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A key concept in Drupal Commerce is the Product Display vs Product model used to separate physical products from their display on the website.
Depending on your point of view, this makes perfect sense or is a conceptual or practical nightmare. However you feel about it, understanding the reasoning behind the concept is essential when it comes to planning and implementing a Drupal Commerce project.
WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT POTENTIAL FOR CONFUSION
SO WHATS THE PROBLEM?• Drupal Commerce has product entities and product display nodes• Probably the single most important concept to get your head around • Either really obvious or really confusing
WHY IS IT THIS WAY?• Products often have multiple variations • Size, colour etc• You need to know which one of the variations the customer wants• Youneed dont want to display multiples of similar things
THE UPSIDES• Single product display can represent multiple products • Fine control of variables for each variant • Stock and pricing• Alternativedisplays for different contexts
THE DOWNSIDES• Ifyour products are simple you have to create 2 objects to create 1 product • Ifyour products are complex you could end up with thousands of variants • Admin user experience
ELIMINATE THE DOWNSIDES• Two main problems to solve• Duplication of effort when it seems a waste of time• Manual creation of hundred of variations
PLANNING YOUR PRODUCT STRUCTURE• Consider when the product display is used and when the product is used• Anythingproduct variant speciﬁc goes in the product (eg colour, image)• Anythinggeneric about the product goes in the display (eg marketing description)
PLANNING YOUR PRODUCT STRUCTURE• Anything you need in the following scenarios should go in the product• Conﬁrmation email• Order tracking
PLANNING YOUR PRODUCT STRUCTURE• Canalso have multiple product types• Where products have different descriptive elements• Or you need separation for logic
PLACING YOUR TAXONOMY• Ifyou need to have search or navigation based on taxonomy apply the taxonomy to the product displays • You could have alternate taxonomy for admin
ENOUGH PLANNING... Lets see the implementation
BULK PRODUCT CREATION• With the product display system number of variants can multiply quickly•A product with 5 sizes, 3 colours and 2 ﬁts gives you 30 products for 1 product display • Bulk product creation set them all up• Then delete the ones you dont need
IMPROVING THE OWNER EXPERIENCE•A store admin doesnt want to hear that they have to do something twice no matter how well you explain it• Use inline edit module
EXPLAINING AND TRAINING• Getting this message across is the key to acceptance of commerce
TERMINOLOGY• Findthe terminology that ﬁts with the client product range• Consensus seems to be• Product display = Product• Product entity = Variant
ANOTHER SIMPLE RULE• Products(variants) are for the back end• Productdisplays are for the front end
WAYS TO USE MULTIPLE DISPLAYS• Youcan group products together in any way you like• Different product displays for different contexts• Promotionallanding pages are a good example
LANDING PAGES• Use an alternative product display for promotional landing pages• Youcan change layout in other ways (display suite)• Best use of alternative product display when you want to group different products
SALES AND PROMOS• Alternative product display scenario• Normal display shows all products (variants) • Sale version shows only a subset
MULTIPLE PRODUCT TYPES• Products (variants) have different data requirements• Also different rules • Egbooks - need a way to identify different VAT condition
RULES BASED PRICING• Sales and promos • Usealternative product types for promo price rules