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STEP TWO: Adding products to your categories

Return to the main menu and click the Maintain Products icon in the Catalog Managment panel.

This will take you to the category list. On this page, each category level is displayed separately rather than in a tree like the category system. Navigate to the category where you want to start adding items.

This will take you to the category product list screen. Since we have not added anything to this category yet, it will have nothing to display except the current navigation trail location listed at the top of the screen and the list of icons in the left menu. To add an item to this category, click the "Add Product to this Category" icon in the menu.

The Add Product screen will be displayed:

There are many pieces of information associates with each item. Some you will use, others you will not. We explain each one below:

Product SKU
The Product SKU, also called the item number is a unique identifier for each item. It is extremely important that each product have a completely unique ID. If you carry items from manufacturers that do not supply you with a SKU, feel free to make one up. Just be sure that they are unique. It is a good idea to keep SKUs short - normally fewer than 20 characters. You may make them longer if needed, but shorter is better.

Product Name
This is the name that your customers will see listed with this item. Be descriptive, but again, keep it short. The name will have to fit nicely in the cart and in the registry list so shorter is better.

Short description
Remember the short description in the category setup? This one works the same way. The short description is used in the description meta tag that is part of your search engine optimization. Make sure that at least some of the keywords that you will assign to this product appear in the short description. The short description can be optionally displayed on the product display page. Most clients choose to keep this description for use only in the description meta tag.

Full Description
The full description is always visible to your customer when they are browsing through the products in your catalog. It is extremely important that all of the keywords that you assign to this product (below) are included in this description. Orphan keywords (those which are listed in the keywords field, but which are not part of the description) will count against you in search engine rankings.

Search Engine Optimization is one of the most asked-about features of our ecommerce software. As such, the keywords that you enter into the Keywords field are extremely important to your online success. Keywords should be entered with commas separating each word or phrase that you want shoppers to use in order to find you on the internet. It is important to make sure that the keywords you specify are also used in the full description. Here is an example:

ceramic,plate,ceramic plate,red,glazed

Note that these keywords are specific to the product and its display page and will also be searched by GiftSuite's internal search system.

Product Image
Select an image for this product from your own computer by clicking the Browse button next to the input field. A thumbnail image for display on the category display pages will be automatically generated. To change the size of the thumbnail, go to Catalog Settings in the Catalog Management panel on the administrator main menu. The Product Thumb Max Height and Product Thumb Max Width fields are at the bottom of the settings page. These settings limit the maximum width and height of your image, but do not affect the aspect retio. In other words, if your category image is a vertical rectangle, it will remain a rectangle, and not be squeezed into a square.

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price also called the MSRP is an optional field. The main reason to use this field is if your regular price on this item is lower than MSRP or if you are placing this item on sale. When the MSRP field is filled in, there is a subtle change to the product display page. The MSRP will be displayed where the price is normally displayed and will be labeled as "MSRP:". Below that, your regular price will be displayed and labeled as "Our Price:". Using Caascading Style Sheets (styles), you can change the color, font, and size of the MSRP display price. You may also add special effects to it such as a line struck through the price like this" $ 199.00 Do not type a dollar sign in to this field.

Price Each
This is how much you want to charge for this product. Do not type a dollar sign in to this field.

Hide Price on Product Page
If you do not want to display the price of the product on the product page. Check this checkbox.

Cost Each
This is an optional field that allows you to track your cost on this product for future reference.

Sold in Sets of
This field is often one of the hardest to explain, but if you carry items that are sold in sets, but you need to price them individually, then you know all about this. Here is how it works: If you sell items that are sold only in sets such as a set of 4 assorted coffee mugs, AND you need to price them individually, say $9 each, then you should set this qty to 4. Then, when a customer adds this item to their cart, they will be listed as an individual item "Coffee Mug - $9" and the quantity will be set automatically to 4. The quantities will be displayed in a dropdown list containing only multiples of 4, thus preventing a customer from buying just one from a set of 4. The same applies to the gift registry system, when a customer adds this item to a gift registry, it will only allow quantity selection in multiples of 4.

Do Not Discount
The "Do not discount" checkbox allows you to control which items will be allowed to be discounted based on a promotional code. Using GiftSuite's promotional code system, you may create a promotional code to allow for a percentage discount off an entire order. You may also carry products for which the manufacturer will not allow discounted sales. By checking the "Do not discount" checkbox, this item will be excluded from discounts even if the shopper adds it to their cart AND enters a promo code. In other words, regardless of whether the shopper has used a promotional code during their purchase, this item will not be discounted.

Do not charge shipping
For some items, you may wish to have the shopping cart system not charge shipping regardless of the shipping charge model you have selected. By checking this checkbox, shipping charges will not apply to this item. Sales tax will still apply if this is a taxable item.

Membership If this item is a membership or subscription, check this checkbox. In the case of memberships and subscriptions, there is no shipping charge and if only memberhips or subscriptions are in the cart, no shipping options will be displayed.

Taxable Item
The Taxable Item checkbox allows you to specify that this item is taxable (if checked) or non-taxable (if unchecked).

New Item
When you add a new item to your online ecommerce catalog, you may wish to alert your customers when they visit your website. When you have new items in your catalog, you can specify that the "New" category is displayed in the menu (if you choose to display the catalog main menu). The New category is "virtual" which means that it does not actually exist in your catalog, but is created on-the-fly from items that you have marked as "New". The catalog creates this virtual category when you specify it in the catalog settings AND mark at least 1 item as "New".

If you carry items upon which your customers can request custom engraving, check this checkbox. When an item is engraveable, an additional field is displayed in the checkout system to allow your customers to specify what they would like engraved on the item.

Shipping Surcharge
If this is a large or heavy item, you may wish to apply a surcharge to the shipping. The shipping surcharge will be added to the cart as part of this item.

Product Form
The Product Form selection allows you to sell items that are hard goods only (like a cup or plate), downloadable only (like a piece of software or a music file) or both (like a piece of software that is sold as a download or on disc).

Popup Info Box
The popup info box fields pertain to a special feature of GiftSuite. In order to make your web catalog more interactive and give your customers more information, you can allow the catalog system to create small popup windows that track with the customer's mouse as it passes over category and product links and images. This popup box is composed of two sections, the header or top part of the popup window and the text area or bottom part of the window. Note that these popup windows are part of the catalog page itself and as such, they are immune to popup blockers. To see an example of these popup windows, pass your mouse over the Sample Popup image here:

You can alter the look of the popup window including font, colors, and more using style sheets. We will get to that later in this tutorial. For now, just understand that you can put additional information into this popup window and that it will appear when your customer's mouse passes over category images in the catalog. Feel free to put whatever you would like into the Popup Info Box Header and Popup Info Box Text fields. You may enter up to 250 characters into the Popup Info Box Text field.

The Status selection box allows you to set a product to:

  • Active (visible in the catalog and available for purchase)
  • Inactive (not visible in the catalog and not available for purchase)
  • Out of Stock (visible in the catalog, but not available for purchase and with the words "Out of Stock" displayed)
  • Discontinued (visible in the catalog, but not available for purchase with the word "Discontinued" displayed)
  • Not Available for Immediate Shipment (visible in the catalog and available for purchase, this option tells the customer that this item is not normally stocked)
  • Not Available for Sale Online (visible in the catalog, but can not be purchased or added into a registry)
  • Call for Pricing (visible in the catalog, but with no price, and not available to purchase or add to a registry)

When you have filled in each field the way you want, click the "Next" button at the bottom of the screen.

This will take you to a screen where you may add file links to your product page.

Use this form to upload special files such as .PDF or .DOC files or to add external links which are associated with this item. Each product in the catalog can have as many files/links as needed.

If you do not need to add any files to this product or when you are done adding files and/or links to this product, click the "Back to Product List" icon in the left menu:

Continue to add products to each of your categories in the same way as we just did. While you are adding products, you may also click the "Preview this Category" icon in the left menu. Again, this will not be pretty since we have not done any customization yet, but you can start to get the feel for your online catalog using these previews.