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Topic
Posts:
3
April 16, 2008

Product Variations This post is outdated

I'm a bit ticked off at you guys at Shopify. I recently was badgered by a user who gave me grief because I didn't want to pay him $300 to build a JavaScript/JQuery that allowed for product variations. The whole reason he's able to badger me in the first place is because you people haven't responded to my original, innocent query: I need to sell my paintings with a variety of mattes, and a variety of frames. Is there a way that you can accommodate this request?
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Replies
Posts:
579
April 18, 2008

The answer is that you need to use an external programmer. Shopify doesn’t support your need directly.

$300 is quite reasonable IMO if the code works. Just a few hours work. Less than I paid, and I consider it money well spent.

John Nanci www.ChocolateAlchemy.com The Art and Science of Homemade Chocolate
Posts:
2055
April 18, 2008

You can simply flatten down the variant space:

Create a new product ( with own picture ) for each painting in a different frame

than add variants of the kind:

small / matte
small / glossy
medium / matte
medium / glossy

You can use the description text of the product to point customers to differently framed versions.

As a rule of thumb: If you feel like a variant should have its own picture than you really want to create a new product.

This is quite simple to start out with. Once you have your market validated you can hire an expert like Hunkybill to implement an more advanced system based on drop downs.

Tobias Lütke - Shopify CEO // http://twitter.com/tobi
Posts:
579
April 18, 2008

Tobi, if he is flinching at $300, I have a feeling he is going to flinch at Hunkybill’s price (not that his are unreasonable).

And I kind of hate to say it, but I think you are trying to make it seem trivial by only giving two permutations. It’s a geometric progression. I am willing to bet he has more than 3 mattes and three frames, and at that point you have 9 variations which is too many.

As for expecting him to show every single permutation of every single painting as a different is just stupid IMO. Think about what you are asking him to do. 5 painting with 5 matte choices and 5 frames – you are effectively suggesting he should make 125 products with 125 picture files.

If your intent is not to trivialize the variant issue then say what you mean, because that is the way you are coming across.

I understand that Shopify can’t just implement variants. The db structure won’t easily allow it. How about explaining that instead of trying to make the solution to his problem seem simple when it is not.

Sorry, you just struck a nerve.

John Nanci www.ChocolateAlchemy.com The Art and Science of Homemade Chocolate
Posts:
2055
April 18, 2008

5 painting with 5 matte choices and 5 frames

That would be 25 products with 5 variants each. If there are 3 sizes than there are 15 variants each.

Does that seem like a lot? We have some stores with several thousand of products.

Tobias Lütke - Shopify CEO // http://twitter.com/tobi
Posts:
579
April 19, 2008

But are those several thousand product just variants of each other or really different product?

Yes, I think 25 products with 5 variant (or 15) each is too much when it is only 5 customized products. It’s unnecessarily ugly and cumbersome when customers of the web expect neat, tidy drop downs.

I will just drop it – we don’t see eye to eye on this.

John Nanci www.ChocolateAlchemy.com The Art and Science of Homemade Chocolate
Posts:
3
April 22, 2008

I’m not flinching at the price. I just feel that if I’m paying a high monthly fee, that a simple product variation example seems reasonable.

You start explaining how to do product variations on the Wiki using JSON. I don’t have a lot of experience with it, however – and on the Wiki, all you’re missing is a concrete example. You drop the ball towards the end, and leave everyone not well-versed in JSON hanging.

http://wiki.shopify.com/Product_Customizations

Alchemist John is absolutely correct – your solution re: flattening the variations is not a solution at all. From a usabiity perspective, it’s awful for the end user.

This seems like a simple fix – can you create a faux page that demonstrates the JSON approach, Tobi?

Posts:
2730
April 22, 2008

@Frank,

That wiki article was contributed by me. It was written a long time ago, before I figured out better ways to do the same thing. I left it there, in that state, as inspiration to others to follow my lead and have fun. The algorithm remains the same.

View source on any of my sites if you want examples, I do not obfuscate or minimize the code (yet). Shopify compresses the code anyway when delivering, so it does not slow things down too much.

If you cannot make heads or tails out of the examples… you’ll appreciate why I don’t take the wiki article further. It is not directed at weekend warriors who think that knowing a little HTML means they can also program a website.

Cheers.

GoHabsGo…

Specializing in Shopify Apps hunkybill@gmail.com http://www.resistorsoftware.com

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