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Adding and Editing Categories

Definitions

Product categories allow you to organize your product catalog and make it easier for customers to browse through your on-line store. With ProductCart you can create multiple categories and subcategories, and assign a product to an unlimited number of categories and subcategories .

You can create unlimited subcategory levels in the category tree. You can also control the order in which categories and their subcategories are displayed when customers browse your store.

Let's start by looking at the following definitions:

  • Root. This is the top level in the category tree. When you create a new category, you will set it as a root category unless you want it to be a subcategory of another category.
  • Categories. You can have unlimited subcategories.
  • Parent Category. This is the category to which a subcategory belongs. When you create a new subcategory, select the category that it belongs to from the Parent Category drop down menu.
  • Subcategories. The process of creating a subcategory is the same as creating a category. The only difference is that you will have to specify which parent category or parent subcategory this subcategory belongs to. ProductCart supports unlimited category levels.

You can create a new category or subcategory in two ways: by adding one category at a time or by importing category information using the Category Import Wizard.

ProductCart contains a number of features that make it easy to create a category tree as wide (number of categories at the same level) and as deep (number of sub-category levels) as you wish. Some of these features include:

  • Unlimited categories
  • Unlimited sub-category levels
  • Ability to assign a product to unlimited categories
  • Different display settings for how categories are displayed
  • Different display settings for how products are displayed within a category
  • Ability to set different display settings for different categories
  • Featured products within a category

Whilst ProductCart can happily support 1000's of categories the structure and number of categories should be carefully considered. If the customer facing pages have a fully expandable set of categories in the menus then, regardless of server performance or whatever software is being used to deliver the page, you can end up in a situation where the menu is a significant percentage of the overall page weight. If you are planning on using very significant numbers of categories then careful planning just makes good sense, as does implementing the categories in stages and confirming both customer usability and performance are not adversely impacted.

Adding a new category

To add a new category select Products > Add New Category. With ProductCart version 3.5 we introduced an new, tabbed design for the Add/Modify Category pages. We believe this new layout better organizes the information on the page, and dramatically reduces the need for vertical scrolling.

Adding a new category to your e-commerce store

Let's review the contents of each tab.

Category Name, Images and Parent Category

  • Name
    This is the name that will be displayed on your store when people browse the store by category. This field is required.
  • Small Image
    Enter the file name of the image file that you would like to use as the thumbnail shown when customers browse the store by category (if category images are used). We recommend that you keep category images below 100 x 100 pixels in size to allow multiple categories to be properly displayed when customers browse your store.

    Note that all images used by ProductCart reside in the productcart/pc/catalog subfolder on your Web server. You do not need to specify the folder name in this field, just the file name. If the images that you intend to use have already been uploaded to the server, you can browse through them and copy the file name to the corresponding image field by clicking on the search icon. See How to Upload Images and Locating an Existing Image for more information.

  • Large Image
    The small category image is shown on the pages where the customer is “browsing by category”, if the store has been set up to use category images (if you set up your store to only list the category names or list the categories in a drop-down, the small category image is not used). The large category image (if any) is used when the storefront is displaying products and/or sub-categories within the category. It is shown at the top of the page, above the long category description.

Category Descriptions

  • Short Description
    If you want to provide information about the sub-categories or products that the selected category contains, enter a short description: This description field supports HTML tags and is shown at the top of the page, below the category name, on pages that display subcategories of the selected category. It is only shown when you choose a display setting that lists categories vertically in one column. Use the built-in HTML editor to apply HTML formatting to the description.
  • Long Description
    If you want to provide information about the products that the selected category contains, enter a long description: This description field supports HTML tags and is shown at the top of the page, below the category name, only on the page that displays products within the selected category. Use the built-in HTML editor to apply HTML formatting to the description.
  • Do not show category descriptions
    If you have previously entered category descriptions, but no longer wish to show them, check this option.

Display Settings

Categories and sub-categories

Choose a display option for how subcategories are displayed (if no option is selected, the default store-wide setting is used). The options are the same category display options that were described under Settings > Display Settings: here you can override the default settings for this category.

The following settings apply when categories are not displayed in a drop-down (if empty or 0, the default store-wide setting is used) and allow you to define how many categories should be shown on each page.

  • Categories per row
  • Rows per page

When the total number of categories to be displayed exceeds the number of categories that each page is setup to host, page navigation is automatically added.

Products within a category

Choose a display option for how products are displayed within a category (if no option is selected, the default store-wide setting is used). The options are the same product display options that were described under Display Settings: here you can override the default settings for this category.

The following settings regulate how many products are shown on each category page (if empty or 0, the default store-wide setting is used):

  • Product per row
  • Rows per page

When the total number of products to be displayed within a category exceeds the number of products that each page is setup to host, page navigation is automatically added.

Product details page

Choose a display option for the product details page. It will apply to all products within the category. This option overrides the store-wide setting. You can also define this setting at the product level when adding/editing products, as mentioned in the section of this WIKI that covers adding and editing products. The options are the same display options for the product details page that were described under Display Settings.

Other settings

ProductCart allows you to restrict the visibility of a category (the products that it contains are also hidden). You have two options:

  • Hide this category in the storefront
    The category is completely hidden. This feature is especially important for users of the Build To Order version of ProductCart in that it allows the store administrator to organize in categories BTO items that are not available for sale as stand alone products.

    The feature is also useful for all ProductCart users to temporarily hide a category and its subcategories (e.g. you are doing maintenance on that area of your store). If you hide a parent category, customers will not be able to view & browse its subcategories either. In addition, products that belong to a hidden category are also hidden in the storefront.

  • Hide this category in the storefront from retail customers (wholesale customers can see it)
    The category is only shown to wholesale customers or customers belonging to Customer Pricing Categories that have wholesale privileges.

Hidden categories and hidden products: typically, if you assign a product to a hidden category, the product will not be shown in the storefront (even if you later assign it to a visible category). However, if you assign the same product first to a visible category, and then to a hidden category, the product will be visible as the “conflict” is resolved by giving the first category assignment priority over the second one.

Meta Tags

For information on product- and category-specific meta tags, please refer to the Meta Tags section of this WIKI.

Editing a category: search fields

When you edit a category, the same fields described above are presented to you. However, there is an additional tab in the left-side navigation, called Search Fields.

This is an important new feature introduced in version 3.5 of ProductCart: this is where you can associate categories with Custom Search Fields to allow drill-down navigation in your storefront.

Easily associate Custom Search Fields with product categories

  • Simply select a field and click on the + sign to associate it with the category
  • Click on the - sign to remove it from the list
  • Make sure to save your changes because the search field is not associated with the category until you do so

More information on adding and managing Custom Search Fields


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