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Best way to setup a printing site?

Best way to setup a printing site?

Running Magento 1.92

I am a little stuck. I am selling some custom printing products but a little overwhelmed on the best way to set it up. It would be configurable products and say I have 2 products...Business Cards and Postcards.


There are many attributes for each product and each attribute set might be different for each product. The attributes would be the same name but might be made up of different values.

For example, business cards come in 2x3 and 2x2 and would be labeled as a dimensions attribute. Postcards come in 4x6 and 5x7 but also would be a dimensions attribute.


Would it be best to create an attribute set  per product called Business cards and another set called Postcards and then have 2 dimensions attributes (ie: BCDimensions and PCDimensions) ?


From what I am reading I would need to create a simple product with each of these attributes, but what happens when each product has the following attributes with 2 to 8 values per attribute?... 

Paper Stock, Dimensions , Coating, Corners, Quantity, Front/Back.


This can create hundreds of simple products per configurable product. Is this correct??





Re: Best way to setup a printing site?

There's two ways to achieve similar thing: one is Configurable product, another is Custom options (simple products have a tab for that). While they achieve somewhat similar result, there one important difference -- you can keep separate inventory levels for every associated product inside configurable product. Unless I'm badly mistaken you're doing made-to-order stuff so that you don't need it.


So check out Custom Options. Here's a short instruction video to help you get started:

Tanel Raja

Re: Best way to setup a printing site?

Hey Pronto,

Thanks for the response. Yes, you are correct, it is all made to order so inventory is not necessary.


I looked at custom options but was thinking configurable products for the SEO value and the reporting. Custom options would be way easier considering that 37 base products X 5 paper stocks X 8 dimensions X 8 quantity sizes X 6 Finishing options X 2 sides would equal about 150,000 simple products. That could have a lot of SEO value as well as a huge time investment to get all of them listed.  They all have unique SKU numbers also which is what I want to track the sales of to see what combinations move the best so I can promote them in my marketing. I have the SKU formula already so that is simple. 


I am trying to plan the store strategy now in the beginning before investing a lot of time into the wrong direction for my goals and therefore keep trying to justify configurable in my mind but want to simplify the process of getting to the end result. 


Is is possible to have configurable products with a custom option at the end? For example, they choose their (configurable) base product in their desired stock weight, select a dimension, select a finish option from the dropdown, choose single or double sided. This would be my configurable product which would then have a custom quantity (25, 50, 100, 250, 500, etc) with the quantity being the custom option?  Hope that makes sense.


Or does the configurable product over ride ALL custom options which is what I thought I read. 


Re: Best way to setup a printing site?

You can achieve pretty much everything you can achieve with configurable products up to and including different SKU-s with custom options. I don't have right now time to dig too deeply, so I'm answering from top of my head:


I've never tried to combine custom options and configurable products. Since custom options are simple product specific and configurable product can contain any number of simple products I'm pretty sure it's not possible. This is probably also the reason why I never tried it: there's no real benefit using both of them. It's always either one or another.


Configurable product is a meta product; bundle of simple products rolled together as one. It means that every simple product has its own inventory with everything related (inventory levels, cart limitations and so on).


Configurable product options are "solved" one by one. It means that at first only one option is available and when you make a choice another option gets "unlocked" and so on. List of options available is based on choices made from earlier steps. For example when you have blue and black t-shirt and only black has ladies version available, then whenever you choose blue color, no ladies option is displayed. Since custom options doesn't have inventory object, all option are available at any given time.

Swatches. I don't think custom options support Magento built-in swatches functionality. There's however TONS of extension to achieve similar result. Also to be honest -- Magento built-in swatches suck.


PS. I don't think that from SEO and Reports perspective there's much difference.

Tanel Raja

Re: Best way to setup a printing site?

Hi Grumpy. I'm new to web dev (I'm a prepress guy) and just looking into e-commerce and Magento. I find Magento quite convoluted and has a steep learning curve. I haven't figured out if it's the best way yet. The Magento Responsive Business Card Printing Theme software from

seems exactly what we need but their demos are only half complete so they may not be fully tested/functional. Anyway I haven't got a budget from management yet so I'm just still researching.