Understanding the different Magento 2 product types

February 7, 2017 by Leah Na'aman

Whether you’re a web developer or a hands-on retailer, adding products to your eCommerce store is a fundamental part of running an online store. There are a wide variety of Magento 2 product types available on the new system, which allow you to add items to your inventory in numerous forms without complicated coding processes.

Even more importantly, the system gives you the freedom to be flexible in how you sell your items. This can be enjoyed in the forms of physical and digital products, discount bundles and more. You can also allow for customer customization of certain products, depending on the options you have available.

Customers want choice and flexibility in their shopping experiences and retailers who can provide this are the ones who enjoy the best conversion rates. Once you become familiar with the Magento 2 product types available to you, you’ll be able to optimize customer experience with ease.

Adding Products to your Magento 2 store

As with a number of processes on the Magento 2 platform, adding products to your store is a straightforward task. To create a new product, navigate to Products from the Admin section and select Catalog. From here, you can click Add Product.

You’ll be presented with six different Magento 2 product types with which to categorize your item. There are some variations from the original Magento 1 platform, so read on if you’re unfamiliar with the new version…

Magento 2 Product Types

1. Simple Products

This is the most basic form in which a product can be added to a store. This option should be used for products that are sold as single items without any variations and have unique Store Keeping Codes.

For example, if you’re selling a digital camera that comes in just one color, this can be entered as a Simple product. This particular model doesn’t come with a variety of memory standards or in different designs. The specific model is the only option.

2. Grouped Products

Grouped products facilitate the combination of Simple products in order to give customers a bulk-buying discount. Products are grouped together (although they can also be bought individually) and sold at a special price.

Using our camera example, you can buy the camera on its own; however, if you combine it with a tripod, camera bag and memory card, you’ll save money when compared to buying each item separately. This is a form of upselling that has proven successful for online retailers and so, is something Magento incorporated into their platform. With this function, retailers can easily create deal bundles when needed.

3. Downloadable Products

This attribute facilitates the sale of digital products that don’t come in a physical form. Perhaps you’re selling photo editing software that customers will need to download and install on their computer. There may also be a selection of photography eBooks on sale that customers will need to download.

In this case, the products can be downloaded from your website. This is easily arranged using the Magento 2 platform.

4. Virtual Products

Similar to Simple products, these are used for individual products that don’t need to be shipped, collected or downloaded. It’s typically some kind of service offered by the company or an associate body.

An example of this would be insurance for your new camera. A confirmation email will be sent with a copy of the agreement, but there isn’t a specific physical or digital product.

5. Bundled Products

When adding products as Bundled products, you’re forcibly grouping together various Simple or Virtual products. Unlike the Grouped option where customers have the choice to add extra products to their original purchase, Bundles make it a requirement.

Let’s say you have an excess amount of memory cards that you need to get rid of. You decide to bundle them together with your digital camera, forcing customers to buy the memory card if they want to buy the camera.

It’s a risky move as the customer may decide to buy from a retailer who will allow them to buy the camera as a standalone item. However, if you’ve discounted the memory card or the camera is in high demand and you’re one of few sellers, it could be advantageous.

6. Configurable Products

Building on Simple products, adding items as Configurable products allows the customer to choose products in a variety of forms, depending on personal requirements.

In the case of clothing retailers, you can upload clothing with various options for customers to select from. For example, you can sell a particular type of long-sleeved top in a variety of colors and sizes. Customers can select their size and color preference on the product page from a drop-down or ‘tick’ menu. This can then be added to their basket with ease.

How to add a Configurable Product

This requires a little more action than other Magento 2 product types. Using our long-sleeved top example, first, you’ll need to create Simple products for each size and color. Once you have done this, you can create a Configurable product by assigning those newly-created variations to the module.

Prices can also be altered depending on the selections. For example, an XS top may cost less than an XXL due to the amount of material used.

How to convert a product

We’ve already explained how to combine Simple products into Configurable items, but what if you want to change a product into another form entirely?

Simple to Downloadable

For example, let’s say you used to sell hard copies of a photography book that could be delivered to customers. Now, you’ve switched to eBooks and need to update your store. In this case, you would want to convert your Simple product to a Downloadable one.

The simplest way to do this is to remove the old version and add a new product to your inventory. If you want to take a different path, you’ll need to edit your Simple product and select The Item Has No Weight in the weight section. The item should now automatically convert to Downloadable.

Once this happens, you’ll need to add the download links to the Downloadable Information section.


Users of the Magento 2 platform have enjoyed a number of simplified processes, especially when coming from Magento 1. Magento 2 product types have a user-friendly design that allows developers or retailers to customize their inventory as needed with ease. Not only does this allow for a simple basic upload for new products, it also supports marketing or sales efforts with features like Bundles.

If you’re still on the fence about switching to Magento 2, check out our examination of both Magento platforms to see how an upgrade could benefit your eCommerce store.




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