Product variants

Merchandisers may find that the product-level view of your store is too abstract, while the SKU level is too specific. Product variants contain lists of SKUs that all share the same attribute value, such as all red shirts, or all size-10 shoes. Once you have set up a variant for a product, you can manage image and other settings on the variant level, and create variant-level promotions and activities. Variants fill the gap between product-level and SKU-level sales and marketing management.

You normally have two choices of product data model in HCL Commerce:
  • Product level SKUs. In this model, products are templates for SKUs, and only retain basic information and descriptive attribute. Each SKU will contain a defining attribute. In this data model, merchandising personnel can define price and control visibility on a product, or on an SKU.
  • Category level SKUs. In this data model, SKUs are placed directly under categories. This model commonly applies to bookstores or stores selling virtual goods such as media products.
Some retailers, particularly those selling apparel, require a middle tier: a product variant. A variant groups together a list of SKUs that all share the same attribute value. For example, a merchant could require a variant for shoes with the red attribute. They might want to generate an SKU with a different size for this red variant.
A variant is a catalog entry type that is in between being a product and an item. For the HCL Commerce implementation of this concept, the exact definition is:
Product variant
A type of catalog entry that has at least one defining attribute without a specific value, representing a subset of SKU items under a product.
The variant appears as a product with one specified attribute and attribute value, and is regarded as a child of the product. All the SKUs under the same product that possess the same attribute and attribute value pair are considered children of the variant.
You can be as specific as you want in defining your variants, as long as you use an existing attribute to define each one. For example, suppose you are managing apparel. You can create variants as follows:
  • Blue shirts
    • Small blue shirts
  • Red shirts
    • Medium red shirts
  • Green shirts
    • Small green shirts
    • Medium green shirts
Merchandisers often require variants that are based on some common attribute such as color or size. If they can generate such variants they can then create merchandising on top of them, such as:
Add a product or variant to a sales category.
The merchandiser can then create rule based category around each particular color.
Specify merchandising associations between product colors.
Assign an offerprice or listprice.
The merchandiser is able to assign an offer price or list price at the product, variant or SKU level. In this logic, the lowest level assignment takes precedence. When product, variant or SKU is displayed, the price will be shown.
Control the visibility of different color.
The merchandiser could publish a product at product, variant or SKU level, with the lowest level published taking precedence. The higher-level published objects will be cascaded to a lower level.

Managing variants

You can manage variants as a separate category of object using standard Management Center tools.

For example, to search for product variants, select Variant from the search tool drop-down list. Type your target string into the search field and click the search button. The response is a list of variants whose names contain your search string.

You can show the SKUs that belong to a variant. For example, suppose that you are working with shoes. If you want to view only the shoe SKUs with the color attribute of gold, do the following:
  1. Open one variant. For example, suppose we have opened a variant that is defined by the attribute color='gold'.
  2. Right-click the variant to call up its context menu. From the menu, select Show SKU List.
  3. A list of SKUs that have the gold attribute are shown.