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Can Magento Support Dynamic On-Demand or “Virtual” Product Catalog? 
 
dbrisinda
Jr. Member
 
Total Posts:  4
Joined:  2008-07-07
 

I have a question relating to whether Magento supports a dynamic on-demand product catalog. For example, suppose we’re dealing with custom made jewelry, and we have:

Attribute #1: Metal - 10 different types of metals
Attribute #2: Crystal 1 - 10 different crystals to choose from
Attribute #3: Crystal 2 - 10 different crystals to choose from
Attribute #4: Color 1 - 10 different colors for one part of the piece
Attribute #5: Color 2 - 10 different colors for another part of the piece

And this is for a single piece. Let’s say there are 50 different types of pieces (example buckles, earings, necklaces, bracelets etc. etc.)

As you can see that there are 10*10*10*10*10*50 = 5,000,000 different combinations or possible “products.” However none of them actually exist, as all are custom made on demand. So to have SKU’s for each one would be a monumental inventory management task, and kind of a waste of resources. Yet we still need to specify each of these criteria as attributes in a pulldown list, in effect “creating” the product on the fly.

Can Magento support this type of “product catalog”, where all the possible variants do not require the individual products to exist before hand? Perhaps the right name for this type of catalog is a “virtual” product catalog—since they don’t actually exist.

Is this possible?

 
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adimagento
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Total Posts:  626
Joined:  2007-08-29
Los Angeles, CA
 

Check out this video about custom product options
http://www.magentocommerce.com/blog/comments/video-custom-product-options-in-magento-11/

I think this will most likely enable the functionality you are looking for.

 
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dbrisinda
Jr. Member
 
Total Posts:  4
Joined:  2008-07-07
 

Adi,

Thanks for the quick response.

I looked at the video and while that functionality is pretty cool, it’s not really what I’m referring to.

In the video, the user adds several attributes to a product on the fly. However if you watch closely, each attribute is identified with it’s own SKU and therefore each combination is it’s own product. What I’m talking about is something very different: adding product attributes that are *not* tied to a specific product or SKU and that does *not* become it’s own product in the database. In fact, they never exist in the database at all as separate products. They are “options” that need to be specified with the order but are associated with a product “class” SKU, for example. These product “classes” are in the database, on the other hand, and might be identified by “class” SKU’s.

The whole point of this to is alleviate monster inventory management issues when dealing with products with a *lot* of different possible combinations. We don’t actually want to specify them all as individual products—only “virtually.”

I hope I’m making myself understood—this is a little tricky to communicate.

Is this possible?

 
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neil.lunn
Jr. Member
 
Total Posts:  3
Joined:  2008-07-13
 

Hi,

What you seem to be referring to here is something more like a “builder” option if I am not mistaken.

So :

select 1 of 10 choices
select 1 of 20 choices for option 2 etc.

I would think this would be implemented as actually adding 10 SKU’s for option 1 and 20 SKU’s for option 2 etc.

So the customer would see 1 product in the cart and checkout, but your actual order (for build) would comprise of the different SKU’s needed for assembly.

ie Cart : 1 - Gold Band / Emerald

Order:

1 - Gold Band - GB0001
1 - Emerald - ST0002

Does that sound right?

 
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