How to Create Product Variations With Elastic Path Commerce Cloud?
Since the emergence of eCommerce, marketers, merchandisers, and catalog managers have been continuously tasked with the difficult responsibility of creating streamlined online experiences that mimic the personalized, in-store shopping experiences that we are all accustomed to. However, rather than having customers available to interact with your products and sales associates directly, to help them easily find exactly what they’re looking for, your teams now have to design new functionality to achieve the same goals.
One of the more challenging functionality that eCommerce teams have struggled with is product variation. As a merchandiser, you want to be able to clearly present all the options you have available for your products to make it easier for customers to visualize them and influence a potential sale. This is no easy feat with antiquated, traditional eCommerce platforms. In this article we’ll walk through how you can easily tackle product variations with Elastic Path Commerce Cloud.
What are Product Variations?
Product variations refer to the options that are available for customers to choose from, that relate to a parent product. This can be better explained using footwear. Let’s say you manage a shoe store that sells the Runner 5000 running sneaker (the parent product). That running sneaker could come in different: colors (black, blue, white, gold); fits (standard, wide, narrow); sizes (6-13); and fabrics (canvas, nylon, recycled). Each combination built from these options is known as a child product, and together all make up the complete product variation list for that parent product. The same idea could be applied to our phones that come in different colors, sizes, and memory storage, or our furniture that comes in different dimensions, materials, fabrics and more.
Product variations essentially represent the combination of options by which a parent product varies. Providing these variations under a single product brings great value to the customer, as it grants them a way to easily navigate between the various combinations and find exactly what they’re looking for instead of searching through endless product listing pages. However, many traditional legacy platforms have not been able to keep up with the needs of eCommerce teams to create and manage their product variations.
The Problems Merchandisers Face Today
Most traditional platforms like Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Shopify, and even modern solutions like Commercetools, only allow for 200 variations at a time. This can be quite burdensome for fashion, apparel, furniture, and cosmetic brands that come in thousands of variations. Due to the limitation in variations, eCommerce teams are usually forced to devise strategies for how they can break up their high degree of product variations into smaller categories, in order for them to work within their platform’s restraints. This ultimately leads to less efficiency, delayed launches and less time left for experimentation and innovation with other digital strategies.
Lack of Customizations
In addition to variation limits, traditional legacy platforms also lack the flexibility to allow eCommerce teams to customize their child product variations. Traditionally, when child products are generated from a parent product, they inherit all of the same product attributes, such as price and product details etc. These platforms were built in a way that causes products and attributes to be tightly coupled together. This makes it very difficult to isolate and customize each child product to allow for separate merchandising. For example, let’s say you wanted to spin up a Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, that would group all pink products under a new category with sale prices. Rather than being able to leverage your pre-existing product data to build your new category, you would be forced to build each product again with the new corresponding pricing for that campaign. This type of process limits the ability for your merchandising team to move quickly and capitalize on unique campaigns that appeal to your customers.
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How Can I Create and Manage Product Variations with Elastic Path?
Product Variations from Elastic Path eliminates the need of coping with painstaking workarounds and allows you to create and manage up to 10,000 variations in seconds. Compared to traditional platforms that only allow for 200 variations, this is a 50X increase in the industry standard. In addition, the decoupled architecture of Product Content Management also allows you to leverage one product data repository to build and customize many catalogs within the same store, for multiple uses. This means brands will now have the flexibility to use their existing product data and customize different attributes and child products to build different catalogs for different users and occasions for innovative merchandising.
Follow along with the video below and see how easy it is to set up your product variations.
You can also follow along with the steps below:
Step 1: Navigate to Products under Product Experience Manager in the menu to the left.
Step 2: Navigate to Configurations under Product Content Management in the side menu bar.
Step 3: Navigate to Variations under the Configurations menu.
Step 4: Click “Add Variation” to create your new variation.
Step 5: Name your variation.
Step 6: Click “Next” to add your options.
Step 7: Create a name and a description for each option you create. (Ensure that there are no spaces in your naming convention. You can use hyphens “-” to separate words). Add as many variations until you need.
Step 8: Add as many variations until you need.
Step 9: Repeat steps 4-8 until you have recorded all of your variations.
Step 10: Navigate to your parent product under Products in the side menu bar.
Step 11: Click into your parent product and navigate to the Variations tab.
Step 12: Click “Associate Variation” and each variation you want to be associated with the product.
Step 13: Once you have associated all the desired variations, under Child Products click “Rebuild Variations” and you’re done!
Once you’ve built your child products, all child products will appear under the Products and you will have access to customize each child product as you see fit. It’s that easy!
This has already begun to save many of our customers a lot of time and hassle when merchandising their products. We hope this was helpful and as always, if you have any questions on how this functionality works or would like to learn more, you can always reach out to us!
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