Magento’s configurable products are great. But I’ve run into some things about them that I do not like. If you are just selecting colors, sizes, or simple options where the price doesn’t change, or it changes very little, then configurable products are awesome. When you run into an instance where there are significant price differences, then configurable products can really stink.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you’ve got some large rolls of paper being sold. There are 3 different sizes of the same paper. The 32″ is $365.95, the 40″ is $411.30, and the 48″ is $486.73. If you aren’t that familiar with configurable products, you have to set a price for the configurable product, then if any of the options have a higher price, you have to figure out the math and add the difference. So, in this situation, if I set my configurable product to $365.95, I would have to mark the 40″ as $45.35. So, the pull down would say something like ’42” (+45.35)’. I wouldn’t know the true price until I selected the 42″. And, if the price ever changes for any of these different sizes, I have to do the math every time and I can only update the prices through the configurable product. The prices for the simple products have no effect for a configurable product. Understand the issue here?
So – there’s a better option, namely, grouped products. Grouped products do act differently, but once you figure them out, I really like using them for situations like this. Grouped products are mainly meant to “group” different products together. Magento’s example is if you are buying a men’s suit. You’ll need a jacket, pants, button-down, tie, etc. You can group all those together. This is beneficial because you can not only sell a single button-down shirt individually, but you can also sell that same shirt (same SKU) in a suit set and still maintain the SKU, price, etc. just with one simple product.
In our situation though – we can conform our grouped product to have basically the same “product” in a sense, but just different sizes. So, we can make our simple products for the 32″, 40″, and 48″ rolls of paper, set them all to have visibility of “nowhere”, and associate them with our grouped product, and then you’ve got a “single” product with 3 different sizes of paper with a nice display of how much the different sizes cost. So – if the price changes for the 48″, simple change the price for the 48″ simple product and the grouped product shows the new price.
So, if you’ve been frustrated with configurable products that have different or odd price differences, consider trying a grouped product.