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Preparing for Batch Processing Sub-Products

In order to productively use the Sub-Product batch processing feature, read the following paragraphs and consider taking the suggested steps.

Using Attribute codes

The Apparel Add-on allows you to assign “codes” to option attributes. For example, color “Red” might actually have a unique identifier that you use elsewhere in the management of your business (e.g. “r4”).

Since these codes are used when generating part numbers (SKUs) for your Sub-Products, make sure you associate meaningful codes with each attribute assigned to the Parent Product.

  • If no codes have been assigned to the attributes, all Sub-Products will have the same SKU, equal to the SKU of the Parent Product.
  • If codes have been associated with some, but not all attributes, some of the part numbers will be the same.
  • The only scenario in which all part numbers will be unique is when codes have been associated with all attributes that have been assigned to the parent product.

Attribute images (Swatches)

If you want to show swatches (e.g. color swatches, fabric swatches, etc.) on the product details page, make sure to associate images with all attributes assigned to the first option group (e.g. if the first option group assigned to the product is “Color”, assign images to all “Color” attributes).

We recommend that these images all be of the same size (same width and height) and typically no larger that 25 pixels.

You can see many examples of this feature at work by visiting some of the “Apparel” stores that use ProductCart. For example, see the "Apparel" category on GreatOnlineStores.com, a directory of stores that use ProductCart.

Sub-Product images

Sub-Product swatches and images

Swatches and Images

When customers click on a color swatch, ProductCart will automatically swap the product image currently shown with the one specified for Sub-Products that use that attribute (i.e. all “Blue” shirts, regardless of the size).

In order to take advantage of this feature, make sure to create images for the Sub-Products, and use the naming convention mentioned below. For each Sub-Product, you can have two images: a standard image and a detail view image. The second image is shown when customers click on the zoom icon.

Taking advantage of Naming Conventions

The naming conventions available in ProductCart are:

  • Sub-product SKU + “suffix” + “extension”
  • Product SKU + Option Code + “suffix” + “extension”

Take note of these naming conventions because they can save you a large amount of time when setting up Sub-Products. By using programs such as Adobe® PhotoShop® or Adobe Fireworks® you can batch create new images from larger image files, quickly generating the images in the size and format needed for ProductCart, while automatically naming them in a way that is consistent with the naming convention used by ProductCart.

For example, assume you have an Apparel Product that is available in 6 colors and 5 sizes. That means that ProductCart will generate 30 Sub-Products. Since ProductCart automatically fills the image fields with file names that follow one of the naming conventions mentioned above, if your image file names match them, you will not have to do any data entry, but rather simply FTP your image files to the pc/catalog folder on the Web server.

To do this, first rename your source files (e.g. typically large image files from which you will create the general and detail view images) using, for example, the “Product SKU + Option1 Code” naming convention. Assume the Product SKU is “jacket1” and the “Option1 Code” for the 6 colors are “blue1”, “red1”, “yellow1”, etc. Rename the source files to “jacket1blue1”, “jacket1red1”, etc. Then, choose a suffix (e.g. “_sm”).

When you batch process the images in your graphic program, you will generate 6 smaller images named “jacket1blue1_sm.jpg”, “jacket1red1_sm.jpg”, etc. You will repeat the same process with a different suffix (e.g. “_lg”) for the detail view image, and upload all the images to the ”pc/catalog” folder. ProductCart will fill the image fields for these Sub-Products using the same naming convention, so you will not have to do any manual data entry (otherwise you would have to manually enter the 12 image file names).

Performance problems with missing images

If you do not plan to use images for your Sub-Products, make sure to check the corresponding option when generating the Sub-Products. If you don't ProductCart will generate the image file names as mentioned above, and save them to the database. In the storefront, it will attempt to pre-load those images (for all Sub-Products). If the images are not there, this will cause (hidden) server error messages that can negatively impact page loading time, especially when you use the Keyword Rich URLs feature.


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QR Code Preparing for Batch Processing Sub-Products (generated for current page)