Ecommerce Growth

Guide to Understanding Shopify’s Product Taxonomy in 2024

Ecommerce Growth

Guide to Understanding Shopify’s Product Taxonomy in 2024

Why Shopify's Product Taxonomy is Essential for E-Commerce Optimization

Shopify’s Product Taxonomy is a newly standardized system that categorizes products sold on Shopify. It helps merchants streamline product management and improve customer experience on their platforms. Here's a quick breakdown of why this is a game-changer:

  • Simplifies Product Management: Automatically categorizes products with relevant attributes.
  • Enhances Product Discoverability: Makes it easier for customers to find what they're looking for.
  • Improves Cross-Channel Selling: Syncs product data seamlessly across platforms like Google and Facebook.
  • Ensures Accurate Tax Collection: Applies correct tax rates to products, reducing financial risk.

Benefits of Shopify's Product Taxonomy - Shopify’s Product Taxonomy infographic comparison-2-items-formal

Step 1: Getting Started with Shopify’s Product Taxonomy

Reviewing Existing Product Categories

Before diving into the setup, review your current product categories. The release of Shopify’s Standard Product Taxonomy may have modified or replaced some of the categories you previously used. This step ensures your products are correctly categorized to leverage all the benefits of the new system.

  1. Access the Shopify Admin Panel: Navigate to your Shopify admin panel and go to the "Products" section.
  2. Check for Suggestions: Shopify Magic might suggest new categories for your products based on their details. Accept or reject these suggestions.
  3. Identify Uncategorized Products: Products without a category will be labeled as uncategorized. These need immediate attention to ensure they fit into the correct category.
  4. Re-categorize Products: If a suggested category doesn’t fit, explore Shopify’s Standard Product Taxonomy to find a more accurate category. This ensures your products are well-organized and easy to find.

Creating a New Product and Assigning Categories

When adding a new product, assigning it to the correct category is crucial. This process unlocks relevant product attributes and ensures better discoverability.

  1. Add a New Product: Go to the "Products" section in your Shopify admin panel and click "Add product".
  2. Enter Product Details: Fill in the product name, description, and upload images. Shopify Magic will use this information to suggest a product category.
  3. Assign a Category: In the "Category" field, accept the suggested category or search for a more specific one. For example, if you’re adding a shirt, you might select Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Shirts & Tops.

Adding a product on Shopify - Shopify’s Product Taxonomy

  1. Add Category Metafields: Once a category is assigned, you can add category metafields. These are specific product attributes like size, color, and material that help customers find what they need faster. For instance, a shirt might have metafields like neckline, sleeve length type, and fabric.
  2. Set Variant Options: Link metafields to your product variants. This standardizes variant names across your store. For example, you can connect the color black to your variant options and display it as a swatch on your storefront.

Migrating Existing Categories

If you have existing products, it’s essential to migrate them to the new taxonomy:

  1. Review Old Categories: Check which categories have been modified or replaced.
  2. Update Categories: Navigate to each product and update its category to match Shopify’s Standard Product Taxonomy.
  3. Utilize Bulk Editing: For efficiency, use the bulk edit feature in Shopify. Select multiple products and update their categories simultaneously.

Bulk editing product categories in Shopify - Shopify’s Product Taxonomy

By following these steps, you ensure your store is organized, products are easily discoverable, and you can take full advantage of Shopify’s powerful taxonomy features.

Next, we’ll explore the differences between product categories and product types and why they matter for your store.

Step 2: Understanding Product Categories and Product Types

Differences Between Product Category and Product Type

Product Category and Product Type are crucial for organizing your Shopify store, but they serve different purposes.

Product Category is a standard field from Shopify’s Standard Product Taxonomy. It helps you classify products in a predefined way. For example, "Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Shirts & Tops" is a product category. Using these categories helps in:

  • Tax Calculations: Ensuring accurate tax rates at checkout.
  • Cross-Channel Selling: Making it easier to sell on platforms like Facebook and Google.
  • Automated Collections: Facilitating auto-sorting of products into collections.

Product Type is a custom field that you define. It allows for more flexibility. For example, you could create a product type called "Colorful Linens" if it doesn’t fit into a standard category. Product types help in:

  • Organizing Store: Creating custom categories that suit your unique inventory.
  • Internal Management: Making it easier to manage and find products in your admin panel.

Benefits of Using Product Categories

Using Shopify’s Standard Product Categories offers several benefits:

  1. Tax Rate Accuracy: Correctly categorized products ensure that the right tax rate is applied. This is crucial for financial and legal compliance.
  2. Cross-Channel Selling: Standard categories make it easier to list and sell products on other platforms like Google and Facebook. Consistency across channels improves your reach.
  3. Automated Collections: Categories can be used as conditions for automated collections, saving you time and effort.
  4. Enhanced Discoverability: Standardized categories help customers find products faster, improving their shopping experience.

By understanding and utilizing both product categories and product types, you can effectively organize your store, ensure compliance, and improve customer experience.

Next, we’ll delve into adding and managing product categories in Shopify.

Step 3: Adding and Managing Product Categories

Automatic Product Category Suggestions

When you create a new product in Shopify, it uses Shopify Magic to suggest a product category based on the product name, description, and images you provide. This AI-powered feature can save you a lot of time by automatically generating category suggestions.

Example: If you add a new product called "Cotton Bed Sheets," Shopify Magic might suggest the category Home & Garden > Linens & Bedding > Bedding > Bed Sheets.

You can review these suggestions in your Shopify admin panel. If the suggestion is accurate, you can accept it. If not, you can reject it and select a more appropriate category.

Bulk Editing Product Categories

Managing product categories one by one can be time-consuming, especially if you have a large inventory. Shopify allows you to bulk edit product categories to streamline this process.

Steps to Bulk Edit Product Categories

  1. Access Shopify Admin: From your Shopify admin, click on Products.

  2. Select Products:

  3. To edit specific products, check the checkbox next to each product.
  4. To edit all products on a page, check the checkbox at the top of the product list.
  5. To select all products in your store, click Select all 50+ items from your store.

  6. Click Bulk Edit: This will open the bulk editor.

  7. Add Product Category Column: If you don't see the Product category column, click on Columns and then select Product category.

  8. Edit Categories: In the Product category column, you can:

  9. Accept or reject automatically generated suggestions.
  10. Click the dropdown to select a category from Shopify's predefined list. You can also click Browse all to expand the list or use the search function.

  11. Save Changes: After making your edits, click Save to apply the changes.

Using CSV Files for Bulk Editing

If you prefer working with spreadsheets, you can manage product categories using a CSV file. This method is particularly useful for large inventories.

  1. Export Products: From your Shopify admin, go to Products and click Export to download a CSV file of your products.

  2. Edit CSV File: Open the CSV file and find the google_product_category field. Enter the appropriate category using Shopify's Standard Product Taxonomy or Google's product taxonomy.

  3. Import CSV File: After making your changes, go back to Products in Shopify and click Import. Upload your modified CSV file.

  4. Review and Save: Shopify will process the CSV file and update your product categories accordingly.

Using Shopify’s Product Taxonomy and these bulk editing tools, you can efficiently manage your product categories, ensuring your store is well-organized and easy for customers to navigate.

Next, we’ll explore how to utilize category metafields to boost your product discoverability.

Step 4: Utilizing Category Metafields

Category metafields are like hidden gems within Shopify’s Product Taxonomy. They let you add detailed information to your products, making them easier to find and more appealing to shoppers.

Connecting Metafields to Product Variants

Imagine you sell t-shirts. Each t-shirt might come in different colors and sizes. By connecting category metafields to these variants, you can provide specific details like fabric type, care instructions, or even unique color names like "sunset orange" instead of just "orange."

Here's how:

  1. Assign Category Metafields: When you assign a product category like "Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Shirts & Tops," Shopify suggests relevant metafields such as size, neckline, and sleeve length.

  2. Edit Variant Options: You can customize these metafields. For example, change the color "black" to "graphite" to match your branding. This ensures consistency across your store.

  3. Display Options on Storefront: Use these metafields to enhance the shopping experience. For instance, show color options as swatches on your product pages. This makes it easier for customers to visualize and select the variant they want.

Customizing Category Metafields

Default entries are great, but sometimes you need to tweak them to fit your brand better.

  1. Default Entries: Shopify provides default entries for many metafields. For example, "neckline" might have options like "v-neck" or "crew neck."

  2. Custom Entries: You can edit these entries to better suit your products. If "v-neck" doesn't align with your brand's terminology, change it to "v-shaped collar."

  3. Centralized Updates: The best part? Any changes you make to these metafields update across all relevant product variants. This centralized update feature saves time and ensures consistency.

By leveraging category metafields, you make your products more discoverable. This boosts your on-site search and filters, making it easier for customers to find exactly what they're looking for.

Next, we’ll explore how utilizing Shopify’s Product Taxonomy can enhance your product discoverability across multiple channels.

Step 5: Leveraging Shopify’s Product Taxonomy for Better Discoverability

Enhancing Product Discoverability

Using Shopify’s Product Taxonomy can significantly boost your product's visibility on your site. Here’s how:

1. Pre-Packaged Attributes: Shopify provides pre-packaged attributes that indicate what buyers are searching for. These attributes help you understand and meet customer expectations, leading to a more consistent shopping experience. For instance, if you're selling clothing, attributes like size, color, and material will be automatically suggested.

2. On-Site Search: A structured product taxonomy improves your store’s search functionality. When products are correctly categorized, customers can find what they’re looking for more quickly. This is crucial because better search results can lead to higher sales.

3. Filters: Filters allow customers to narrow down their search results based on specific criteria like price, size, or color. Shopify’s taxonomy makes it easy to set up these filters, improving the shopping experience and increasing the likelihood of a purchase.

4. Consistent Shopping Experience: With standardized data across your product catalog, customers will experience a seamless and reliable shopping journey. This builds trust and encourages repeat purchases.

5. In-Store Search Results: Accurate categorization ensures that your in-store search results are more relevant. This helps customers find exactly what they need, reducing frustration and increasing sales.

Selling on Multiple Channels

Shopify’s Product Taxonomy also simplifies selling on multiple channels like Google, Facebook, and Instagram.

1. Seamless Data Synchronization: Shopify’s standardized taxonomy aligns with the taxonomies of other platforms. This means your product data is easily recognized and synced, reducing the need for manual data entry and minimizing errors.

2. Cross-Channel Selling: By using a consistent product taxonomy, your products are more likely to perform well across different sales channels. Shopify is actively working with platforms like Google to enhance this experience, and similar improvements are coming for Facebook and Instagram.

3. SEO Benefits: A well-organized taxonomy can improve your SEO. When your product categories and attributes are clear and consistent, it’s easier for search engines to index your site. This can lead to higher rankings and more organic traffic.

4. Pre-Packaged Attributes for Multiple Channels: The attributes suggested by Shopify are not just for your store; they’re also optimized for other sales channels. This ensures that your products are discoverable no matter where they are listed.

By leveraging these features, you can enhance your product discoverability both on your site and across multiple sales channels. This not only improves customer satisfaction but also boosts your sales and growth potential.

Next, we’ll dive into some frequently asked questions about Shopify’s Product Taxonomy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Shopify’s Product Taxonomy

What is Shopify’s Product Taxonomy?

Shopify’s Product Taxonomy is a standardized classification system that helps you organize your products into specific categories. Think of it as a digital library system for your online store. Each product is assigned to a category, like "Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Shirts & Tops," which helps both you and your customers find products easily.

This taxonomy is composed of product categories and attributes. Attributes are details that describe the product, such as size, color, and material. These attributes not only make it easier for customers to find what they need but also improve the accuracy of search results and filters on your site.

How to Categorize Products in Shopify?

Categorizing products in Shopify can be done in a few different ways:

  1. Collections: These are like aisles in a supermarket. You can create collections to group similar products together. For instance, you might have a "Summer Collection" that includes all summer-related items.

  2. Automated Collections: These collections automatically include products based on set conditions. For example, you can create an automated collection for "Men’s Shoes" that includes all products tagged as "men" and "shoes."

  3. Manual Collections: Here, you manually add products to the collection. This gives you full control over what goes into each collection.

Using Shopify Magic, an AI-powered tool, you can also get automatic product category suggestions based on the product details you enter. This speeds up the process and ensures consistency across your store.

What are the Benefits of Using Shopify’s Product Taxonomy?

There are several key benefits to using Shopify’s Product Taxonomy:

  1. Tax Accuracy: Correctly categorizing products helps Shopify Tax determine the most accurate tax rates. This ensures you collect the right amount of sales tax, reducing financial and legal risks.

  2. Cross-Channel Selling: A standardized product taxonomy makes it easier to sell on multiple channels, like Google, Facebook, and Instagram. Your product data is consistent, which improves discoverability and sales.

  3. Product Discoverability: With standardized categories and attributes, customers can find products faster. Enhanced on-site search and filters lead to a better shopping experience and higher sales.

By understanding and utilizing Shopify’s Product Taxonomy, you can streamline your product management, improve customer satisfaction, and boost your store’s performance.

Next, we’ll explore how to leverage Shopify’s product taxonomy for better discoverability.


At First Pier, we understand that Shopify development and e-commerce optimization are crucial for your online store's success. One of the key elements in this process is effective product categorization.

By leveraging Shopify’s Product Taxonomy, you can optimize your store in several ways:

  1. Streamlined Product Management: Categories and attributes are standardized, making it easier to manage your inventory. This saves time and reduces errors.

  2. Enhanced Customer Experience: When customers can easily find what they're looking for, they're more likely to make a purchase. Improved on-site search and filters lead to higher satisfaction and sales.

  3. Cross-Channel Selling: Consistent product data makes it easier to sell on multiple platforms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram. This boosts your reach and sales potential.

At First Pier, we specialize in helping businesses navigate the complexities of Shopify. Our goal is to transform your online store into a high-performance sales machine.

Ready to take your Shopify store to the next level? Learn more about why Shopify is the right choice for you.

By implementing Shopify’s Product Taxonomy, you not only enhance your store's performance but also create a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience for your customers. This leads to increased customer loyalty and higher sales.

We’re here to help you every step of the way. Let’s embrace the future of e-commerce together.

For more information on Shopify development and optimization, visit our service page.

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