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Why have an SKU attribute for configurable and grouped products? 
 
balero
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As I’ve been entering test data into our Magento installation I’ve been forced to enter an SKU for configurable products, even though that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I finally went to the attributes settings for SKU and discovered that I could make it optional for product types, although the default for this is manditory for all product types.

Is there any reason to have an SKU for configurable or grouped products? How about virtual or downloadable?

And what about other attributes like Price and Tax Class? Shouldn’t all attributes other than the name and description type stuff, and associated products, be drawed from the products that make up a configurable product?

 
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balero
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Halfway through hand-entering test product data, I went and went and change the definition of the SKU attribute so that

Catalog > Attributes > Attribute Information > Attribute Properties > Values Required

was set to No, not the default Yes for Grouped Produce and Configurable Product (leaving it at Yes for the other product types.

Then I was able to finish adding some test data without being forced to enter a bogus (I assume) SKU value for configurable products (until someone explains why they need an SKU when they are abstractions of actual concrete products.

Later I exported my products and saw the earlier products that had the imaginary SKUs and decide to delete those SKU values.

It appears to be impossible to do this.

If I have Values Required as Yes, the system requires an SKU. If I have it set to No, the SKU input area is no longer displayed at all to edit in

Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attributes > Product Information > General

“Not required” means not required, not “required to be not”: Why is it not letting me see and edit that field?

I guess I have to either delete it and recreate it, or dump the data, edit it in a spreadsheet, and reimport it.

 
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balero
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Well, even when I change the SKU attrubute to not be required, when I try to import products, the configurable products don’t import if there is no SKU.

Starting profile execution, please wait…
Warning: Please don’t close window during importing/exporting data
Starting Mage_Dataflow_Model_Convert_Parser_Csv :: parse
Found 27 rows
Starting catalog/convert_adapter_product :: parse
Skip import row, required field “sku” not defined
Skip import row, required field “sku” not defined
Skip import row, required field “sku” not defined
Skip import row, required field “sku” not defined
Skip import row, required field “sku” not defined
Processed 100% 27/27 records
Imported 22 records
Finished profile execution.

 
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paravista
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The whole Magento shop is based on SKUs. In fact any attribute combination results into a news product and therefore needs its unique SKU.
E.g. T-Shirt: size M, colour black of course is a different product than T-Shirt: size L, colour blue. So why should these 2 products share one single SKU?
Having only one single SKU you could never tell which product.

It is quite common to have some base SKU for T-shirts and add size an color code.
Let’s say T-Shirts base is: 500025
Then the black M could be: 500025-blue-m
and the blue L: 500025-black-black-l

Hope you understand now why a SKU is generally necessary.

I am not 100%, but I guess virtual products don’t need any SKU further than the base product itself.

Michael

 
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balero
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Thanks, Mike, but I think you’re misunderstanding me. Of course every unique physical or virtual product needs an SKU. But configurable products are not unique physical or virtual products. They are groupings of multiple products for the purpose of presentation in the front end. They are not actually products, except to the extent that Varien decided to use that word for them.

If you have black and white T-shirts in small, medium and large, you have six actual products:

- Small black T-shirt
- Medium black T-shirt
- Large black T-shirt
- Small white T-shirt
- Medium white T-shirt
- Large white T-shirt

In Magento you first create those. And then you say, Hey, the T-shirt design/pattern is the same, so it would be convenient to present these products to users on a single page, with the size and colors as options. So you create a configurable product. This configurable product is not a product, but rather six separate products, presented in such a way that a customer can see those six products on a single page. So there are six products, not one, not seven. There are six shelves in the warehouse for your products, not seven. Warehouse location = stockkeeping unit = SKU.

So configurable products are not products, but rather product abstractions.

What I figure happened is that Varien screwed up and decided at an early stage, before they though throught all the product types and their implications, to use the SKU as the primary key in their relational database, and since they are classifying configurable products as products, Whoops!, configurable products need to have this phantom SKU for backend purposes.

Relational database design boo-boo #1 from database design 101: Using a meaningful label as a key, rather than doing as you should and making it a random, meaningless number of some sort.

 
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pinksandgreens.com
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is there a way to import new skus into the system to replace the old ones. I have uploaded my inventory with the skus, images, etc… and now my warehouse fulfillment shop says that I need to limit the sku characters to 15. I have a lot that are over 15. I exported my inventory into an excel spreadsheet and changed the skus, now I would like to import it so that I do not have to manually change each sku.

 
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balero
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You can export, edit, and import your products. We did this in the very beginning and it seemed to work. We did this so we could edit similar fields side-by-side in a spreadsheet to maintain uniformity.

I’d be afraid to try it now that our store is online for fear of screwing something up and taking the whole thing down.

 
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pinksandgreens.com
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how would I do it then?

 
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balero
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System > Import/Export > Profiles.

Your life will be much easier if you set aside some time to systematically go through every single menu and look at each page in the Admin Panel, read all the documentation (which because it’s so shockingly skimpy and lame can be done in 2 hours), and watch most of the videos and screencasts.

 
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cheekygeek
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Balero is precisely correct. The underlying product contains the SKU… I should not be assigning one when I set up a Configurable Product that contains those underlying products. In the Screencast example: a Men’s large t-shirt would have a different SKU than a Women’s large t-shirt, so when I set up the configurable product (Unisex T-Shirts from which you can choose Gender and Size) I should NOT be assigning that product a SKU.
That field should be HIDDEN on configurable products. The same would be true for inventory. Inventory should be set for the underlying products.

I haven’t tried this yet (I’m creating my first Configurable Product when this question came up in my mind). I’m curious which SKU shows and how inventory/out of stock/back in stock alerts are handled with Configurable Products.

balero - 10 February 2009 12:51 AM

Thanks, Mike, but I think you’re misunderstanding me. Of course every unique physical or virtual product needs an SKU. But configurable products are not unique physical or virtual products. They are groupings of multiple products for the purpose of presentation in the front end. They are not actually products, except to the extent that Varien decided to use that word for them.

If you have black and white T-shirts in small, medium and large, you have six actual products:

- Small black T-shirt
- Medium black T-shirt
- Large black T-shirt
- Small white T-shirt
- Medium white T-shirt
- Large white T-shirt

In Magento you first create those. And then you say, Hey, the T-shirt design/pattern is the same, so it would be convenient to present these products to users on a single page, with the size and colors as options. So you create a configurable product. This configurable product is not a product, but rather six separate products, presented in such a way that a customer can see those six products on a single page. So there are six products, not one, not seven. There are six shelves in the warehouse for your products, not seven. Warehouse location = stockkeeping unit = SKU.

So configurable products are not products, but rather product abstractions.

What I figure happened is that Varien screwed up and decided at an early stage, before they though throught all the product types and their implications, to use the SKU as the primary key in their relational database, and since they are classifying configurable products as products, Whoops!, configurable products need to have this phantom SKU for backend purposes.

Relational database design boo-boo #1 from database design 101: Using a meaningful label as a key, rather than doing as you should and making it a random, meaningless number of some sort.

 
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Doddle
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I am wondering this exact same thing - the SKU is assigned to the associated product, not the configurable product. HOWEVER - as above, i disabled the SKU attribute on the configurable product, hoping that when an order is placed, the SKU would be pulled from the underlying product selected.  This was not the case though - instead, the SKU showed up as blank on the order in Sales > Orders - obviously this isn’t right as the store owner wont know which product has been ordered, other than by looking at the name, but what about stock control and reporting???

Please someone advise us on what is meant to be going on here!!

 
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dodyryda
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has this been corrected yet? It is quite a basic feature. I need to pull the sku of the child product into orders and the group product should have no sku whatsoever. I don’t wantto start building a huge db of products if this is yet to be resolved..

 
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