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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Plugin Contributions

    Default how to identify attributes

    i want to sell paintings and i identified the following attributes for each item of this type. i also found out that some of these attributes are yet covered by fixed fields and categorical devision.

    - exhibition

    fixed fields:
    - item name
    - painter (manufacturer)
    - price
    - 1 image (front, 3 sizes)

    additionally i need the following attributes. all of them have only one option. i can categorize these attributes by "visible information", "visible tag" and "invisible for internal use only".

    visible information:
    - technique
    - format
    - size
    - year
    - 1 image sidewise
    - 1 image details
    i want to display these attributes but without any form fields.

    visible tag:
    - special price
    - available to date
    - reserved to date
    these attributes will probably change the layout of an item.

    internal use:
    - color scheme (for image processing automation)
    - top10 (to build a special category or display on individual page)

    in summary: there is no attribute that provides a selection to customers. most of the attributes have single-options. maybe an item can be related to more exhibitions but this can be managed by categories administration.

    now my questions: what is the advantage of using attributes for products that have only single-options for attributes? i see one disadvantage that was already mentioned in some threads before: the attributes are not searchable.
    my intention is to provide a search and filter page to let customers easily filter - let's say - for a special format or size or year. ok, i could build a very high tree of categories to cover this, but this would be too confusing and uncomfortable for customers. the category tree would be too wide and i don't want to decide which category is parent to what.
    so is it possible to create a filter page? then i would use the attributes.
    or if a filter page is impossible should i use the informational attributes in items description so they will be included in the search?

    thanks in advance for your hints.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Plugin Contributions

    Default Re: how to identify attributes

    Of course you can create anything you want (including a filter type page) with custom programming. The question is, how long are you willing to work on it to get things moving?

    The quicker route would be to use attributes and then simply include those attributes in the description of the products somehow. That would make them search able.

    Another option would be to setup your categories into sub-sections that resemble the following (as an example):

    Shop by Painter:
    (list the various painters here)

    Shop by Technique
    (list the various techniques here)

    Shop by Size
    (list all sizes here)


    This may be the better route to get visitors to actually "find" your products once entered. They may not have a good idea of "how" to search for it, but if you put the search into the navigation instead, then in effect you are giving then the best route to get to what they need.

    This technique works real to address your visitors search habits as long as you know how they search for your type of product. (Hint: if you don't know how they typically search for your product, start by using a breakdown that addresses the various "high level" attributes each product has in common.)
    20 Ways to Increase Sales Using Zen Cart
    Zen Cart contribs: Simple Google Analytics, Export Shipping Information

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Plugin Contributions

    Default Re: how to identify attributes

    thanks a lot for your advises. the longer i think about it the more i like the idea of using the categories to provide some kinds of filters.
    but why would i still use the attribute features then? my first attempts and every likely shop i have seen resulted in a quite ugly display of list elements. how far can i manage to rearrange the attributes as i like them to be displayed? lets say the format is besides the size. and technique and year are besides. what is possible with the built-in features or by CSS and what do i need to change in php-code or html-source?
    you probably have some nice examples to show from other shops? the showroom seems to contain only shops with very basic layouts.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Plugin Contributions

    Default Re: how to identify attributes

    Depending on your level of programming knowledge (and some CSS) you can ultimately customize zen pretty much any way you want to.

    The only reason you might want to use the attributes option still (in light of what you have mentioned) is if a product indeed can have multiple "options". In that case, it would be best to use the attributes route as it makes it much simpler and less confusing for your potential customers.
    20 Ways to Increase Sales Using Zen Cart
    Zen Cart contribs: Simple Google Analytics, Export Shipping Information



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