Variants from Specific Products?

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11 years 6 months ago #7639

Hello,
I've spent untold hours in recent weeks researching and testing every e-commerce option in the Joomla universe. After all that, I think I;'m settling on HikaShop.

But there is one element of HikaShop that continues to be a stumbling block for me, and I wonder if there is some way to deal with it.

I'll try to describe the situation and hopefully someone here can offer a solution.

A new client has a four-tiered product structure. It goes something like this:

MAJOR CATEGORY

Sub-Category 1

Product A
> Variant 1: $60
> Variant 2: $85
> Variant 3: $100
> Variant 4: $125
> Variant 5: $175
> Variant 6: $205

Product B
> Variant 1: $150
> Variant 2: $225
> Variant 3: $300
> Variant 4: $325

Sub-Category 2

Product A
> Variant 1: $50
> Variant 2: $75
> Variant 3: $90
> Variant 4: $125
> Variant 5: $175

Product B
> Variant 1: $50
> Variant 2: $65
> Variant 3: $100


... And so on. There are 10 major categories, 53 sub-categories, 150 products, and about 500 "variants" (I'm using the HikaShop terminology here for clarity).

My issue is this: from what I understand, I need to create the variants as separate entries and then link to them at the product level. From a management point of view, this is getting messy! Is there any way to simply create variants at the per-product level, rather than create a set of "global" variants? From a management point of view, this would seem more intuitive.

It's possible I'm misunderstanding something about HikaShop. If so, please tell me because I really want to be able to implement this as soon as possible, and would be happy to move up to a commercial license.

I hope I've explained this well enough. It's amazing how complicated these things can get!

HikaShop is a great extension. Please help me figure this all out.

Thanks,
Matthew

Last edit: 11 years 6 months ago by MatthewSchenker.

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11 years 6 months ago #7649

Hi,

Here is how it works:

1. You create one or several characteristic(s) with the appropriate values.
2. You create a new product and assign your characteristic(s) to it.
3. You save your product. At that point, HikaShop creates automatically all the variants of the product based on the different values of the characteristic(s) attached to the product.
4. You can click on the "manage variants" button of the product to access the list of variants and personalize them if needed (if you don't need specific information, you can leave them blank and hikashop will use the main product information).

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11 years 5 months ago #9827

nicolas,
I've spent the last couple of weeks testing HikaShop as well as other shopping carts. HiksShop is great in many ways. But I keep getting stuck on creating and managing variants. It's just far too convoluted, and in many ways it doesn't work.

For the client I described in my above post, for example, it's an administrative nightmare to maintain over 500 variants all disconnected from specific products, especially since the variants are often very similar.

For example, here are three "variants" I had to save for three different products:
1/16" 20-50 AMPs
1/16" 30-70 AMPs
1/16" 35-65 AMPs

That's just a small example. This pattern is repeated over 500 variants!

As an administrator, I could just figure it all out. But there is no way I could turn a site over to a client with this system.

Wouldn't it be better if we could manage variants from the individual product level and not have to maintain them separately from the products? That just seems to make more sense.

Again, I really like HikaShop overall, and the feature set is the best of all the Joomla ecommerce solutions. But do you have any plans to improve the variant handling? I wish you would consider this.

Thanks,
Matthew

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11 years 5 months ago #9837

I'm not following you ? The variants are created automatically when you add your characteristics, so you don't need to touch then if you don't have to change the information in them. If you do, then I think that it's great to be able to edit each one of them separately and be able to customize any information. Note that if you don't fill a field of the variant, the main product information will be used. You don't have to copy/paste everywhere all the information of the main product.

Also, if you have a lot of products which use the same variants with the same specifics, in the business edition of HikaShop you can just make a copy of your main product and modify the main information of that product to get a second product so that can greatly speed up the process as well.

We can't possibly put all the variants modification fields on the main product screen. There is just too much data and most servers wouldn't be able to handle it above 50 variants edition screens all displayed on one page. And you would have to scroll down to search them...

Maybe I didn't understand what you meant ?

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11 years 5 months ago #9856

nicolas,
I think there is some misunderstanding. That's OK... I know e-commerce is complicated.

Let me explain better.

In lots of shops, variants are re-used many times.

For example, iPods...
8Gb
16GB
32GB
... across several models.

Clothing...
S
M
L
XL
XXL
... for all shirts and pants.

In those cases, your variant system works nicely.

But what happens when there are unique variants for every product? For one of my clients, each product has its own set of four or five variants that only apply to that product. To complicate matters more, sometimes those variants are "close" but not quite the same as other ones (see the examples in my post above). In this case, it's not intuitive to separate variants from the products. Since the variants only apply to a particular product, it would make more sense to create and store them at the product level.

Having the variants saved for each specific product would also make it easier when we turn a project over to a client.

Let me make a comparison with two other e-commerce extensions:
redSHOP allows the creation of "attributes" for each specific product, managed at the product level.
SimpleCaddy also allows "attributes" at the specific product level.

In my opinion, HikaShop overall does a much better job than those other two extensions, but specifically with variants it's not as intuitive.

If you could take the power of HikaShop and add a more intuitive system for managing variants, I think you'd have a perfect product! Seriously!!

Does that help?

Thanks,
Matthew

PS: Over the past couple of months, I have been exhausted researching, reviewing, installing, testing, and writing about Joomla e-commerce extensions. It's been a frustrating experience, so I apologize if I sometimes seem annoyed.

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11 years 5 months ago #9904

Yes, your input greatly helps.
I can't say when we will be able to improve it but I agree that there is definitely room for improvement. Especially as you say for the cases when you always have different characteristics. We're still thinking about the best way to improve it considering the structure of HikaShop and the interface already in place as we couldn't yet find the idea that would make us say "eureka" but not deseperating :)
If you or someone else have more input about how you would see an interface allowing you to easily set the variants/characteristics from the product page considering the requirements (basically, still being able to fine tune the variants information as the current system enables you to do) we would be more than happy to hear it :)

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11 years 5 months ago #9910

Hi Matthew,

Instead of using characteristics/variants, have you considered treating each variant as a separate product and therefore the product (group of variants) as a category?

Once you set up the first product the copy function of the business edition makes it quite simple to replicate and make minor changes.

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11 years 5 months ago #9973

jasonm,
The problem is, I need to structure it so each product has several choices with different prices.

To see what I mean, take a look at one of my pages. It's still under construction, and this is only one page out of many that have to be built this way. But you can see what I need to do:
www.schenkerstudio.com/Development/Weldi...cle&id=147&Itemid=33

Note that each of the specific products is inside a category, and that category is then nested inside a larger category.

Thanks,
Matthew

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11 years 5 months ago #10030

Probably not the best example because I have left out the add to cart button until the actual product screen but here is our site with the variants as separate products.

www.powerprotect.com.au/catalogue/catego...159/name-network-ups

There's no reason you cant continue to use categories to keep drilling down and then if you wanted insert a master category module at the top of the page to save the user working their way back up through the tree.

- Jason

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11 years 5 months ago #10031

Jason,
Thanks for your assistance. Great site, by the way! I really like the design you came up with, and everything works really well.

I see what you mean. Yes, I could have listings of different sized items then have the price only at the specific size page. But the problem is, with the welding company I'm working with, their "variations" are different sizes of the same product. Also, the nature of their business is that customers often order several different products of various sizes all at once. Because of all this, I don't think I want to have them on separate pages, as customers would be going back and forth too many times. And by the way, what's on the site now is just a fraction of what I need to display when it's done.

I wonder whether I need a whole different approach with this client. I'll tell you, it's been the biggest e-commerce challenge I've ever faced.

Back to your site -- did you create that template yourself?

Thanks,
Matthew

Last edit: 11 years 5 months ago by MatthewSchenker.

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11 years 5 months ago #10046

It certainly looks like a big job, I don't envy you doing price updates.

My site is a bought template, and one that I probably wouldn't have used if I knew from the outset what we would end up with.

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11 years 3 months ago #15257

Hello,
Just wondering if there is any news on this.

I continue to test Joomla e-commerce systems, and I still like HikaShop a lot. I'm very impressed with how much this application does, and how great your support is.

If you could develop better ways to handle variants, it would be perfect - really!

Thanks,
Matthew

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11 years 3 months ago #15277

We are currently working on a new feature which you will be able to use in such cases instead of variants which are useful for some things like having their own set of information but have drawbacks on other things like the manageability :
www.hikashop.com/en/support/forum/4-how-...-overload.html#14147

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11 years 3 months ago #15330

nicolas,
This sounds very encouraging, and very exciting.

I really appreciate your wonderful attitude. E-commerce for Joomla has been a major frustration for me, and it has left me almost wanting to use something besides Joomla for some clients. But knowing there is a capable team like yours working on this gives me hope.

If you need beta testers, just let me know and I'll be glad to run it and comment. I can also help with documentation.

Thanks again,
Matthew

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11 years 3 months ago #15331

What we usually do is that we give pre versions of HikaShop to people paying us for specific features and/or people needing specific features which we already did but didn't release yet when they are late on their deadlines. But the biggest part where there is still a huge work to do is to improve the documentation. Having video tutorials and/or step by steps for each phase of a shop creation would help a lot of users starting in the e-commerce world or starting to use HikaShop. If you have time to share of that end, that would be terrific.

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11 years 3 months ago #15333

Nicolas,
I see. I don't have anything late on deadline. For the moment, I have completed a couple of projects using SimpleCaddy to handle lots of variants. But I'm very interested in bringing these into HikaShop.

As we move forward, and I learn more, I'd be happy to write up some step-by-step instructions. I have a long history as a technical writer, which may come in handy here!

Thanks,
Matthew

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