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Posted - August 27 2008 :  21:57:53  Show Profile  Visit Driftmaster's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi everyone.

I have a site that has thousands of products and I want to give customers an easier way to find what they're looking for. Here's the problem first, then what I am trying to accomplish.

When a customer clicks on a manufacturer, the entire group of products that are assigned to this manufacturer are displayed, 60 per page, from beginning to end of the line. This means that a customer needs to go through many pages until they find the product. Some manufacturers have over 2,000 products in their line, so this is not good. A customer does not want to go through page after page until they finally reach the one they want (I have them sorted by part number, which gives them a way to gauge how many pages they need to go to before they start looking). That will lose customers.

Instead I want to structure the categories this way:

Product type
Products within this type

A manufacturer may only have one product type, but others have several. Here's a sample:

Symbol (Motorola)
Handheld General Use Scanners
Cordless General Use Scanners
Rugged Corded Scanners
Rugged Cordless Scanners
Semi-rugged handheld computers
Rugged Handheld computers
RFID readers

There's more, but this is a sample of some of the types of products they manufacture. I want a customer to click on a manufacturer and have a page that opens with the product type categories of this manufacturer, to speed up the process for the customer and to make it much easier for the customer to find what he's looking for.

Then, once the customer clicks on the product type, just those products will be displayed. I'm sure there's a way to do this, but I can't figure it out.

Also, if a customer knows that he's looking for a certain type of product, I want him to be able to see all of the manufacturers and their products which fit that product type. Here's how I want to structure it:

Product type
Manufacturer's products

In a certain product type, there could be 12 different manufacturers who have that type of product. I do not want ALL of the product to be displayed, one after the other, 60 per page, and have the customer go through all of them. Again, this will frustrate customers and they'll go elsewhere.

Instead, I want a customer to click on a product type and then have a page with the manufacturers who have that product type. Then, the customer can choose one manufacturer at a time and see just those products. This will save the customer time.

So, here's how I see the problem. If I have a list of manufacturers and a list of product types, each is a category. And, each will be a sub-category of the other.

For example, if Manufacturer A has Product types A, D, J, T, and W in his product line, then only those products should display when a customer clicks on one of those product categories for that Manufacturer. But, if a customer is searching by Product Type, (product type D, for example), then that product type must list only the different manufacturers who have that product type, so that a customer can choose which manufacturer he wants to look at.

In the first case, only Manufacturer A has products in Product type A, D, J, T, W because when the customer clicks on it, that's all that is displayed.
In the second case, Product types A, D, J, T, W, have several different manufacturers and their products that fit each Product type.

Please, someone, tell me, how can this be done correctly using VP-ASP? I know other websites who have done this.

VP-ASP Expert

United Kingdom
948 Posts

Posted - August 28 2008 :  04:04:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

it seems the best way to deal with this is to have the product type as the highest category, then the manufacturers as the sub category. We had to do this with our vacuum spares because the customer usually looks for the part type first (in my experience). You need to be very careful when naming your subcategories because you will have many which include the same manufacturer's name. The more thought you put into the structure and naming of categories, the easier it will be to administer in the long term.


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Starting Member

5 Posts

Posted - August 28 2008 :  15:11:53  Show Profile  Visit Driftmaster's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thank you, Carrol. I've given this a lot of thought and I am certain that your idea will not work. Here's why.

If I make the Product Types the highest categories and then place Manufacturers as subcategories, I can display the products that fit the product type for that manufacturer, but I cannot also have it where a customer initially clicks on a Manufacturer and sees a page which gives him product type choices. If a customer clicks on the Manufacturer, he will be obligated to search, page-by-page until he finds the product he wants.

In essence, when a customer knows which manufacturer he's looking for and clicks on it, he should see the Product Types next in order to speed up his search. This makes the Manufacturer the higher category with the product types as subcategories and then individual products as subcategories of the product type within that manufacturer.

In the other scenario, when the customer knows which product type he's looking for, he should see the Manufacturers who have that product type and then the individual products for that Manufacturer. In this case, the Product type is the higher category and Manufacturer is the subcategory of the Product type and individual products of that product type as a sub-category of the Manufacturer.

I do not know IF a Manufacturer can be a subcategory of a Product Type and if a Product type can be a subcategory of the Manufacturer at the same time. And, if so, will the correct products be displayed if both the Manufacturer and Product type are listed as categories for each product.

I'm going to try this out. However, I have to know that the only thing that comes up when a Product type is clicked on is the Manufacturers only and I have to know that when the Manufacturer is clicked, only the Product types come up on the following page. Otherwise, it will be a waste of time for the customer.

I don't know if there are any VP-ASP technical experts or programmers who have or who will read this who can answer this. But, if this can't be done, it is a feature that needs to be included. It is a necessity. Many other companies have this ability.
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