You’ve successfully launched your Magento site; congratulations!
Now that your site has been launched, you may want to start (and probably should!) making enhancements and adjustments. These enhancements can be adjusting your product categories, creating new pages, and other visual enhancements to better your customers’ experience. When it comes to some of the enhancements of your website, it can seem easy to make the updates on your own, or dive in to make the updates on your own accord. While being ambitious is great, in the case of one of our clients, being too ambitious took their website down.
Our client wanted to make a few updates to their attribute assignments and deleted the entire attribute set. By doing this, it took their entire website down. When this first happened, we jumped in to help get their site back online, but it got us thinking. What if they weren’t so lucky, and had to do this on their own? What if they didn’t have an agency partner that was responsive? Instead of thinking about the “what ifs,” we decided to write a blog post about the do’s and dont’s of Magento’s product management, and how you can avoid headaches.
Let’s get started!
1. Create attributes, and configure them correctly.
When creating product attributes, it’s important to make sure they are done correctly the first time. The old adage measure twice, cut once? The same applies to creating attributes within your website. These are the building blocks of your product catalog, and describe the characteristics of a product. Since these determine the inputs for product options, the additional information on product pages, the layered navigation, and promotions, they’re important to have configured properly from the start. Following best-practices is key. Here’s what you should consider when creating product attributes:
- Establish consistent naming conventions including letter case and punctuation.
- Think of how your attributes will be used. IE which ones are used for presentation (product name, image price, etc.), or how they appear on other parts of the website.
- Use more simple color descriptions such as “Blue” versus “Robin Egg Blue.”
- Use categorization options to manage variations in your product offerings.
- Use weighted search options to give higher-value weights to products you want to highlight.
2. Make sure attributes are assigned to attribute sets.
When you create attributes for your products, it’s important to make sure you also have an attribute set assigned to it as well. These attribute sets determine the fields that are used for data entry and the values that your customers will see on the product pages. Initially, there will be a “default” attribute set that comes with your install, and it includes commonly-used attributes you can use for your store. With 66 attribute options and 14 attribute sets available from the start, you may not need to create anything additional for your store. If you’re on the fence about if you need to create attributes or attribute sets, consider the products your business is selling. Since we work with a lot of automotive clients, an example of creating an attribute set could be for the make of vehicle, and model, to get the specific parts for the vehicle. It would look similar to this:
- Attribute Set: Ford
- Attribute: F-150
- Attribute: F-250
- And so on.
As always, it is entirely up to you on how granular you would like to get with your attributes and attribute sets. We do recommend going for a more simplistic route from our experience.
3. Don’t delete attributes or attribute sets.
If you’re new to managing attributes and attribute sets, it makes sense to want to condense them, and not have an abundance of unused ones. Before deleting anything, make sure that it is not being used by any of the products in your catalog. By deleting an attribute or attribute set, you will delete all of the products associated with it as well. This will cause havoc with products going missing, and frustrated users leaving without making a purchase. Plus, your staff will need to add all of the products back in. No one wants the added work or the headache of adding everything back in. In short, make sure you double-check (even triple-check!) before deleting.
4. Create and configure product categories.
Typically, product categories are created prior to adding products to your store, however, you can add them and associate products with it while creating new or updating existing products. Before creating a ton of categories, we recommend looking at the structure of your product catalog, and how you would like to tie products to categories. With the ability to create root categories and subcategories, this gives you the ability to really customize your website’s user experience. In this example, we will take a look at artisan cheeses:
- Root Category: La Bonne Vie
- Subcategory: Brie
- Subcategory: Camembert
- Subcategory: Goat cheese
Since products are not limited to one category, you could also configure your product categories like this:
- Root category: Goat cheese
- Subcategory: La Bonne Vie
- Subcategory: Montchevré
With endless possibilities, we recommend working with your internal development team, or an outside agency to help get you started, and to best-organize your products for the best possible user experience.
5. Configure your mega menu.
The configuration of your mega menu is a great way to enhance the overall user experience of your website. With a solution such as Amasty, you can create a larger, more user-friendly navigation that is easier to navigate on both desktop and mobile. You can highlight promos you are running, highlight rich content such as videos, add icons, and even apply an Amazon-style menu. All of these combined with product categories, and attributes can really help your eCommerce store thrive.
We hope these tips can help you enhance your current eCommerce website, or start looking at improvements. If you’re not sure where to start, we’re always here to help!