Simple products are the building block of products for almost every Magento website. There are six product types in Magento community edition, and 3 of the other product types, configurable, grouped and bundled, require simple products to work. Therefore almost every product will require simple products and understanding of how simple products work.
Simple products are meant for nonvariant products like a small brown Tshirt or another product with no configurable options or variations. However, it is possible to use the customizable options portion of a simple product to create variant option, which we will talk about later.
A simple product is a really a basic product that is made up of a collection of attributes. By default, Magento will have about 40 attributes like SKU, Weight, Stock Status, and much more. You can also create and add new attributes to a simple product to add more information to your simple products.
There are many general attributes that will apply to all products like whether the product is enabled, what attribute set it is using, and what category it’s in.
Enabled Product: This is a simple yes no option for whether the product is enabled or not.
Attribute Set: The attribute set is an important thing to understand because it is the group of attributes that control the information on the simple product. The attribute set you choose will determine what information you see in the admin panel and frontend of the simple product because it controls the collection of attributes associated with it. You may just use one default attribute set for all your products, or create new ones for different types of products.
One of the nice things about Magento 2 is that you can now change the attribute set of a product easily, whereas in Magento 1 you could not.
Product Name: This is simply the name of the product.
SKU: SKU is a code identifier associated with each unique simple product to better keep track of all unique products rather than using something like a name that can be identical for two similar but different products.
Price: Price is as you would guess, the price of the product.
Magento 2 now has an advanced price link that gives you more options such as:
Special Price: A special discounted price or sale price
Cost: The cost of the goods.
Tiered Pricing: The ability to create tiered pricing based on customer groups, website, and quantity.
MSRP: The Manufacturer suggested retail price.
Display Actual Price: This allows you to control when the user sees the actual price at different points in the eCommerce journey, such as, in the cart or before order confirmation.
Tax Class: Tax class allows you to choose if the item is a taxable good or non-taxed. Taxes can be controlled through the store, taxes section of Magento.
Quantity: Quantity is the number of items in stock, which also has an advanced inventory component.
When you click on advanced inventory you can control:
Manage Stock: The ability to manage the stock and quantity of the item.
Out of Stock Threshold: It’s possible you don’t want to sell just one item at a time, or for business purposes want a product to be out of stock when it is above zero stock, which can be controlled here.
Minimum Qty Allowed in Shopping Cart: By default, you will most likely choose the 1 option, however, if you only sell by the case or larger quantity you may need to increase the minimum that can be added to the shopping cart.
Maximum Qty Allowed in Shopping Cart: You may not want to fulfill very large orders or simply cap this number to reduce fraud of large fraudulent orders.
Qty Uses Decimals: This is helpful if you sell something that comes in feet, or inches, or by the pound but can be placed in increments of not just 1 or 2, but 1.5 pounds for instance.
Allow Multiple Boxes for Shipping: You may want to leverage this to ship your products via multiple boxes if the product is complex or is bought with many other items.
Backorders: Taking backorders can help you generate more sales even if the item is not in stock.
Notify for Quantity Below: You may want to get notified when the quantity falls below a certain level so you can keep your items always in stock.
Enable Qty Increments: This can allow you to enable qty increments of more than 1 so that you can only order in increments of 2 or 3, etc…for instance if you want them to purchase in cases.
Stock Status: By default, you will most likely want the item in stock, but you may want to change it to out of stock if the quantity is zero or for other reasons.
Weight: Weight is as you would expect, the weight of the product. You can also turn off weight if you don’t need to record it for your products.
Categories: Here you can select what category the product is in.
Visibility: This allows you to control whether the product is not visible in the catalog or search. You may not want it to be visible in search or the catalog for business reasons or want to hide simple products because they are part of a configurable product and should not be found individually.
Set Product as New: You can set products as new to promote them on your site or make them more appealing as new products.
Country of Manufacture: This allows you to set the country of origin of the product.
Enable RMA: This allows you to enable the product for Return Merchandize Authorization.
Content is the next section of your simple products. If your simple product is part of a configurable or grouped product, you may not need to fill it out. However, if it is viewed on its own as a standalone product you will certainly want to fill out the short and long description.
Short Description / Description: Short description is meant for a quick blurb about the product, potentially at the top of the product page, whereas the longer description may be at the bottom or further down the page.
Configurations are the capability to add other simple products to the product to make the product a configurable product. I will cover that in the configurable products post coming up soon.
product reviews are simply a database of the reviews associated with the product that you can click into to get more information on the individual review.
Images & Videos:
Magento 2 has greatly improved the image and video portion of products. You can now easily drag and drop a photo into the images portion of the website. When you click on the image you can also update the image with alt text for SEO purposes, choose the role of the image such as base image, thumbnail, swatch etc.
Video: You can now easily add a video URL from Youtube or Vimeo and assign to be the base, thumbnail, or other image portion of the website.
Search Engine Optimization:
URL Key: This is the URL that the product will live on, and may be an extension of your site URL and possible category URLs if you setup your URL structure that way.
Meta Title: The Meta Title is the page title for your product that you see above the URL in search results.
Meta Keywords: Meta Keywords are no longer used in SEO and should be ignored
Meta Description: Meta description is the description underneath the URL in search results to explain what the page is about.
Related, Up-Sells, & Cross-Sells:
Related products are products related to the simple product, such as another type of similar product.
Up-Sells are additional products that are higher end versions of the existing product in an attempt to up sell customers on a better product.
Cross-Sells can be used to sell complimentary items to the product, almost like add-on products.
This allows you to create custom options for a product like color, size, or some other variation. The problem with using this for variations is that you do not have control over the individual inventory and other things that you may need to control on a per SKU level. Therefore we typically recommend using configurable products, however, customizable options can be a good simpler option for some types of business use cases.
Product in Websites
This allows you to choose which websites the product applies to. If you have multi-website capabilities you can assign products to certain websites this way.
Theme: You can have multiple themes in Magento and apply different themes to different products here.
Layout: This allows you to select what product layout you want. You may leverage different layouts for different types of products.
Display Options In: This allows you to control where you have product options like size and color display on the product page.
Layout Update XML: Here you can use XML to update the layout that might be specific to this product or augment the overall layout.
Gift options allow you to offer a gift message, gift wrapping, and a price for gift wrapping.
Here you can transform your simple product into a downloadable product so that you can upload pieces of content to be downloaded in this section.
You can create unlimited custom attributes and add them to the attribute set of your simple product to add more information. This can be used for anything such as size, color, or anything else specific to your business operations or product information.