3. Products Management - fmProducts
A primary goal, of an online business, is to make sure that your customer can find the product(s) that he, or she, needs. This is the result of regularly updated product information, that provides a full description, and other pertinent data, applicable to the product. To achieve this important management goal, it is imperative that you organize and streamline all relevant information, such as prices, stock levels, and other possible aspects of your products. Store Manager for Magento assists you in attaining this goal, with a powerful product management system that facilitates, and expedites, the handling of your online store inventory.
The Products section of this Module displays a list of products, and their associated data, organized and presented in a tabular format. You can arrange the way your products are displayed, by choosing to filter the information, based upon a selected category, or to show all, possibly grouped by some further designated criteria. Store Manager facilitates making mass changes to your products via the 'show all' grouped filter, through which you can see all data in a single view. Additionally, helpful 'hints' provide you with valuable information, to help arrange your Products View in a way that works best for you, and a way that promotes optimal efficiency and effectiveness, in accomplishing your operations.
A helpful tool-bar, with all basic, and some extended options, provides shortcuts that assist in managing the products in your Store. Or, you may export products into an Excel file, perform further processing on the information, then re-import the updated data into your Magento Store(s), or another application. You may also perform additional management operations upon your Magento products, such as updating product quantities, prices, or other data, possibly using a file from your Supplier.
Before we actually begin creating products, let’s examine the product types that Magento offers, and discuss their differences. The Magento product types available for creation are: Simple, Configurable, Grouped, Virtual, Downloadable and Bundle.
Let’s begin with the Simple product type, as this is the foundation for both Configurable and Grouped Products. A Simple product is just as its name implies, it is the simplest product type that's available to sell on your website. Its attributes are determined by you, the Store Owner, or other designated product Creator. The attributes must consist of System attributes (which are required of all products), and can also have User created attributes, as well. A Simple Product example would be a suit jacket. It is presented on your website as a standalone item. As the Store Owner, or Product Creator, you define that it is black, with three buttons on the front (as well as any other attributes that you may desire to assign). When customers display the page for the product, they will see the item, with its color and button count specified in the 'Product Information' section. Unless other attributes are specified, the only option will be whether, or not, to buy this item.
A Configurable product provides additional options for Customer interaction. Let's Stick with our example, using the suit jacket (a Simple Product) as the starting foundation for our first Configurable Product. In addition to this jacket style, you also offer slightly different versions, that are based on the original jacket: There may be a navy blue version, as well as one with four buttons on the front, available in black and navy. If you create three new Simple Products (navy/three buttons, black/four buttons, and navy/four buttons), and only use the Simple Product attribute, the result would be four product pages, one for each combination of color and buttons. However, by choosing the Configurable Product type, the four pages will be consolidated into one, with User configurable options. The end result is that your Customer is guaranteed to find the exact jacket they desire, while simultaneously making navigating your Site as easy and efficiently as possible.
Again, the process involves creating four Simple suit jacket types, and subsequently creating a Configurable suit jacket type, associating the four Simple suit jacket products with it. You will not specify the color, or button count of the Configurable Product during the creation process. Rather, these will be offered as Customer specifiable options, which will be made available during the purchase process. It is a Configurable Product because your Customers will 'configure' these attributes themselves. You may optionally choose not to display any of the four Simple Products individually on your Site, but rather only make them available as choices displayed via the Configurable Product. Customers, instead of seeing the attributes listed in the 'Product Information' section, will have displayed a drop-down list for 'Color' (with options for black or navy), and a drop-down list for 'Button Count' (with the option to select three, or four). The combination of attributes selected determines which of the four Simple Product(s) the Customer is actually purchasing, and designates to Magento which Simple Product(s) to place in the Shopping Cart. The Configurable Product is therefore not a product at all, but rather a convenient feature used to display multiple Simple Products, as one Product, with Customer 'configurable' options.
A Grouped Product is very similar to a Configurable Product. It also displays multiple Simple Products on one Product page, but in a different fashion, and for a different purpose. Continuing with our suit jacket example, and focusing on the classic black, three button design, you also offer matching slacks and vests, which, worn together, comprises the venerable 'Three-Piece Suit'. If each item were sold as a Simple Product, it would necessitate three separate pages, one for each piece. But, offering the pieces together, as part of a set, can be easily accomplished, using the Grouped Products feature. Simply create a Grouped Product, assigning it the title Three-Piece Suit, and associate all three Simple Products with it. On your Website, the Product page will display general information for the Grouped Product, and will also display the three Simple Products individually, in a list (and possibly with a photo), each with its own quantity field. The Customer is encouraged to purchase all of the pieces together (as a set), but retain the option to buy the pieces individually (you can actually force them to buy all three pieces together, but we will get into that later on!).
A Virtual product is a product that, for all intents and purposes, has no physical manifestation. It rather acts as a placeholder, guarantee, or representation of an actual product, or service. Typical examples could be insurance, an assigned ticket number representing a booking to a concert, or other event, a product maintenance agreement, or warranty, etc. It is often an addition to the initial basic purchase, that does not require shipping, or physical delivery, as it only exists in a virtual space. It is a non-physical guarantee, that secures a present, or future expression of some tangible entity, or offering
Bundled products consist of two, or more, Simple products, that are combined into a new, aggregated product entity, with its own separate identity. An example would be a custom configured computer offering, A Vendor may choose a specific, or customized selection of the number, or type, of components. These may include: memory cards, the speed, and type of processor, the number, and size of the hard drives, etc. In addition, the size and type of peripherals, such as Monitor(s) or Printer(s), may be specified. The aggregation of the constituent Simple products are accumulated collectively to constitute a combined, or bundled set, with its own ubiquitous identity..
A Downloadable product is just as its name implies. It is a product that may be purchased (or made available for free), and immediately delivered via download, typically through an Online Store on The Internet. The downloaded product may be a software program (PowerPoint, SoftMaker Presentations, Corel, etc.), programs for performing updates, or patches, music files, audio books, etc. They do not require shipping or other forms of carriage.
Gift card - a certain amount of money accumulated in one certificate in the form of a specific character set (code) and can be presented or redeemed by the customer for making a purchase on special conditions.
Additional information may be obtained via the article links, listed below:
See the video tutorial on Products Management in Store Manager - filtering, change attribute type of multiple products in a bulk and other bulk operations by using the toolbar's options: