Let's say that you sell tickets for an event, and you have the following constraints:

  • A max of 40 tickets can be sold for a given event slot
  • You have 5 different price tiers but you can accomodate different inventory levels per each of these. (Ex: you can have 8 price tier A and 8 price tier B, or also 10 price tier A, 6 price tier B).

What would be the best way to manage this inventory? If you could set maximum quantities per price tier that would be ideal, but if not, just being able to set inventory per the group would be good.

UPDATE: Initially I wanted to make the question more generic, but in the interest of being more accurate. Specifically, the "event" is a boat trip. You only have 40 slots in a given boat trip and there is some flexibility to the quantity of the price tiers (adult tickets are one tier, child tickets are another tier, etc.).

  • In my opinion, without special product group, it's impossible. You should create a module for that special group to handle global inventory! Each sell should decrease global product inventory instead of the product level. Because, your products are flexible. This week can be concert other week should be an theatre. – Oğuz Çelikdemir Jan 30 '13 at 13:43

I think I'd go with configurable products.

Create the event as a configurable product. Each slot/price level (I'll call it ticket category for my explanation) is a simple product which isn't visible individually.

(I hope I understood what you want to do. I imagine something like a concert or sports game with tickets for seats in different categories, e.g. first row or second tier. Could also work for a conference with a one-day pass, two-day ticket and so on.)

My reasons for this decision are:

  • You can group the tickets for the event using standard Magento methods.
  • Each ticket category (price tier) has its own inventory out of the box.
  • By checking the cart/order history for the simple products associated to the configurable product you can put restrictions on the quantity of tickets which the customer may buy.
  • By overwriting the price calculation method for simple and configurable products, you can have very flexible pricing. Special, group and tier prices can be available on a per-ticket-category level. The UI is ready for your client to enter the data so this isn't a huge deal.
  • As each ticket category is a separate product, you can make available much information based on the ticket category. Think additional descriptions, images and so on.
  • It's pretty easy to adjust the product page and have the customer buy tickets for different categories at the same time without reloading the product page.

Update after sparcksofts update regarding the type of event ("boat trip"):

As Petar said in the comments: normally you'd manage inventory on the simple product level. The flexible quantity of the price tiers changes things a little bit.

You could handle inventory manually (= not use the standard auto-increment/decrement from Magento).

If only one price tier can be purchased at one time, you could set the inventory stock to the same quantity for all simple products when one price tier is purchased.

I assume that multiple price tiers should be purchasable at the same time (e.g. a family buys 2 adult and 2 child tickets). In this case, I'd save the stock information with the configurable product and make sure that it isn't possible to buy more tickets from the different price tiers that are available - using client-side JavaScript and server-side add to cart events.

  • +1. Updated the description to specify that the "event" is a boat trip. Little bit different than a concert b/c the "price tiers" are not as clearly separated as in a concert. – kalenjordan Jan 30 '13 at 16:29
  • So does this allow you to manage inventory at the super product level or only at the child simple product level? – kalenjordan Jan 30 '13 at 16:29
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    You manage inventory on simple product level, which is main reason for using configurable products over custom options for example. Configurable product inventory is equal to total of its sub products – Petar Dzhambazov Jan 30 '13 at 17:24
  • Thanks Matthias. Interesting, so there really is no simple solution to this use case other than manual inventory management. It's one of those use cases that seems kind of simple at first glance but isn't really :) I'm not as familiar with inventory management as other areas of Magento, so it was great to get some feedback from you guys on this! – kalenjordan Feb 2 '13 at 21:17
  • I'm glad I could help a little bit. – Matthias Zeis Feb 3 '13 at 10:26

Configurable product is an only alias for simple products. You need to manage simple products stock.

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