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Creating a Configurable Product

Overview

Creating an Configurable Product A Configurable product offers the customers a variety of options, which are selected from drop-down lists.  For example, a tee shirt that comes in three colors and three sizes would have two drop-down lists of options for Color and Size.

Although it may appear to be a single product, in this example, there are actually nine associated Simple products to cover every possible combination of options:  Blue (Small, Medium, Large), Green (Small, Medium, Large), and Orange (Small, Medium Large). Each option in the drop-down list represents a separate Simple product with a distinct SKU, which makes it possible to track inventory for any variation the customer selects.

Configurable Product with Drop-Down List
Configurable Product with Drop-Down List

A Configurable product can be used to create a “one-to-many” relationship with the following product type:

Although you could achieve a similar effect using a Simple product with Custom Variants and Options, you would not be able to track inventory for the variations. A Configurable Product does require more SKUs and may initially take a little longer to set up, but it gives you more control of your inventory.

Follow these steps to create a configurable product:

Step 1: Create the “Dropdown” Attributes

Setting Up Product AttributesEach option, or variant, in a drop-down list is based on an attribute that is set up in advance.  A separate attribute is created for each product variation, and contains the selection of options that appears in the drop-down list. This article describes the first step required to create a configurable product for your Magento Go store.

Because attributes exist separately from the product record, they can be shared by other products and product types. For example, if your store already has a “drop-down” attribute for Color, you don’t need to create another one.  All you need to do is update the existing attribute with the colors you need, so they will be available as options.  So, if you have a large catalog with many items that share common attributes, this can represent a significant time savings.

  1. From the Admin panel, select Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attributes. Then, click the Add New button.
  2. In the Attribute Properties section, do the following:
    1. Assign a unique Attribute Code, using lowercase characters with underscores instead of spaces. (This code is for internal use only.)
    2. Set Scope to “Global.”
    3. Set Catalog Input Type for Store Owner to “Dropdown.”
    4. Set Values Required to “Yes.”
    5. Set the Apply To list to “Select Product Types,” Then in the list, select “Simple Product.”
    6. Set Use to Create Configurable Product to “Yes.”

    7. Attribute Properties for Configurable Product
      Attribute Properties for Configurable Product
  3. In the Attribute Information panel on the left, select Manage Label / Options.
  4. In the Manage Titles section under Admin, enter a label for the drop-down list. By default, the same label is used in the Admin panel and store.

    If you want to use a different label in the store, or if your store is available in multiple languages, enter the appropriate label for each.
  5. Manage Titles
    Manage Labels / Options: Manage Titles
  6. In the Manage Options section, click the Add Option button.  Then, do the following:
    1. In the text field under Admin, type the first value you want to appear in the list. By default, the same value is used in the Admin panel and store.
    2. If your store is available in multiple languages, enter the translation of the value in the appropriate text box.
    Repeat this step to add as many options as needed.
  7. To assign a default value for the drop-down list, select Is Default to identify the option you want to use as the initial value.
  8. To change the order in which the options appear in the drop-down list, enter a number in the Position column to set the position of each option in relation to the others.
    Manage Labels / Options
    Manage Labels / Options: Manage Options
  9. When complete, click the Save Attribute button.

Step 2: Create the Attribute Set

Creating an Attribute Set The “drop-down” attributes are included in an Attribute Set, which is used as a template to create both the Configurable product and the associated records for each product variation.

  1. From the Admin panel, select Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attribute Sets. Then, click the Add New Set button.
  2. Assign a Name to the attribute set.
  3. In the Based On list, select an existing attribute set, such as “Default,” to use as a template.  Then, click the Save Attribute Set button.
    Add New Attribute Set
    Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attribute Sets: Add New Set
  4. Starting from the list of Unassigned Attributes, drag and drop each attribute you want to use as a drop-down list to the center column. You can arrange them in any order.
    Unassigned Attributes
    Unassigned Attributes
  5. If you want to group the attributes in a new section of the Product Information panel, do the following:
    1. Click the Add New button.

      Note: If prompted by your browser, select “Temporarily Allow Scripted Windows” to continue.  Then, click the Add New button again.

    2. When prompted, enter a name for the new group. Then, click the OK button.

      The new group appears at the bottom of the Groups column.
      New Attribute Group
      New Attribute Group
    3. Drag and drop each attribute you want to include, over to the new group.
      Dragging Attribute to Group
      Dragging an Attribute to a Group
  6. Click the Save Attribute Set button.

Step 3: Create the Configurable Product Record

Creating the Configurable Product Record The next step is to create the Configurable product record, based on the Attribute Set you prepared, and complete the basic required fields.

  1. From the Admin panel, select Catalog > Manage Products. Then, click the Add Product button.
  2. In the Create Product Settings section, select the Attribute Set you created to be used as a template for the product record.
    Create Product Settings
    Catalog > Manage Products: Add Product - Create Product Settings
  3. Make sure that the Use Complex Product Types checkbox is selected. Then, set Product Type to “Configurable Product,” and click the Continue button.
  4. Complete the Product Information as you would for a Simple product, with the following exceptions:
    • On the Prices tab, the Price is a required field, although the price of individual associated products can be adjusted as needed.
    • On the Inventory tab, Manage Stock is set by default to “No,” because inventory is managed by each associated product.
  5. Click the Save and Continue button.

Step 4: Add the Associated Products

Creating an Attribute Set This article describes the final part of the process of creating a Configurable product for your Magento Go store. In this step, you will add associated products to the Configurable product record for each variation. You don’t have to create the product records in advance, because they can be generated automatically from within the Configurable product record, using one of the following methods:

  • Quick Simple Product Creation
  • Create Empty
  • Copy From Configurable

Each associated product is based on the same Attribute Set that was used to create the Configurable product record, and becomes a separate Simple product in your catalog.

Here’s Where to Begin:

  1. From the Configurable product record, in the Product Information panel on the left, select the last option, Associated Products.
  2. Then, use one of the following methods to add associated products.

Method 1: Quick Simple Product Creation

This method automatically creates the associated product records and optionally, assigns a Name and SKU to each one.

  1. In the Quick Simple Product Creation section, make sure that the Autogenerate checkbox is selected for Name and SKU. This optional setting adds the name and SKU from each associated product to those of the configurable product.
  2. Complete these fields as follows:
    1. Enter the Weight.
    2. Set Status to “Enabled.”
    3. Set Visibility to “Not Visible Individually.”
      This setting prevents the associated product variations from being listed as separate products in your catalog.
    Quick Simple Product Creation
    Quick Simple Product Creation

  3. To complete the fields for the drop-down lists, do the following:
    1. Select the value you need from each list to create the first product.
    2. Enter the Qty,, and set Stock Availability to “In Stock.”
    3. Click the Quick Create button to create the associated product record.
    Repeat this step for the values needed for each associated product.  As each associated products is created, it is added to the list at the bottom of the page.

Method 2: Create Empty

This method opens a blank Product Information form, which you can complete for each associated product.

  1. In the Create Simple Associated Product section, click the Create Empty button.  A pop-up window with a blank Product Information form appears.
  2. Complete the required fields as you would for any Simple product.
  3. Click the Save button to add the associated product to the Configurable product record.

Method 3: Copy from Configurable

This method opens a Product Information form that contains the values already entered for the Configurable product.  The only fields that need to be completed are the Name, SKU, and values for each drop-down list.

  1. In the Create Simple Associated Product section, click the Copy From Configurable button. A pop-up window with the basic Product Information from the Configurable product appears.
  2. Complete the following required fields:
    • SKU
    • Weight
  3. Complete the fields with values for each drop-down list.
  4. Click the Save button to add the associated product to the Configurable product record.

Increasing the Default Price

You can use the Super Products Attributes section to increase the default price of an associated product. The price of the associated product will continue to appear in the Admin panel. From the store, the item will have a zero value unless you enter a new price as either a fixed amount or as a percentage of the default price of the Configurable product.

Super Product Attribute Configuration
Super Product Attributes Configuration

Step 5: Manage Shopping Cart Images

Managing Images for a Configurable Product The thumbnail in the shopping cart can be set to display the image from the Configurable product record (Parent Product Thumbnail), or the image from the associated product (Product Thumbnail Itself).  This setting is especially useful when you want to show the specific color of the item selected.  The configuration setting applies to all Configurable products in the store, or current view.

Parent Product Thumbnail in Shopping Cart
Parent Product Thumbnail in Shopping Cart

To configure the thumbnail images:

  1. From the Admin panel, select System > Configuration.
  2. In the Configuration panel on the left, under Sales, select Checkout.
  3. In the Shopping Cart section, set Configurable Product Image to one of the following:
    • Product Thumbnail Itself
    • Parent Product Thumbnail
  4. Click the Save Config button to save the setting.
Shopping Cart Image Configuration
System > Configuration: Sales – Shopping Cart

See also:

Additional Configurable Product Settings

Points to Remember

  • A Configurable Product is essentially a collection of Simple products which are presented as options in drop-down lists.
  • The drop-down list values are based on Attributes that must be set up in advance with required settings. The attribute Scope must be set to Global, and Use to Create Configurable Product must be True.  The drop-down Attributes must be included in an Attribute Set, which is then used as a template for the Configurable Product.
  • The Simple products associated with a Configurable Product cannot include Custom Variants or Options, and must be based on the same Attribute Set that is used to create the Configurable product.  The associated products can be generated automatically from inside with Configurable product record.
  • The image of the product that appears during checkout can be set to display either the “Parent Image” or the “Product Thumbnail Itself.”