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Product Classes, Attributes, and Variants / Variations
Product Classes, Attributes, and Variants / Variations

Learn about product classes, attributes, and variants/variations in X-Cart and how you can use them

Olga Tereshina avatar
Written by Olga Tereshina
Updated over a week ago

The forms for specifying a product's details in X-Cart provide fields for information on the basic product configuration like product description, price, weight, and other settings vital to selling a product online. However, you may find basic product configuration insufficient. Sometimes it may be necessary to group products based on some features other than categories and subcategories. You may also need to specify additional product parameters like brand, color, size, technical details, etc., to give customers insight into a product they want to buy or even give customers more product options to choose from.

X-Cart has the Classes and Attributes built-in feature that enhances basic product properties and gives you more tools for product management.

  • Product Attributes allow you to add more details to a product description - from displaying different product characteristics in the Product Specification tab on the storefront's product details page to various product options that enhance the product representation.

  • Product Classes allow you to put products in groups other than product categories and subcategories and bulk-manage them as part of those groups.

Product attributes and classes also serve as the basis of the Product Variants / Product Variations features. Both these features - Product Variants and Product Variations - allow you to create different versions of a particular product that share a common product listing. The said product versions could include different attributes such as size, color, style, or other features that allow customers to choose the specific version that suits their preferences. The difference between Product Variants and Product Variations is in the approach to how specific versions of the product are configured and entered into the product catalog.

  • With Product Variants, you can have a product item (for example, "T-shirt") and you can configure versions (or options) of this item by describing them as combinations of specific product characteristics (for example, "Color: Red, Size: S", "Color: Red, Size XL", "Color:Blue, Size: L"; each combination of size and color would be a separate variant).

    With this approach, only the product item on which the variants are based - in our case, "T-shirt" - will be treated as a separate entry in your store's catalog, whereas the variants ("Color: Red, Size: S", "Color: Red, Size XL", "Color:Blue, Size: L") will be accessible for selection by shoppers as product options via the product listing of the parent product item.

    Please note that with this approach each product variant is allowed to have its own specific pricing, SKU, and quantity in stock. The Product Variants feature is enabled by the add-on Product Variants.

  • With Product Variations, you can have versions of a product that will be treated not as product item options but as fully independent product items. Each of these items will be a separate entry in your store's catalog. However, you will be able to group these items together for ease of management and accessibility by shoppers.

    For example, you could have product items like the following:

    • Red T-shirt, Size: S;

    • Red T-shirt, Size: L;

    • Red t-shirt, Size: XL; etc.

    Or you could have items like:

    • T-shirt, Color: Red, Size: S;

    • T-shirt, Color: Red, Size: L;

    • T-shirt, Color: Blue, Size: XL; etc.

    Each of the items will have its own SKU, description, price, quantity in stock, and all the rest of X-Cart product properties.

    To streamline the shopping experience for customers, you will be able to group those items together based on a certain attribute/multiple attributes that they have in common. You get to decide which attribute(s) should be used for this purpose; for example, in the case of "Red T-shirt, Size:..." it could be the attribute "Size", and in the case of "T-shirt, Color:..., Size:..." it could be a combination of two attributes - "Color" and "Size". As a result, on product lists, the product variations will be presented as separate product items, but if your customer opens the details of one of the variations, they will be able to easily select a different variation of the same product on the same page and thus switch to viewing the details of that variation. The switch of the page content is done quickly and inconspicuously, so the shopper gets the impression of simply switching options on the same page, whereas in fact every time they get to view a separate product item. The feature is powered by the add-on Product Variations.

    Please note that most contemporary suppliers and catalog providers (like Amazon, SEMA Data, AutoSync, ASAP Network, etc.) tend to use the latter approach (product variations as separate product items). Importing catalog data from such suppliers/catalog providers into an X-Cart based store will create variations of the same product as separate product items. For this reason, if you are going to use such integrations, we recommend using the add-on Product Variations. It will help you to keep the process of searching for the right product clean and simple for your customers.

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