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Tshirt Sales - Product & Option Setup Help?

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  • Tshirt Sales - Product & Option Setup Help?

    I'm hoping that we may be able to get some tips about "best practices" for setting up products & options (and SKUs/option SKUs) for apparel (T-shirt) sales.

    The basics would be that for a given tshirt design, there are sizes and there are colors and all the combinations thereof.

    Also, this would be dropshipped on a "printed as-ordered" basis and not a stocked item.

    Can anyone offer some tips for how best to set this up for best practices and ease of management in the back end?

    I'm sure I'm not even asking some questions I should be asking, so hopefully some of you experienced apparel sales people can educate me.

    Thanks very much in advance!

  • #2
    Use Normal Options...
    • Good for if you're having these created elsewhere and the manufacturer has tons of colors and sizes and will never run out.

    Use Advanced Options...
    • If stock is a concern - like, if it's possible that you'll run out of red shirts or medium shirts.
    • If you utilize the cost field in your inventory
    • If the shirts have different weights
    • If you have different customer groups, like Retail and Wholesale

    There are two methods of presenting shirt options on your product page; let's assume Red, White, and Blue shirts in Small, Medium, and Large:
    A) Create one option for size and one option for color. The customer selects one, then the other. Both are required.

    B) Create 9 individual options: Red small, red medium, red large, blue small, etc.

    I think both methods are equally intuitive and effective, but only if you have just a few variations. If you have 8 colors and 5 sizes, then method A is preferable. However, method A has the potential to create a situation in which the customer sees an item that doesn't exist. For example: Assume all shirt colors are available in all sizes. Except purple - purple is not available in Large, so the customer will be confused by the ability to select Purple and Large. You need to purchase a separate add-on to get around this. Relevant discussion HERE.

    If you decide to go with method A and you decide to use Advanced Options, the software will create all the variations of Advanced Options for you. For example: let's go back to the 9 shirts. You enter the 3 colors and the 3 sizes, and the software - if you want it to - will create the 9 variations.
    - Dean P. e-commerce and small business consulting


    • #3
      DeanP You are a gentleman and a scholar! Thank you.

      So our assumption (!) is that manufacturer will never run out. Also going to assume (though I need to check into this) that all shirt sizes available in all colors (but thank you for raising this because I never would have thought that is could be an issue - so I'll be researching).

      Does "Method A" work with "Normal Options" also or only with "Advanced Options"?

      Though I do like the idea of Method A/Advanced Options creating all the variations for me.

      In the Advanced Options scenario, do we have to maintain an inventory (in-stock) number or is there a way to do this so that inventory is "generated" on an as-needed basis (if that makes sense) since we're drop shipping?

      Thank you again!


      • #4
        For regular options, the quantity in the Stock field on the main Product Information tab is the general quantity for all shirts.

        For Advanced Options, each individual variation has its own stock, and the sum of these values is the stock quantity that appears on the Product Information tab. So for those 9 shirts discussed earlier, you can input a quantity of 10 for each, and 90 will show up as the quantity in stock.

        I need to amend something I wrote earlier: I had 3dcart do some custom programming for Advanced Options in my admin; they created the price fields, customer group price fields, and some other stuff. I think much of that got rolled out to all stores as part of a big release, but it looks like the price field is something you have to buy:

        Some of this is difficult to explain, so you'll want to make a couple dummy products to see some of the differences yourself before you spend too much more time planning on paper.
        - Dean P. e-commerce and small business consulting


        • #5
          This is a general design thing...I don't know if it is unique to my market, but my customers tend to get confused if we list a "Bobs Cool Design T-Shirt" that then has 8 colors that they choose from inside the listing. When we listed everything like this, we got lots of questions/comments like "I love that shirt if you had it in grey!" when grey was an option.

          When we list them this way now, we put all the colors on the product photo and the text 'Available in 25 colors".

          But the ones that sell better are the ones with only a single color. You can see them all here

          To your original question, we do all this with regular product options and use a lot of option templates to fill them in.



          • #6
            Thanks for the follow up DeanP Definitely helpful and yes, I agree - going to have to make up some test products to apply some of the things you suggested and see how it goes.

            DaveW thank you for adding to this conversation. Your comments make perfect sense and seeing how your site is set up (thanks for the link) was really helpful. I'm liking the idea of colors being items and sizes being options.

            Anyone know if we MUST "fill" the items with dummy inventory stock levels in order for them to be available for sale? I've never had to look into setting up a non-stocked but easily fulfilled item.


            • #7
              Anyone know if we MUST "fill" the items with dummy inventory stock levels in order for them to be available for sale? I've never had to look into setting up a non-stocked but easily fulfilled item. Also BTW, in case it matters to the answer to the question above, we won't be using the automated drop shipping system built into 3dcart.



              • #8
                Yes. If there is no inventory, it will show out of stock. Just use 999999 if you don't have an actuainventory. Do this once if you're using regular options or for each option in advanced options.


                • #9
                  Sorry I missed your question weeks ago. Like ISGMe said, yes, your advanced options need to have stock. It's important that you only adjust stock at the advanced option level, do not adjust the stock on the Information tab. The stock on the Info tab will be the sum of the stock of all advanced options, and it's calculated automatically. Does this make sense?
                  - Dean P. e-commerce and small business consulting


                  • #10
                    Thanks ISGMe & DeanP I think we'll be OK going with regular (not advanced) options for this - especially since we have no need of tracking inventory. We're doing each color as it's own item as recommended by DaveW and then the sizes will be the options for each shirt. We'll enter 99999 for each item and it seems like we'll be good to go. Thanks everyone for the advice.