Products which cost less, than the price taken to ship them, are usually not sold individually. They are sold in a bunch. Consider the case of gourmet chocolates. You generally don’t sell one, you sell a box. When selling such products, sales will depend on the variety you are willing to offer. For example, along with selling a pre-made box of chocolates, you could offer an option to the visitor which allows him to create his own custom assorted box of chocolates.
Use Case: Create Custom Boxes
- A visitor to your site is provided options of box sizes to select from. There could be several options, for the number of pieces a box can contain, like 12, 24, 36, etc. Each box will be priced differently. The box could be pre-assorted, or the user can choose a custom box, to create his own assorted box.
- The visitor selects the box, he wants to purchase.
- If it is a pre-assorted box, it will be added to the cart.
- If it is a custom assorted box, a list of chocolates (white, dark, with almonds, etc) is provided to the user, which can be added to the box.
- The visitor can pick quantities of individual chocolates, which can be used to fill up the box. The add-to-cart option will not be enabled until he fills the box completely.
- The visitor can create and buy as many assorted boxes of chocolates, as he wishes.
The idea behind this is simple, you are basically selling the chocolate boxes as products. These boxes have a fixed number of slots which have to be filled, to be able to be purchased. The individual chocolates are not sold individually but can be bought, only as a part of the box.
Creating Products Not for Sale Individually
One thing is for sure, you have to ensure that the chocolates are not available for individual sale. Thus there has to be an extra field to force the purchase of a certain quantity of each product. We can specify the quantity in groups, required to buy each kind of chocolate, using the Min/Max quantities extension for WooCommerce. For example, a visitor can purchase white chocolates in groups of 12.
A new product category, ‘chocolate’, has to be created as well. Under this category, various kinds of chocolates can be added.
Reviewing Existing Add-Ons for WooCommerce
Create Pre-Assorted Boxes using Product Bundles: The Product Bundles extension for WooCommerce, allows you to create and sell a group of products as an individual product. This is used to create static bundles, i.e. the bundles will be pre-defined and sold. A visitor to your store can purchase them as they are (that is to say, he cannot edit a box). We could use this extension to create and sell pre-assorted boxes. There should be some customization to ensure that, Min/Max and Product Bundles, extensions do not clash with each other.
Composite Products Extension to Create a Custom Box: The Composite Products extension for WooCommerce allows you to create and sell multiple components as a group. Each component which forms the group, can be selected dynamically but from a specified list of products. For each component, you can choose one product, and set the quantity. To use this extension, for our use case, we will have to customize it quite a bit. Especially the user interface.
Using the Custom Product Boxes extension
The Custom Product Boxes extension fits the exact use-case. It allows for the following:
- A custom box can be created as a product. The price of the box has to be fixed. There are custom fields provided, where the store owner can add additional information, such as the capacity of the box, and add-on items.
- The capacity of the box enforces a limit on the number of items which can be added to the box.
- The items which could be added (chocolates) are shown in a drop-down field. The store owner can select and add products as add-on items.
- In the shop, a customer can select a box he wishes to purchase.
- The box along with the add-on items are shown to the customer
- The customer then has the possibility to add (or remove) items to the box.
- The box once filled, can then be added to the cart, to purchase the assortment.
Using the Custom Product Boxes plugin, you can allow a customer to create an assorted product box. Currently, the functionality of the box is such that the price is fixed. But in an upcoming update, the functionality will be updated to dynamically calculate the price based on the products being selected.
Dynamic Price Calculation Now Possible (Update – 16 July 2015)
The Custom Product Boxes has now been updated to include dynamic calculation of custom box. This means that the cost of the box will increase based on the cost of the item added to the box. Two options have been provided in the ‘Price Type‘ field for the dynamic price calculation feature.
The first is that of dynamic price calculation along with a base price for the product. Here, a price is defined for the custom product box. Over and above that, the price of individual items is appended to the total cost of the box.
The second option is that of per-product pricing without a base price. In this type of product, the customer will start off with a product that costs nothing by itself. Now, each time an item is added to box the price of that item is appended to the total cost of the product.
If this sounds like something you need, the Custom Product Boxes plugin is what you need.