The ability to group products together for your web store offers benefits both to the customer viewing your site AND efficiencies to you when maintaining your Product information:
- Search and Product pages are uncluttered and easier to navigate
- Your customers can see available size/colour variations on the one x Product page
- You only have to maintain ONE Product. For Products that come in multiple variations (such as sizes and colours) you can chose to display the product only ONCE on your web store - with a drop-down selection available for the variations. These variations are called Attributes.
Using the ManufacturerSKU in Retail Express, you can group your products together on your website automatically.
Each Product with an identical ManufacturerSKU will be grouped - while you still maintain a unique SupplierSKU for each Product.
When you group your products using the ManufacturerSKU, your web store will create the following products:
The "parent" of the group, and the product that needs to be maintained. This is the only one that will be displayed to the visitors to your site. The visibility setting for this product is "Catalogue, Search".
The product SKU code created on the web store will be POS-ManufacturerSKU (using the data synchronised from Retail Express).
The individual product/s as per Retail Express, containing information on pricing and inventory levels. These products will be hidden from the from visitors, they will only see the configurable product. Products in a group have the visibility of "Not Visible individually".
The code that will be created on the web store will be POS-ProductID.
(Note that if products are synchronised that aren't part of a group they will also be created as "Simple Products", but will have the visibility of "Catalogue, Search".)
Example: Using the screenshot above, when the group with ManufacturerSKU = 'A1000' are synchronised, the web store will create:
- 1 x Configurable Product (the parent product. Note: the SKU will be the ManufacturerSKU)
- 6 x Simple (individual) products. The Simple Products provide the Configurable Product with the Attribute options in the drop downs (e.g. size and/or colour. Note: the SKU will be the SupplierSKU)
Considerations when Grouping Products:
- Any product in Retail Express that does not have a ManufacturerSKU will NOT grouped, and a Simple Product will be created only.
- Any product that is grouped in Retail Express by ManufacturerSKU needs to have a unique size/colour variation. Products without unique size/colour variation will display an error during the synchronisation of the web site. Example: you cannot have two products grouped that are both Blue in colour and size 10.
- If you have multiple websites:
- If you have multiple websites and your Simple Products are grouped using a ManufacturerSKU, ALL of these Simple Products MUST be together on the same web site.
- Example: it's not possible to only have certain variations available on Site 1, and certain variations on Site 2. It would be all variations on both site 1 and 2 (or one or the other). Please contact Support should you require more clarification for multiple website use.
You can update the ManufacturerSKU for your products in Retail Express either by editing them individually, or by using the Mass Upload feature.
Grouping Products Together
Take the following products as an example:
These products will need to be created in Retail Express in the following manner:
(The Mass Download spreadsheet is displayed, further information can be found on this process in the article Create or Edit Products by Mass Upload and Mass Download)
|ManufacturerSKU||This is where you enter the Style Code / Number. Note that ALL the "Plain Polo Shirt" products share the same code.|
|SupplierSKU||The unique code for each product, commonly the barcode. This field is mandatory for all Retail Express Back Office products|
|Short Description||This field is mandatory for all Retail Express Back Office products. Note: The configurable product will adopt the information of the first product in the group|
|Size||Each size variant of a product requires its own line (or row as above) in Retail Express Back Office, allowing for accurate quantity reporting.|
|Colour||Each colour variant of a product requires its own line (or row as above) in Retail Express Back Office, allowing for accurate quantity reporting.|
Grouping by a single attribute:
If you don't want to group the products by colour and prefer to only group them by size, modify the ManufacturerSKU for each colour variation. e.g. to group all the oranges together the code would be A1000-Orange, to group all the blues together the code would be A1000-Blue. Using these ManufacturerSKU arrangements, the products would be grouped separately on the site by colour. Upon loading the product page only a "Size" drop down box would be displayed.
Tip: ensure to follow the steps to Enable a Product to Display on your Web Store for EACH Product.
Note: If you enter the wrong Style Code for a product, and correct it later, you will need to delete the configurable product from the web store, and a new one will be created upon the next synchronisation.
Products are associated to the group by the ManufacturerSKU. If this code is ever changed it will break the link with the parent Configurable Product on the web store.
Warning: by changing/removing the ManufacturerSKU it will break the link with the web store and no further updates will take place. The product will not be removed from the group.
There is no communication between the two products from that point on, and the individual product will not be removed from the Configurable Product group.
If there's a new ManufacturerSKU against the product in Retail Express, any changes to the product will only be communicated to the new Configurable Product.
When changing the ManufacturerSKU in Retail Express the following process needs to be followed:
- Update the ManufacturerSKU in Retail Express
- Manually remove the product from the Configurable Product on the web store
The instructions for each of these steps are covered further below.
Update ManufacturerSKU in Retail Express
The ManufacturerSKU will need to be updated in Retail Express to ensure that the product doesn't inadvertently get re-added to the group in Magento. Depending on the requirements, the ManufacturerSKU should be adjusted as follows:
|The product shouldn't be in a group at all||
The ManufacturerSKU should either remain blank in Retail Express, or set to a unique combination not shared by any other product.
If the ManufacturerSKU is updated to a code that matches another product in Retail Express, the integration will attempt to create another Configurable Product in Magento during the next synchronisation.
|The product should be added to a new group||
Update the ManufacturerSKU to the code used by the new group. Ensure the product has a unique size/colour combination to avoid any synchronisation errors.
|The product shouldn't synchronise at all||
Untick "Export to Web Service" in Retail Express and follow the steps for removing a product from the web store.
Remove product from Configurable Product in Magento
The steps below cover disassociating the individual product from the Configurable Product in Magento. Until these steps are followed the product will remain associated to the group in Magento, and may conflict with any other valid products trying to synchronise with that Configurable Product.
- Open the Magento admin panel
- Navigate to Products > Inventory > Catalog
- Find the Configurable Product from the product list and open it for editing (note: this is for the group the product is to be removed from)
- Navigate to the Configurations tab
- In the list of products associated to the group locate the individual product to be removed
- Click the Select option on the row and select Remove Product
- Click Save to save the changes
Frequently Asked Questions
There are two options available:
- A Configurable Product gets it's name from the first variant grouped by Style Code. Rename the first size/colour variant of the Configurable Product in Retail Express. You can determine the first variant based on the Product ID order.
- Enter a generic name into Custom 1, 2 or 3 fields in Retail Express Product information. Then update the mapping: Stores > SkyLink > Configuration. Once that's done, perform a Product Synchronisation - this will update all Products to use the Custom Attribute field as the name.
If you try to add a product to the group and a matching combination is found online the Synchronisation Tool will report an error.
To resolve the issue:
- Check Retail Express for any matching size/colour variations with that ManufacturerSKU (use the Product Search & Management tool to search for products with that ManufacturerSKU); if there are no duplicates:>
- Check the Associated Products (follow the steps in the "Changing ManufacturerSKU/Removing products from the group" section above
If you have a single product synchronised to your Web Store, as well all know this will create a simple product.
Just like if you have multiple products with the same ManufacturerSKU this will create a Configurable product for the group.
However, what happens if you have a single product synchronising, and then you add other options in Retail Express and synchronise them as well?
In short, you will have both the simple and the configurable product displaying on the front end.
This is because of the visibility. Magento will only ever update the visibility automatically at the point that the product is created, depending on whether it's a single or configurable product.
By having the simple product displayed at first and then changing it to a configurable by adding other options, the original simple product will still be selectable on it's own.
To display only the Configurable product:
- Navigate to Products > Inventory > Catalog
- Search for the product group using the filters
- Tick the products that are showing incorrectly and should be hidden
- Click the Actions button and select Update Attributes
- Find the Visibility field, tick Change and select "Not Visible Individually"
- Click Save
By default, Magento will hide any out-of-stock options for products. For example, where a shirt is available in sizes 10, 12 and 14, if the size 14 is out of stock the shirt will only display sizes 10 and 12 to the customers.
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