Define category trees and categories in Optimizely Product Information Management

  • Updated

Use category trees and categories in Optimizely Product Information Management (PIM) to organize your products and create taxonomies for customers to browse your website. A clear category structure with products assigned to categories ensures that customers can find products better. Your category attributes enable filters on your product list pages in Optimizely Commerce. You can also maintain multiple category trees to support multiple websites.

Build category trees by adding categories. Include basic category information on the Details tab and use the Products and Attributes tabs to assign these items to a category. You can manually assign products or set up dynamic rules for product assignments on the Products tab and assign relevant attributes to the category on the Attributes tab.

Configured Commerce Storefront View

See Review How the PIM Data Appears to Customers for more details.

Best Practices

Categories in the PIM function the same as categories in Optimizely Commerce. You and your team should create and manage categories only in the PIM to maintain consistency and accuracy.

If you have multiple websites that share the same category structure, you do not need to create a category tree for each. Only create category trees for websites with distinct taxonomies.

While you can create any level of category depth, the menu must be customized to display more than three levels, based on the Category Menu Depth setting in the Configured Commerce Admin Console.


Carrie knows that Victory wants to set up their website to show kitchen and bathroom faucets within their Plumbing product offerings. She goes to Configure > Categories and creates a Victory category tree by clicking the More Options icon. She then creates a Plumbing category with a Faucet subcategory and two additional subcategories for Kitchen and Bathroom. She decides to use three levels for now and watch customer shopping patterns to see if she needs to add more levels later.

Carrie waits to assign products to her new categories until she has imported them. She goes to the Kitchen category, selects the Products tab and enables Use Dynamic Rules. She then selects a property of Product Template, an operator of Equals, and a value of Kitchen Faucets. When she clicks Save, the assigned product list automatically populates with every product that uses the Kitchen Faucets template. She then repeats these steps for the Bathroom category, selecting the appropriate template.

Because Enable auto-assignment of category attributes is enabled, the category attributes are automatically assigned based on the properties mapped to the products. Carrie does not want the filter options for the Kitchen category to contain all mapped attributes for faucets. She returns to the Kitchen category, selects the Attributes tab, and clicks the Assign icon to deselect Auto assigned attributes. She selects the attributes to include in the filter options.

Category List Page

Use the Category List page to search for, filter, and select categories for editing, assigning properties, and assigning to products.

You can sort data by clicking column headers and filter records by clicking the filter icon. Edit individual categories by clicking on the name. If a category is active, the Deactivate On cell is empty.

Category Tree Navigation

Select Category Tree – Select the category tree from the drop-down list.

Filter by Name – Enter a partial or full category name to narrow the results across the selected category tree folders.

Expand all and Collapse all – Click to expand or collapse the entire category tree.

Select folder – Select a folder in the category tree to apply a parent category filter. The selected folder and its sub categories display in the category list results.

Category List Navigation

Editing – Click an individual category record to view and edit its details.

Search by name – Enter a partial or full category name to narrow the results across all folders in the selected category tree.

Filters – Click the Filter icon to enable or disable column filters. This adds a row below the column headers with options for filtering each property. Filtering also updates the count of records and paging options. Click a filter to change the filter option or value.

Depending on the column's property data type and control type, you may see the following options:

  • Search operator of Contains, Does not contain, Starts with, Ends with, Equals, Does not equal or Reset
  • Property value of Yes, No, Is Empty or Is Not Empty

Pagination – The list displays 25 categories by default, with options to view 50 or 100 per page.

Organize category trees

Create a category tree

  1. Click Categories.
  2. Click the More Options icon in the left panel and select Create Category Tree.
  3. Enter a Category Tree Name.
  4. Select a website from the Assign Available Websites list. Websites with category trees already assigned cannot be selected. Assign a website to each category tree to make categories available in Optimizely Commerce once you publish products. If a website that was created in Optimizely Commerce does not display, you must run the PIM: Sync Setup Job in the admin console.
  5. Click Create.

Edit a category tree

  1. Select a category tree from the left panel.
  2. Click the More Options icon and select Edit Category Tree.
  3. Edit the name and websites. 
  4. Click Save.

Delete a category tree

Deleting a category tree also deletes all categories within it and any associations with products. Only users with PIM_Admin or PIM_System roles can delete category trees.
  1. Select a category tree from the left panel.
  2. Click the More Options icon and select Delete Category Tree.
  3. Click OK when the confirmation message appears.

Organize categories and assigned products

Add categories

You add categories to category trees, which then appear as folders within that tree. 

  1. Click Categories.
  2. Click Create.
  3. Select a Parent Category (if applicable) and enter a Name and a URL Segment.
  4. Enter dates on which to activate and/or deactivate this category.
  5. Flip the toggle to Exclude From Dynamic Product Recommendations if you do not want to include products in this category in dynamic recommendations on your website.
  6. Enter a Category Description.
  7. Add a category image from the Asset Drawer if desired.
  8. Add the Page Title, Meta Description and Meta Keywords to enhance the category's metadata, if desired.
  9. Add the Open Graph Image, Open Graph Title and Open Graph URL if you want the category's preview link to display attractively when shared on social media. If blank, the category's small image, name and URL display instead.
  10. Click Save.

Delete categories

You must remove all child categories or products associated with a category before you can delete it.
  1. Select a category tree from the left panel.
  2. Use the category tree navigation options to locate the category you wish to delete.
  3. Hover your cursor over the category and then click the Delete icon that appears.

Add products to categories manually

  1. Click the Products tab for a category.
  2. Click the Assign Products icon.
  3. Select the products you want to assign. You can sort or filter products, or use the toggle to see only products not assigned to any categories.
  4. Click Assign when you finish selecting products.

Add products to categories using dynamic categories

You can use dynamic rules to automatically assign products to a category when they meet certain criteria. Dynamic rules are dependent on properties and product templates, so you should configure your properties and product templates first.

When published products are added or removed from a dynamic category, their status is automatically updated to Approved. All other product statuses remain the same.

  1. Click the Products tab for a category.
  2. Toggle on Use Dynamic Rules.
  3. Define the rules for this category:
    1. Choose whether to include products that match All or Any of the rules.
    2. Choose a property to set a rule.
    3. Choose the operator - given operators are Equals, Is Not Equal To, Matches, and Is Included in List. The operators that are available vary based on the control type used by the property.
      • For the operators Equals and Is Not Equal To, select the corresponding value from a drop-down list or enter the value in a text box. If the property from which you are pulling is a multi-select property, you can select multiple values. Each product must match all values to be added to the category.
      • If you choose Is Included in List, select the corresponding value. If you select multiple values, products that have any of the selected values are added to the category.
      • If you use Matches, enter the match value in the text box. You can also use a * wildcard to make any number of characters and ? as a wildcard for a specific character.
    1. Click + Rule to add another rule. Products assigned will either match All or Any of the rules you add depending on your initial selection.

    2. Click the Delete icon to remove a rule.

  1. Click Save when you are finished. The products that meet your rule requirements populate in the grid.

Toggle Use Dynamic Rules off to stop using dynamic categories. This removes any existing rules and cancels auto-assigning of products.

Dynamic category rules are evaluated when you save the rule and when products are published to Optimizely Commerce. When new products are imported or edited in the PIM to meet a rule, they do not show up as assigned to the category until the publish job runs.

Unassign products from categories

You can unassign single, multiple or all products from a category that does not have dynamic rules implemented.

  1. Click the Products tab for a category.
  2. Use the various search and filter options to locate the product(s) to unassign.
  3. Select the checkbox beside each product, or select the checkbox in the header row to select all products on the current page. You can click Select all products in this category to select all products across all pages when you have multiple selected.
  4. Click Unassign to remove the products in the category.

Import categories

You can import categories and their tree structure in bulk. Use the provided import template to add new categories or update details for existing categories. If you have the Auto assigned attributes checkbox selected, all categories added through import include the Auto-Assign Category Attributes feature.

You cannot move, delete or edit the name of existing categories using the category import. It can only create new categories or update existing category details. If you change the Parent Category or Name of an existing category in the import file, a new category is created.

  1. Click the Import on the Categories page.
  2. Click Download Template if you have not already formatted your categories according to the template format.
  3. Click Choose File.
  4. Locate your category file and click Open.
  5. Click Continue. If you receive any validation errors, resolve them before attempting to import again. You can download the provided file to view error messages that are specific to each row.
  6. View your import progress at the top of the Categories list page or click Cancel to stop it. A log of the import displays on the Imports page.

Export Categories

You can export the category information for all categories, a filtered list or selected categories.

  1. Select the categories to export, if you wish to export only selected categories.
  2. Click Export, and select either Filtered list or Selected assets.
  3. Click Continue. Do not close the window before the file is ready for download.
  4. Click Download exported file when it appears.