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Last time on the blog, we spoke about using Shopify tags to organize your store. This week, we continue that conversation with an exploration into the concept of Shopify collections.
While Shopify tags can be used to organize many different resources like orders, customers, and products — Shopify collections on the other hand, are a products specific organization tool.
In this blog post, we are going deep into the world of Shopify collections so that you have absolute confidence to use them to organize your products to drive more sales to your store.
A Shopify collection is aptly described by its name — it’s a collection of products. The way a collection is grouped or organized is completely up to you as the store owner. Products can be organized into collections such as:
When thinking about a collection, put yourself in the shoes of your customer, and try to think about ways they might want to browse through your products. Just like a retail store is organized into different sections to group products, collections serve that purpose for your eCommerce store.
Let’s apply this theory practically using a demo store — Shoppu Records — a fictitious record store that some of our favorite records at gobsmackingly low prices.
In our record store, we sell:
This is a great starting point, our store can have the above product types as our 4 main collections. However, just like in an actual record store, the records are going to be organized into smaller categories to make them easier to find. Generally, this is classified by genres — so we can look at doing the same using product tags. So let’s also then classify our records into:
You can create or see all your collections by clicking products > collections in your side navigation:
And then just click the create collection button:
So we now that we have a good general understanding of what a Shopify collection is, now we can look at actually adding products to our collections.
However, the way you add products is going to depend on which type of collection you choose. In Shopify there are 2 types of collections, manual and automated collections.
Shopify manual collections are ones where you have to manually add each product to the collection. So this literally means going through all your products, clicking on each product, and adding it to the collection. And as you can imagine, this can be very time-consuming which makes it not the best solution in terms of scalability. It does however have its time and place which we will discuss soon.
Shopify automated collections are ones where you set collection filters that determine which products should belong in the collection. If a product matches these conditions/filters, it will automatically be added. Filters that you can use include:
You can combine as many filters as you like together to create some very custom collections.
So then looking back to creating our product type collections — we have 2 options, manual or automatic. If we only had a few products, a manual collection would get the job done, however, if we took this route, every time we added a new product, we would need to make sure we added it to the collection.
An automatic collection is going to work perfectly here, all we need to do is first create 4 automatic collections and then set a product type filter on each of them. So for example, for the records:
And once we click save, all the records are automatically added to the collection:
I'll also go ahead and create 3 other automated collections for our other product types too.
Let's also create a manual collection. A manual collection for our record store is well suited to a custom curated list of records — so for example, a list of our favorite records (I'll call the collection 'Records we are digging'). For this, we would just add the records we want to this one-by-one:
Here are all of our fresh collections, including the manual one we just made:
You can see that the automated ones show the product conditions.
So now that we have done the work on the backend to actually create our collection, the next step is to now actually display them on a page on our website. It’s good practice to have a link to all your collections in your navigation. You also most likely will want to show off some of your collections on your home page too.
In your admin sidebar, navigate to Sales Channels > Online Store > Navigation:
Click on Main menu > Add menu item:
For the name of the link, you can call it collections, however, customers might be confused by this. It might be better to just call it ‘products’ for the sake of clarity. For the link field select Collection > All Collections:
Then make sure to save the menu.
If you now head to your shop, you will see a new link to your products in your navigation and all your collections beautifully displayed:
One thing to note here is that although we named the navbar link ‘products’, the actual heading of the page still says collections. This is easy to change — to do this in your sidebar click Sales Channels > Online Store > Themes.
Then click the Actions button and then Edit languages:
Then filter for collections page title:
Then change the Checkout & system / Page titles from Collections to Products:
Click Save and then navigate back to the collections page and the heading should be updated to Products:
And here is our record collection:
As mentioned above, you can actually use product tags as a filter on your automated collections. With this in mind, we can change our manual “Records we are digging” collection to an automated collection. Rather than just adding each product manually, we can add product tags to those same records, which will then be automatically added to the collection.
So let’s head back to our products admin page and then filter our products for the Records we are digging collection:
Now we can select all products and then add the ‘digging’ product tag in bulk:
Now let’s delete the manual record collection:
And instead create an automated collection that uses the product tags as a filter:
And all those products are automatically added:
Using this method of tags isn’t necessarily better than the manual collection we originally used, it’s just another method to achieve a similar result. However, if you are already familiar with product tags you might prefer this method and find that it scales better.
And here is our beautiful automated new collection page:
Customers will also be able to use the tags you add to products as filters on collections. I’ll go ahead and add some more tags to the records based on their genre. So now when a customer is looking at our records collection, they can see all genres:
And easily use them for filtering. Here are all our jazz records:
And if we wanted, we could use these genre product tags to easily create automated collections based on genres too.
Let’s now look at adding our collections to our homepage so that our customers can easily see them.
You can add Shopify collections to any of your pages, but let’s use our homepage as an example. Currently, our homepage looks like this, just a hero section:
But you can easily add your collections by customizing your theme. Our store is currently using the default Debut theme. In the themes section, click the customize button:
Then add a new section from the sidebar:
Select collection list:
Click select button at the bottom of the sidebar:
You can select how many collections to display per row — I’ll change it to 4 to display our 4 main product type collections. To select a collection just click the first empty collection:
And then select a collection from the list:
Then just repeat for your other collections:
Let’s now add a featured collection to our homepage. We can use the “Records we are digging” collection as our featured collection.
To do this, add another section:
And select featured collection:
Select the collection. You can keep the heading as is, but I’ll change ours to “Records we are digging”:
Click save and you’re done!
Now if we head back to our actual website, our homepage is looking fresh with our new collections!
To export Shopify collection all you need to do is add your collection as a filter on your products. So head to your products page and then click more filters:
Then just select the collection you want:
Then click the export button:
And for more information on exporting from Shopify, you can check out our exporting from Shopify guide.
Shopify collections are an extremely powerful organizational tool that is easy to set up. And with Shopify automated collections, you can easily spin up dynamic collections based on certain filters which can then be easily displayed to your customers. Now, go forth and organize!