Today, I'm happy to introduce a brand new system of product variations for MultiMerch-powered marketplaces.
You can now enable your sellers to create variable products with individual prices and quantities per product variation.
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But first, a quick backstory.
Having begun as an OpenCart extension, MultiMerch has often relied on many OpenCart's core systems for basic ecommerce functionality. Unfortunately, OpenCart's core features are often lacking and insufficient even for a modern online store, let alone for two-sided marketplace businesses.
Over the past few years, we've been taking over large parts of OpenCart core by building our own systems MultiMerch can use instead – notifications, attributes and modifications are just a few examples.
OpenCart's options was always one of the systems I never believed was good enough to handle variable products. The new MultiMerch product variation system is designed to replace the option system and allow marketplace owners to use true product variations.
Here's how it works:
Creating and using product variations
Product variations are created by the marketplace staff. Every variation has a set of predefined values sellers can choose from when listing their products.
For example, you can allow your sellers to create products of different Size and Color.
Sellers can select one or more values for every product variation. Selected values will then be used to create a variation matrix that allows the seller to specify individual SKUs, quantities and prices for every product variant.
If a specific product combination is not available, it can be disabled altogether.
You can use as many variations as needed, but we recommend sticking to 2-3 variations per category to keep product listing and catalog management simple.
If there are multiple variants of a product, the customer will see the lowest possible price in categories and on other marketplace pages, but will be able to select the desired variation when adding the product to cart.
Customers will not be able to select and purchase combinations that are not available or are out of stock.
Assigning variations to categories
To make the variation system more flexible, you can assign different variations to different product categories in additional to globally available variations.
For example, you may use a global Color variation, but use the Size variation only for the Shoes category.
Just like attributes, the seller will see the available category-based variations after selecting the primary category for their product.
Roadmap for future improvements
Due to OpenCart compatibility reasons, MultiMerch product variations are currently in Beta, but are fully functional with Default, Basel and Journal themes, as well as with MultiMerch Standalone.
Over the next few months, we will be introducing a number of improvements to the system:
- a way to specify additional product fields per variant, such as SKU
- specific product images linked to individual product variants
- image-style variation selector for customers instead of dropdowns
The upcoming MultiMerch import/export system will also be designed with the new variation system in mind.
MultiMerch 8.26 with support for variations is now available to all MultiMerch marketplace owners.
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