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Prices and availability

This page explains how prices and availability are determined in Oscar. In short, it seems quite complicated at first as there are several parts to it, but what this buys is flexibility: buckets of it.

Overview

Simpler e-commerce frameworks often tie prices to the product model directly:

>>> product = Product.objects.get(id=1)
>>> product.price
Decimal('17.99')

Oscar, on the other hand, distinguishes products from stockrecords and provides a swappable 'strategy' component for selecting the appropriate stockrecord, calculating prices and availability information.

>>> from oscar.apps.partner.strategy import Selector
>>> product = Product.objects.get(id=1)
>>> strategy = Selector().strategy()
>>> info = strategy.fetch_for_product(product)

# Availability information
>>> info.availability.is_available_to_buy
True
>>> msg = info.availability.message
>>> unicode(msg)
u"In stock (58 available)"
>>> info.availability.is_purchase_permitted(59)
(False, u"A maximum of 58 can be bought")

# Price information
>>> info.price.excl_tax
Decimal('17.99')
>>> info.price.is_tax_known
True
>>> info.price.incl_tax
Decimal('21.59')
>>> info.price.tax
Decimal('3.60')
>>> info.price.currency
'GBP'

The product model captures the core data about the product (title, description, images) while a stockrecord represents fulfillment information for one particular partner (number in stock, base price). A product can have multiple stockrecords although only one is selected by the strategy to determine pricing and availability.

By using your own custom strategy class, a wide range of pricing, tax and availability problems can be easily solved.

The strategy class

Oscar uses a 'strategy' object to determine product availability and pricing. A new strategy instance is assigned to the request by the basket middleware. A :class:`~oscar.apps.partner.strategy.Selector` class determines the appropriate strategy for the request. By modifying the :class:`~oscar.apps.partner.strategy.Selector` class, it's possible to return different strategies for different customers.

Given a product, the strategy class is responsible for:

  • Selecting a "pricing policy", an object detailing the prices of the product and whether tax is known.
  • Selecting an "availability policy", an object responsible for availability logic (ie is the product available to buy) and customer messaging.
  • Selecting the appropriate stockrecord to use for fulfillment. If a product can be fulfilled by several fulfilment partners, then each will have their own stockrecord.

These three entities are wrapped up in a PurchaseInfo object, which is a simple named tuple. The strategy class provides fetch_for_product and fetch_for_parent methods which takes a product and returns a PurchaseInfo instance:

The strategy class is accessed in several places in Oscar's codebase. In templates, a purchase_info_for_product template tag is used to load the price and availability information into the template context:

{% load purchase_info_tags %}
{% load currency_filters %}

{% purchase_info_for_product request product as session %}

<p>
{% if session.price.is_tax_known %}
    Price is {{ session.price.incl_tax|currency:session.price.currency }}
{% else %}
    Price is {{ session.price.excl_tax|currency:session.price.currency }} +
    tax
{% endif %}
</p>

Note that the currency template tag accepts a currency parameter from the pricing policy.

Also, basket instances have a strategy instance assigned so they can calculate prices including taxes. This is done automatically in the basket middleware.

This seems quite complicated...

While this probably seems like quite an involved way of looking up a product's price, it gives the developer an immense amount of flexibility. Here's a few examples of things you can do with a strategy class:

  • Transact in multiple currencies. The strategy class can use the customer's location to select a stockrecord from a local distribution partner which will be in the local currency of the customer.
  • Elegantly handle different tax models. A strategy can return prices including tax for a UK or European visitor, but without tax for US visitors where tax is only determined once shipping details are confirmed.
  • Charge different prices to different customers. A strategy can return a different pricing policy depending on the user/session.
  • Use a chain of preferred partners for fulfillment. A site could have many stockrecords for the same product, each from a different fulfillment partner. The strategy class could select the partner with the best margin and stock available. When stock runs out with that partner, the strategy could seamlessly switch to the next best partner.

These are the kinds of problems that other e-commerce frameworks would struggle with.

API

All strategies subclass a common Base class:

.. autoclass:: oscar.apps.partner.strategy.Base
   :members: fetch_for_product, fetch_for_parent, fetch_for_line
   :noindex:

Oscar also provides a "structured" strategy class which provides overridable methods for selecting the stockrecord, and determining pricing and availability policies:

.. autoclass:: oscar.apps.partner.strategy.Structured
   :members:
   :noindex:

For most projects, subclassing and overriding the Structured base class should be sufficient. However, Oscar also provides mixins to easily compose the appropriate strategy class for your domain.

Currency

Oscar allows you to define a currency code for each stock - a text field that defaults to settings.OSCAR_DEFAULT_CURRENCY.

By default, Oscar expects all products added to a single basket to have the same currency. It does not however do any logic to select the appropriate stock record to achieve this - you must implement this yourself in the :func:`~oscar.apps.partner.strategy.Structured.select_stockrecord` method. Oscar does not determine or store user currency and uses it only for formatting product price. More complex logic, like currency switch or conversion can be implemented additionally.

More about currency formatting configuration - :ref:`currency-format-setting`.

Loading a strategy

Strategy instances are determined by the Selector class:

.. autoclass:: oscar.apps.partner.strategy.Selector
   :members:
   :noindex:

It's common to override this class so a custom strategy class can be returned.

Pricing policies

A pricing policy is a simple class with several properties Its job is to contain all price and tax information about a product.

There is a base class that defines the interface a pricing policy should have:

.. autoclass:: oscar.apps.partner.prices.Base
   :members:
   :noindex:

There are also several policies that accommodate common scenarios:

.. automodule:: oscar.apps.partner.prices
   :members: Unavailable, FixedPrice
   :noindex:

Availability policies

Like pricing policies, availability policies are simple classes with several properties and methods. The job of an availability policy is to provide availability messaging to show to the customer as well as methods to determine if the product is available to buy.

The base class defines the interface:

.. autoclass:: oscar.apps.partner.availability.Base
   :members:
   :noindex:

There are also several pre-defined availability policies:

.. automodule:: oscar.apps.partner.availability
   :members: Unavailable, Available, StockRequired
   :noindex:

Strategy mixins

Oscar also ships with several mixins which implement one method of the Structured strategy. These allow strategies to be easily composed from re-usable parts:

.. automodule:: oscar.apps.partner.strategy
   :members: UseFirstStockRecord, StockRequired, NoTax, FixedRateTax,
             DeferredTax
   :noindex:

Default strategy

Oscar's default Selector class returns a Default strategy built from the strategy mixins:

class Default(UseFirstStockRecord, StockRequired, NoTax, Structured):
    pass

The behaviour of this strategy is:

  • Always picks the first stockrecord (this is backwards compatible with Oscar<0.6 where a product could only have one stockrecord).
  • Charge no tax.
  • Only allow purchases where there is appropriate stock (eg no back-orders).

How to use

There's lots of ways to use strategies, pricing and availability policies to handle your domain's requirements.

The normal first step is provide your own Selector class which returns a custom strategy class. Your custom strategy class can be composed of the above mixins or your own custom logic.

Example 1: UK VAT

Here's an example strategy.py module which is used to charge VAT on prices.

# myproject/partner/strategy.py

from oscar.apps.partner import strategy, prices


class Selector(object):
    """
    Custom selector to return a UK-specific strategy that charges VAT
    """

    def strategy(self, request=None, user=None, **kwargs):
        return UKStrategy()


class IncludingVAT(strategy.FixedRateTax):
    """
    Price policy to charge VAT on the base price
    """
    # We can simply override the tax rate on the core FixedRateTax.  Note
    # this is a simplification: in reality, you might want to store tax
    # rates and the date ranges they apply in a database table.  Your
    # pricing policy could simply look up the appropriate rate.
    rate = D('0.20')


class UKStrategy(strategy.UseFirstStockRecord, IncludingVAT,
                 strategy.StockRequired, strategy.Structured):
    """
    Typical UK strategy for physical goods.

    - There's only one warehouse/partner so we use the first and only stockrecord
    - Enforce stock level.  Don't allow purchases when we don't have stock.
    - Charge UK VAT on prices.  Assume everything is standard-rated.
    """

Example 2: US sales tax

Here's an example strategy.py module which is suitable for use in the US where taxes can't be calculated until the shipping address is known. You normally need to use a 3rd party service to determine taxes - details omitted here.

from oscar.apps.partner import strategy, prices


class Selector(object):
    """
    Custom selector class to returns a US strategy
    """

    def strategy(self, request=None, user=None, **kwargs):
        return USStrategy()


class USStrategy(strategy.UseFirstStockRecord, strategy.DeferredTax,
                 strategy.StockRequired, strategy.Structured):
    """
    Typical US strategy for physical goods.  Note we use the ``DeferredTax``
    mixin to ensure prices are returned without tax.

    - Use first stockrecord
    - Enforce stock level
    - Taxes aren't known for prices at this stage
    """