SugarCRM version 8 introduced a Product Catalog Dashlet (sometimes referred to as the Picker) which allows a User to more-intuitively add products to a Quote. The real power of the Picker can be harnessed by correctly sorting out Product Categories, and tiering these accordingly.
Setting up your Product Categories - The Opening Gambit
The first step to decide is exactly how you want to sort out your products. This can be best achieved by taking a homogenised export of your existing products, and analyse if there is a thread or threads that run through them. It might be that you sell in GBP, EUR & USD, or perhaps your sales teams work off of a single
set of products and you let currency conversions handle the selling costs. In either case, you would set up the divides accordingly. A third potential scenario is that you have three distinct arms to your business. Either way, the first step is just the start.
Setting up your Product Categories - The Graft
Make no bones about it, the road ahead is going to be fairly monotonous, but again our end goal is going to be 100% worth the hustle and the initial outlay.
As we move through this process keep at the forefront of your mind that every product should have a home eventually, even if that is in the 'Extras' section. We will assume for the rest of this article that we're going for a tri-tier approach to things. In a previous life, I did a bit of sports writing and sports broadcasting so I am going to use that sort of model as an example, but I don't imagine it'd be hard to substitute your own chosen subject.
The First Tier
My primary product surrounds a year's subscription to all written content within my website. But of equal weighting, I want to be able to oﬀer access to audio content (podcasts) and I have of course inevitably made the now-infamous 'pivot to video' like so many others have with varying success.
I have to create these Categories in Sugar, either via a basic three-line import, or creating each one individually. I'm inclined to add them individually because there's only three of them, and a Category is only a name.
The Second Tier
I've been blessed in this ﬁctitious scenario with a brilliant, multi-skilled team that are all able to work across disciplines. With that in mind, I'm casting my net far and wide across as many sports as I can get my hands on.
On second thought, this walkthrough will take too long if I do too many so I'll stick with four: darts, snooker, croquet & shuﬄeboard. We must bear in mind now that we have some top-tier categories, that we need one EACH for each of the main three, otherwise, somebody will not have the option to purchase (for example, Darts, Written & Video).
I will export the three existing Product Categories in order to grab their IDs and use these to do the Parent Categorising.
I will create a new spreadsheet with the following headers: Product Category | Parent Category ID and that's all we need.
I will add three rows for each sport. And within these rows I will be adding the Parent IDs adjacent. In practice this means it will look like this:
|Product Category||Parent Category ID|
I suggest saving this document somewhere in case things go wrong down the line (but that won't happen because of this ace guide).
Now I will import this ﬁle using the usual Sugar process (create only) leaving us with 15 Product Categories. Also, observe how it's structured in List View:
The Third Tier
I've now just surpassed the 700-word mark requested by Marketing so I'll skip the uninteresting detail on this one, but I've got three levels of subscription to each media of each sport: Superfan, Medifan & Fan. For speed, I am going to export the Categories that were just created, with the knowledge I need to triplicate them for each of my levels. This bit is up to you, but I ﬁnd it's easiest to use a helper column to show exactly what I'm looking at. I REFER YOU BACK TO THE FIRST SPREADSHEET WE SAVED, TO EASILY CROSS-CHECK WHICH SPORT IS FOR WHICH MEDIA FROM OUR SECOND! This might also help when adding Products to the Catalog (our end goal!).
My headers are now thus:
|Product Category||Parent ID||Ben's Helper Column|
|(eg Superfan)||(eg the ID of darts for written)||Written Darts Superfan|
In the end, I will have a spreadsheet that is 3X4X3 (fan level X sports X media) long.
I will import this ﬁle and it'll create me Categories meaning I can go down any subscription model I can think of: Superfan Shuﬄeboard Written, Fan Croquet Audio etc.
Again, once imported and happy, take an export and store it somewhere safe, creating yourself another helper column outlining exactly which ID corresponds to which branch of your heirarchy.
You will end up with a Product Category tree that functions well in the Picker:
And assuming the IDs have been stored somewhere safe and conﬁgured correctly, will allow for easy importing of any future product to ﬁt into the existing scheme; all that needs to happen, on the Product Catalog import ﬁle, is a User should ﬁll in the Category ID.