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Magento product types explained

by: Tim Richardson

on: 28th November, 2017

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I remember the first time that I started using Magento, I wasn’t given much instruction on how to use beyond the basics of a simple product, (I don’t think they knew much more).

From learning how to add my first Magento product to now being a lot more familiar with how the CMS works, I thought I’d write a short guide explaining the Magento product types, what they do and some examples of what situation you might use them in.

Simple product

The simplest of all the product types (hence the name), this basic product allows you to specify all the basics that it will need:

  • Product name
  • Price
  • SKU
  • Availability
  • Stock quantity
  • Images
  • Product description (content)
  • Related, up-sell and cross-sell products

There are more options, but this covers the essentials that a product should have, this all makes your basic product.

You will find that simple products are the only product with a stock quantity, this is because this is the basis for the other product types – configurable, grouped and bundle.

Each option on a configurable, grouped ans bundle product will link back to a simple product, allowing you to stock manage the options.

When do I use this?
You’d use the simple product type for, well, a simple product. It’s a one style or type product such as a lamp, that you only stock in a single size and colour.

simple-product-backpack-magento
Simple Magento product

 

Configurable product

This product will have multiple options which you will allow customers to choose from, this can range from a single option to multiple, as long as they’re variations of the same product.

When do I use this?
Imagine you are selling t-shirts, you have these in three different colours – Black, Orange, Red.

You want to display this on the website as one product rather than three separate ones – this is where you’d use a configurable product.

t-shirt-configurable-product-colours-magento
Simple product with colour variation

 
You could also do this for variations like size and even have both variation options on the same product.
 
t-shirt-configurable-product-colour-size-magento
Simple product with colour and size variation

 
So what makes this different from a simple product with custom options?

The key comes down to stock management, a simple product has a single stock amount that would be applied to all the options. This would not allow you to manage stock for each individual size or colour.

All three of your t-shirt colours are tied to one stock availability from the simple product. This is how a configurable product works.

Magento-how-configurable-product-works

So each option is made up of a simple product, each with their own stock quantities, allowing you to manage each of the stock – this is the same for how grouped and bundle products work).

You can set up the simple products from within the configurable product, you don’t have to create them separately beforehand.

Grouped product

Similar to a configurable product in that it’s a multi-option product, it differs by allowing you to list multiple products that people would want to buy together.

When do I use this?
Let’s say you sell yoga supplies, one line of items you sell are yoga straps in various sizes:

  • 6 foot straps.
  • 8 foot straps.
  • 10 foot straps.

So why not add these as a configurable products?

The reason you would use a grouped product would be when you’ll likely want a selection of each items. A grouped product allows them to specify how many of each variation you want, then add them all to basket simultaneously.

grouped-product-yoga-straps-magento
Magento grouped product

 

Bundle product

This is fairly self explanatory, it’s a bundle of products, so if you wanted to sell a bundle of yoga items, where you can choose a Stasis ball, Foam yoga brick and Yoga strap.

Each of the parts that makes up the yoga set then has an options like the image below.

yoga-bundle-product-magento
Magento bundle product options

When do I use this?
Whenever you have a bundle you want to sell, particularly if there are multiple options that can make up the set, for example:

If you sold a TV, Blu-Ray set – You have a choice of TV’s to choose from, a choice of Blu-Ray players and Film to choose from, you’d set this is up as a bundle and let customers choose what they want.

There are multiple way you could display a bundle product with drop down boxes, radio buttons, check boxes, multi-select, depending on what’s appropriate.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the different product types available in Magento and can

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