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A suggestion about product, category, store structure. 
Jr. Member
Total Posts:  20
Joined:  2007-10-13

First, I think that you guys are really great for developing Magento. This is going to set a new standard for this type of application which others will have to meet. I also know that when you open a door to let people ask for “things”, the door comes off the hinges fairly quickly. 

Having worked in retail most of my adult life, i understand the brick and mortar “model” as well as anyone else does. To a customer/user, they travel to a single location (the store) where upon they are “presented” the store as they make eye contact as they approach, park, and walk in. Search behavior sets in either to fulfill a need or to find a need. In a brick and mortar store, the physical products are gathered together by relatedness to from categories, as such all sport pants (Dockers) together, which might be place next to jeans. this is the traditional arrangement. In large stores, “outposting” or “shops’ might be created where, for example, a tee shirt shop might be created and might also carry a selection of jeans and belts and shoes to create a “look” or “story”, to cater to the young, hip, skateboard, thrasher types. this would probably be given some lame name thought up some person who has long since forgotten what hip and cool was to a teenager. But, the presentation of products is sound.  The outpost might be large, as in a tee shirt shop, or small as pile of crap at the checkout. Also, I might have store in the working class which might sell the most of the same products as my suburban mall store. But maybe not all of them, or in the same quantities.

The point being to all of this is that there are two needs trying to be fulfilled in the brick and mortar model. One is to provide a means to allow customers to find a product. The other is to increase sales to customers by smart product placement within a physical area or location. One is driven by customer, the other by the store. The only limit to outposting is the quantity of product the store has on hand.

On the web, there is no limit to product placement. There is no limit to store presentation. the model for web retailing has been “make the website work like the store” Those who have broken this model have been rewarded.

An application, such as Magento, is a tool box. the tools contained in it allow the business owner/admin whatever latitude and limitations he can find. and, since Magento is in such an early phase, I believe it is to Magento’s advantage to reexamine how products are associated and collected to from a presentation and eventual sale.

The current model where there is one website which might have a english, german, etc, store within that website is going to be a big limitation. I believe that a product should be listed in an inventory table and should have possible categories it could be placed in (hammer in tools category).  But a store (a presentation model) should be created where by all attributes of the presentation could be set. For example, Radcliff’s, a hiking, biking, climbing store could have one table where store owner, store info could be contained along with available language options, pricing options, user options, etc. Then, Radcliff’s categories table could be created. and then Radcliff’s product inventory table by sku could be created.

Magento isn’t just a shopping cart. It has presentation, buyer selection, and then carting. Once a product is place in a cart, then the process and purpose change and a new set of tools come in to play, all of which have the goal of getting the products within the cart to the customer and record a sale. And the development of carting tools is quite impressive. i think, however, that putting thought into the presentation/selection side now is going to pay off later for Magento. The presentation side should allow for flexibility beyond the traditional ecommerce model, and the presentation should be up the the user/owner and not be driven by total product inventory with language options. And the cart should be able to keep up with user selection croos store or various presentations, aka cross carting. 

I hope you all at Magento will give this some thought, and not think of it as adding a feature such as Google check out, or some shipping or currency function. But think about how this could bring a new ideas about how things can be sold on the internet and the freedom to bring those ideas to life.

Thanks for your time and consideration.

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