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IP.Nexus Dev Update: Packages

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IP.Nexus allows to you to create packages with a variety of options and even create custom packages for your users.
In this blog entry we wanted to go through some of the options available to you.

Please note that the interface shown in the screenshots is not finalised subject to change.

Package Groups

IP.Nexus allows you to split your packages into package groups. You can have as many groups as you like, and groups can be children of other groups going as deep as you like.
This is the main "Manage Package" screen in the Admin CP:

You can click on a group to view the packages within that group:

And click on a package to edit it:

Physical Items

You can set an item as physical or not. If an item is physical you can also specify the shipping methods available. Shipping options can be flat rate or based on the weight of items being shipped.
When a user orders a physical item, a shipping order will be created which the Administrator can marked as filled. Shipping orders will be discussed in a future blog entry.

If a user makes an order with multiple items, IP.Nexus will work out which items have the same shipping methods available and group them into as few shipping orders as possible.

Associated Items

You can specify that one package can (or must) be associated with another package. For example, if you are selling software and also have an addon product, you could specify that the addon must be associated with the main product.
If a user purchases both the main product and the addon product at the same time, IP.Nexus will automatically work out that they are to be associated, and if the association is required, the user won't get an error message telling them they need to purchase the main product first.

When a purchase is associated with another purchase, this will be indicated both on the customer page, and in any support requests the user creates.


IP.Nexus includes two discount options for packages. We call these "bundle discounts" and "loyalty discounts".

"Bundle discounts" allow you to specify a discount if the item is purchased with a different item. For example, here at IPS, if you purchase an IP.Blog license with an IP.Board license, you get a 5% discount on the total order - that would be possible within IP.Nexus.
You can specify whether the discount can only be used alone or if it can be combined with other bundle discounts. If it can only be used alone, IP.Nexus will automatically calculate the best discount applicable according to what is in the user's cart.

"Loyalty discounts" allow you to specify a discount if the user already owns a certain number of a certain item.
For example, you could make it so that if the user already owns 2 of an item, they get the third cheaper - or if the user has purchased a special item (for example some kind of premium membership) they get a discount on all products.
You can build up tiers so that if the user owns x items, they get y price, but if the user owns even more of the item, they get an even cheaper price - IP.Nexus will automatically work out the best discount.
If you have a loyalty discount set up so, if for example, the user gets a cheaper price if they already own 2 items, and the user tries to purchase 3 of that item at the same time - IP.Nexus will still take the loyalty discount into account, and provide the discounted price for the third item.

Upgrading Member Groups

You can specify that a user be moved into a different user group (primary or secondary) or have an additional permission mask assigned to them when they purchase an item.

You can also specify a renewal term for your license (the renewal price does not have to be the same as the base price) and have the user automatically demoted if they do not renew their item.

Upgrades & Downgrades

If in a product group you have different levels of a package, you can allow members to upgrade or downgrade between packages, which they can do themselves through their User CP.

You can specify whether to allow upgrades or downgrades (you can allow both, neither or either of the two) but also, you can specify whether or not the user needs to pay the difference between the prices when upgrading.
If this is set, when the user attempts to upgrade, they will need to pay the difference, and then be automatically upgraded. If this is not set, the user will be upgraded with no intervention.

On the other side, you can also set it to issue users with a refund of the difference when they downgrade their product, this is given in the form of account credits.

Custom Page

You can provide custom content that the user will see when they select their purchased item in the User CP. This could be used to display download instructions, hidden content or anything else you like.

In addition, you can also choose to display a "Submit Support Request" form on this page, and specify the support department it should be routed to.
We'll discuss support requests in more detail in a future blog entry.

Custom Package Fields

You can specify "custom fields" that the user can (or must) fill out when purchasing an item. An example of how this might be used is if you're selling clothing and you need the user to select their size; or you're selling software and you want to force the user to provide the URL they will be installing the software on.

Textbox and dropdown field types are supported, there are also two special field types: "username/password" and "ftp information" which allow you to ask for what we expect will be frequently requested information but without using 2 or 3 custom fields.

If several of your items are going to have the same custom profile field (for example, if you're selling several different T-Shirts and they all need a custom profile field for "Size" - you only need to create it once and assign it to all fields.

Removing Packages

When you remove a package, you may also want to cancel the service for any members who have purchased that item, or even switch them to a different package.

IP.Nexus allows you to remove a package from all members in the way you choose.

Managing Purchases

Once a user has purchased an item, you can edit the purchase to change the renewal terms for that member - this allows you to for example, create custom variations of a package for different users.

You can also of course manually edit the custom fields, cancel a purchase (this will revert them to their original usergroup if applicable) and even transfer a purchased item to another member.

Custom Packages

Not only can you customise purchased items but you can create a custom package for an individual user through the Admin CP, specifying a package name, cost and renewal terms.

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