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Simple vs. Configurable Products in SAP CPQ

Today’s article breaks down the difference between simple and configurable products in SAP CPQ. Generally speaking, we can categorize CPQ products into simple products or configurable products. Understanding the fundamental differences between the two concepts will help you to manage products in your CPQ system. Let’s start with simple products…

Simple Products

Simple products in SAP CPQ don’t require additional selections when you’re adding them to a quotation. In other words, simple products go directly into the cart, because there’s no attribute requirement on these types of products. Importantly, you can add attributes to simple products for concepts such as Color, Size, or Material. Essentially, attributes are options related to a product that users can select before adding the product to the quotation. Users can add simple products to a quotation directly from the catalog. In the catalog, you can add simple products to the cart by selecting the ADD button. Simple products are easy to create by Admins in Setup – where they will define the Display Type as Simple Product. This is the foremost step in creating a simple or configurable product. 

Let’s apply this definition of a simple product to an example…

A small online B2B sunglasses distributor has a catalog of over 100 different products. Of those 100 products, there are 6 different styles. This company manages their products using simple products in SAP CPQ. When a Sales Rep goes to add a pair of designer Aviator sunglasses to their quotation, the sales rep browses the Company catalog and selects Aviators. This brings the Sales Rep to another tab which prompts them to select a color. The available colors are: 

  • Gold/Brown
  • Silver/Blue
  • Gold/Pink
  • Grey/Brown

The sales rep will select “Add” to officially add the sunglasses to their cart. 

These available attributes have no pricing associated, meaning there is no impact to the final price of the simple product. Once the Sales Rep selects Gold/Brown as an attribute, they can add the simple product to the cart. Then they can proceed with adding other products (configurable or simple) to their quotation. 

Next we will cover configurable products:

Configurable products

Configurable Products in SAP CPQ are completely customizable products which always have attributes associated with them. Attributes are a vital concept to Configurable Products in SAP CPQ. As users browse their company’s product catalog they will see they can add Configurable Products to the quotation by selecting “Configure” instead of “Add”. Users can create configurable products manually when they make the required attribute selections to build the product before they add it to the quotation. Conversely, they can create configurable products by redefining a simple product as a configurable product. The act of “configuration” happens when users select values for the associated attributes. As the user makes their attribute selections, the CPQ Responder updates along with the associated prices. The Responder displays a summary of the configurable product’s attribute selections. Configurable products can have multiple attributes associated with different pricing assigned to each option. 

When Administrators go to create a new product, the Display Type is set to “Configurable Product”. Importantly, users should define the attributes before they create the configurable product. Once attributes are assigned to the configurable product, only then can pricing be added. Layout and display type are easy to set for each attribute. This will determine how the configurable product’s attributes are displayed on the configurator and responder for users. 

Let’s enforce our understanding of configurable products with an example…

A B2C Smartphone reseller uses SAP CPQ configurable products to help their sales reps build quotations. The Sales Rep browses the catalog and selects CONFIGURE on one of their configurable products, the T-Phone Pro Max. This brings the Sales Rep to the configurator where they have 2 required attribute selections to make:

Once the Sales Rep makes their attribute selections the Responder is updated with the new final price to the customer & the sales rep can add the configured product to the quotation.

Finally, let’s take a look at this gif to review

The fundamental differences and similarities for Simple and Configurable products:

In summation, configurable products are a powerful tool to leverage in SAP CPQ, so it is important to understand when & how to use them. I hope this brief introduction to Simple and Configurable products has helped you to better understand your current or future SAP CPQ system. Please reach out to our team at ASAR Digital if you have any questions!

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