Product catalog use case

  • Updated

Use case scenario

Hero Tools' Product Manager, Elizabeth Osero, is working with her team to implement Hero's product catalog in their Optimizely Configured Commerce solution. They plan to integrate the Configured Commerce light PIM with Hero's ERP solution but would like to understand how the Configured Commerce constructs work before they create the integration. Together with her team members Markus Hayes (Content Specialist) and Jonathan Crane (Technical Writer), Elizabeth works to learn more about Optimizely's catalog options before the project begins.

Catalog structure

The Configured Commerce catalog structure is built on the idea of categories. Categories may be nested (sometimes called parent/child categories) or stand-alone, depending on business needs.

Elizabeth has already worked with the Hero project team to determine which categories they will add to their site for Phase 1. Since Hero's customers generally browse or search their site based on product type (such as power tools or accessories ) instead of by vendor, the team has determined to sort and separate products based on type. Elizabeth names a category Power Tools and creates four child categories for it: Nailers and Staplers, Grinders, Impact Drivers, and Rotary Hammers. Site visitors still may search for products, but if they are not quite sure what they are looking for, this taxonomy allows site visitors to start with the type of tool they want and proceed from there.


See Create a Product and Create a Category to learn more about catalog structure.

Dynamic categories

Dynamic categories are product categories whose contents can shift based on a set of predefined rules. Dynamic categories also are a quick way to group dissimilar products together, without having to assign them to a category manually.

Hero Tools wants to introduce ten new products every month and convert the best-performing ones to permanent catalog status by the end of year. To encourage site visitors to view and purchase new products, Elizabeth creates a dynamic category called What's New. For rules, she sets that the Activate On source data field must be between 1/1/2023 and 1/31/2023. Once she rebuilds the index, the category populates with all products added to the system in January 2023.

Once February hits, Elizabeth will just need to edit the category and change the date range to 2/1/2023 and 2/28/2023. The category will then repopulate with all products added to the system in February 2023 without having to build an entirely different category.

Variant products

A variant product is a type of product that has several purchase options available. Those options might be based on a product's size, color, fabric, or a combination of features.

Hero Tools recently started carrying a line of toolboxes. While the toolboxes look similar and have similar features, they come in three sizes (Small, Large, and X-Large), and each size comes in three colors (Yellow, Red, and Blue). Instead of building a unique product page for each color/size combination, Content Specialist Markus Hayes recommends turning the Hero Toolbox into a Variant Product. When a site visitor browses or searches for the toolbox, they only need to visit one product page; from there, they can select their color/size combination from the drop-downs and add the item to their cart.



Product configurations

Use product configurations to create kits and bundles or groupings of products a site visitor may wish to purchase together (usually at a slight discount compared to purchasing the items separately). Fixed configuration products have preset options, while standard configurations allow site visitors to select their bundle from multiple preselected products.

After an especially aggressive buying quarter, Hero Tools finds itself with a surplus of nails and staples. While their customers enjoy purchasing their power tools from Hero, they appear to go elsewhere to purchase additional accessories. After a consultation with the procurement team, Elizabeth decides to use the Configured Commerce product configurations to create preconfigured (or fixed ) bundles. Each bundle contains one power tool, three boxes of the appropriate nails or staples, and an additional charger. The bundles are marked 10-15% higher than the power tool alone. This provides the customer with a great deal on accessories and ensures they are ordering the correct ones while alleviating Hero's backstock issue.



Attributes are qualities assigned to a product, like Length, Type, or Color. Once products have attributes, site visitors may curate the products displayed in a category or narrow search results.

Hero Tools sells several power tools with long names, like 20V Max* Brushless Impact Driver Kit. This product, HID-765-K, is also cordless, but Markus does not want to add an additional word to the product's title. He chooses to create an attribute called Power Tool Type (assigned to the Impact Drivers category) and an attribute value of Cordless (assigned to the product). After rebuilding the index, Markus searches for cordless on the website, and HID-765-K appears alongside other cordless products in the search results. Markus can even select the Cordless option on the left side of the screen to narrow his search results even further.


Cross sells

Cross sells encourage site visitors to purchase products related to the product they are currently viewing. Product cross sells display related products on the Product Detail page, while web cross sells display selected products anywhere the Web Cross Sells widget exists.

Every month, Hero chooses a vendor and provides a 10% discount on that vendor's products. Markus would like to include some of the vendor's products on the Home page to encourage users to view and purchase the vendor's best sellers. Elizabeth suggests he add a Web Cross Sells widget to the Home page. Markus then adds ten of that month's vendor's products under the website's Cross Sells tab in the Admin Console. Each month, Markus returns to the Cross Sells tab and swaps out the products for the new featured vendor.

Elizabeth is looking for a way to increase sales of nails, staples, and other tool accessories/parts when site visitors purchase a power tool. She decides to add product cross sells to HBN-18, Hero's best-selling cordless brad nailer as a test. In the Admin Console, Elizabeth adds the matching nails, replacement charger, and replacement battery pack to HBN-18's Cross Sells tab in the Admin Console. After some user testing, Elizabeth decides to add cross sells to all of Hero's power tools products. She accomplishes this by using product import (see below).


Restriction groups

Use restriction groups to prevent/allow a customer to view and/or purchase a product. Customers may belong to multiple restriction groups. Show restriction groups show products that would otherwise be hidden, Hide restriction groups hide products that would otherwise be shown, and Show Only restriction groups override all other restriction groups set on a product. Products also can be set to Hide or Show individually.

Hero Industries recently began selling a test sample of HVAC products through one of its subsidiaries, Victory Distribution. Their HVAC Vendor, Design Heating and Cooling (DHC), has signed a distribution contract with Victory on the condition that DHC's products are sold only in the state of Connecticut. Elizabeth marks all DHC's products with a default behavior of Hide, then creates a restriction group showing those products only to signed-in users with a Ship To State of Connecticut.

Along with the new line of HVAC products, Victory Distribution also began carrying various types of industrial coolant. Since these coolants are considered hazardous materials, Victory cannot ship them over the border to their customers in Canada. To ensure compliance, Elizabeth creates a restriction group hiding all products in the Industrial Coolant category from users whose customer Ship To Country is Canada.