Options vs Attributes

Product Options and Product Attributes are great features available in every edition of Arpastart eCommerce. Initially, it can be a bit confusing to select when a feature should be a Product Option and when it should be a Product Attribute. Product Options allow you to add variation to your product. Options are choices that a customer makes about a product before they can buy it, (option = choice). Product Attributes are characteristics that define a particular product. Attributes are properties that can be used to compare the similarities and differences between products. (attribute = comparison) Let's work through an example. We have 4 phones available to sell in our store:

  1. Black with 32GB storage
  2. Black with 64GB storage
  3. White with 32GB storage
  4. White with 64GB storage

By default, Arpastart eCommerce can only track inventory on a single option (with as many values as you want) for each base product. We do offer a less flexible (read less awesome) version that creates option combinations, like Colour AND Size, in which you could set this up as a single product, with both Colour and Storage Size as inventory trackable Options (option = choice). 

 
But back to the example and the main purpose of this tutorial now. We have 4 phones available with Colour (black/white) and Storage (32GB/64GB) as features. We know we can only track inventory on a single option for each base product because we want the full, awesome version of Arpastart eCommerce. This means we have to turn one feature into an Attribute and one into an Option. But which one? The answer is simple: It does not really matter. It depends on your preference. Let us show you.

SOLUTION 1

First, let's use Colour as an Option and Storage as an Attribute. I will set up iPhone 32GB and iPhone 64GB because we want to make it as easy as possible for our customers to find the products they want. 

 
Let's look at the Options (options = choice). We can see the customer now must choose a colour before they can purchase our iPhones. 

 
Let's also look at the Attributes (attribute = comparison) and add both phones to Product Comparison. We can now clearly see the similarities and the differences between the two products. The only difference, in this case, is the Storage Space.

SOLUTION 2

Now let's setup the same example again, but, this time, using Colour as an Attribute and Storage as an Option. We will rename both products, again to make it as easy as possible for our customers. This is what they look like in the store. 

 
Let's look at the Options (options = choice). We can see the customer now must choose a Storage Size before they can purchase our iPhones. 

 
Let's also look at the Attributes (attribute = comparison) and add both phones to Product Comparison. We can now clearly see the similarities and the differences between the two products. The only difference, in this case, is the Colour.

TO SUM IT ALL UP

Options involve a choice while purchasing the product. Customers have to select something to change the default product. Product Attributes are the features that will be compared side by side by your customers when they are deciding the best item to buy. How you set them up depends mostly on how you think your customers look for products on your site.

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