to create the link with the students’ affiliation that was previously created.
The 10 percent discount will be triggered only for the customer whom you have assigned it to.
To synchronize the changes to the POS, run scheduler jobs 1020, 1010, and 1050 in Commerce Headquarters.