Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy

A product category is the standard category of a product from the Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy. All of your products should be assigned to a specific category in the Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy.

To view a list of product categories and subcategories, refer to the Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy.

Shopify's standard categories are used for the following purposes:

  • Unlock product attributes, referred to as category metafields, that map to each product category.
  • Manage your products better within Shopify, for example, as a condition for an automated collection or to help filter your product list.
  • Make it easier to sell products on other channels that require a standardized product type, such as Facebook or Google.
  • Determine the rate at which the product is taxed when you're using Shopify Tax. Your products might be subject to special rates or exemptions. When a product is categorized correctly, the most accurate tax rate is collected at checkout. Collecting too much or not enough sales tax can create financial or legal liability for your business.

An example of a product category is Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Shirts & Tops.

Some standard product category have available category metafields with default entries. For example, if you add the product category Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Shirts & Tops, then you can add category metafields for size, neckline, sleeve length type, top length type, age group, fabric, target gender, clothing features, and color. Category metafields have default metaobject entries that you can either use as is or customize further. For example, if the color black isn't in line with your branding, then you can rename it to graphite. These category metafields can be used in your storefront for customers to find the products they need faster. When you use color entries as variant options, you can display variant options as swatches for color options on your storefront products pages.

Getting started with the new Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy

You automatically have access to the new Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy. However, you might want to review your products to ensure they're using all the features and that your product categories are optimized. The following are suggestions to help get you started on the new Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy:

How are product category and product type different?

Each of your products can have only one product category and one product type. Product category is a standard field from the Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy and can help with your tax calculations and when you sell products on your sales channels, such as Facebook. The product type is a custom field that is unique to your products. You can use both product type and product category to help you organize your store.

Learn more about product types.

Considerations for using product category

When you set up apps and channels, such as Google, to sync with your products, product details that you entered into Shopify are imported. Submit high quality data for your products so that the apps and channels have the most accurate information.

Before you add a product category, review the following considerations:

  • Use only a predefined Shopify product category listed in the Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy.
  • In a CSV, you can submit either the ID number or the path of the product category, but not both. Both the ID and the path can are available in the Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy.
  • Use the product category that best describes your product. Choose the category based on your product’s main function. For example, your product is a clock that has other functions, such as a light, but its main function is as an alarm clock. In this case, use the alarm clock category. In a CSV, use the format Home & Garden > Decor > Clocks > Alarm Clocks (or ID 3097).
  • Use the most specific category possible. For example, for an alarm clock, use the alarm clock category. In a CSV, use the format Home & Garden > Decor > Clocks > Alarm Clocks (or ID 3097). Don’t just use: Clocks (or ID: 3096).
  • If the taxonomy of product categories isn't available in your language, then use the English values or numeric ID.
  • If you already have a Google Product Category for your products and prefer to use this taxonomy, then Shopify maps the accurate product category to your products. Your Google Product Category needs to match Google's values in English, or the ID number. Refer to the Google's Product Category taxonomy for acceptable categories and IDs.
  • If your customers checkout directly on Instagram or Facebook, then you must provide Google Product Categories for tax reasons even if you’re already providing a standard Shopify product category.
  • All products should be assigned a Shopify product category. If a category isn't assigned, then your product saves as uncategorized. This could also happen if a product is created with CSV or an app. If you don't want your product to be uncategorized, then you can add a product category.

Automatic product category suggestions

When you create a product and enter a name, description, and add images for the product, this information is used to generate a product category suggestion powered by Shopify Magic. You can use the suggested category or you can choose a category that is as specific as possible for your product.

Shopify Magic also adds category metafields and values that are relevant to your product based on the product details. You can keep those category metafields and add other available category metafields to your product.

Add a product category

Until you assign a product category to each product, a suggestion for each product might display, which you can accept or reject, or the product might be labeled as uncategorized. If the suggestion is inaccurate or if you want to browse product categories for a more accurate type, then you can search for the best product category.

Steps:

  1. From the Shopify admin, click Products.
  2. Click a product.
  3. In the Category section, do the following:
    • Enter your product’s category, and then select the most accurate result from the Category list.
    • Click through each level of the categories and subcategories to find your product category.
  4. Click Save.

Migrating existing product categories

The release of the new Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy means that some of the product categories that you previously used might have been modified or replaced.

If a category you previously used has changed, then a category is suggested that best matches your product's details. If there is no category, then your product saves as uncategorized. This could also happen if a product is created with CSV or an app.

It's important to review these recommendations and any products that are uncategorized to ensure they match with your products. When you review your products, you can complete either of the following actions:

  • Accept the recommended category: If the suggested category is accurate for your product, then you can accept the suggestion.
  • Explore new categories: If the suggested category isn't the right fit, if your product is uncategorized, or if you want to explore other categories, then you can review the Category drop-down menu from the product page in your Shopify admin. You can also review the Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy to find a more suitable category to apply to your product.

Learn more about what categories have changed in the new Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy.

Category metafields

Category metafields map to specific product categories in the Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy. Category metafields, which are called product attributes in the taxonomy, help you add the right information to your products to make them more discoverable by visitors on your site, on marketplaces, and on search engines.

For example, if you add the product category Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Shirts & Tops, then you can add category metafields for clothing size, neckline, sleeve length type, and more. Based on Shopify Magic predictions, some category metafields are added by default. Other category metafields might be suggested and you can choose to add them to your store. Category metafields have default entries that you can either use as is or customize further.

You can connect category metafields to your product variant options and the entries to your option values. This means that you can edit the color black to be graphite and your variant values are updated anywhere that color is used. When you use color entries as variant options, you can display variant options as swatches for color options on your storefront product pages.

Add category metafields

You can add category metafields when you assign a standard category to one of your products.

Based on information added in your product details, you might have a suggested category displayed in the Category field. After you save your product, any unedited suggestions are confirmed.

Steps:

  1. From the Shopify admin, click Products.
  2. Click a product or add a new one.
  3. In the Category section, complete one of the following steps:
    • Search for your product’s category, and then select the most accurate result from the Category list.
    • Click through each level of the categories and subcategories to find your product category.
  4. Category metafields display in the Category metafields section with the category name, if they're available. Click the field next to the category metafield, and then click again to complete any of the following steps:
    • Select an entry from the drop-down menu.
    • Click Add new entry to create a new metaobject entry for the category metafield. Fill in any of the predefined fields, and then adjust any base values, which connect your entry to Shopify's standardized list of values. Click Save.
    • Select an entry. To edit the entry, click the name and Edit. Edit or change any of the predefined fields, and then adjust any base values, which connect your entry to Shopify's standardized list of values. Click Save.
  5. Click Save.

Bulk edit product categories

You can edit your product's category in bulk, rather than one at a time.

Steps:

  1. From your Shopify admin, click Products.
  2. Select the products that you want to modify by doing one of the following:
    • To only edit specific products, check the check box next to each product.
    • To only edit the variants of just one product, select only that product.
    • To select all list items on a page, check the check box at the top of the product list.
    • To select all products on your store, check the check box at the top of the product list, and then click Select all 50+ items from your store.
  3. Click Bulk edit.
  4. If you don't have the Product category column in your view, then click Columns and then select Product category.
  5. In the Product category column for your products, do the following:
    • Accept or reject each automatically generated suggestion, if necessary.
    • Click the drop down for a list of product categories. Select the product category. You can click Browse all to expand the list or search for a category.
  6. Click Save.

Managing product categories using a CSV file

You can import product categories and types using a CSV product import. In addition, you can add and edit product categories and product types in the CSV file.

To verify that your product category values matches with Shopify's predefined list, you can refer to the Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy.

If you already have a Google Product Category for your products and prefer to use this taxonomy, then Shopify maps the accurate product category to your products only if it matches a taxonomy value in English exactly or the Unique Identifier (UID) is provided.

You can do the following in your CSV file:

  • Refer to the accurate Google Product Category with the google_product_category field of your CSV update.
  • Enter a supported category from Google's product taxonomy.
  • Provide either the category path or the ID number, as you can with Shopify's product category.

You can download and view a sample product CSV file to use as a template.

Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy limitations

Product options created with the new Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy have the following limitations:

  • In order to use the Shopify Standard Product Taxonomy to power swatches on Dawn, you must be using the latest version.
  • New categories might not be compatible with sales channels. Review your product's sales channels before modifying a published product's category.
  • Unit of measurement and dimension type attribute aren't currently available.
  • Custom attributes are currently not supported.
  • Attributes aren't supported in the following Shopify apps: Search and Discovery and Shopify Bundles.

Additional resources

  • In order to use swatches with a custom liquid implementation, refer to the liquid documentation. You can also refer to this guide.
  • If you're using a third-party theme, then refer to your theme release notes to determine support for swatches.
Can't find answers you're looking for? We're here to help you.