Magento Product Types. What is Magento Configurable Product in plain words?
Date: September 29th, 2012
Magento shopping cart offers its users unique ability to create and manage different types of products for various needs and purposes of store owners. Generally, there are 6 main types of Magento products and they can be divided into 2 main groups - one-component products (simple, virtual and downloadable products) and complex ones - grouped, bundled and Magento configurable products.
Its easy to understand why do you need different product types, as some products need be sold separately like a piece of art (for example a picture of famous artist exists only in one copy, which is ready-made and is sold “as is” without any additional options to choose); in their turn complex products very often are sold in combination (like Furniture set that consists of separate parts: chairs, couch, pouf) or with options to choose from (T-Shirt of different options for size and color).
Complex Magento products consist of multiple components displayed at one page. Complex products gain more and more popularity and the main reason of this is the fact that they are made of several constituent parts listed in one page for free selection and convenient use of potential buyers. While sellers may control their stock, prices, images of each part of the complex product separately.
From the group of complex products, the leading place takes Magento configurable product, so in this article it will be dwelled on the essence of Magento configurable product, the purpose and advantages of its usage.
What exactly is Magento Configurable Product?
Magento configurable product is particularly general basis of the product, which has options need to be chosen from the drop-downs placed at the same page. You may say that same thing can be achieved with options that can be selected from the dropdown (so called attributes in most shopping carts), but that’s not true. Let me explain you why.
The easiest example is clothing. You have the product T-shirt (basis), but you cannot buy it not having chosen size: S, M, L and color you like - white, yellow or blue (those are the options offered). So generally, the product becomes available for purchase only when options are chosen. It is vitally important to have the exact size and color of the product in your stock and not to sell the one that you do not have at the moment, thus have disappointed customer that will not come back to your store further.
What is the purpose of Magento Configurable Product Usage?
The general aim of creation Magento Configurable Product is the simplification of search and selection of the necessary product for end-user. Lets say, your customer have found at your web-site T-Shirt from exactly that designer he was looking for. What for to compel your potential client to spend another few hours to idly browse through the whole web-site looking for correct combination of size and color of that product he/she needs. With Magento Configurable Product all the combinations that may suit your client’s requirements are placed at the same product page. In this way you don’t show all the different sizes and colors of your T-shirt as separate products, but you have one product with combinations available for selection at the very same page of that one general product.
What are the advantages of Magento Configurable Product?
First of all, using Magento Configurable Product your customers won’t have to search for necessary product combination browsing long hours through your catalog pages cluttered with the same products. Instead of seeing 6 separate products: T-Shirt S blue, T-Shirt M blue, T-Shirt L blue, T-Shirt S yellow, T-Shirt M yellow, T-Shirt L yellow, the buyer while browsing your website, we see: T-Shirt with 2 drop-downs: size and color.
This may seem to you not a very big deal, but not in case when you’ve got thousands of products. People who browse your huge store will be tired from the search of desired product much quicker in case they see tens of the same product, but in different combinations. If it happens you have all chances to loose the customer quicker than he founds necessary combination.
The second advantage of Magento Configurable Product is smart and convenient placement of your product options. Namely, at the same product page, you’ll see a nice and easy dropdowns to select the size and color. Also if the client chooses yellow color from the drop-down, the image of the product will also be changed to yellow, which is really good for visualisation and helps your client to have general notion about how his future purchase will look like and respectively, it may influence him/her to make a final decision and place the order faster.
By choosing options available, the consumer will adapt the purchase to his/her requirements and make it more personalized, so you as store owner will have more chances that it will be purchased and you gain profit.
Another strong side of Magento Configurable Product is that you will never sell the product that you do not actually have in your stock, since configurable product is basically one item that is shown as model, but variants client chooses from drop-downs correspond to actual existing products you physically have at warehouse, however, they are hidden from your customers’ eyes not to bother them with superfluous items.
So when you are running off stock lets say of yellow T-Shirts of size S, then this option will not be visible in drop-downs for your clients and for them it will not be possible to place an order of exactly that shirt of mentioned color and size. In this way you as store owner protect your reputation and can be certain that you won’t have furious clients which cannot receive their orders because you actually do not have the product in stock.
One more asset of having configurable product at your store is the fact that its general price can be calculated basing on the price of the original configurable product. There is no need for you to set separate prices for each simple product which serves as variant and combination of general configurable product. By means for price mark-ups you will be able to set profit margin for each variant of selection, for example yellow T-Shirt will cost $10 more than white one.
What particularly is done when Magento Configurable Product is created?
When we create configurable product we particularly gather all combinations of the same product around one main Magento configurable product. Each unique item that belongs to the configurable product is simple product that you physically have in your stock. If you have T-Shirt in 3 sizes and 3 colors, then you need to have 1 configurable products T-Shirt linked to 9 simple products, which are the sets of unique combinations. Important is that if you have the T-Shirts blue S, white M and yellow L sizes, your customer will not be able to order blue t-shirt of XXXL size.
Having investigated the essence and main advantages of Magento configurable product, it can be described as one general precast unit that holds product combinations tightly related together.
It just sounds difficult , but actually, it is very easy even for newbies. The main thing here is to choose smart way to easy create those configurable products. Exactly with the aim of simplification of the process of creating Magento configurable product, the application called Store Manager for Magento was developed.
Check related articles with step-by-step guidance and detailed explanation on how to create and manage Magento configurable products in no time and with minimum efforts:http://www.mag-manager.com/useful-articles/tipstricks/what-is-magento-configurable-product-how-to-create-magento-configurable-product