Managing the Product Catalog
The catalog page contains the following sections:
- Catalog Management section
- Import/Export section
In the Catalog Management section, you can manage the product catalog that is available to your online store visitors. The product catalog can contain an unlimited number of products, which are stored in a category structure. This allows you to create complex store structures with hundreds and thousands of products for sale.
The page contains links to different tools for maintaining your catalog. Each section serves a specific purpose. Detailed instructions for working with each section can be found on its associated help page.
The Import/Export section lets you import products into the catalog or export products from it. In addition, the Import/Export features allow you to quickly edit product attributes via a CSV file. Detailed instructions for working with each section can be found on its associated help page.
The key concepts of catalog management include categories, products, and product types. They are described below.
Imagine that your online store sells DVDs and books. Each of these types of products has different attributes that describe it. For example, books may have an attribute called 'ISBN' (International Standard Book Number), while DVDs may have attributes such as ‘Length’ or ‘Available Languages’.
To help you process various kinds of products, we have created Product Types. In the above example, we can divide all our products into two product types — DVDs and Books, and define attributes for each type.
This will greatly simplify catalog management in the future.
A product's type is specified only once: either when adding a product manually or during import. Therefore, you should carefully plan your product types before creating your product catalog.
Categories and Products
Imagine that you own a huge bookstore with thousands of books in stock. The store has several departments, e.g. Finance, Small Business, E-Commerce, and so on. The book "Selling Online: How to Become a Successful E-Commerce Merchant" (ISBN - 0793145171) by Jim Carroll and Rick Broadhead is for sale in the E-Commerce department.
This book is called a Product. Products are the items that you deliver to customers, such as books, shirts, software, electronic documents, and so forth. A store department, such as Finance, Small Business, or E-Commerce is called a Category.
Categories offer a convenient way to separate different groups of products, and put similar products together. Customers can browse through different categories and see different products, but they can't buy a category.
There is no limit to how many categories you can create in your storefront.
The Manage Products section allows you to edit, delete, move and add products in the catalog.
The Manage Categories section allows you to add, edit, move and delete categories and subcategories.
Categories, Subcategories and the Category Tree
A bookstore that has Finance, Marketing, Small Business and E-Commerce departments may further differentiate the books in a department by placing them on different bookshelves. For instance, the Small Business department can have bookshelves labeled "Bookkeeping," "Franchises" and "Mail Order."
This structure may be represented as a tree:
This is very similar to a filesystem, where files may be stored in folders (directories), and any folder may contain subfolders (subdirectories), as well as files.
Categories in catalog can also be organized this way. Any category can contain any number of other categories, as well as any number of products.
Categories contained within some other category are called Subcategories of that category. 'Category' and 'subcategory' terms are always relative. For instance, in the above example all of the following are categories: Finance, Small Business, E-Commerce, Bookkeeping, Franchises, and Mail Order.
However, Bookkeeping, Franchises, and Mail Order are subcategories of the Small Business category. In addition, all of the above categories are actually subcategories of the special top-level store category.
Finance, Small Business, and E-Commerce are called first-level categories in the category tree. Bookkeeping, Franchises, and Mail Order are called second-level categories, and so on. There is also a special top-level store category, similar to a root folder in a filesystem. It is the only category that exists after installation and is named 'Home' by default, however, you can customize its name and other attributes.
Generally, when we mention a category, we mean to include all its subcategories and products it contains as well, unless otherwise specified.