Shopify Product Type vs. Collections: What's the Difference?
Updated July 4, 2023.
Shopify uses various methods to help shop owners organize and structure their stores in a way that is easy for the customer to find what they are looking for. The terminology used to describe these methods is sometimes difficult to differentiate. The confusion between "Product type" and "Collections" is a good example because although the terms are different, they could be used interchangeably in some cases.
What Are Product Types in Shopify?
Every product you have in your store can only have one standardized product type and one custom product type. They are used to label and categorize your products. It is important to understand that product types are useful but not required. A standardized product type is predefined, while a custom product type is a category that is not already defined—you still have to define it. Product types are more useful to you as the store owner than your customer—but your customer will benefit from product types because it creates a more intuitive layout.
How to Add Shopify Product Types
Let's say you are a clothing merchant, and you want to further categorize your products by creating a "belts" product type. You need to add the word "belt" into your product description, which will then categorize automatically according to the product type. Another example could be made of a clothing store: product types would be "skirts," "pants," "shirts," "shoes," and "dresses."
Now that you have a better understanding of a product type, here's a step-by-step guide to adding them to your store:
- Log in to your Shopify admin panel and click on Products.
- Click on Add a product and add your title, a short description of the product type and add a good-quality image.
- You'll see sections for Visibility and Organization on the right-hand side panel. Click on Organization, and you'll see Product type. This is where you add your product type—just type in the details and then submit.
- If you want to use an existing product type, all you need to do is click on the name of the type in the drop-down menu.
» Discover more tips on how to effectively organize your products in Shopify
What Are Collections in Shopify?
A Shopify collection is the grouping of products on a page or in a category. Let's say you are a hat merchant, and you may have a collection of smart hats, a collection of sports peaks, and a collection of beach hats. Shopify allows you to group your products purely to make it easier for your customers to find what they are looking for. It is a type of information architecture that is structured logically for ease of use. Some more examples of collections include "color," "size," "seasons," "discounted items," or even "gender."
How to Add Shopify Collections
Now that you understand what collections are used for, here is a step-by-step guide to adding a new collection within your e-commerce Shopify store:
- To create or see all your collections, you need to click on Products. Your collections will show up on your site navigation.
- To create a new collection, simply click on Create collection. Yes, it is that easy! Now you just need to add your products to your collections.
» Learn the distinction between collections and categories and how to organize collections on Shopify
Using Inventories to Further Refine Your Store
Shopify inventory management and inventory tracking are also handy for keeping orders within your e-commerce store. There is also multi-store inventory management for those vendors who want to sync inventory between two or more Shopify stores. This helps you to manage stock, returns, and out-of-stock items to give your customer a streamlined and professional customer experience.
Synchronize Products and Collections Between Stores
Automatically synchronize stock levels, product availability, and product collections across all of your Shopify stores with Multi-Store Sync Power.
- Adjust stock in all of your locations to the same level.
- Collaboratively update product data from multiple locations.
- Full support for simultaneous updates from multiple locations.
The Difference Between Shopify Product Types and Collections
The difference between product types and collections is subtle and sometimes difficult to explain to new e-commerce store owners. Put simply, you would use collections to help your customer find what they are looking for as quickly as possible. Product type is not required but will help you, as a store owner, categorize your products in the back end—product type is more useful to you than it is to your customer.
One Product at a Time
For you to use collections and product types correctly, it is best to map your store out on paper before setting it up in Shopify. Make sure you have thought it through properly so that your layout makes logical sense. It might take a bit of time, but in the long run, it will be worth the effort. Here are some tips that'll assist you with determining how many products you can start out with.
Learn more about how Multi-Store Sync Power can help you create and update collections in multiple Shopify stores at once: