Multiple Attribute Management

 Concepts
In general, when you sell an item, this item has a unique reference and unique packaging. This is the case for a CD-Rom, a book, a case of 6 bottles of wine, etc.

In certain cases, it is useful to be able to break this item down into several different items using attributes, which characterize the different available versions. Let's take the example of a pair of pants. They may exist in several sizes and several colors. A sofa may exist in several widths and several finishes, and may possibly have different prices according to the different widths and finishes.

In other cases, you are going to want to propose packaging at differing prices. For example, a wine can be bought by the bottle for Price A, by the case of 6 bottles for Price B, by the case of 12 bottles for Price C, etc.

 
 Implementation
The objective of implementing the "Multiple Attributes" option is to be able to meet the needs of these complex cases.

Each item can use two groups of multiple attributes. From one item to another, the groups may have different definitions. For one item, you may opt to use the first attribute for sizes and the second for colors. For another item, you may opt to only use the first attribute for finishes. You are free to choose.

Therefore, for each attribute you are going to have to define its name (for example, color, size, finish, option, etc.). For each attribute, you are also able to define the way the available values will be displayed. In general, the chosen layout is most often the drop-down list. However, you may prefer to display an option list that has the advantage of displaying all of the possibilities simultaneously on the screen. The inconvenience is that it displays a lot of information on the screen. You are the judge of which option is best for you and your choice may vary from one item to another and from one attribute to another.

You must define 4 pieces of information for each attribute value: 1) The text that will be displayed for this attribute value. 2) The product code that will be added to (concatenated) or that will replace the main item code. 3) The method for determining this code (concatenation or replacement). 4) The added value (amount that will be added to the price defined in the item file).
 
 First example: Managing sizes and colors.
Let's take an item using the code "ABC" that is sold for £25 (all of the prices in these examples are expressed excluding VAT).

We are going to use the first attribute to manage sizes. Attribute Name: "Size"

Note: The codes 1A, 1B, 1C ... are only used in this text to express the use of the value A, B, C of the 1st attribute and to easily express the choices of a potential customer and the consequences on the behavior of the site. These codes are never used and are never visible in your site.
Value Displayed Text Attribute Code Method Price 1 (Excl. VAT)
1A 36B -36B Concatenate £0
1B 36C -36C Concatenate £0
1C 38B -38B Concatenate £0
And so on and so forth.

We are going to use the second attribute to manage the colors or the finishes. Attribute Name: "Color"
Value Displayed Text Attribute Code Method Price 1 (Excl. VAT)
2A Black -Black Concatenate £0
2B Black Embroidered (extra charge £10) -BlackE Concatenate £10
2C White -White Concatenate £0
2D White Embroidered (extra charge £10) -WhiteE Concatenate £10
And so on and so forth.

The customer orders item ABC and selects 1A and 2A for the attributes. You will get ABC-36B-Black for a value of £25

The customer orders item ABC and selects 1B and 2D for the attributes. You will get ABC-36C-WhiteE for a value of £35

Note that this example makes the assumption that all of the sizes exist in all of the colors (all of the value combinations between attributes 1 and 2 are possible). If this was not the case, it would then be necessary to combine the size and the color in the same attribute.

We are going to use the first attribute to manage sizes and colors simultaneously. Attribute name: "Size/Color"
Value Displayed Text Attribute Code Method Price 1 (Excl. VAT)
1A 36 B Black -36B-Black Concatenate £0
1B 36 B White -36B-White Concatenate £0
1C 36 C Black -36C-Black Concatenate £0
1D 36 C Black Embroidered (extra charge £10) -36C-BlackE Concatenate £10
1E 36 C White -36C-White Concatenate £0
1F 36 C White Embroidered (extra charge £10) -36C-WhiteE Concatenate £10
1G 38 B Black -38B-Black Concatenate £0
1H 38 B White -38B-White Concatenate £0
And so on and so forth.

In this example, you can see that the embroidered colors only exist in the size 36C. The implementation of this type of attribute is rather easy, but the description is more lengthy and complex.
 
 Second example: Managing packaging.
Let's take an item using the code "XYZ" that is sold for £1

We are going to use the first attribute to mange packaging, knowing that this product is available per unit, per box of 100, per box of 1000, etc.
Value Displayed Text Attribute Code Method Price 1 (Excl. VAT)
1A £1 per unit -1 Concatenate £0
1B £80 per box of 100 (or £0.80 each) -100 Concatenate £79
1C £700 per box of 1000 (or £0.70 each) -1000 Concatenate £699
And so on and so forth.

It is necessary to understand how the added value functions. The initial price of the product is £1. When the customer orders 1B, the system adds £79 to £1 and obtains the final price of £80.

When the customer orders item XYZ and selects 1B for the attribute, you will get an order of one unit (one pack of 100) of XYZ-100 for a value of £80.
 
 Different Ways of Forming the Product Code
  • Concatenate: When the 'concatenate' method is used, the attribute code is concatenated with (added to) the original item code. In our last example, if XYZ is the original item code, the item codes that are ordered when the customer selects 1A, 1B, and 1C are XYZ-1, XYZ-100 and XYZ-1000 respectively.
  • Replace: When the 'replace' method is used, the attribute code replaces the original item code. Warning: If you use two sets of attributes, only the concatenate method will work properly because this is the only method that allows the system to regulate the choice that has been made for each set of attributes.
Important Note: When using multiple attributes, stock management functions without taking into account the selected attribute. If you want to perform accurate stock management while at the same time managing attributes, you must enter a separate item for each possible attribute combination.
 
 Text Attribute
The use of the text attribute is useful when a text must be entered by the customer in order to complete the order of a particular product.

For example, if you sell customized print T-shirts, the user can enter their text. In this case, you would make the entry zone mandatory in order to make sure that the customer indicates the text to be printed on the T-shirt.

You can also use this text to let your customers provide specific instructions for a product. In this type of case, leave this entry zone optional.

Whenever possible, always favor the more directive use of an attribute with multiple values. For example, if you decide to let your customers choose whether or not they would like gift wrapping for their item, give them this choice in a selection list rather than leaving them an entry zone where they are supposed to enter "gift wrap my item". Suggesting the possible answer(s) is always a good idea.

On the other hand, there are certain cases where the use of a text attribute cannot be replaced by a predetermined multiple choice list. For these cases, use the appropriate text entry zone:
  • One-line data entry zone (100 characters max).
  • Three-line data entry zone (150 characters max).
  • Mandatory one-line data entry zone (100 characters max).
  • Mandatory three-line data entry zone (150 characters max).
 

Add to favorites: http://www.actinic.co.uk/Help/HelpCenterContent.asp?ActionID=512&TID=1207&MID=9000&LangID=1
© 2001-2018 Oxatis. All rights reserved.