An alternative association provides the ability to choose an item that is very similar to the original as an alternative. The system prompts a customer to confirm the alternative item before it is ordered.
Let us, for example, presume that in your inventory you have a popular brand of shoe that sells out quickly. Your inventory also has other comparable brands of shoes that are popular but do not sell as much. When you create a catalog item for the popular brand of shoes, you associate the other brands as alternatives. When a customer orders the popular brand of shoes and if that brand is not in stock, the system provides the customer with the option of buying the alternate brand of shoes. However, only after the customer confirms that the alternative brand is acceptable does the order get placed.