What are Categories and Why Do You Need Them?
Categories are a useful way of grouping your inventory. Categories are helpful for various reasons, but most importantly, they’re beneficial when searching for similar items in your Item Records. Items in a category are usually the same type and can be general or specific. For example, a general category might be Apparel, while a more specific category is T-Shirts. Your categories can contain subcategories (ex. Apparel – > T-Shirts), items (ex. T-Shirts – > Blue T-Shirt), or both (ex. Apparel – > T-Shirts – > Blue T-Shirt).
Categories can also be used when applying discounts, tax rates, and pricing rules across similar items . Categories can have their own specific settings, or, if you wish, they can inherit the pricing model and other settings from its “parent” category. We’ll go over “parent” and “child” categories soon.
Categories also help group items together in inventory reports, which is a useful way to see how products in certain categories are performing.
Artisan allows your category structure to be as simple or as complex as you would like. Rather than just a fixed two-level system like “Department” and “Class,” Artisan allows you to nest categories however you wish, up to nine levels deep.
Understanding Artisan Categories
Think of Artisan categories as nesting dolls. Just like nesting dolls hold a smaller doll inside the next, think of this Artisan ability in the same context. However, unlike nesting dolls, you can have any number of subcategories inside each “doll”, at each level.
Artisan categories are organized into levels, ranging from Level 1 to Level 9. Level 1 is the broadest, most inclusive. Level 1 categories contain zero or more Level 2 categories, and so on, down to Level 9 (if you go that far). Two to five levels of categories is typical.
Level 1, or “top-level”, categories are usually general categories. For example, “Jewelry.”
Below each top-level category, you can create subcategories to further drill down on the items you carry. For example, Level 2 categories under “Jewelry” might be “Necklaces,” “Bracelets,” and “Earrings.”
You can even go further and create more subcategories, counting as Level 3 (for example, “Gold Necklaces,” “Silver Necklaces,” and “Beaded Necklaces” under “Necklaces”), and so on.
Note: Relationships between categories are sometimes described as “parents” and “children“. A category that contains subcategories is referred to as the “parent” of those subcategories, which are referred to as its “children“.
1. To create a category, head to the “Main Menu” and select “Inventory,” then “Category Records.”
Or, click on the “Categories” button in the toolbar at the top of the screen (if there is one).
2. Click on “Add A New Record,” or press F3 on your keyboard.
3. The first field in the category record is the category code. If you are using the default settings in Artisan, then you will fill this field with a word or abbreviation for this category. Category codes must be unique across ALL category records of all levels.
If you have configured automatic numbering for categories, the field will appear initially as “<<AUTO>>”, and the code will be filled in when you save the record. Click here to learn more about Numbering Schemes.
4. Now add the description. When you are using words for the category code, the description is often the same as the code. Unlike the category code, the description does not need to be unique, but your reports will be easier to read if it is.
5. If this category is not a level one category, then select the parent category from the “Which Category is this Category a subcategory of?” pull down.
For example, “Wine” is a Level 1 category–a parent category. It is not a subcategory. This field can be left to “none.” Its category level will stay at Level 1.
Let’s use a different example. Apparel is a Level 2 category and is nested under the “Goods” category. So, its category is “Goods” under the dropdown. Its level automatically changes to Level 2 once this dropdown is selected.
The same concept can be applied to the next two examples, “Womens” and “Women’s Top.” As the categories go deeper, their Level changes.
6. Now that you understand the concept of subcategories and levels, let’s move onto the next field, “Inventory Classification.” Most categories will use the “Products” classification (ex., clothing, gift bags, jewelry). There are other options that can be used like “Raw Materials,” “Virtual Products,” “Services,” and “Non-Sales.” The “Store Coupon” option is only used when creating store coupons, which we will cover in another tutorial in more detail. “Fees & Surcharges” should only be included as a line-item on a sale’s order. We’ll go over this in a different tutorial.
7. Most categories will use the default tax. But, if you set up alternate tax rates when you set up your configuration settings for the first time, you will have the option to select alternate rates from this pull down. If you did not setup the tax rates yet, click here and look under “Default Tax Rate” to learn how.
8. Everything else can be left alone for now. If you want to learn more about category records, click here.
Adding Categories to the Quick-Pick
Another great function of categories is that you can add them to the Quick-Pick for easy accessibility. Aren’t familiar with the Quick-Pick? Click here to learn more.
To add a category to the Quick-Pick, edit the category and click on the “Pictures & Menus” tab.
Select “Yes” from the “Include in Quick-Pick” dropdown. Change the menu color and include an image if you so desire.