Magento 2 gives merchants a variety of product types that they can use to build their product catalogues with. In this article a member of our Magento 2 development team is going to explore configurable products.
What is a configurable product in Magento 2?
Now let us take a look at a scenario of when we could use a configurable product. If a merchant sells a t shirt that comes in multiple sizes, rather than displaying every size of that same t shirt on a category page, those sizes can be grouped together as a single product. When the user lands on the product page they can then view all of the available size options and select the size they would like to buy.
A configurable product in Magento 2 is a product type that gives the user one or more options that they can use to configure the product before adding it to their basket. Configurable products are made up of multiple simple products. We explain what simple products are in an earlier article in this series.
The benefit of using configurable products is that it makes it easier for customers to find the products they are looking for when viewing your category and search pages. If you displayed every size of a shirt on these pages, the customer would have to search through multiples of the same product. This would feel like hard work and we want to make it as easy as possible for your users to find what they are looking for.
When should you use a configurable product?
When designing your product catalogue, configurable products should be used to group similar products that are differentiated by specific attributes. For example size and colour, can be used as configurable options.
If your category or search result pages contain duplicate product images then maybe look to see if these can be combined into a configurable product. This will aid your users in finding the products that they are looking for.
How do you create a configurable product?
In order to create a configurable product in Magento 2, your product catalogue must contain the simple products that are to be associated with the configurable. You must also ensure that you have configurable attributes set on each of the simple products so that Magento knows which configurable option is linked to which simple product.
If you have your simple products created and configured correctly, then you’re ready to create the configurable product. Once logged in, navigate to the products grid. If you click on the arrow next to the ‘Add Product’ button, you will see a link appear that reads ‘Configurable Product’. Configurable products are created in the same way as simple products. The only difference when creating a configurable product is that you have to associate the simples with the configurable. These can be associated using the UI under the ‘Configuration’ tab. Here you are also able to generate simple products if you have not created these already.
Configurable Product Functionality
Configurable products in Magento 2 come with a number of brilliant features out of the box that will improve your user experience. In this part of this article we will highlight each of these features.
When you configure a product via some form of colour attribute, you can display colour swatches on both the category and product pages. When creating the attribute values you can set either a colour hex code or upload an image that is to be displayed for that value on the frontend.
Auto Product Image Switching
After the customer has selected which option they’d like, the image on the product page will change to display the image of the selected option. The product image changes to the image uploaded to the simple product that the user selected. This feature only works if the associated simple products have images uploaded to them. This feature also works in the same way on the category pages.
Image switching is also used on the category pages when a user selects a filter from the layered navigation. For example, imagine you are viewing a category displaying a number of t-shirts that all come in multiple colours. When the user selects a colour filter on this page, all configurable products that have that colour option available will switch the product image to match the colour of the filter selected. This ensures that the category is completely tailored to the users request and can boost conversion rates.
Using configurable products is a great way to simplify your product catalogue. It makes it easier for your customers to find what they are looking for. With auto image switching enabled, you are also able to display to the user the variation that they are looking for. This will increase add to basket rates on your site.
If you require assistance designing and creating your product catalogue in Magento 2, please reach out to us today. Foundation Commerce is a small team of certified Magento 2 developers ready to assist you with your project. We can provide you with all the information and training you need so you can ensure that your product catalogue is fully optimised for your customers.