Before you start creating configurable products, you need to ensure that the ‘super attributes’ you will need to link the configurable with all of its simple options have been created. A super attribute is just a product attribute that has been configured so as to allow it to be used for building configurable - simple relationships (in other words, the super attribute of the configurable product will be the customer defined option like shoe size or colour).
Setting up ‘Super’ Attributes
Navigate to Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attributes. If your attribute has already been created, or if you are creating from scratch, you will need to ensure that it has been configured to be used for the creation of configurable products.
i) Scope - This needs to be set as ‘Global’
ii) Catalog Input Type for Store Owner - This needs to be set to ‘Dropdown’
iii) Use To Create Configurable Product - This needs to be ‘Yes’
iv) Within the Manage Labels / Options - This is where you will list all the attribute options (every product may not make use of every option, e.g. if a particular shoe only has 2 colours available it may then only make use of 2 of the many options here)
Once done and saved, you then need to assign the attribute to the relevant Attribute Set that you’ll be using to create your configurable.
Note: These are the bare minimum to create a super attribute, but considering some of the frontend properties of the attribute can help customers search for what they want (e.g. if filter is ‘red’ then they are only going to look at products that are, or have configurable options that are ‘red’).
Creating a Configurable Product
Navigate to Catalog > Manage Products > +Add Product. Select the Attribute Set you want the product to be assigned to, and select Configurable Product from the Product Type dropdown and hit Continue. All the super attributes available to use within that Attribute Set will then be presented. Select the relevant one(s) and click Continue.
Once you have configured the product, click into the Associated Products tab. It is here that you have 2 options in terms of how you build the simple-configurable product relationships.
Option 1: Create Simple Associated Product
This option is best if you haven’t already created your simple products to be associated, and quickly want to do so. Click +Create Empty and a new window will open for you to create your simple products
Note: The super attributes you have selected will all be required fields on the simple products.
Option 2: Super Product Attributes Configuration
This option is best if your simple products have already been created / merchandised. All simple products that have are populated with both of the super attribute options will appear in the list below.
Note: You can also set Price values (either Fixed or Percentage) for each of the simple options (which will need to be specified in the base currency). Keep in mind the price values you assign to each of the simples will be the cost of that option on top of the Configurable Products price.