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How to create a perfect BOGO discount rule in WooCommerce

Buy One Get One deals can be simple to complex. Learn how to get them working correct in your online store

Store owners often understand the Buy One Get One deals from the physical store perspective. While there is nothing wrong in that, there are a number of significant differences when you are planning to role out the same in your online store.

Let us look at the differences in detail.

If you walk into BestBuy and see a Buy One Get One offer on T-Shirts, you go ahead and purchase. There, the discount is decided by a human and it could be flexible.

In most cases, you would buy one tshirt and get another tshirt for free. And the free item can be a black t-shirt or a blue t-shirt. As simple as that. The salesmen there makes that decision. He can even make a decision if you wanted to get a Women's TShirt free when you purchase a Men's T-Shirt.

However, when it comes to offering the same Buy One Get One offer at your online store, it is your rule system that has to automatically make that decision.

So you can create a rule ranging from simple to complex (to an extend, even the customers fail to understand!)

Let us understand the BOGO rules through two examples

Buy One Get One free (Same product) - Buy X Get X

In other words, this actually means Buy 1 Product A and get another 1 quantity of Product A free

Even in this simple rule, there is a bit of complexity we got to understand.

Let us look at it through an example

  • Customer buys 4 of Product A
  • According to the logic, he should get 4 items free. So 4 items are added to cart (because most store owners want these 4 free items to be "automagically" added to cart.. Yes. Automatically)
  • In order for the Inventory to be correctly maintained, the system has to set the quantity field to 8 (Note: WooCommerce otherwise would not reduce your inventory. So quantity field should be 8)
  • Let's go back to the logic again. (Remember, the system is not a human. It only works by the logic). The rule is Buy 1 and get 1 free. Now there are 8 quantities in the cart. Logically speaking, the system should "automagically" add another 8 quantities to the cart. Because the cart has 8 quantities. Another 8 should be free.
  • And this go on and on would result in an endless loop.

So what could be the solution? How to avoid this happening ?

  • Solution 1: Let's not add the free quantity (especially when it is the Buy X and Get X offer). Let the customer add/increase the quantity and let the free item apply. Most customers by themselves add 2 quantities to cart when you show there is a Buy 1 Get 1 offer. (Most of us are deal hunters!) - This is what most discount plugins do.
  • Solution 2: Forget the inventory management (In other words, "Screw it!"). Just dummy the quantity input (A few plugins adopt this concept as well)

In WooCommerce Discount Rules plugin, we follow the first approach because 99% of the store owners would not want to jeopardize the stock management. That would mean they cannot fulfill the order, which would severely damage the brand reputation.

The plugin displays a discount table on the product page showing there is a "Buy Get 1 Offer" running for the products. And customers know how to get the best of it! We love discounts!

Buy any product, get any other product free (Buy X, Get Y)

Sometimes, store owners simply say they want a "Buy any 1 product and get any 1 product free." This sentence appears to be simple to read at the surface level.

However, the fact is that the above sentence is the most vague sentence when it comes to offering BOGO deals.

Let us look at it why it is a vague sentence by asking a series of questions:

  • Usually the free item would be a cheapest product in the cart. However, should we provide the cheapest item in the cart free or the cheapest item from a selected category ? (If you have high value products in store, offering a vague BOGO deal might cost you dear!)
  • Should it apply when purchasing multiple quantities of same product as well ? (Buy 1 of Product A and get 1 of Product A) ?
  • What if the customer purchases products of the same price? (Buy 2 of $500 item and get a $500 item free??? )

Ok, Now these questions helped us to shape our BOGO rule. So let us see how to re-write the rule in a better way :

"Buy any 1 Product from the store, get another 1 quantity of either the same product or a cheapest from product in the cart free. "

In other words, this means Buy any 2 products (different products or 4 of the same quantity), get one cheapest "among them" in the cart free. (customer has to add the products to cart to get the discount).

To make it much more clear, if customer purchases 4 products, he would get 2 cheapest items free.

This leads to another question: What happens when customer purchases 3 quantities?

The best possible answer is: 1 free quantity. Because, here we chose to provide a cheapest item as free quantity in the rule. Unless customer adds the items to cart, it is not possible to "automagically" add the cheapest item our ownself from thousands of products you have.

So logically, the rule would be like

  • Buy any 2 to 3 products (different or same), get 1 cheapest item (among them) free
  • Buy 4 to 5 products, get 2 cheapest item free
  • Buy 6 to 7 products, get 3 cheapest items free

Hope this guide helps you to create effective BOGO offers for your online store. If you have any questions or comments, please leave us a message via the live chat

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