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Aug 20, 2021 | 6 minute read

How Do I Manage Products and Hierarchies with Elastic Path?

written by Brianne Cordima


EP Product Experience Manager (PXM) decouples products, hierarchies, catalogs, and price books. The result? Now you can quickly and easily create unlimited, unique catalogs for customer account types, geographies, business models, touchpoints, and brands.

Watch the video to learn how to manage products in EP PXM.

Understanding Products Video Transcript

The products you want to sell in your store may be physical goods, digital items, or services that are individually created and associated with one or more hierarchies in a catalog. A product has attributes, such as name, description, ID and SKU and may have additional attributes to be displayed in the storefront, depending on your needs. A product also has associations, such as product images, files containing additional product details and associations to hierarchies, price books and inventory. If your store supports multiple languages, you can localize product names, descriptions, and more. With Product Content Management, you define your products separately from catalogs, categories, prices, inventory and other resource relationships. Your product data is stored in a database. After you add products, you can update product information, add images and other assets, and associate products with one or more hierarchy nodes and price books. Products may then be associated with zero, one or multiple catalogs, and your product inventory is also managed independently. After making any changes you can export the updated product information back to other business systems so that your organization sees a consistent view of products. Remember that with Product Content Management, your products are standalone objects and other relationships, and associations allow them to be referred to in multiple hierarchies, price books and catalogs. So, for your products to appear in a catalog, and therefore in a storefront, you must first make sure that your product is active, and not in a draft state. It must be associated with at least one hierarchy and the catalog you want it to appear in references a hierarchy that includes that product. Now, let's consider the products sold by Playtend games, our online video game store. Playtend games sells game consoles and other physical items, video games, which are digital, downloadable items, and they also have a subscription service which is also considered a product. The product images and downloadable spec sheets for these consoles are tied to each product as are price books and hierarchy associations. So, any changes to the product data, would automatically appear in any catalog that the changed product is tied too. Understanding product relationships in Product Content Management is important in seeing how these allow you to organize product catalogs in Elastic Path Commerce Cloud.

Understanding Hierarchies Video Transcript

In Product Content Management, the hierarchies you create determine which products are available within a given catalog and can be used for site navigation. A hierarchy is a tree structure with a root nodes, and descendent nodes. The root node of the tree is the Hierarchy ID. A node within a hierarchy can have one parent and zero, or more children. When you create a node, you can specify its parent node. If you choose not to, it will, by default be a child of the root node. A product can be associated with multiple nodes, and multiple hierarchies. So, once you've defined your hierarchies, you can associate products with any one or more of these nodes. When we consider the video game store for example, we might see a hierarchy for consoles and accessories, one hierarchy for digital games, and one for new products. If we look at the digital games hierarchy, this is the root node and cannot have products associated to it. So, it might have first-level dependent nodes, for game genre, platform and age range as well as child nodes for some of these. Let's take the new Roadster Racers game as an example. The new game Roadster Racers may be associated with the Racing Games genre node, both the Platform nodes, and the All Ages rating node in the digital games hierarchy. It may also be associated with the New Releases node in the New Products hierarchy. It cannot, however, be associated with the root node, digital games. Sibling nodes are nodes with the same parent, and have unique names and slugs. In the game console hierarchy example, the nodes Smart TV Consoles and Portable Consoles are sibling nodes of the parent or root node. However, the names and slugs do not need to be unique in other relationships in the same hierarchy, or across multiple hierarchies. In other words, if each console type has corresponding accessories, so we have accessories as two separate nodes, these can have the same name because they have different parent nodes. You can also move an existing node to a different location if you need to by changing its parent node. If that node has child nodes, all of its descendants move with it to the new location in the hierarchy Let's suppose that we have a node called Downloadable Characters with child nodes for '2D' and '3D' in the Coming Soon parent node. When those characters are released, the downloadable characters node, and it's dependent nodes, can be moved to the parent node New Releases, and all node data is retained. When you create a catalog, you specify one or more hierarchies to link to that catalog. Any products associated with those hierarchies are then included in the corresponding catalog. A single hierarchy may be associated with multiple catalogs or storefronts. Hierarchies may be also used to create and populate navigation menus for your storefront. With Product Content Management, you have the flexibility to define hierarchies in whichever way works best for the products in your store, and your selling context.


Want to learn more? Watch our on-demand demo of Product Content Management to see this in action.