More About Working with Categories and Catalogs
Keep in mind that in opentaps the Stores use Catalogs, and the Catalogs are populated by Categories which are like product sub-sections of the Catalogs. Then, Categories are populated by either sub-categories or with the Products themselves.
Categories define groups of products that are similar in some important way. A Category can contain both Products and sub-categories, and each Category can have it's own descriptive material including images.
Beyond those basics, it is also true that opentaps uses Categories for two distinct purposes, thus there are two kinds of categories that we need to understand:
- Categories for Product Catalogs -- These Categories are used within the Customer Catalogs or the Purchasing Catalogs to define groupings that are helpful for selling or buying items.
- Categories for WebSite Control -- These are unique Categories that determine when and how the Category items are presented in the Online WebSite Store. These categories help to organize what or how the WebSite Store presents Featured Products, Search List results, and provides for Product Browsing behavior.
In the next sections we will highlight some interesting ways that Categories are used, and start to focus on what Categories we need for our businesses.
In opentaps the Categories can be used to handle many different kinds of issues that arise when marketing and presenting products for sale, or organizing information for purchasing products. The following are some interesting examples. Remember that any Product may be made a member of multiple different Categories, thus facilitating all of the goals for the stores.
Next, are some examples of how Categories can be used, then we will discuss how to use Categories in detail.
Marketing can use Categories within the Catalogs to provide sections of information about groups of products having a similar purpose, or description, or style, design, etc. Using a category grouping of products brings order to the overall presentation, especially if there are many products. Categories may also provide focus on the range of choices available across important buying criteria such as prices, or feature sets.
Customer Specific Categories
Sometimes a Customer may be offered special products available only to them. To access these products on the opentaps WebSite Store the Customer may be required to Login to an account. The special products should not be visible or accessible to other customers.
Such specially restricted products can be included in a Category that is associated with the customer Party Group. When the User ID is identified with the Party Group the special products are made accessible in the WebStore.
For more information on this topic, refer to the section, Customer_Specific_Stores,_Catalogs,_and_Categories
Featured Products -- The Promotions Category
When preparing the WebSite Store Product presentation plans, the "Product Catalog Category Type" called Promotions is used to list the products that you want to Feature on the first page of the WebSite Store. This Category is predefined and available for this specific use.
* CAUTION: The term "Promotion" is used in the Catalog Manager applications to mean two different things, which must not be confused. ** One usage is "Promotions Category" which means a set of products that are Featured and presented on the first page of the WebSite Store. ** The second usage is found in [Catalog] > [Promos] button, and the closely related [Catalog] > [Stores] > [Promos] tab. This uses of the term "Promos" and the word "Promotions" refers to the use of promotional discount pricing rules defined in the Catalog Manager and then applied to sales orders that a User creates in the WebSite Stores.
Planning for Categories You Need
How many different Product-Categories will you need to feature in your Product-Catalogs? How many purchased item categories will you need to organize all the different types of materials and products you are planning to purchase?
As you review the following sections of the User Guide, think about your strategy for using Category groupings to aid in organizing the information, and to enable more effective marketing in the Catalogs or by the Web Store.
Using Meaningful Catalog and Category Names
The opentaps system provides important flexibility to the business manager through the flexible User-naming of Products, Categories, Catalogs, and the opentaps Virtual Store(s). By making smart choices in how you name your Catalog Manager elements, you can give very meaningful names to each of these items. But a couple of cautions are in order.
- Flexible Naming includes the system ID, and the text Name if you wish to assign both of them.
- Once an item, like a Category or Product, is given a system ID, it cannot be changed. (It can be deleted if there aren't any transactions involving the name, but if there are transactions then it can't be deleted either.) Refer to, Removing Products and Categories
- There are specific technical limitations on which characters can be included in a system ID as explained in the following Warning.
WARNING: The Product ID, Catalog ID, Category ID, and Store ID are a system fields having limitations on characters that are used. They cannot contain any blank spaces (use underscore "_" or dash "-" instead) nor can it contain most special characters (any character that is not a letter or a number). Using such a character can cause the system to mis-read the system ID and produce errors in processing.)
CAUTION: When defining system IDs, such as Product ID, Catalog ID, Category ID, and Store ID, use only the letters, numbers, underscore "_", or dash "-" and no other characters or symbols.
The opportunity is that while you are planning your next roll out of new products and related materials you can select Names and IDs that will be meaningful to your staff, and thus easier to work with.
Manual Pages >> Using_Categories_to_Organize_Marketing_Presentation