Chapter 3: Set Up Your Catalog

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Overview of Catalog Concepts

Now that you have your store installed and your initial configuration settings established, it’s time to set up the heart of your site: the catalog. The catalog is the most important part of any eCommerce site, and with Magento, you will have complete control over it. So take advantage of this great opportunity!

Creating and Managing Categories

Setting Up Defaults

The first step to creating your catalog is to configure the catalog system settings. To do this, navigate to System > Configuration, and select the Catalog tab.

Frontend

This determines how your products will be shown in the front-end’s catalog pages.

  • Products per Page - Choose whether the category pages will display 9, 15, or 30 products by default. Your customers will be able to change this, or to display All products.
  • List Mode
    • Grid Only - The products will display in a grid structure and your customers will not have the option to change this.
    • List Only - The products will display in a list structure and your customers will not have the option to change this.
    • Grid (Default)/List - The products will display in a grid structure by default but your customers will be able to switch to list.
    • List (Default)/Grid - The products will display in a list structure by default but your customers will be able to switch to grid.
Product Options
  • Default Tax Class - Select whether the default tax class for with new products added to your catalog will be Taxable Goods or not.
  • Warning: The “Default Tax Class” feature no longer seems to be available as of 1.1.6. If you know how to re-enable this feature or where the feature has moved, please edit this page and post your solution to the forum.
Product Alerts

There are two types of product alerts to which you can allow your customers to subscribe via email. Each have their own enable drop-down, and Email Template, but they share the same Email Sender. For more information on how to configure email templates and email sender addresses, refer to Chapter 6: Customers. The Price Alert will create a link in every product page called Sign up for price alert. Clicking this link will subscribe your customer to this alert, and they will receive an email when the product price is changed. This includes adding or changing Special Prices in addition to the regular Price field. The Stock Alert will create a link in every Out of Stock product called Sign up to get notified when this product is back in stock. Clicking this link will subscribe your customer to this alert, and they will receive an email when the product status changes to In Stock. For each product, there is a tab listing all customers subscribed to either of these alerts. There is more information about this in the Products section later in this chapter.

Product Alerts Run Settings

This determines the frequency with which Magento checks both product prices and stock status for changes, so that your subscribed customers can be alerted.

  • Frequency - Designate whether you want Magento to check for updates Daily, Weekly, or Monthly.
  • Start Time - Select the time of day (in 24 hour mode) at which you wish Magento to check for updates.
  • Error Email Recipient - Enter the email address to which emails will be sent in case an error occurs during the check for updates.
  • Error Email Sender - Select the address from which the error notification email will be sent.
  • Error Email Template - Select the template which the error notification email will use.
Product Image Placeholders

This is discussed in more detail later in this chapter, under Products.

Recently Viewed/Compared Products

This is discussed in more detail in Chapter 5: Promotions, Marketing and Content Pages, under Customer Personalization.

Price

You can determine the level at which prices are shared in the Catalog Price Scope drop-down. If you select Global, prices will be shared across all websites. If you select Website, prices can differ between websites, although they will still be shared between store views contained in the same website. The price here affects several different areas in Magento. For example, this includes product prices, base currency, price filters in the admin, and catalog/shopping cart price rules.

Search Engine Optimizations

Configure these options to make your site more Search Engine Friendly.

  • Autogenerated site map - If you Enable this feature, a Site Map link will display in the footer on the front-end, directing to an automatically generated site map including a list of all of your existing categories. In addition to the Autogenerated site map, Magento allows for integration with Google Sitemap. There is more information about this below.
  • Popular search terms - If you Enable this feature, a Search Terms link will display in the footer on the front-end, directing to list of all search terms, displayed as a cloud. This is an SEO feature because each of these search terms counts as a link to your site, and is registered by search engines.

popular_search_terms.jpg

  • Page Title Separator - Enter a character in this field, and it will be placed between the various Meta Information in the Page Title, that displays at the top of the browser.
  • Use categories path for product URLs - This determines how the URL Rewrites autogenerate. If you choose Yes, the URL rewrite for products will include the associated category, and a separate rewrite will generate for each associated category. If you choose No, the URL Rewrites will include only the product name, and there will be only one rewrite, regardless of how many categories the product is associated to.
  • Product URL Suffix (cache refresh needed) - This also affects how the URL rewrites autogenerate. The value entered into this field, for example .html, will automatically be added to the end of your URL rewrite generated for products. There is more about this topic in the section about URL Rewrites.

If you want to configure Magento integration of Google Sitemap, navigate to System > Configuration and select Google Sitemap from the left column.

Categories/Products/CMS Pages Options

The sitemap settings for each of these three types of pages can be configured individually.

  • Frequency - Designate how often you would like Google Sitemap to check each type of page for updates.
  • Priority - Designate the priority that each page type receives in relation to the other page types when Google Sitemap updates.
Generation Settings
  • Enabled - Select Yes to Enable Google Sitemap autogeneration and automatic updates.
  • Start Time - Select the time of day (in 24 hour mode) at which you wish Google Sitemap to update.
  • Frequency - Designate whether you want Google Sitemap to update Daily, Weekly, or Monthly. This can differ from the frequency that Google Sitemap actually checks for updates (as defined above).
  • Error Email Recipient - Enter the email address to which emails will be sent in case an error occurs during the automatic update.
  • Error Email Sender - Select the address from which the error notification email will be sent. For more information on how to configure these email addresses, refer to Chapter 6: Customers.
  • Error Email Template - Select the template which the error notification email will use. For more information on how to configure these templates, refer to Chapter 6: Customers.

Creating Categories

To create and edit categories, navigate to Catalog > Manage Categories. In the center of the page you will have the option to create a new category.

  1. Enter a name for the category. This is how it will appear on the front end of the sites selected.
  2. Select the location in which the category will be created from the Parent Category drop-down. The default is Root, and any category created with this as its parent will be a Root Catalog level category (although the name of that category does not need to be Root Catalog). Having multiple Root Catalog level categories is useful if you want to use different category structures in different Stores. If you are not using a multiple Store structure, multiple Root Catalogs are unnecessary. Refer back to Chapter 2 for more information about Stores and assigning Root Catalogs. Any category created with a Root Catalog level category as its parent category will be a top-level category in the navigation bar on the front end. If you wish, you can allow customers to subscribe to a list of all your top-level categories via RSS feeds. There is more information about RSS Feeds in Chapter 5: Promotions, Marketing, and Content Pages. If an existing top-level category (i.e. not the Root Catalog) is selected as the parent category, the new category will be created as a sub-category of the selected top-level category, and will appear on the front-end in a drop-down menu when the top-level category is rolled over. If a category is created within a second-level category, the category menu will further expand, to the right, when the second-level category is rolled over, and so on. categories_navigation_tabs.jpg Additionally, when a customer is browsing through your site, the category levels will display at the top of the page, below the navigation bar, in a “breadcrumb”. For example, if a customer rolls over the navigation bar, arrives at Apparel > Shoes > Mens and clicks Mens, they will be directed to the Mens category page. The breadcrumb will look like: breadcrumb.jpg The current page will be in plain text, and all the parent categories will be links to the corresponding category pages. The same is true of product pages. In this case, the product name will be last in the breadcrumb, in plain text, and all categories will be linked. This is a dynamic feature, so that the breadcrumb will display the category pages according to the path by which your customer navigated to the product. If you have a product associated to multiple categories, the breadcrumb will detail only the specific path your customer chooses each time they arrive a product page. The breadcrumb improves usability by allowing customers to keep track of their location within your site at all times, with a clear path for how to return to previous pages.
  3. Enter a Description. This is for internal use only, and will not appear on the front end.
  4. Select an Image by clicking the Browse... button and locating the image on your computer. This image will appear on the front end of each category’s page between the category name and content. Once a category has been saved with an image, a small icon of the existing image will appear to the left of the Browse... button, and a Delete Image checkbox will appear to the right.
  5. Enter the meta information for the category in the Page Title, Meta Keywords, and Meta Description fields.
  6. Display Mode and CMS Block refer to using static blocks with categories. For more information about this, refer to the Using static blocks with categories section below.
  7. Select Yes or No from the Is Anchor drop-down. This drop-down has two effects.
    • Anchored categories will display all products associated to all child categories (and child of child, and child of child of child, etc.) on that category’s page, along with the products associated directly to the parent category.
    • Anchored categories will display the filterable attributes of all products that display in the category page (meaning the products associated to that category and to its child categories) in the Layered Navigation menu in the left column. Layered Navigation is discussed in more detail later in the chapter.
  8. Select Yes or No from the Is Active drop-down. Select Yes for this category to be visible on the front end. If you select No, the category cannot be accessed from the navigation bar on the front end, nor can any of its sub-categories, and the category name will display as light gray in the category tree in the left column of the categories page in the admin.
  9. The URL key adds a relative URL path which can be entered in place of the standard Target Path. It is Search Engine Friendly because it can use the name of the category instead of the ID#. For more information about URL Keys, refer to the section about URL Rewrites. If you leave this field blank, it will automatically generate with the name of the category upon creation of the category. If you enter a value here manually, you cannot use spaces in this field.

In the left column will be a drop-down menu called Choose Store View. The default selection in the menu is All Store Views. When this is selected, you will be able to view the “default” options for each category. If you select a specific store view, you will be able to see the options specific to that store view for each category. Only certain options can vary between store views. Options that cannot vary, and will be the same in all store views, are called “global” and will have the label [Global] next to them. Those that can differ between Store Views will be labeled [Store View]. Note: The products assigned to a category, accessed through the Category Products tab, are not global. This way, you can choose to have different products display in each store view.

categories_tree.jpg

Below this drop-down is the category tree, which lists all existing categories and displays their relationship to one another. For example, if one category is a sub-category of another, it will be listed directly below it, and indented one level. Next to each category name in the tree is a number inside parentheses. This number represents the amount of products associated directly to that category. Because the products are associated at the store level, the numbers in parentheses will vary depending upon which store view is selected from the drop-down. To edit any existing categories, select it from the category tree, and its options will appear in the center of the page, replacing the New Category section. When editing a category, the Parent Category drop-down will not be present. In order to move a category to a different Parent Category, simply drag and drop it directly in the category tree.

To return to the new category view, simply select a category from the tree and click the Add New button. This will automatically assign the selected category as the parent category in the drop-down.

Assigning products at the category level

Products can be added to a category while the category is being created, or anytime thereafter. Simply select the desired category, and access the Category Products tab (from the top of the category page). You will notice that the leftmost column in the grid contains a drop-down menu. The default selection will be Yes, meaning that the grid will only display items already associated to the category. Therefore, a brand new category will always have a blank product grid. In order to search for existing products to associate to this category, select either No (which will only display products that are not associated to the category) or Any (which will display associated and unassociated products) from the drop-down, and click the Search button. You can narrow your results further by using the ID, Name, SKU, Price, or Position filters (although the position filter only works for products already associated to the category). Select the checkboxes of all products that you wish to associate the category, and unselect all checkboxes of products you wish to deassociate. After a product is checked the Position field will become active and you’ll be able to enter a sort value, which controls the order in which the products display on the front end, regardless of the order in this grid. Please click the image to see a larger version.

Assigning designs at the category level

You can customize the design of each category individually in the Custom Design tab. This controls the look of the category page, including the objects on the page and the structure of the page.

  1. Select the design you want from the Custom Design drop-down. Magento comes with several different design options out of the box, but you can add your own by... If you leave this drop-down blank, it will automatically use the Current package name design. This can be edited by navigating to System > Configuration and clicking the Design tab. Enter the name of the design you want in the Current package name field, and this design will apply to all categories for which you do not specify a different design.
  2. Select your preference from the Apply To drop-down. This category only means that the design will only apply to this one category page. This category and its products means that the design will apply on this category page, and on the pages of all products associated to this category. If a product is associated to multiple categories, each with a different design, the design displayed on that product page will be determined by the design of the category page from which the user navigates to that product. This category and its child categories means that the design will apply on this category page, and on the pages of all sub-categories, sub-sub-categories, and so on. If a child category has a different design selected than its parent category, then... All mean thats the design will apply to this category, its child categories, and its products.
  3. With the Active From and Active To fields, you can select a time frame in which the category will automatically switch to a design, and then switch back to the blank option when the time frame ends. This is perfect for the holidays, so that you can create a holiday design for you pages, and then have your site automatically switch back to the normal design whenever you want, without having to remember to do it yourself.
  4. The Page Layout drop-down determines the structural aspects of the page. No layout updates uses the default settings that come with the Magento installation. Empty displays the category page without any objects, except for the content (products or static blocks only), category name, and view options (number to display per page, view as grid or list, and sort be options). 1 column displays the contents, category name and view options, as well as the header, footer, search field, and navigation bar. Column on the left adds the left column to the 1 column display, which by default includes the currency selection and layered navigation. Column on the right adds the right column to the 1 column display, which by default includes the shopping cart view, wishlist, compared products list, polls, and newsletter sign-up. 3 columns displays both the left and the right column.
  5. The Custom Layout Update is essentially a static block, with a few differences.
    • Rather than HTML, the structure must be in XML format.
    • The Update will display at the bottom of the page, below the products, whereas a static block will display above the products (if the static block is set to display with products)
    • The Update will display on the page only during the dates specified in the Active date range.

Using static blocks with categories

If you would like customers to be taken to a landing page when they select the category, instead of the standard product listing page, you can do so by enabling static blocks on your category page. This is controlled the in General Information tab.

  1. In the Display Mode drop-down, select what content you want to display in your category page. Products only means that the products associated to the category will display, but not any static blocks. Static block only means that the selected static block will display, but none of the products. This is ideal if you want to get your customers excited about the category before showing them products or if there is specific content you want to show for a certain category (tip: Make this page an anchor category and let your customers use layered navigation to find their products after viewing the landing page). Static block and products means that the static block will display with the products listed directly beneath it. This is useful if you want to have several category pages where the same static block content is needed, but each feature different products.
  2. In the CMS Block drop-down, select which static block you would like to display on your category page. It will include all existing static blocks, which can be created in the static block manager by navigating to CMS > Static Blocks. For more information about creating static blocks, please read the section about them in Chapter 5: Promotions, Marketing, and Content Pages.

Attributes

Creating an Attribute

In Magento, Attributes are quantifiable or descriptive aspects of a product, from the color, to the manufacturer, to the SKU number. There are two kinds of attributes in Magento: Simple Attributes and System Attributes. By default, Magento includes all the necessary System Attributes. These cannot be deleted, and every product must have each of these attributes. Therefore, all Attribute Sets must include these attributes (more on Attribute sets in the next section). These type of attributes include Name, Price, and SKU, without which a product would not function. Simple Attributes, on the other hand, are attributes created by the Store Owner. These will likely be more specific for individual products, and therefore will not necessarily be included in every Attribute set. For example, if you were to create an attribute for color, with values of blue, green, yellow, etc., you may want to apply this attribute to an Attribute Set for shirts, which you sell in various colors, but you probably would not include it in an Attribute Set for DVDs, for which color is not really an applicable attribute. To create a Simple Attribute, navigate to Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attributes, and click Add New Attribute in the top right of the page.

Properties

Attribute Properties
  • Attribute Identifier - This is the name of the attribute used by the system. It will appear in the Attributes list in the Attribute Code column, and it will be used when managing Attribute Sets, however it will not appear on the Front-end. Each attribute you create must have a unique Attribute Identifier, and this value cannot contain spaces.
  • Scope - This drop-down determines the level at which the values of this attribute are shared. When creating a product, you will be able to see the Scope to the right of each attribute. You can choose to make any attribute shared Globally, at the Website Level, or at the Store View Level. Global means that the value of this attribute for a given product must be the same throughout your site. Website means that the value of this attribute for a given product can differ in different Websites, however it cannot differ between Store Views contained under the same Website. Store View means the value of this attribute for a given product can differ in all Websites and all Store Views. For example, if you were creating an attribute called Color, with a Store View Scope, you would be able to set the color of a product to green in one Store View, and blue in another Store View.
  • Catalog Input Type for Store Owner - This describes what kind of data the attribute will store. What’s set here determines how data entry for this attribute will take place. For example, a Description attribute would use a text field, so that you can manually enter a description for each product, whereas a Color attribute would use a drop-down, so that you choose the color of each product from a drop-down list (the values of which you will enter in the Manage Label / Options tab).
  • Default Value - If you choose to enter a Default Value, each new product created with this attribute will automatically have this attribute prepopulated with the value you enter here. However, you will always be able to edit the prepopulated value. This field will not display if you have selected Multiple Select, Dropdown, or Media Image as your Input Type. If you have a Dropdown or Multiple Select Input Type, you will be able select the Default Value in the Manage Label / Options tab.
  • Unique Value - If you designate an attribute to be a Unique Value, that means the value selected or entered for this attribute for each product must be different. If Color was a unique value, only one product could be green, one be blue, etc.
  • Values Required - If you require values, you must select a value for this attribute for each product you create. You will not be able to save a product if this attribute is left blank.
  • Input Validation for Store Owner - This controls the type of check Magento places on the values entered for this attribute for each product. If you select None, you can enter any type of information as the value for this attribute. If you select Email, for example, Magento will make sure that the value entered for each product resembles an email address. If it does not, you will receive a warning message.
  • Apply To - Decide which Product Types will include this attribute. The three Product Types in Magento are Simple, Grouped, and Configurable Products (there is more information on the differences between these Product Types in the Products section later in this chapter). If you select Selected Product Types, a multiple select menu will appear where you can choose to which of the Products Types this attribute will be associated.
  • Use To Create Configurable Product - This drop-down will only appear if the Scope is Global and the Input Type is Dropdown. If you select Yes, this attribute will be a Configurable Attribute. When creating a Configurable Product, the next step after selecting the Attribute Set and Product Type is to select the Configurable Attributes for this product. You will see a list of all the existing Configurable Attributes associated to the Attribute Set. If you select the checkbox, this attribute will be a Configurable Attribute for this product. If you leave the checkbox empty, this attribute (while still a Configurable Attribute in your attribute settings) will not be a Configurable Attribute for this product. If an attribute is a Configurable Attribute, this means that the customer will be able to select the value of the attribute from a drop-down in the front-end. It is customer configurable. For more information about Configurable Products, please refer to the Products section later in this chapter. Note: This drop-down is not related to the Apply To menu above. An attribute can be a Configurable Attribute even if it is not applied to Configurable Products. If this is the case, you will be able to select the attribute as a Configurable Product when creating a product, but you will not be able to see this attribute among the product’s other attributes in the New Product page.
Frontend Properties
  • Use in quick search - If you select Yes, Magento will search all the product values for this attribute when your customer uses the search bar in the header. If you select to use Color in the quick search, your customers will be able to type in green or blue and find products that match that color. For more details, see Chapter 5: Promotions, Marketing and Content Pages.
  • Use in advanced search - This is very similar to the quick search. However, in the Advanced Search, each attribute will have its own field, rather than there being one search field. If you select Yes, a field will be created for this attribute in the Advanced Search page. For more details, see Chapter 5.
  • Comparable on Front-end - If you select Yes, a row will be created for this attribute in the Compare Products pop-up window. For more details, see Chapter 5.
  • Use in Layered Navigation - Magento’s Layered Navigation allows your customers to filter down into a category’s products using any attribute that is “filterable” for Layered Navigation. The Layered Navigation menu will display in the left column of your category pages, and will contain all of the attributes which are filterable. Under each attribute will display the various values of that attribute. Clicking one of these values will filter the list of products in that category page so that only products matching that attribute value will display. There are two types of filterable attributes, which you can select from this drop-down: Filterable (with results) and Filterable (no results). This determines which values will display in the Layered Navigation menu. If you select Filterable (with results), only values that correspond to products in that category page will display in the menu (that is, only values that produce “results” when used as a filter). If you select Filterable (no results), all values that you’ve created in the Manage Label / Options tab will list, whether or not they correspond to any particular products in that category page (it includes values that do not produce “results” when used as a filter). If there are no filterable attributes in a particular category page, the Layered Navigation menu will not display. In order to make an attribute filterable, the Input Type must be either Dropdown, Multiple Select, or Price.
  • Position - This determines the position of the attribute in the Layered Navigation menu with respect to the other filterable attributes.
  • Visible on Catalog Pages on Front-end - This field only appears for Simple Attributes. On the product page in the front-end, there is a section called Additional Information, that displays below the Product Description section. The attribute name and value for all “visible” Simple Attributes will display in this section. If a product does not have any visible Simple Attributes (or if the product does not have any values selected for its Simple Attributes) there will be no Additional Information section on the front-end.

Please click the image to see a larger version.

Manage Label / Options

  • Manage Titles - In the Admin field, you must enter the name of the attribute as it will appear in the admin. For each Store View, you can specify a different name for this attribute. This is useful if you manage multiple Store Views with different languages. For example, in the Admin field, type Color; in the UK Store View field, type Colour; in the French Store View field, type Couleur. If you leave the field blank for any of the Store Views, the Admin Label will be used.
  • Manage Options - This section will only appear if the Input Type is Dropdown or Multiple Select. In order to have a drop-down or multiple select menu in the product page, you must have predetermined values to populate these menus. This is where the values for these menus are predetermined. This works very similar to the Manage Titles section above. For each value you wish to create, click Add Option. You can enter an unlimited number of values. For each value, you must enter a name in the Admin field, and you have the option to enter a different name for each Store view. For example, create two options. For the first option, enter Green in the Admin field; leave the UK Store View field blank, because it uses the same name; enter Vert in the French Store View field. For the second option, enter Blue in the Admin field; leave the UK Store View field blank; enter Bleu in the French Store View field. You will also have the option to select the position and which value(s) is the default. Enter a numerical value in the Position field, and this will determine the sort order of the values in the drop-down/multiple select menu relative to each other. For the Dropdown Input Type, you will have an Is Default radio button with which you can select one value. For the Multiple Select Input Type, you will have an Is Default checkbox with which you can select multiple values.

Please click the image to see a larger version.

Managing Attribute Sets

An Attribute Set is a collection of attributes, customized to fit certain types of products. All Attribute Sets must contain all of Magento’s System Attributes, but you can customize them to include different combinations of Simple Attributes. For example, if you sell several different kinds of T-shirts in your site, you would want to create a “T-shirts” Attribute Set, which includes the Simple Attributes commonly shared by all of your T-shirts. This may include color, size, gender, and brand. Once you have created each of these Simple Attributes (refer back to the previous section for more details), you can associate them to an Attribute Set. A product is then associated to an Attribute Set during product creation, and the Attribute Set’s Simple Attributes will appear in the New Product page so that you can set the various values.

Creating an Attribute Set

To create an Attribute Set, navigate to Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attribute Sets and click Add New Set in the top right of the page. Before configuring the Attribute Set, you must enter a name and import Attributes from an existing Attribute Set. The Name will not be used anywhere on the front-end, and can be edited at any point. Even if you have not created any Attribute Sets previously, you can select the Default Attribute Set from the Based On drop-down, which comes with Magento by default, from which you will import Attributes. This includes all of the System Attributes, organized into Groups according to their function. The Default attribute can be customized just as any Attribute Set that you create. Once you have created additional Attribute Sets, you can choose any of these from the Based On drop-down, which will import the Simple Attributes and Groups from that Attribute Set, saving you time during the configuration process. When you are finished, click Save Attribute Set. The Attribute Set will be created, and you will be directed to the configuration section.

  • Edit Set Name - This field will contain the name that you entered in the previous step. It can be edited at any point during the configuration, or later on by editing the Attribute Set.
  • Groups - Groups are like folders which contain attributes. Each Group corresponds to a different tab in the New Product page. This helps organize the attributes by function so that you can edit them in the product page more efficiently. Magento comes with five Groups by default: General, Prices, Meta Information, Images, and Design. These contain the various System Attributes, marked with a red circle system_attribute.jpg on the attribute icon. System Attributes cannot be removed from an Attribute Set, however they can be moved to different Groups. Therefore, you can remove a Group as long as there are no System Attributes within it. The ordering of both the Groups and the attributes can be changed by clicking and dragging it. This affects the order of the tabs and attributes in the product page, respectively. You can also create a new Group, to which you can move System Attributes, or associate Simple Attributes. To do this, click Add New, and enter the name of the Group in the pop-up.

attribute_set_group.jpg

  • Unassigned Attributes - This list contains all of the Simple Attributes which you have created. You can associate one of these attribute to your Attribute Set by clicking and dragging this attribute into the desired Group. Once it is associated to this Attribute Set, it will no longer appear in the Unassigned Attributes list. To disassociate an attribute, click and drag it back to the Unassigned Attributes list.

attribute_set_unassiagned_attributes.jpg

When you are finished, click Save Attribute Set again to save the configurations.

Assigning Attribute Sets to Products

When creating a new product, you must first select the product’s Attribute Set. Navigate to Catalog > Manage Products and click Add Product in the top right of the page. choose_attribute_set.jpg

Selecting the Attribute Set will load all of the corresponding Groups (tabs) and attributes into the product creation page. Please click the image to see a larger version. Note: Once the Attribute Set has been selected, it cannot be changed. You can change the attributes in a product by creating a new product and assigning a different Attribute Set. You can also edit the Attribute Set, and add or remove attributes, however this will affect all products associated to this Attribute Set.

Products

Before you begin to create the products that you will be offering in your webstore, let’s take a moment to explore the different product types that Magento offers, and what these differences mean. In Magento, there are three product types that you can create: Simple, Configurable, and Grouped. Let’s begin with Simple, because this is the foundation for both Configurable and Grouped Products. A Simple product is basically what its name indicates. It is the simplest type of product to sell on your website; one individual product, where the attributes are determined by the store owner. It will have system attributes (as all products require), and can have simple attributes as well. One example of a Simple Product would be a suit jacket. It is presented on your website as a standalone item, and as the store owner, you define that it is black, with three buttons on the front. When your customers arrive at the page for this product, they can see what the color and button count are in the product information section, their only option is whether or not to buy this item.

A Configurable product, however, offers much more customer interaction. Let’s stick with the example of the suit jacket, because, as a Simple Product, is the foundation for a Configurable Product. In addition to this one suit jacket, you start to carry slightly different versions of the same jacket: a navy blue version, as well as one with four buttons on the front (in black and navy). You create three new Simple Products (navy/three buttons, black/four buttons, and navy/four buttons), and if you only use the Simple Product feature, you would have four product pages, one for each combination of color and buttons. Using Configurable Products, however, you can combine all four pages into one, so that your customer is guaranteed find the exact suit jacket they desire, while simultaneously making navigating your site as easy as possible. Once you have created the four Simple suit jackets, you can create a Configurable suit jacket, and associated all four simple products to it. You will not set the color or button count of the Configurable Product when you create it, but rather, your customer will set this when they purchase it. It is a Configurable Product because your customers get to configure the attributes themselves. So, you can choose not to display any of the four Simple Products on you site, but rather only display the one Configurable Product. When your customers arrive at this page, instead of seeing the attributes listed in the product information section, they will see a drop-down for color (with options for black or navy) and a drop-down for button count (with options for three or four). The combination of attributes they choose determine which of the four Simple Products they are actually purchasing. The attributes point to the Simple Product, so that Magento knows which Simple Product to place in the order. The Configurable Product is therefore not a product at all, but rather a feature used to display multiple Simple Products on one product page.

In this sense, a Grouped Product is very similar to a Configurable Product. It is also only a feature used to display multiple Simple Products on one product page. However, it displays them in a different fashion. Let’s again stick with the example of the suit jacket. Forget about the three new versions that you began to carry, and let’s go back to the classic black with three buttons design. Along with this suit jacket, you also sell matching slacks and vest, the venerable three-piece suit. Using Simple Products alone, you would have three separate pages, one for each piece. But you feel that these should be sold together, because they are part of a set. This can be easily accomplished using Grouped Products. Simply create a Grouped Product – maybe you want to call it Three-Piece Suit – and associate all three Simple Products to it. On your website, the page for this Grouped Product will list all three Simple Products, each with its own quantity field. This way, your customers are alerted of the presence of the set, and even encouraged to buy the pieces together, however they still have the option to buy the pieces individually (you can actually force them to buy all three pieces together, but we will get into that later on).

Setting up configuration and Attributes

Now that you are ready to start creating products, make sure that you have everything that you need set up. There is one configuration feature that needs addressed. If you haven’t already done so, navigate to System > Configuration and select the Catalog tab. In the Product Options box, select your Default Tax Class. By default Magento comes with one option for this drop-down: Taxable Goods. If you will be selling products on your site which will need to be taxed, select this option. The Tax Class for all new products will automatically be set to Taxable Goods, which will save you the time of having to manually change this option for each new product. You can learn more about setting up the Tax Rates and Tax Rules that apply to the Taxable Goods Tax Class, as well as creating new Tax Classes in Chapter 4: Get Ready for Selling.

In addition to this configuration setting, make sure that you have created Attributes and Attribute Sets, which you can apply to your new products. You cannot change a product’s Attribute Set once the product has been created (although you can add Attributes to the Attribute Set and thereby add them to the product), so make sure that you have the correct Attribute Set set up for your product before creating your product. For more information about Attributes and Attribute Sets, refer back to those sections in this chapter.

Creating a Simple Product

  1. Navigate to Catalog > Manage Products.
  2. In the top right corner, click Add Product.
  3. Select an Attribute Set. Select Default if you haven’t created any attribute sets. This will determine what product data you can enter. You can refer back to the previous section for more information about managing Attribute Sets.
  4. Select Simple Product.
  5. Press Continue.
  6. Enter all product information. Once you’ve set up the product, you’ll be taken to the product’s data entry page. The fields here may change depending on your Attribute Set (you may get rid of weight but add megapixels, for example). If you realize that you want to add an attribute to this product before creating it, there is short cut available. Rather than having to go to the attributes page and create an attribute, and then having to go to the Attribute Sets page and add that attribute to the Set, you can simply click Create New Attribute in the product page. This button exists in all five default Groups (tabs) and any Groups which you have created. Note: Not all tabs correspond to Groups. Groups are folders that exist in the Attribute Set. This opens a pop-up window, which is identical to the New Attribute page. When you enter the attribute information and click Save Attribute, the attribute will be created, and automatically associated to the Attribute Set for the product you are editing, into the Group in which you clicked the Create New Attribute button. You will immediately see the new attribute at the bottom of new product page. If you are managing multiple Websites or Store Views, the attribute Scope will appear next to each attribute in the new product page. This can be either [GLOBAL], [WEBSITE], or [STORE VIEW]. This refers to the level at which this attribute is shared. For example, if the attribute Color had a [WEBSITE] Scope, you would be able to set the color of a product to green in one website, and blue in another website. However, within each website, all the different Store Views would have to have the same color. The Scope can be defined for each attribute. You can refer back to the section about Attributes for more information on this configuration.
General

simple_product_general.jpg

  • Name - The product name as it will appear in the front-end
  • Description - The product’s description. It will display in the main section of the product page.
  • Short Description - Short description is specific to this design package. This description will display at the top of the product page, and in category listings in List view.
  • SKU - The products SKU. Magento uses SKU as a unique identifier for this product, across all stores and websites. SKU is global, meaning if you update the SKU for a product in one store, it will update in all other stores as well.
  • Weight - The product’s weight - usually used for shipping calculations
  • Set Product as New from/to Date - In these fields, enter the date range in which the product will be promoted as a new product. For more information about this promotion feature, refer to Chapter 5: Promotions, Marketing and Content Pages.
  • Status - Two available - Enabled, Disabled. “Enabled” displays normally in the front-end, and “Disabled” doesn’t display in the front-end.
  • URL key - The Search Engine Friendly URL Identifier adds a relative URL path which can be entered in place of the standard Target Path. It is Search Engine Friendly because it can use the name of the product instead of the ID#. For more information about URL Keys, refer to the section about URL Rewrites. If you leave this field blank, it will automatically generate with the name of the product upon creation of the product. If you enter a value here manually, you cannot use spaces in this field.
  • Visibility - You can decide whether your product will display in the page(s) of its associated category(ies), display when your customer searches for the product, both, or neither. It may be useful to “hide” certain products from your customers if they are associated to a Configurable or Grouped Product, so that the product is only visible through the Configurable or Grouped Product’s page, and not visible separately.
  • Allow Gift Message - If you have enabled Product Level Gift Messages in the Configuration page (for more about this, see Chapter 4: Get Ready for Selling), you can allow your customer to enter a gift message for a specific product during checkout by selecting Yes. If you select Use config, it will use the value in the Allow Product Level Gift Messages drop-down in the system configuration. This differs from Order Level Gift Messages because your customers can add a different message for each product that has this feature enable. This is useful if they create one order, but ship to multiple addresses.
Prices

Please click the image to see a larger version.

  • Price - The price of your item as it will display in the front-end. If you have a special or discount, this will be the original price.
  • Special Price - You can enter a Special Price for this product. In the front-end, this will appear underneath the original price (referred to as the Regular Price), which will be crossed out. The Special Price will display in red, and be referred to the Special Price. If you wish, you can allow customers to be alerted of new specials via RSS feeds. There is more information about RSS Feeds in Chapter 5: Promotions, Marketing, and Content Pages.
  • Special Price From/To Date - You can enter a date range within which the Special price will be active. This price will apply automatically when the From Date arrives and deactivate automatically when the To Date arrives. If you leave this range blank, the Special Price will apply until you remove it.
  • Cost - The Cost is for internal purposes and does not require a value.
  • Tax Class - This is the Product Tax Class to which this product will be associated. This determines which Tax Rule will be used for this product, and consequently the Tax Rate that will be charged to your customers. For more information about taxes, refer to Chapter 4: Get Ready for Selling.
  • Tier Price - Chapter 5 also provides more information about Tier Pricing.
Meta Information

simple_product_meta.jpg SEO-related Meta Information is controlled from here. Page Title, Meta Keywords and Meta Description can be entered for this product. The Page Title will display in the browser’s title bar when this product is being viewed. Meta Keywords and Description will show in the tag of the product’s HTML source.

Images

Please click the image to see a larger version. By default, Magento requires you to designate three image types: Thumbnail, Small, and Base. These images each correspond to different locations on the front-end where they will display. When first creating a product, you will not have any custom images uploaded. Therefore, all three image types will be set to No image. This means that they will use your global Product Image Placeholders. To configure these, navigate to System > Configuration, click the Catalog tab in the left column, and upload a placeholder image for each image type. To add custom images to a product, click Browse Files and locate the desired image. Do this multiple times until you have selected all your desired images, then click Upload Files. The images will list vertically in the image page. By default, all images uploaded here will display under MORE VIEWS on the front-end. This is located under the main product image, and clicking any of the images displayed here will open a pop-up window with the ability to browse through all the images associated to the product. For each image in the admin, you can add a Label, which will display above the image in the pop-up window. You can add a Sort Order, which will determine the order in which the images are displayed in the MORE VIEWS section and the order in which they are browsed in the pop-up window. You can designate which of these images is associated to which of the three image types by selecting the radio button in the appropriate column (only one image can be the Thumbnail image, only one can be the Small image, and only one can be the Base image). The images will automatically resize to fit the dimensions of each image type. The Base image, however, works a little bit differently. This is the main image that displays prominently on the product page. It will resize to fit the image window, however, if it is larger than the window, your customers will be able to zoom in on the image, and then double-click the image so that it displays the entire image outside of the original image window at the designated zoom level. If you want and image to only associate to one of the three image types, and not display in the MORE VIEWS section, you can check the Exclude checkbox. To remove an image, check the Remove checkbox before saving the changes.

In addition to these features, Magento allows you to add your own custom watermarks to the images in your site, to hamper visitors from making unwanted copies. If you would like to add watermarks, navigate to System > Configuration, and click the Design tab in the left column. For each image type, you can upload a separate image file that will be used as the watermark, define the size of the watermark, and define the position in which it will be displayed relative to your product images.

Design

There is more about this in the Assigning Designs at the product level section below.

Inventory

Inventory settings can be configured individually per product, however there are also several very important global Inventory configuration settings. Additionally, many of the individual product settings can be set to use the default value (the global setting). Therefore, it is beneficial to discuss the product settings and global settings together. Please refer to the section about Stock Management later in this chapter for more detailed information.

Websites

simple_product_websites.jpg

If you’re managing multiple Websites, you can select the Websites to which this product is associated by checking the checkbox next to the Websites from which you want the product to be available. Each Website will display here with all of the associated Stores and Store Views, so that you know exactly which Website you are viewing.

Categories

simple_product_categories.jpg

This tab will display the global category tree, which a checkbox next to each category name. Selecting a checkbox will associate this product to that category, and you can select as few or as many associated categories as you wish. For the categories to display on the homepage you must make sure to add the product to a category below the root catalog. If you have not created a new category below the root catalog then do so now.

Related Products/Up-sells/Cross-Sells

Each of these tabs contains a product list, from which you can search for and select products in your store which you wish to be related, up-sells or cross-sells of the product being edited. There is more information about these three features later in this chapter.

Product Alerts

Please click the image to see a larger version. If you have either or both product alerts enabled, this tab will appear, showing a list of all subscribers to both Price Alerts and Stock Alerts for this product. For each subscriber, both alert lists show the name, email, the date they subscribed to this alert, the time that the most recent notification was sent to them, and the number of times a notification was sent to them. For the Price Alert, this is also one additional column. For each subscriber, it shows the price that the product had at the time they they described. This includes Special Prices. There is more information on how to configure Product Alerts earlier in this chapter.

Custom Attributes

simple_product_jacket_attributes.jpg

If you have added any custom Simple Attributes, make sure to configure those as well. These can be scattered throughout the existing tabs, or you can create new tabs in which to put them. It all depends on the configuration of your Attribute Set. In this case, the suit jacket Simple Attributes are in a new tab called Jacket Attributes.

These are all of the tabs which appear when creating a new product. If you press Save And Continue Edit, you will see three new tabs appear in the left column.

Product Reviews

You’ll see a list of all reviews that have been added to this product. There is more information about managing Product Reviews in Chapter 9: User-Generated Content.

Product Tags

Shows all tags that this product has been given by users, and the number of times each tag has been used. Chapter 9 also has more information about managing product tags.

Customers Tagged Product

A breakdown of individual customers who have tagged this product - the grid shows their first and last name, email, and tag used.

When you have completed all of your edits, press Save. You have now created a Simple Product.

Creating a Configurable Product

  1. By its nature, a configurable product is not useful unless there are simple products which can be associated to it. Therefore, the first step in creating a Configurable Product is to create two or more simple products, containing different attributes, that your customer will be able to configure on the front-end. Once you have created one Simple Product, use the Duplicate Product feature to create the separate products without having to enter every value several times. Once you have created and saved your first product select the Duplicate button on that product’s page. For the duplicated product, change the attribute values which you are going to allow your customers to configure. Only Simple Products will have a Duplicate button. Note: The values of unique attributes (such as SKU) will not duplicate to the duplicated product, and these will need to be entered manually. The duplicated product will be created with a Status of Disabled. If you have forgotten to create all of the Simple Products prior to creating the Configurable Product, you will have the option to create Simple Products during product creation, in the Associated Products tab (more below).
  2. To create a configurable product, navigate to Catalog > Manage Products.
  3. In the top right corner, click Add Product.
  4. Select an Attribute Set. Select Default if you haven’t created any attribute sets. This will determine what product data you can enter. You can refer back to the previous section for more information about managing Attribute Sets. config_step_1.jpg
  5. Select Configurable Product.
  6. Click Continue.
  7. Select Configurable Attributes. config_step_2.jpg For an attribute to be listed here, it must be associated to the attribute set which you selected in step 4, and it must not be a System Attribute. Also, as described in the message on the page (see image above), The Scope must be Global, the Input Type must be Dropdown, and Use To Create Configurable Product must be Yes. If an attribute is selected, it will not be configurable in the admin (as opposed to Simple Products, for which all attributes are configured in the admin). Instead, a drop-down menu will appear on the front-end for this attribute, and the customer will be able to configure it. config_step_3.jpg The options from which your customer will be able to select will depend on which Simple Products are associated to this Configurable Product (more on this below). If an attribute is not selected in this step, it will be configured in the admin just like is done for a Simple Product, and it will be fixed on the front-end. For example, if you were to select Color to be Configurable and Button Count not to be, then you could select the Button Count to be Three in the admin, and associate one Simple Product suit jacket with a Color black and one with a Color navy. On the front-end, the suit jacket Button Count will be set at three, but your customer will be able to select their preferred Color, black or navy, from the drop-down.
  8. Press Continue.
  9. Enter all product information. This is almost exactly the same process as entering the product information for a simple product. There are, however, three major differences.
Weight

When a customer purchases a Configurable Product, they are not actually purchasing this product, but rather one of the associated Simple Products. Therefore, there is no weight for a Configurable Product, because the weight depends on that of each Simple Product individually.

Inventory

Just like weight, the inventory options for a configurable product depend on those of the individual Simple Products. In the Inventory tab, you can set the configurable product to be In Stock or Out of Stock, but nothing more. If you select In Stock, it will display as In stock on the front-end, but each attribute will only be purchasable if the corresponding simple product is In Stock. If your customer selects an Out of Stock attribute and adds it to the cart, they will receive a message saying “This product is currently out of stock.” If you select Out of Stock, the configurable product will display as Out of Stock on the front-end, and will not be available to add the cart, regardless of the Stock Availability of each Simple Product.

Associated Products

This tab does not exist for Simple Products. At the bottom of the page will be the product list from which you can associate or disassociate Simple Products to the Configurable Product. When first navigating to the page, it will only display currently associated products. Press the Reset Filter button to display all products, associated or not, which belong to the same Attribute Set (a Simple Product must belong to the same Attribute Set as the Configurable Product in order for you to be able to associate it). Select the checkbox of all products you wish to associate. The product list displays certain pertinent information about the Simple Products. To the right of the Inventory column will be a column for each configurable attribute, which you selected in step 7. The value entered for each attribute column will be that product’s Option, which you selected when creating the Simple Product. In order for a Simple Product to display in this list, you must have selected an option for each configurable attribute.

Above the product list will display a list of all configurable attributes. Click and drag the orange arrow next to the attribute name in order to sort the attributes as they will appear on the front-end. The Attribute Name field will be prepopulated with the Label you used when creating the attribute, however it can be changed here so that it displays differently in the front-end. Below each attribute will list all the options that exist for associated products. Each time you associate a new product with a unique option, the option will add to this list. For each option, you can enter a positive or negative Price, which will add or subtract (respectively) from the price of the configurable product, as either a Fixed amount or a Percentage of the Configurable Product price. Please click the image to see a larger version.

If you have not already created all of the Simple Products you wish to associate to this Configurable Product, you will have the option to create Simple Products in this tab. Above the list of configurable attributes is the Create Simple Associated Product section. This contains a button called Create Empty. Clicking this button will generate a pop-up window identical to the New Product page. All of the fields are empty (hence the name of the button), and you will be required to enter values for all configurable attributes (so that this Simple Product can be associated to the Configurable Product). When you click Save, Magento will create a Simple Product, associated to the same Attribute Set as the Configurable product, and Magento will automatically associate the Simple Product to the Configurable Product (you will see this update in the product list at the bottom of the Associated Products tab).

In the front-end, it will look like this:

config_product_front_end.jpg

These are all of the options which appear when creating a new Configurable Product. If you press Save And Continue Edit, you will see two new options in the Associated Products tab (along with the three new tabs in the left column that were mentioned in the Simple Product Section). In the Create Simple Associated Product section, there is a new button called Copy From Configurable. This is similar to the Create Empty button, except that it will prepopulate many of the Simple Product fields with the corresponding fields from the Configurable Product. Many of the fields, however, either must be unique to each product, or are not applicable to the Configurable Product, and must be entered manually. These include SKU, Weight, all configurable attributes, and all Inventory information. Clicking Save will automatically associate the Simple Product to the Configurable Product just as with the Create Empty feature.

The second new option available is Quick simple product creation section. This section includes only some of the attribute fields, all of which are mandatory. In the Name and SKU fields, there is an Autogenerate checkbox. If these are selected, Magento will use the Name and SKU of the Configurable Product to create a new Name and SKU for the Simple Product. It will be in the format [Name/SKU]-[configurable attribute 1]-[configurable attribute 2] and so on. When you click Quick Create, the Simple Product will be created, with all of the attribute information not listed in this section copied from the Configurable Product, and it will automatically associate to the Configurable Product just as with the Create Empty feature. Please click the image to see a larger version.

When you have completed all of your edits, press Save. You have now created a Configurable Product.

Creating a Grouped Product

  1. Like a configurable product, a Grouped Product is not useful unless there are simple products which can be associated to it. Therefore, the first step in creating a Grouped Product is to create two or more simple products that can be purchased together as part of the group.
  2. To create a Grouped Product, navigate to Catalog > Manage Products.
  3. In the top right corner, click Add Product.
  4. Select an Attribute Set. Select Default if you haven’t created any attribute sets. This will determine what product data you can enter. You can refer back to the previous section for more information about managing Attribute Sets.
  5. Select Grouped Product.
  6. Press Continue.
  7. Enter all product information. This is similar to entering the product information for a Simple Product, with four major differences.
Weight

This is the same process as a Configurable Product. When a customer purchases a Grouped Product, they are not actually purchasing this product, but rather one of the associated Simple Products. Therefore, there is no weight for a Grouped Product, because the weight depends on that of each Simple Product individually.

Prices

Unlike Simple or Configurable Products, Grouped Products do not have their own prices. Despite being displayed on the same page, each Simple Product adds to the cart as a separate item. There are no prices that are applied to the items as a group. Therefore, there is no Prices tab for Grouped Products. If you want to give a discount when your customer purchases multiple products within a Grouped Product, you can set up a Shopping Cart Price Rule for this. There is more information about Shopping Cart Price Rules in Chapter 5: Promotions, Marketing and Content Pages.

Inventory

Just like Weight, the stock of the individual Simple Products determine the stock of the Grouped Product. The Stock Availability works like that of a Configurable Product. If you select In Stock, it will display as In Stock on the front-end, but each Simple Product will only be purchasable if that Simple Product is In Stock. If your customer attempts to add one or more of the Out of Stock products to their cart, they will receive a message saying “This product is currently out of stock.” If you select Out of Stock, the Grouped Product will display as Out of Stock on the front-end, and will not be available to add the cart, regardless of the Stock Availability of each Simple Product.

Associated Products

This is much simpler than associating products to a Configurable Product. Grouped Products do not need to be in the same attribute set as their associated products, so there is no attribute functionality tied in with creating Grouped Products. You can associate any product to a Grouped Product in this tab by checking it. When checked, two fields unlock: Default Qty and Position. Please click the image to see a larger version.

Control the sort order of the items in the Position field. As with all sort orders in Magento, the product with the lowest number will have the highest position on the page. You can also enter a Default Quantity which will be a pre-populated value in the front-end quantity box. Please click the image to see a larger version.

When you have completed all of your edits, press Save. You have now created a Grouped Product.

Related Products, Up-sells, Cross-sells

There are three types of product relations in Magento: Related Products, Up-sells and Cross-sells. Shown on a product’s page, Related Products are meant to be purchased in addition to the item the customer is viewing. They will appear in a Related Products menu at the top of the right column. Simple Products will have checkboxes, by which the customer can add them to their Shopping Cart. When they add the main product to their cart, all checked Related Products will be added as well.

related_products_front_end.jpg

Configurable and Grouped Products will not contain this checkbox, because the user must specify the settings of these products before adding them to the cart. Also shown on a product’s page, Up-sells are items that customers would ideally buy instead of the product they’re viewing. These may be better quality, produce a higher profit-margin, be more popular, etc. They will appear in a section labeled You may also be interested in the following product(s), which displays beneath the Additional Information section. The Up-sells will display with a link to that product’s page, navigating the customer away from the product which they are currently viewing. upsells.jpg

Shown in the shopping cart, Cross-sells act a bit like impulse buys, such as magazines and candy at the cash register in grocery stores. Usually, they are items that a customer who is buying the product in question might enjoy. If there are multiple items in the Shopping Cart, each with their own Cross-sells, the Cross-sells will rotate each time the Shopping Cart is refreshed.

cross-sells.jpg

Great For:

  • Moving Stock
  • Increasing the Sales of Accessory and High-End Items

Related Products, Up-sells, and Cross-Sells are all associated to a product in the same manner. Navigate to Catalog > Manage Products. Locate the product to which you wish to associate the Related Product/Up-Sell/Cross-sell, and click Edit. Click on the Related Products/Up-Sells/Cross-sells tab in the left column.

  1. From the products grid that appears, check any products to mark as Related Products/Up-Sells/Cross-sells. Click Reset Filter to see all products.
  2. Once a product has been checked, the Position field opens up. This determines the sort order of the Related Products/Up-Sells/Cross-sells in the product’s page/Shopping Cart. Note: For Cross-sells, the Position only applies if there is one item in the cart. When there are multiple items, the Cross-sells will rotate, and not adhere to the Position.
  3. Click Save.

Please click the image to see a larger version.

Product Comparisons

One property of Magento attributes is the ability to make them Comparable on Front-end. If at least one attribute is in a product is Comparable on Front-end, customers will be able to add this product to their Compare Products menu. Both System and Simple Attributes can be set to Comparable. Once added to the Compare Products menu, customers will be able to view the products side by side and make an educated shopping decision. This is very powerful; if customers desire, they can compare a chair, a television, and a pair of running shoes. These types of products may not have very many attributes in common (probably only attributes such as SKU, Price, and Product Name), but that is the power of this feature: to allow your customers to customize their shopping experience. There is more information about Product Comparisons in Chapter 5: Promotions, Marketing and Content Pages.

Great For

  • Increasing Customer Convenience
  • Stores with a Variety of Products
  • Increasing Conversions

You can control which data shows in Product Comparisons. Each product attribute has a flag called Comparable on Front-end, which can be set to Yes or No. To choose this:

  1. Navigate to Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attributes.
  2. In the grid, find the attribute you want to edit. Hint: Change the last column Comparable to Yes or No to see all attributes that can appear in the product comparison chart.
  3. Click the attribute to edit it.
  4. Change the drop-down Comparable on Front-end to Yes or No.
  5. Click Save Attribute.

Layered Navigation

A customer browsing your site needs to find the products that interest them as fast as possible. To prevent them from frustrating experience of encountering a category containing 60 products spread across multiple pages, give them the option to filter products based on their interests. With layered navigation, customers can search by any attribute that you have designated as filterable, more easily showing customers what they want and raising conversions.

Great For

  • Stores with a variety of products
  • Giving customers a more individualized experience
  • Increasing Conversions

The Layered Navigation menu actually consists of two parts: Category filters and Attribute filters. layered_nav.jpg

  • Category navigation - If a category contains child categories, the child categories will automatically display in the Layered Navigation menu. Each child category will display as a link, along with the number of products associated to that category in parentheses. Only the direct child categories will display. Child of child categories will not display.
  • Attribute filters - In order for the attribute filter to display in the Layered Navigation menu, a category must be an Anchor category (refer back to the section about categories). For Anchored categories, all filterable attributes will have a section in the Layered Navigation menu, with a link for each value. Clicking on any of these values will filter the results on the category page to display only those products which match the selected value (refer back to the section about attributes for more information about filterable attributes). There will be one link for each existing value. There is one exception to this, however. Price, which is a System Attribute, is by default configured to be a filterable attribute (this can, of course, be changed). Rather than having a separate link for every single price, the price filter values will display as various price ranges. Magento will automatically set the size of the ranges based on the prices of the products in that category (each range will be of equal size), and there will be a maximum of ten ranges.

Assigning Designs at the product level

You can control the look of each product page individually in from the Design tab in the product page. It is very similar to the individual design options for categories. If your product page has a design separate from the category page to which it is associated, then the product level design will supersede the category level design.

  • Select the design you want from the Custom Design drop-down. Magento comes with several different design options out of the box. If you leave this drop-down blank, it will automatically use the Current package name design. This can be edited by navigating to System > Configuration and clicking the Design tab. Enter the name of the design you want in the Current package name field, and this design will apply to all products for which you do not specify a different design.
  • With the Active From and Active To fields, you can select a time frame in which the category will automatically switch to a design, and then switch back to the blank option when the time frame ends. This is perfect for the holidays, so that you can create a holiday design for your pages, and then have your site automatically switch back to the normal design whenever you want, without having to remember to do it yourself.
  • The Custom Layout Update is essentially a static block, with a few differences.
    • Rather than HTML, the structure must be in XML format.
    • The Update will display on the product page, below the product information, whereas a static block will only display on a category page.
    • The Update will display on the page only during the dates specified in the Active date range.

Stock Management

Your ability to manage the details of your products’ inventory is more flexible than ever with Magento’s Inventory Management System. You will have the ability to control not only the quantity and availability, but also the backorder capabilities and the maximum and minimum quantities the consumer is allowed to purchase. Additionally, you can create the settings system-wide, or customize them individually for each product.

Creating stock management default options

  1. Navigate to System > Configuration, and click on the Inventory tab in the left column.

inventory_default.jpg

  1. Enter Minimum Qty Allowed in Shopping Cart. This value requires the customer to purchase a minimum amount of each product in an order.
  2. Enter Notify for Quantity Below. When a stock of any product goes below this level, Magento will automatically notify you via RSS Feed. This ability works in conjunction with the Decrease Stock When Order is Placed drop-down below, because Magento cannot notify you of a low stock unless you also enable it to keep track of stock reduction. In this field, enter the quantity level at which Magento will send a notification. In order to set up the RSS feed, navigate to Catalog > Manage Products, and click the Notify Low Stock RSS link at the top of the page. You will be prompted to enter your User Name and Password. These are the same that you use to access the Magento admin panel. You will be redirected to the RSS page, where you can select which reader you would like to use for receiving this feed.
  3. Enter Minimum Qty for Items’ Status to be In Stock. This value will determine at which quantity the availability of the item will switch from In Stock to Out of Stock. If you set this value to 20, you will always guarantee that you have at least 20 items in stock.
  4. Enter Maximum Qty Allowed in Shopping Cart. This value limits the amount of each product the customer is allowed to purchase in a single order.
  5. Select Decrease Stock When Order is Placed status.
    • If you select Yes, the product’s quantity will automatically decrease when an order is placed.
    • If you select No, the product’s quantity will not automatically decrease, and it can only be edited manually.
  6. Select Backorders status.
    • If you select No Backorders, the customer will not be allowed to purchase more quantity than is available.
    • If you select Allow Qty Below 0, the customer will be allowed to purchase more quantity than is available, but they will not be notified that some of the quantity has been put on backorder.
    • If you select Allow Qty Below 0 and Notify Customer, the customer will be allowed to purchase more quantity than is available, and they will be notified when they are adding the item to the cart that the unavailable quantity has been put on backorder.
  7. Click Save. You have now created the inventory characteristic for all products in your system.

Creating stock management on the product level

To customize the inventory settings for an individual product, whether creating a new product or editing an existing product, navigate to Catalog > Manage Products, and click the Inventory tab in the left column of the product’s page. Note: These settings only exist for Simple Products. Because Configurable and Grouped Products are essentially just a way to display Simple Products, the inventory settings of the Configurable and Grouped Products are completely dependent upon those of the associated Simple Products. Therefore, for Configurable and Grouped Products, only the Stock Availability will be present in the Inventory tab, because this is actually a display setting and not related to the actual inventory of the product. inventory.jpg

  1. Enter Qty, or quantity. This is a required field.
  2. Enter Minimum Qty for Items’ Status to be In Stock or click the Use Config Settings checkbox to use the value you input in the Inventory System Configuration. Clicking the checkbox will deactivate the text field and it will not be editable.
  3. Enter Minimum Qty Allowed in Shopping Cart or click the checkbox.
  4. Enter Maximum Qty Allowed in Shopping Cart or click the checkbox.
  5. Select Qty Uses Decimals status.
    • If you select Yes, the customer can enter a fraction of a whole number into the quantity field in the shopping cart. This is beneficial if items are being sold in alternative units such as weight or length.
    • If you select No, the customer can only purchase quantities in whole numbers.
  6. Select Backorders status, or click the checkbox.
  7. Select Notify for Quantity Below, or click the checkbox.
  8. Select Stock Availability. You can designate the product to be Out of Stock even if you have stock remaining for the product, and it will display as such in the front-end. This means that your customers will not be able to add the product to their carts, but they can add it to their wishlists. If there is no stock remaining for the product, you do not need to manually switch this to Out of Stock. Magento will automatically update the front-end accordingly, unless you allow for Backorders, in which case the product will display normally and customers will still be able to add quantity to their carts.
  9. Click Save. You have now customized the inventory characteristics for this product.

Batch Updates

Products can be imported to and exported from the admin using the Magento DataFlow engine. However, in this section we will concentrate on making batch updates to products in the admin. This feature saves you time by allowing you to change the attributes of multiple products at the same time. There is similar functionality in several other places in the Magento admin, from customers to Orders. Each will be discussed in the appropriate chapter.

  1. In the admin, navigate to Catalog > Manage Products.
  2. Select the products to which you would like to make updates. At the top of the products list, you have the option to Select All products or Select Visible products (products currently displaying on the page). Or, you can simply check the checkboxes of each product to which you wish to make updates individually. You can see the number of items selected at the top of the products list, and it will update each time a checkbox is checked or unchecked. Please click the image to see a larger version.
  3. When you have all the desired products selected, chose your preferred Action from the drop-down menu, also at the top of the products list.
    • Delete - This will delete the selected products from your catalog when you press Submit.
    • Change Status - Selecting this will produce a Status drop-down menu to the right, where you can choose to either Enable or Disable the selected products. The status will change when you press Submit.
    • Update attributes - When you press Submit, you will be redirected to the Update attributes page. The Attributes tab displays many of the system attributes from the General, Prices, Meta Information, Images, and Design tabs in a product page. It also includes the simple attributes that are shared by all of the items selected. You will not have the option to edit SKU or URL Key, or any other attribute that must be unique per product. The Inventory tab displays the same fields that are displayed in the Inventory tab for an individual product. The Websites tab is also very similar to that of an individual product, however there will be one section for adding the products to the Websites, and once section for removing the products from the Websites. In the top left corner is the Choose Store View drop-down, so that you can choose to make your updates specific to a certain Store View. As always, Global and Website level attributes cannot differ between Store Views. At first, all the of the attribute fields are inactive, and you must click the Change checkbox next to each field in order to activate it and make an edit. The fields will all be blank, even if all the selected products share the same value for a given attribute. This can be useful for many scenarios. For example, if you have several products with the same special price, ending in one week, you can choose to extend the Special Price To Date for all the products at one time. Simply check the checkbox for this field, enter the new date on which you wish the special to end, and click Save. batch_update_product_2.jpg All of the products will update and you will be redirected back to the products list. Tip: Be careful to only check the attributes which you wish you change. If you select an attribute and leave it blank, it will erase the existing value of the attribute when you save.

URL Rewrites

The URL Rewrite Management page is a SEF tool that you can apply to the URLs of your category and product pages. Rather than having all your URLs in the default format, which uses category and product IDs, you can use this feature to create a more descriptive URL, making it easier for search engines to find your pages. Whenever a new category or product is created, a new entry will be added to this list, one for each existing store view.

Configuration Settings

Before using this feature, there are two important settings that you must configure. Navigate to System > Configuration and select the Web tab from the left column.

  • Add Store Code to Urls - This determines whether the store ID (in addition to the category ID or product ID) will be used in the URLs for your site. If you are managing multiple stores, this will create a separate URL rewrite for each store.
  • Use Web Server Rewrites - This controls whether Magento will automatically generate URL rewrites. To access the list of existing rewrites, this must be set to Yes.

Editing URL Rewrites

Now you are ready to view the list of URL rewrites. To access this list, navigate to Catalog > Manage Url Rewrites in the admin. Click Edit next to one of the rewrites and you will be able to change some of the information. url_rewrite_edit.jpg

  • Type - For automatically created rewrites, this value will be System. For manually created rewrites, this value will be Custom. Neither can be changed.
  • Store - The name of the store view to which the rewrite directs. Because a separate rewrite is created for each existing store view, this too can not be changed.
  • ID Path - Will display in the format of {Type}/{ID#}. If the Type is System, it will further be specified as either category or product. For products, there may also be an additional /{associated category ID#} following the standard format. This can not be changed.
  • Target Path - This is the actual URL that points to the page. It is a relative path, automatically generated in a certain format, and can not be changed.
  • Request Path - This is the SEF URL that you can edit. It will be automatically generated with the name that you specified for the category or product when it was created. If it is a product, it may also include the associated category, or a suffix (such as .html), if you have enabled those features in the Catalog Configuration (refer back to the beginning of this chapter for more information about this). However, you can edit this to whatever format you desire. This is the same field that you see in an individual product or category page called URL key. To find this field, navigate to Catalog > Manage Products/Categories and edit the desired product/category. Whether you choose to edit the value in the URL Rewrite Management page, or the individual product/category page, it makes no difference. Note: The Request Path must be unique for each rewrite.
  • Redirect - If you select Yes, the URL will switch to the Target Path when the Request Path is entered in the address bar. If you select No, the URL will remain in the format of the Request Path.
  • Description - This is for internal purposes.

When you have completed making edits, click Save Url.

Creating URL Rewrites

You can also create New Url Rewrites. Because Category and Product pages automatically generate a rewrite when they are created, this is most useful for adding multiple Request Paths that point to the same Target Path. Additionally, you can create rewrites that point to CMS landing pages, such as a FAQ page.

  1. On the Managage Url Rewrites page, click Add Url Rewrite.
  2. Select the Type

url_rewrite_create.jpg

  • Category - If you select Category, you will then be required to select the category for which you wish to create the rewrite from the category tree. Select the checkbox of the desired category. You will then be redirected to the General Information page where you enter the relevant information. You will have the ability to choose the Store from a drop-down. And just like when editing an existing rewrite, you can make changes to the Request Path (which will be autopopulated with the category name), Redirect and Description. When you are finished, click Save Url.
  • Product - If you select Product, you will first be required to select the product for which you wish to create the rewrite from the product list, and then be redirected to the category tree where you will be required to select the category to which the product is associated. Then, you will be redirected to the General Information page where you enter the relevant information. The name of the product will be displayed at the top as a link to the product’s information page. You will have the ability to choose the store from a drop-down. And just like when editing an existing rewrite, you can make changes to the Request Path (which will be autopopulated with the product name and associated category name), Redirect and Description. When you are finished, click Save Url.
  • Custom - If you select Custom, you will be redirected immediately to the General Information Page. As with the Categories and Products, you will be able to edit the Store, Request Path, Redirect, and Description. However, because you cannot select Target Path from a list of Categories or Products, you will have to enter the ID Path and Target Path manually, to point to the desired CMS landing page. Just as with Categories and Products, the Request Path field exists in an individual CMS page. Here, it is called SEF URL Identifier, and you can find it by navigating to CMS > Manage Pages and clicking on the desired CMS page. When you are finished, click Save Url.




 

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