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4.6.5. Product Types Management

Product Types is a powerful feature if you have complex products like electronics, computers, cars and maybe airplanes. Product Types will help you create an advanced classification according to the parameters of your complex products and will make possible the Advanced Search According to Parameters in your site frontend.

The parametric search is the one responsable to the shopper's feeling that he can find EXACTLY what he needs.

Note

Other developers call this magical feature "The Filter".

Note

To fully understand this feature, you really have to try for yourself and focus a few hours, maybe days, OR you can read and follow this easy step by step guide.

Product Type is very different in functionality than Product Category, but both have the mission to describe products. Generaly the Category describes the usage of products, but the Product Type describes products based to specific parameters values, and extends the basic description of the Category.

In the form below you can edit your Product Type's Information.

After reading this section, you will be able to decide if you want to describe the products from a category ONLY using Product Type Parameters and don't use "Product Description" field for showing parameters, OR use both.

Creating parameters

To create parameters, chick the link "Show" you see below.


Now you see the empty Parameter List for the newly created Product Type. Click "New" and take a good long look at the Parameter Type dropdown box.


Parameter name

is actually the name of the database field for the parameter, so don't forget spaces in this field! Example: [monitor_weight].

Parameter Label

is what exactly is shown in frontend as the parameter name within Advanced Search According to Parameters form.

Parameter Description

can be used to explain the parameter like you teach your shopper about it, or leave it blank if is not a new or unimportant information

List order

defines the list order of the parameter within Advanced Search According to Parameters form.

Parameter types

defines the behaviour of the parameter when you perform an Advanced Search According to Parameters.

Integer

like in our example, an integer number.

Text and Short text

can be used for non-numeric values that stand for different types of material, or in some cases the product has or not a certain feature.

Float

Floating point numbers (also known as "floats", "doubles", or "real numbers"). Example: 1.23 or 1.23e

Char

A single alphanumeric character. Example: sex - M or F

Date & time

Date and Time of an Event regarding your product.

Date

only the date of an event regarding your product.

Time

only the time of an event regarding your product.

Multiple values

this parameter type is for multiple purposes, so please consult a PHP and SQL reference before using it.

Break line

this parameter type is not realy a parameter, it's only purpose is to separate parameter sets, and define these sets of parameters, because is needed a better understanding of parameters for shoper, in case you decided not to use Product Description Field to display the parameters in product flypage, and use only the Product Type Parameter List layout.

Possible Values

In this fileld you have to write all the values the parameter could have, and between values use only the symbol ; with no spaces before and after it. If a new product is launched on the market and has a higher value for the parameter, update this field with the new value, so you can configure your new product properly.

Show Possible Values as Multiple select?

If checked, it makes possible for both configuring the product parameters and parameter search to perform a multiple selection.

Default Value

you can use this option if more of your products have this value, or if you want to have a non-parameter option in the dropdown-box, like "none" or "not available", or as the image suggests to set the layout of the date and/or time.

Unit

Unit of measurement for the parameter.

After filling the parameter information, click "Save". Now you see the parameter list of your Product Type.

Now is the time to decide how much parameters you need to describe your products. Later, the parameters you create will "filter" your products.


Now it's time to assign the products in the category to the newly created Product Type. Let's begin with the basics.

Rules of the Product Types - explain the best practices

There are a few rules you must learn when creating a product relation/assignment to a Product Type. These rules are displayed below in order of importance (most important first):

Creating a relationship between a Product and a Product Type

Case 1 Adding/assigning a Product Type to an existing Product

Go to your Product List and follow theese steps:



Now go to your product configuration and configure the product parameters values for your product!


Now lets check the product flypage.


Note

In this example we described the product using only Product Type Parameters, and we didn't used Product Description and Short Description fields. This is the default flypage layout, and you can change it by choosing a different flypage file specialy created for products assigned to Product Types.

Case 2 Creating a new product already assigned to a Product Type

This assumes that you create Product Types first and then add Products. So to do that, you have to follow some steps. First go to Product Type List, and click "Show" for the Product Type you wish to create a new Product.


Note

In normal "Product List" page, you don't have the ability to create a Product already assigned to a Product Type, so ONLY from "Product Type List" you have this ability.



OK! Now you have 2 products fully configured (you can realy merchandise them this way) and assigned to Product Types and we can perform an Advanced Search According to Parameters in site front end.