Product Enrichment

Products are typically imported to PIM with only limited information available – in some cases only an ID and a Name. They are then enriched with more information as they progress through the steps of one or more workflows, until they are ready for publication.

Each step in the enrichment process follows the same general steps:

  • Select a query or a warehouse group which shows the products that are to be enriched
  • Select a view mode suitable for the task at hand – List, Thumbnails, Edit or Details
  • Enrich the products
  • Move the products to the next workflow step

In this article, you will be introduced to the following concepts & tools – all related to the product enrichment process:

  • The four view modes at your disposal
  • The Visible Fields selector
  • The Language selector
  • The Bulk edit tool
  • The Import/Export to Excel tool
  • Default images and image categories
  • Using product properties

Of course, not all of these tools will be used in every PIM project – each PIM setup is unique, and the processes implemented are 100% dependent on the data available, the desired workflow, and so on.

Whenever a query or warehouse group is clicked in the PIM tree, the products are shown in the content pane using one of the three overall view modes:

  • The List view mode shows key data, e.g. the product name and number, in a list
  • The Thumbnails view mode shows a grid view of the products, with focus on product images
  • The Multi-Edit view mode provides you with editing access to the fields included in the view

When starting a new session the view mode will be List – but for the duration of the session, PIM maintains remembers the last view mode used so you can switch from one query or group to another with a minimum of hassle.

Individual products can be clicked to open the details view mode – from this view you can work with variants/family members, depending on the use case.

The List view mode (Figure 3.1) is optimized for showing product data in a list format – this is especially useful when looking for a particular product, or when comparing field values across many products.

Figure 3.1 The List view mode

By default, the fields shown are Image, Number and Name – but you can add or remove fields from the List view mode by using the Visible fields button to open the field selector – see next section.

The Thumbnails view mode shows products in a grid view (Figure 4.1), and provides you with a more visual view of key product data. You cannot change the visible fields for this view mode.

Figure 4.1 The Thumbnails view mode

The Multi-edit view mode is optimized for editing products. In this mode, the fields and language selected are rendered and can be edited directly from the list - in this screenshot, the Name and Description fields are selected for two languages (Figure 5.1).

Figure 5.1 The Multi-edit view mode

As you can see from the screenshot, the Multi-edit view mode has some information available by default – the Product ID, the default image (if set), and the creation date and last update date.

From each of the other view modes (List, Thumbnails and Multi-Edit) you can click a product or product container to open the details view mode (Figure 6.1). Like the other view modes, the details view mode has:

  • A ribbon bar where fields and languages are selected (1)
  • A content pane where fields and languages are rendered (2)
  • If the product is a product container or contains variants these can be accessed using the variant menu (3)

As a unique feature for the details view mode, you can use the Previous and Next buttons to move between the products in the current list.

Figure 6.1 The Details view mode

Which fields are available on the main product and the variant depends on your field settings:

  • Fields which can not have different values across variants are shown on the main product
  • Fields which can have different values across variants are shown on each variant
  • Fields which can not have different values across languages are greyed out in the non-default language columns

If included, the Name, Number, and Active fields are always present on both main products and variants, but will be greyed out where they cannot be edited.

From the details view mode you can also use the preview icon next to the language indicator to preview the currently selected product (main product or variant). In order for this to function properly, you must disable two settings under Settings > Web and HTTP > Customized URLs, namely 404 for products not in website shop and 404 for products not in website language.

Using the toolbar you can also work create or manage variants and related products.

The Visible Fields selector (Figure 7.1) is used to specify which fields to show in a given view mode or query – this is incredibly useful as it allows you to concentrate on the fields needed for the task at hand, without distractions. If you are translating descriptions, for instance, you only really need to see the Description and Teaser Text fields across language, and not, say, the price field.

Figure 7.1 Selecting the fields to show

The visible fields selector can be used from the List, Multi-edit, and Details view modes:

  • Click the Visible fields button
  • Find the fields manually or using the search filter
  • Move the field you want to include from the left side column to the right side column
  • Sort the included fields in the order you want the columns to occur in
  • Click ok

The Bulk edit tool lets you edit multiple products at once, across several fields, variants, and languages. It is available from all view moded, with one important difference:

  • From the List, and Thumbnails view modes only single products and main products can be edited in the default language
  • From the Multi-edit view mode only single products and main products can be edited across several languages
  • From the Details view mode only a main product and its variants & language versions can be edited

To use bulk edit:

  • Select or open the product(s) you want to bulk-edit
  • Click the bulk edit button to open the bulk edit interface (Figure 8.1).

 

Figure 8.1 Selecting the fields and languages to bulk-edit

From the bulk edit interface you must:

  • Select the languages to edit
  • Select the products or variants to edit
  • Add one or more product fields and select or create a field value for each
  • Click OK

Two (advanced) settings are also available:

  • Create non-existing property fields adds product property fields to the selected products if they don't exist - read more about product properties later in this article
  • Create non-existing language versions creates, well, the language versions for the selected products if they don't already exist 

Images can be added to a product using the Images field (Figure 9.1).

Figure 9.1 Adding images

To add an image to a product:

  • Hover over the red plus and select either the upload or the open buttons
  • Select the image you want to add
  • Save

Once an image has been added to a product, it can be removed again by hovering over the image and clicking the red x, then saving.

An image can be set as the Default image by hovering over it and clicking the star icon. The default image is typically the first image shown in frontend in product lists and on product details pages. Default images are inherited to any language versions and variants on the product, unless another default image is explicitly set on them.

In more advanced inheritance scenarios you can use image patterns or image categories to define the desired behaviour.

Image patterns – or alternative images – are a way for you to automatically match images in a folder with products in PIM. You may know this feature from Dynamicweb Ecommerce as well. This is done by defining a pattern – e.g. /{ProductNumber_Small.jpg} – and a folder in the PIM Warehouse settings (Figure 10.1).

Figure 10.1 Using Image Patterns in PIM

Image patterns are well-suited to scenarios where images are retrieved from an external source using a predictable pattern for generating names.

You can create a pattern based on the following product fields:

Field

Example

Comment

ProductID

{ProductID}.jpg

 

ProductNumber

{ProductNumber}.jpg

 

ProductName

{ProductName}.jpg

 

ProductManufacturer

{ProductManufacturer}.jpg

 

VariantID

{VariantID}.jpg

 

VariantComboName

{VariantComboName}.jpg

 

VariantOptionLevel

{VariantOptionLevel1}.jpg

Retrieves the name of the variant option added to the product.

If you e.g have colors as 1. level variants (Orange, Green, Blue) they are OptionLevel1.

If you also have sizes as variants (Large, Medium, Small, they are OptionLevel2.

You can combine these fields in any way you’d like, e.g. {ProductNumber}_{ProductManufacturer}.jpg, {ProductNumber}_{VariantComboName}.jpg, or {ProductID}_{ProductName}.jpg, and image patterns support using the wildcard characters ‘?’ and ‘*’.

If more than one image matches the pattern, the first one in alphabetical order will be used.

Please note: To use image categories, the Images field must be set to across all variants and across all languages in your field settings.

Image categories are an advanced feature which allows you to both group images, and control how they are inherited across languages and variants. Once an image category is created, an addition images-field appears in the product image section (Figure 11.2). Images added here will follow the inheritance rules specified on the image category.

Figure 11.2 Image Categories have their own images field

To create an image category:

  1. Go to Settings > PIM > Image categories
  2. Click New image category in the toolbar and configure the category:
    1. Name it
    2. Select an inheritance type
    3. Select an icon
  3. Save

There are three inheritance types:

  • None means images with this tag are not inherited from main products to variants
  • Fallback means that images are inherited from the main product to variants if no images are added to the category on the variant
  • Merge means that images are inherited from the main product to variants and merged with images added specifically to the category on the variant

Images can be moved from one image category to another by hovering over the image, clicking the Assign to category button, and selecting another image category.

Products can be localized - created in a new language - from both the Multi-edit view mode and the Details view mode.

The process is straight forward:

  • Toggle a new language using the language selector (1)
  • Add one or more values to the language version fields (2) - some fields may be required depending on the field settings for the solution
  • Save (3)

 

Figure 12.1 Localizing a product

Once a product has been localized, it can be delocalized again by clicking the Delocalize icon (Figure 12.2). Delocalization removes all data from the language version and is irreversible.

Figure 12.2 Delocalizing

By default, changes made to a product are instantly published across all linked channels – this is because products are assumed to only require minor updates after having progressed though the enrichment process.  If that’s not the case, you can activate Draft mode – when this active, edited products are kept in a draft-state until the changes are approved or rejected. Draft mode works well in conjunction with the Workflows feature.

Draft mode can be activated on single products by switching to the Versioning tab and clicking the use draft button (Figure 13.1).

Figure 13.1 Activating draft mode

This activates draft mode for the product – any changes made to the product are saved to the draft but not published immediately.

Click the Versions button to open a list (Figure 13.2) showing the version history for the product with the following information:

  • version number
  • The language and variant which has been edited/published
  • Timestamps for when the product was modified and published (if applicable)
  • The status - Active, draft or archived
  • compare button and a rollback button

 

Figure 13.2 Version history

When you click the Compare button a detailed comparison window is opened (Figure 13.3).

Figure 13.3 Comparing a draft with the published version.

The comparison window presents you with:

  • A menu for selecting a language, an extended variant, and a version
  • Three columns with product field data – current versionpublished version, and compare

The Compare column will highlight any changes between the current (draft) version and the published version.

Drafts are either approved or discarded using the Approve or Discard changes buttons in the ribbon bar.

Enable draft mode on all products

If draft mode is to be an integral part of the product enrichment process, you can enable draft mode on all products by default from Settings > PIM > General. 

You can also enable product version cleanup - read more here.

If you use external staff for product enrichment – e.g. external translation bureaus – you can use the Export to Excel to export product data in the .xlsx format, and then the Import from Excel button to reimport the product data afterwards (Figure 15.1).

Figure 15.1 Excel Import/Export

The Export to Excel button launches a language & field selector, where you can specify exactly what to include in the export. Field settings will be respected so that fields which are not allowed to differ from the main product cannot be edited for variants or languages, and so on. Each language version will be exported with language specific system names if available (Name > Navn).

Once the data has been translated/enriched you can import it again:

  • Upload the excel file to the Files folder
  • Open one of the overall view modesList, Thumbnails, or Multi-Edit
  • Click the Import from Excel button to launch the import view
  • Select the languages you want to import
  • Review the data validation schema to ensure that the data type in the file matches the one required by Dynamicweb
  • Click Import

A product property is a product field which is only shown on a product if it has a value or is explicitly added. Technically, a product property is a product category field with a special property (Hide if empty) set to true. Read about creating product properties here.

Product properties can be added, removed, and sorted manually by clicking the Add property button and launching the hidden fields dialog (Figure 16.1).

Figure 16.1 Adding product properties

Using this dialog you select which properties should be included on this particular product. You do so by moving them from the hidden fields column to the included fields column. The sort order of the included fields column will be reflected in frontend.

You should be aware that using product properties may result in a significant performance hit – we recommend that you explore other options such as regularizing or structuring the secondary product data so that regular product categories may be used instead.