Product types

Providing detailed information about your products helps customers to find what they’re shopping for and helps you to keep your products organized.

Each of your products can have only one product category and one product type. Product types aren’t required, but they are useful.

Product category and product types

Product categories and product types are used to label and categorize your products. However, product category and product type aren't the same thing.

A product category is the predefined category of a product. You don't need to apply a product category, but it can help you to manage your products better within Shopify.

The category is used to:

  • determine the rate at which the product is taxed. Your products may be subject to special rates or exemptions. When a product is categorized correctly, the most accurate tax rate will be collected at checkout.
  • 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 in other channels that require a standardized product type, like Facebook.

To use a product category, you need to select one from the Shopify Product Taxonomy.

An example of a product category is Home & Garden > Linens & Bedding > Bedding > Bed Sheets.

A product type, previously referred to as custom product type, is a label that you can define and that describes the category of a product. The product type lets you use product categories other than the ones that are available in the predefined product category list.

An example of a product type is Colorful linens.

Considerations for using product category

When you set up apps and channels, like Google, to sync with your products, product details that you entered into Shopify are imported. It's important to 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 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 Product Taxonomy.
  • Use the product category that best describes your product. Choose the category based on your product’s main function. For example, if your product is an alarm clock that might have other functions, like a light, then 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 Cateogory 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.

Add a product category

Until you assign a product category to each product, a suggestion for each product might appear, which you can accept or reject. 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:

Add a product type

Overall, it's better to use product categories, but you can add a custom product type in addition to a product category for each product. You define the product types. You don't need to follow to a predefined taxonomy; however, product categories work best and are recognized throughout Shopify. If your product doesn't have a category that suits your needs, then you can create a product type within the product type field.

Steps:

Bulk edit product types

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

  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 on the page as well as every product in your store, check the check box at the top of the product list.
  3. Click Add fields, and then select either Product category, Product type, or both.
  4. Accept or reject each automatically generated suggestion, if necessary.
  5. Click Product categories to search or to navigate through the categories to find the most accurate type to select.
  6. Click Save.

Managing product types using a CSV file

You can import product 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 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 UID is provided.

You can do the following:

  • 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.

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