As for today, there are 6 Magento product types available. Those are:
- Simple Products
- Grouped Products
- Configurable Products
- Virtual Products
- Bundled Products
- Downloadable Products
It is important to pick the ones that fit you best in order to receive features exactly your online stores requires to perform well. Ask yourself whether you understand the difference between a Magento grouped product and Magento bundle product before reading the text below. This article describes each individual type in brief by highlighting the main advantages and functions. You will find out what to expect.
1) Simple Products
As you can guess from its name, it is a physical good that is sold at the store. This one is the most common among all Magento product types. Simple product is recommended to be used for a single unit with no special selectable options. Every item has own SKU (Stock Keeping Unit), price, and inventory. In case you wish, as an admin, you may add desired options with an input price, color, size, or else for the customer’s choice. Even the basic goods have more chances to be sold when you involve some choice.
Examples: a glass, a soft toy, a DVD, camera lens, some office supplies or inventory.
2) Configurable (a.k.a. Complex) Products
Now this one is far more complicated. Usually, this Magento product type is associated with clothing as far it is the best example. Since clothes are sold in various sizes, shapes, and colors, users wish to “configure” their choices before purchasing. Configurable product is the one made of several simple products.
To understand better, pretend you are selling a T-shirt that comes in S, M, and L sizes. You should then develop a simple product for each size. Besides, the colors also differ. You will come up with just as many products as there are different sizes, shapes, and colors. Create a configurable product for the catalog first. Then, under the associated products, an admin picks all the created products for every of the sizes and color. Such configuration creates a drop down menu for all specific clothing features. Customers can easily select the product’s size, color, and any other attributes to satisfy your needs in full. If you wish, you can put a separate price for each option. In addition, you can put inventory levels for every simple product with the different images of your preference. Then, in case the inventory level of the small, blue t-shirt is out of stock, then that option isn’t available (depending on your settings).
Product’s stock, price, and other characteristics are monitored on the simple level with configurable product accounting for the initial price. Often, Magento configurable products are known as parent products while corresponding simple products are called child.
Examples: dress with different colors and sizes available, snickers with different sizes available, flashdrive with different volume etc.
3) Grouped Products
This one refers to the set of simple products. Usually, those are goods with the same features, related to each other. This type is the best for promotional goals. Magento grouped products comes in handy with the items that accomplish them (like accessories). It means that instead of buying a memory card, USB, and a device, a customer will get all three by making a single purchase which is very convenient. Besides, often such goods come at a special price. It would be useful whenever you decide to catch an eye of potential customers with vivid promotion campaigns.
Examples: camera lens + mini SD card + a digital camera itself, a smartphone with stylish case and wireless charger, Magento Red Furniture set featuring Ottoman, Chair, and Couch.
4) Bundle Products
Magento bundle product makes it possible for the customers to construct product they desire. This type is applied for a bundle of simple or virtual goods that cannot be sold separately because it makes no sense. Is there a reason to purchase laptop without a hard disc, processor, and internal memory? That’s the point. Often, this type is confused with the previous one, but, unlike grouped product, bundle one provides the end user with the choice: they can combine any products they want (color, size, memory, capacity, etc.). You can assign inventory to every individual item. It is possible to make them visible, so that someone could purchase extra cards as well.
In addition, buying all offered items together saves a plenty of money.
Examples: camera body for $500 + lens that can be selected from: no lens at all, a basic lens for $200, or professional lens for $500 + memory card with options: no memory card at all, 8 GB card for $20, a 16 GB card for $32, and a 32 GB card for $52.
5) Downloadable Products (also a simple one)
You have to upload files via the back-end to the server through the admin or FTP before offering downloadable product. Input its price (if any) and other additional information. There is an opportunity of hosting the files on another web server. It’s up to Magento then to provide a secure, encrypted personalized link to every customer. Mind that this type of Magento product may consist of one or more downloadable files, so you have the option to require all of them to be purchased. No shipping options are offered as far as there is nothing to be shipped. It’s up to you to decide whether your customer will be able to choose the files to be included in the purchase. After the link is generated, the customer is then capable of accessing all the downloadable files purchased from the account’s corresponding section. But in this case you risk your file will be stored and shared with someone else. Anyway, Magento does not cover digital rights management.
Examples: some Magento extensions, applications, games, software, music files, E-books, etc.
6) Virtual Products
Magento virtual product was developed for those goods that do not need to be shipped, downloaded or delivered at all. These products are known as intangible goods; they also do not need any stock management.
Examples: online consulting or support services, online language courses, technical service, insurance, reservation.
What Is Missed?
As a rule, Magento can cover most of E-commerce needs. However, some exceptions are not available by default: recurring subscription and rental items. But there is a number of great free and paid extensions offered to solve any of these issues.
Now that you are aware of all basic facts about Magento products, you can choose the one you believe fits your online store the best.
If you have any questions about anything I’ve mentioned in this blog post or anything else related to Magento, please feel free to drop me a message via this form. I am on the team performing Magento development for large Magento projects.