As soon as you have about 15 items in your site, it is wise to classify them into categories and sub-categories.
This classification applies to your site's back-office and front-office. It allows you to simultaneously classify your items in your administration space and facilitate browsing for your visitors.
Item categories can be created or modified from two places in your administration space:
The idea is to create categories that can then contain sub-categories. You can create a tree-structure that is 10 levels deep with sub-categories.
- In the property editing page of your items ([Commerce\Items (Products-Services)\Edit Properties icon)], under the "Category Classification" tab.
- Via the "Category Editing" tab in the Items (Products-Services) component.
Each item can be associated to one or several item categories. The system allows you to associate each item with up to 3 categories. This way, an item can be classified under 3 distinct categories in your site.
The categories are automatically displayed in the Catalog (Brochure) and Shopping Cart (Shop) components. However, you can deactivate this display or modify the layout in the "Category Layout" tabs in each of these components.
| Category Organization|
To make the most of this functionality, you need to create a pertinent tree-structure. Think of your categories as "aisles" in a store. You wouldn't want to have empty, badly organized or overloaded aisles. The following list points out 7 fundamental errors not to commit:
- Propose too many items in a category
Let's say you sell clothing. Don't put 200 items in the "Men's Clothing" category. Create sub-categories ("Pants", "Shirts", etc.) that each contain about 30 items.
- Propose too few items
If several of your sub-categories only contain one or two items, they probably shouldn't exist. Let's take the example of your clothing store. If the sub-categories "Ties" and "Belts" in the "Men's Clothing" category each contain less than three items, it's best to regroup them into a single sub-category "Ties and Belts".
- Propose "empty" categories
Don't create categories for items that you will propose in your shop at a later time, but aren't currently available. Every category in your site should be attached to items.
It is very unpleasant for a visitor to land on a dead end page with no content. If this happens too often on your site during their visit, your prospect may be tempted to leave your site!
- Neglect the hierarchy in your tree structure
Your category/sub-category tree structure should logically be in pyramid form.
Let's use our clothing store example: Don't create 10 categories "Shirts", "Pants", "Shoes", etc. each containing 2 sub-categories "Men" and "Women". Do the opposite. Create two categories "Men" and "Women" which will contain your sub-categories "Shirts", "Pants", "Shoes", etc.
Likewise, it would be absurd to propose 100 categories with no sub-categories! Just imagine the customer's confusion when searching for a specific product in this kind of maze.
- Associate items to their category AND sub-category
An item should only be associated to the (last) sub-category it belongs to.
Don't put a shirt in the "Men's Clothing" category AND the "Shirt" sub-category. Doing so with all items in the "Men's Clothing" category will overload this category and you lose all the benefits of proposing sub-categories.
Furthermore, organizing your items this way will interfere with the display of your site. When the system has to display the contents of a category, it asks the following questions:
1) Are there only sub-categories? In which case, the system will display them according to the organization defined for the categories (with images and descriptions).
2) Are there products linked directly to the category, mixed in with sub-categories? In which case the system chooses to display the page in "product list mode" and the sub-categories are simply listed in a zone called "sub-categories".
- Associate items to a category containing sub-categories
Even if this is possible, our advice is not to associate items to a category if it also presents sub-categories. It would be best to add a new sub-category to classify these items.
If you associate an item to a category containing sub-categories, the system will display the sub-categories as a list (see previous point).
- Do not fill in your category properties
ALL the fields in your category properties are important. They allow your customers and search engines to find your products more easily. We recommend entering all of the parameters described in the Category Properties section of this help topic.
| Moving Categories|
If you have many categories at the same level, at the root of your product catalog, browsing and user-friendliness is not optimized for your visitors. Therefore, it is recommended to create a category tree structure.
A category can become a sub-category and vice versa. All you have to do is move them.
To move a “parent” category, into a “sub category” , drag and drop the element.
The drop-down list present in the main page of the "Category Editing" tab allows you to manually modify the category display order. To do so, select "Classify by position (edit mode)". The order selected here will apply:
- In the administration space, by selecting "Classify by position" in the same drop-down list.
By clicking on the “Change the positions of root categories” , you can define the categories classification :
Enter a position :
and save the changes.
- In the Shopping Cart (Shop) component, by modifying the parameters in the "Category Classification" tab to "According to the manually defined order".
- In the Catalog (Brochure) component, by modifying the parameters in the "Category Classification" tab to "According to the manually defined order".
| Category Properties|
It possible to hide a category (to prepare an update of the catalog for example) , or to publish it only in the preview.
This setting can be done on the subcategory and can be accessed when Editing Properties for the category.
| Categories visibility|
In addition to the category name, the category properties page proposes several additional fields (all of which are important):
Note: It is possible to use WebBlocks to personalize category descriptions and headers for a more complex layout.
- Description and Image
This information will be displayed in both the Shopping Cart (Shop) and Catalog (Boutique) components, if they are configured to display categories (which is the default behavior). They will be displayed in the category access page (before "entering" into the category).
The header corresponds to the description that is displayed above the list of items, once the user has entered into a category, no matter what page they are on (page 1, page 2, etc.).
Allows you to define a specific language where your category will be displayed. This way, you can create a different category tree structure for each language used by your site.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Properties
Category SEO Properties are very important. They allow you to enter Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions for each item category, thus optimizing the keywords linked to your activity for search engines. We highly recommend filling in the 2 fields in this zone.