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Delving further into figuring out a solution for configuring Magento for car parts
 
davedavedave
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Joined:  2007-08-31
 

So I’m still trying to figure out a way to make Magento work for my solution.  I’ve delved further into the software, and it really seems like I need a mix of a couple methods...but I’m hoping that maybe I’m overlooking something and there is an easier solution.

The three different methods I’m seeing as possible are the following:

Categories
Attributes Using Layered Navigation
Configurable Products In Conjunction With Layered Navigation

My store sells specifically parts for Nissan & Infiniti.  Ideally, this is how I would see it work:

Person goes to site.  They choose their make (ex: nissan/infintii), they choose the model (based on the above selection), they choose they year (based on the model selection), they choose the product type they are looking for (ex: audio, intereior, exterior, etc.).  The products display.

So in terms of attributes it seems I’d need the following:

- Car Make
- Car Model
- Car Year
- Product Type

We’ll take one product as an example to show you how complex this seems to me.

The product is called the PXNI, it’s an audio products that works for multiple cars.  Here’s the breakdown of this one product:

PXNI
- Audio product type
- Compatible with both some Infiniti and Nissan vehicles
- Compatible with specific Nissan models (ex: Altima, 350Z...but not Maxima)
- Compatible with specific Infiniti models (ex: G, QX, but not Q)
- Compatible with only specific years of certain models (ex: 02-06 Altima, but not 07-08)

Here’s what seems to be the options with each method:

Category

I would create these categories by hand:

Products > Nissan > Altima > Audio
Products > Nissan > 350Z > Audio
Products > Infiniti > G > Audio
Products > Infiniti > QX > Audio

The one PXNI simple product would go into the categories, and I would have to list the compatible years in the description...and hope people just order the right thing (they don’t from previous experience!)

Attributes Using Layered Navigation

I would create an attribute set called Car Info, and select all the compatible years/makes/models/etc.  The problem is that I would have to select all compatible years.  So the product is only compatible with 02-06 Altima, but 07-08 350Z.  Because of this, I would have to select all the years...so to a user, it would show up compatible for their 08 Altima...because that year got selected for the 350Z.  On top of this, every option will show up in the layered nav, including all of the years....it just won’t look clean.  A possible solution is to turn part of the layered nav into dropdown boxes if that’s possible, but still doesn’t solve everything.

Configurable Products In Conjunction With Layered Navigation

This would be an immense amount of work.  I’d have to manage inventory and products for essentially every possible combination.  So one PXNI product in the example would need a product for each year and model that it is compatible with...and it’s just one product.

I’m hoping somebody could take a look at this situation and let me know what they think about a possible solution.

 
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davedavedave
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No thoughts anybody?  I would like to see what somebody from the Magento/Varien team thinks…

 
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davedavedave
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Bump...anybody?

 
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bekasu
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I don’t see that you can do anything gracefully with the existing process.

I’m facing the ‘year’ issue as well.

What if ....

When an attribute is created you must input:

Attribute Identifier *
   For internal use. Must be unique with no spaces
Scope
   Store View
   Website
   Global
   (Declare attribute value saving scope)
Catalog Input Type for Store Owner
    Text Value
   Date
   Yes/No
    Multiple Select
   Dropdown
   Price
   Gallery
   Media Image

Unique Value Not shared with other products
Values Required
Input Validation for Store Owner
Apply To *

My thought is we need another Catalog Input Type - Call it RANGE
We also need a From Value - 2006 and a To Value - 2008
The From/To would need to accept decimals, because I know that in 1997 - 1998 there were 2 body style changes in 1 year so you would need a 97 and perhaps a 97 1/2 (97.5) to indicate the back half the the year.

But to recap,
A RANGE attribute
A From Range Number
A To Range Number
Code to support this new attribute during the search process

This would give you a building block, but we still need to figure out a more elegant way to subset the products to which the ‘range’ would apply.

What do you think?

 
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davedavedave
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That seems like it may work (or at least a foundation), but I think you would lose your inventory control?  I guess maybe not if you were allowed a range of values versus just one year.

I wish a workaround for now would exist!

 
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