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Magento Category Structure - How to handle category taxonomy like modern e-commerce sites

Magento Category Structure - How to handle category taxonomy like modern e-commerce sites

Hey all, I hope this title isn't misleading and properly describes what I am wanting to do.

 

I am also seeing insight from the community for the best way to accomplish the end goal that I want for Magento categories.

 

To start this question off, I think it would be best to start with the problem.

 

**The problem:**

 

When we create a new product line, we have to create many new product categories, each with unique content and unique URLs. In our most recent examples, we had to create 11 category pages to get our categories in all the locations where we think our customers will shop. Here are some examples of this issue:

 

/bags/barrier/pouch/oval-window

/bags/gusset/stand-up-pouch/oval-window

/bags/food/barrier/zip-pouch/oval-window

Site: ClearBags.com

 

See how every page would yield a different category in the Magento system in order for it to be published.

 

**What we want:**

 

We would like to be able to create a single category page for "Oval Window" bags, yet have customers browse their way to that page from multiple different locations.

 

To be clear - We don't want many URLs. We want a single page with a single URL that can be reached by browsing through many different paths.

 

In the post, I use the term *modern e-commerce* when describing how we want this to function. I have some examples from larger sites where they have achieved this functionality.

 

Take, for example, TheHomeDepot.com lighting page:

https://www.homedepot.com/b/Lighting-Light-Bulbs/N-5yc1vZbmbu

 

You can get to it via a few different routes. Here are two routes:

 

Lighting and Ceiling Fans > Light Bulbs

...and...

Electrical > Light Bulbs

 

You can see a similar experience at Walmart.com:

 

Electronics > Video Games

...and...

Toys and Video Games > Video Games

 

You can see in both of those examples that they have a flat category structure in the URL. The Home Depot has the structure "/b/" for category pages and Walmart has "/cp/" for their category pages.

 

I know the massive sizes of these companies and that they have fully custom systems, but my real question is this:

 

**What is the best way to do something similar inside of Magento 2?**

 

I have thought about a couple of solutions:

 

1) We could do something similar to how the hierarchy functions within the static content system inside of Magento - having the pages and the hierarchy separate, at which point we could build something custom to figure out how to direct what where... Complex, I know because of how products fit within categories.

 

2) I can see us finding one single terminal category path for each category and whenever we create branches off of a terminal path, those branches would only be in the menus on the other pages. So, for example, using the /oval-window page, we would have it's "Master" category be

 

/bags/barrier/pouch/oval-window

 

and then have the other categories link into the first branch they have, so for example, once someone gets to

 

/bags/gusset/

 

on the former

 

/bags/gusset/stand-up-pouch/oval-window

 

path... They would branch off via a menu link in /bags/gusset/ that would then take them to

 

/bags/barrier/pouch/

 

which from there they would then be able to navigate to the children of the /pouch/ category to get to /oval-windows.

 

***

 

Now, I know the idea with Magento is to work within Magento's capability. As I just crazy for even wanting it to work similar to this and I should just not fight how things work right now in Magento 2?

 

Does anyone else have any additional ideas or recommendations for how to execute this inside of Magento 2?

 

Thank you in advance!

6 REPLIES 6

Re: Magento Category Structure - How to handle category taxonomy like modern e-commerce sites

So basically you want one category with all "oval-window" items but approachable from different categories. In that case you would also see products which are not related to the parent category, since those are actually part of another parent category. Is that right?

Re: Magento Category Structure - How to handle category taxonomy like modern e-commerce sites

You are correct in that I want only one category for oval-window.

 

I think your response highlights one of the problems. If oval-window is only existing in one place, the products won't appear in parent categories where customers may choose to navigate. 

 

So, the issues lie in what is the best way for customers to browse categories. Thinking out loud here... I think we would need some sort of item to child category association and then a child to parent category association (and possibly a parent to super category association). Then, the items would show up wherever the association exists. Does that make sense?

 

Am I looking at something wholly custom and unable to achieve inside of Magento 2?

Re: Magento Category Structure - How to handle category taxonomy like modern e-commerce sites

You could create a custom product attribute, a dropdown for instance (mind the scope) to mark a product matching the 'oval window' and if available add other options.

Screenshot 2019-04-17 at 10.13.17.png

Add the attribute in your attributeset.

Select the products in the admin which should have this attribute value set to 'oval window' and do a mass attribute change.

 

Go to the Stores>Configurations>Catalog (global) tab and choose 'visual merchandiser'. You can add your attribute, if correctly configured, there as an option.

Screenshot 2019-04-17 at 10.02.41.png

Then create a category and create a product selection based upon 'matched by rule'. It should be possible to see your custom attribute there.

Screenshot 2019-04-17 at 10.04.15.png

create a selection and there they are:

Screenshot 2019-04-17 at 10.08.56.png

Let me know if this will work for you.

Re: Magento Category Structure - How to handle category taxonomy like modern e-commerce sites

This could be an excellent solution. I am going to look into this and get back to you. Thank you for the time you put in to answer this!

Re: Magento Category Structure - How to handle category taxonomy like modern e-commerce sites

Let me know if this will work for you, and if it is you could mark my post as the solution. 

Re: Magento Category Structure - How to handle category taxonomy like modern e-commerce sites

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