Product Combinations Login

Contents

  1. Prerequisites
  2. Overview
  3. Product Combinations Administration Centre Interface
  4. Product Editor Administration Centre Interface
  5. Dependent Configurations
  6. Recommendations

This document describes the details about the Product Combinations feature that exists within the TOTECS platform. Product combinations allow users to view a product and choose from a number of options to further refine the product that they are looking for.

Prerequisites

Please ensure that you have read and understand the following topic links before reading on.

Overview

For each TOTECS project there is the ability for administrator users to create any number of combination products. A combination product allows for a user within the Trade interface, or content managed website to view a product and choose from a "combination" of options further find a product that they are looking for, and optionally add it to their basket. This allows users to choose from a number of options to locate a specific product.

Each combination product can have any number of "child" products assigned to it. Each child product is assigned to the combination product through a combination of the field values that have been defined. Lets look an example:

Example: Combination Product Containing 3 Fields and 4 assigned products

Combination Product: COMBO001  
Combination Field Field Value Combination Field Field Value Combination Field Field Value Product
Style Modern Colour Blue Size Large PROD001
Style Modern Colour Blue Size Medium PROD002
Style Classic Colour Blue Size Large PROD003
Style Class Colour Red Size Small PROD004

In the example above the combination product COMBO001 has three fields assigned to it, Style, Colour, and Size. The Style field can have 2 values set, Modern, and Classic, the Colour field can be set to Blue, or Red, and the Size field can be set to Small, Medium, or Large. When a user views this combination product and saw the 3 field options, if the user chose in the Style field the value Modern, in the Colour field the value Blue, and in the Size field the value Large, then the platform would be able to find the product PROD001 that is assigned to the combination of values that the user chose. So in this example, the user could choose out of a possible 18 (3 style values x 3 colour values x 2 colour values) different combinations of vallues from the 3 field options displayed to the user. If the user selected from the 3 fields and and selected values that no products were assigned to, then the user would be advise that no product exists for the options and they would have to choose again.

Combination products are a good way of reducing the amount of products that a user would normally see when navigating through a catalogue of products online. If there are a large number of products that are very similar, these products can be hidden away from a user but only allowing them to see the overall combination product when searching through category trees, or attributes searches. A good example of this would be if a combination product had a 100 products assigned to. Rather than the user have to individually see 100 products, they could see only the single product that they are interested in, then when further viewing the details of it be able to refine what they are looking for by selecting from the fields and values assigned to the combination product.

A combination product cannot be added to basket itself, and it does not neccessarily need pricing assigned to it in order to be able to show to users through the Trade interface, or on content managed website. It is for this reason that the a combination product is sometimes called an "abstract" product, since it may not physically exist in the real world, but is used to allow users to find products that exist and can be purchased.

Combination Profiles

Each combination product can be assigned  to one "combination profile". Each combination profile can contain any number of fields and field values that make options for a combination product. The same combination profile can be assigned to any number of combination products. This allows the same fields, and field values to be set for a number of combination products that are similar. For example a combination profile called "Clothing" may contain two fields "Size" and "Colour". If 10 different brands of t-shirt products existed, you could create 10 different combination products, that are all assigned to the same "Clothing" profile. Rather than have to set up the size and colour fields for each of the 10 combination products, by assigning the same profile to the combination products, the fields, and values would automatically be setup. All an administrator would have to do is assign child products to each of the colour and size fields for each combination product. Basically combination profiles are used to provide consistency, and reduce labour to set up product combinations.

Each combination profile can have the following data set:

Product Combination Profile Field Description
Profile ID Unique ID of the product combination profile.
Profile Name Name of the product combination profile.
Is Active Either 'Yes' or "No". If the profile is not active then combination products assigned to it will not be able to show.
Link Product Combination Profile ID ID of the product combination profile linked to a 3rd party business system. This may be set empty if the profile was created within the TOTECS Administration Centre.

 

Product Combination Profile Fields

Each product combination profile can have any number of fields assigned to it. Each field is used to label an option that a user can choose from when viewing a combination product. Each combination profile field can have any number of values assigned to it. Each field can have the following data set:

Product Combination Profile Field Field Description
Field ID Unique ID of the product combination profile field.
Field Name Name of the field. Set a name that a user could relate a product to, such as colour, size, style etc...
Is Active Either 'Yes' or "No". If the field is not active then it will not show when user's view a combination product assigned to the field's profile.
Ordering Set a numeric value to allow the field to be ordered with other fields assigned to the same product combination profile.

 

Product Combination Profile Field Values

Each Product Combination Profile can have any number of fields assigned to it, and each field, can have any number of field values assigned to it. A "field value" is an option that a user can select from when viewing a combination product. For example a "Size" combination profile field could be created that contains the field values "Small", "Medium", "Large", "Extra Large". The user can only choose from one of these field values when viewing a combination product. A combination of different field values can each be assigned to a given child product for each combination product.

Below are the fields that can be set for each product combination profile field value,

Product Combination Profile Field Value Field Description
Value ID Unique ID of the product combination profile field value.
Value Label of the field value. Set a label that user's could relate with based on the profile field it is assigned to. Eg. if the value was assigned to profile field called "Colour", then a value "Red", "Green", or "Blue" would make sense.
Is Active Either 'Yes' or "No". If the field value is not active then it will not show when user's view a combination product assigned to the field value's profile.
Link Product Combination Profile Field Value ID Unique ID of the product combination profile field value that is linked to data in an external business system. This field may be left empty if the field value has been created through the TOTECS Administration Centre.

Product Combinations Administration Centre Interface

Within the Administration Centre of a TOTECS project, under the Inventory menu there is a menu item labelled Product Combinations that takes administrator users to the Product Combinations interface. Within the interface administrator users can view all of the combination profiles, fields and field values. Administrator's can create new combination profiles, add fields to profiles, as well as field values.

Create A Product Combination Profile

For administrator users to create a new product combination profile follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Product Combinations menu link.
  4. Click on the Create Profile tree node.
  5. Within the Create Profile panel for the Name field set text to describe the profile.
  6. Click on the Create button.

The product combination profile will be added to the Combination Profiles tree.

Modify An Existing Product Combination Profile

For administrator users to create a new product combination profile follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Product Combinations menu link.
  4. Right click on the relevant profile in the Combination Profiles tree and click on the Edit Profile menu.
  5. Within the Edit Profile in the Name field set text to describe the profile.
  6. Click on the Save button.

The details of the product combination profile will be updated on the server.

Remove A Product Combination Profile

For administrator users to delete an existing product combination profile follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Product Combinations menu link.
  4. Right click on the relevant profile in the Combination Profiles tree and click on the Delete Profile menu item.
  5. In the Warning dialog click on the Yes button..

The product combination profile, and all of its fields, values, as well as mappings assigned to products will be permanently deleted. Please make sure that you wish to delete the data before following the steps as it may effect how combination products are shown if they were assigned to the deleted profile.

Add A Field To A Product Combination Profile

For administrator users to add a field to an existing product combination profile follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Product Combinations menu link.
  4. Right click on the relevant profile in the Combination Profiles tree and click on the Add Field menu item.
  5. In the Create Field panel for the Name textbox set text to describe the combination profile's field.
  6. Click on the Create button.

The field will be then added to product combination profile add will appear in the Combination Profiles tree as a child node of its profile.

Remove A Field From A Product Combination Profile

For administrator users to remove a field from an existing product combination profile follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Product Combinations menu link.
  4. Click on the relevant profile in the Combination Profiles tree.
  5. Right click on the profile's field and click on the Delete Field menu item.
  6. In the Warning dialog click on the Yes button.

The product combination profile field will be removed from its profile, and any child products mappings to the field will be removed as well. Make sure that you wish to delete the profile field before following these steps since it may effect how combination products using the deleted field interact with users.

Add A Field Value To A Product Combination Profile Field

For administrator users to add a field value to an existing product combination profile field follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Product Combinations menu link.
  4. Click on the relevant profile in the Combination Profiles tree.
  5. Right click on the combination profile field and click on the Edit Field menu item.
  6. In the Field Values panel for the Field Value textbox set text to describe the combination profile field's value.
  7. Click on the Add button.

The value of the field will be added to the product combination's profile and a row will be added to the table in the Field Values table.

Remove A Field Value From A Product Combination Profile Field

For administrator users to remove a field value from an existing product combination profile follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Product Combinations menu link.
  4. Click on the relevant profile in the Combination Profiles tree.
  5. Right click on the profile's field and click on the Edit Field menu item.
  6. In the Field Values panel, in the fields table click on the Delete button for the relevant field value to be deleted.
  7. In the Warning dialog click on the Yes button.

The product combination profile field value will be removed from its profile, and any child products mappings assign to the field will be removed as well. Make sure that you wish to delete the profile field value before following these steps since it may effect how combination products using the deleted field value interact with users.

Product Editor Administration Centre Interface

Within the Administration Centre of a TOTECS project, under the Inventory menu there is a menu item labelled Product Editor that takes administrator users to the Product Editor interface. Within the interface administrator users can find, create and update details of products, including the ability to create new combination products, as well as assigning child products to a combination product's assigned combination profile field values.

Create A Combination Product

For administrator users to create a new combination product follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Product Editor menu link.
  4. In the Product Code text box type a unqiue code for the product.
  5. Enter any additional data about the product in the available product fields.
  6. In the Product Type radio buttons select the Combination Product radio button.
  7. In the Combination Profile drop down select a product combination profile to assign to the combination product.If no product combination profiles have been created yet then you will need to create one first (see Create A Product Combination Profile steps further above).
  8. Click on the Save Product button.

A new combination product will have been created and saved to the server.

Assign A Product Combination Profile To A Combination Product

For administrator to assign a combination profile to an existing combination product follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Product Editor menu link.
  4. In the search text box type the product code of the combination product. Select the product from the auto-complete drop down. If the drop down does not display then try typing a different product code.
  5. Click on the Combinations tab.
  6. Within the Profile Info sub tab choose a profile option from the Profile drop down.
  7. In the Warning dialog click the Yes button.

The existing combination product will now be assigned to the selected combination profile. If you had assigned child product's the profile previously assigned to the combination product then the product mapping data will be deleted and require you to assign child products again.

Assign A Child Product To A Combination Product

For administrator to assign a product as a child to an existing combination product follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Product Editor menu link.
  4. In the search text box type the product code of the combination product. Select the product from the auto-complete drop down. If the drop down does not display then try typing a different product code.
  5. Click on the Combinations tab.
  6. Click on the Profile Fields tab.
  7. If a combination profile field has not already be assigned to the combination product then click on the Add button if available, and select the field to add to the combination product.
  8. Click on the Product Combinations sub tab.
  9. Click on the Add Combo button.
  10. In the product code text box type in the code of the product that you wish to add as a child product.Select the product from the auto-complete drop down once it loads.
  11. Under the options heading for each combination profile field select the field value that the child product will be assigned to.
  12. Click the Save button.

The child product will be assigned to the parent combination product for the chosen field values. When users navigate and view a combination product, if they choose the combination field values that match the values assigned to the child product then the user may be able to view details of the child product or add it to basket.

Unassign A Child Product From A Combination Product

For administrator to un-assign a child product from an existing combination product follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Product Editor menu link.
  4. In the search text box type the product code of the combination product. Select the product from the auto-complete drop down. If the drop down does not display then try typing a different product code.
  5. Click on the Combinations tab.
  6. Click on the Product Combinations sub tab.
  7. Click on the Del button in the row containing the child product that you wish to remove from the combination product.
  8. In the Warning dialog click on the Yes button.

The child product will be unassigned from the parent combination product and no longer be able to be found when a user attempts to find child products when using the combination's selection elements.

Set The Default Child Product Combination For A Combination Product

For administrator to set a child product combination that displays by default for an existing combination product follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Product Editor menu link.
  4. In the search text box type the product code of the combination product. Select the product from the auto-complete drop down. If the drop down does not display then try typing a different product code.
  5. Click on the Combinations tab.
  6. Click on the Product Combinations sub tab.
  7. In the Default Combination drop down choose the product option that will be set as the default.

The child product set as the default may then be set to display when a combination product is first loaded on a content managed web page (if the web page allows the default combinations to be set when the web page loads for the combination product).

Dependent Configurations

  • For administrator users to be able to access the Product Combinations Administration Centre interface the "Product Combinations" feature must be enabled.
  • For administrator users to be able to access the Product Combinations Administration Centre interface they must be assigned to Admin Permission Role that has the "View & Modify Combination" permission set to Allow.
  • For a user to be able to add a child product to basket from a combination product, they must have selected all the field value options that the child product is assigned to for the given combination product.
  • Within the Trade interface combination products can only have their profile fields displays as drop down selections.

Recommendations

  • Product combinations provide a great way to reduce the amount of products that users may see in search results and category listings. Rather than a user seeing 10 products that contain all the same information with minor differences, these products could all be assigned to one combination product that represents all the 10 products. This can be achieved by only assigning the parent combination products to categories, and not assigning the child products to any categories. Search profiles and product search result listings can also be configured to only show a parent combination product when a child product is found in the search results.
  • Combination products allow users to select from a number of different options when viewing the details of a combination product. Once the user has selected from the field-value options, product detail areas can be updated to show the details of the child product that matches the chosen options, such as image, pricing, description, and stock availability.
  • For content managed web pages there is alot of flexibility on how to show a product combination and its field-value options. The field values can be shown as a 2 dimensional table, a selectable radio list, or as a number of drop down fields. Note that for the field-value options to display as a table there must be only 2 fields configured in the profile assigned to a product combination
  • Try to avoid creating too many fields and values for product combinations. The more combinations that you create, the more administration effort that is required to assign the child products to a combination product. For example, if a product combination profile had 4 fields assigned to it, and 10 values for each of the 4 fields, that would make a maximum possible 10000 combinations. Each combination would need to be assigned to a child product, so if it took an administrator 1 minute to assign a child product to a single combination product, then it would take an administrator 167 hours to completely setup one combination product! If you find yourself in this situation then either reduce the number of fields and values in the combination profiles, or write an application that can automate the generation of the child product combination mappings to a CSV spreadsheet file. Then use the CSV file data imports in the platform, or in the Connector application to automatically import the combination data into a TOTECS project.
  • You don't have to assign every child product to a field-value combination in a combination product. However the more field value combinations you leave unassigned, the more annoying it can be for users who are selecting fields and values that do not map to any products. Its generally advisable to assign all field-value combinations to child products for a combination product.