Products and categories
Products and categories are really the nuts and bolts of your online site.
Products are individual items for sale, they can be a physical good or a service - it doesn't really matter.
Categories are the way of organising your products into groups of similar other items. Categories help your customers to more easily find the items that they want to buy.
More about products
As mentioned above, anything that you want to sell on your website has to be listed as a product.
Products can be physical goods that you post and send to people, digital goods (like an ebook), or they can be a intangible service (like coaching sessions or accountancy services).
Products can come with variations too (so you can list different sizes or colours) and we have a range of add-on features as well which means that you can do all sorts of things with your products (like list product extras or allow online reviews). You can also manage stock for your products too using the stock management system.
Products are created using the 'add a product' page in the admin system (select 'products' from the left hand menu and then 'add a product').
More about categories
You can use the categories system to group products together. Categories are the best way of making sure your customers find it easy to navigate your website. Most ecommerce websites use categories and unless you only have a very small number of products, it would be unwise not to use them on your website.
Categories can come in many levels, e.g.
In the above example each of the three (Ladies Clothing, Dresses, Party Dresses) are all categories. Dresses and Party Dresses are what are known as subcategories. The only difference between a 'category' and a 'subcategory' is that a subcategory has, what we call, a parent category. Read our article What's the difference between a subcategory and a parent category for further explanation.
A parent category is just a way of saying that a category, in the above example Ladies Clothing, has a subcategory.
Both parent categories and subcategories are created in the same way, by clicking 'products' from the left hand menu and then 'add a category'. Read more about creating categories here.
If you have many categories on your website then you should consider how you will implement your category structure. A well organised system of categories can really help your business to be successful. Read more about category structures here.