Difference Between Taxonomy based Catalog and Product Type


This is a duplicate from https://drupal.org/node/2283275, since I am not sure where is best place to post this question.

I am currently learning to build a e-commerce site with drupal commerce module, and getting very confused with Taxonomy based catalog and Product type.

First of all, I assume that taxonomy terms should be used for cataloging, especially for a site selling various kinds products, such as amazon.

However, given the concept of "Product Type", seems to me that both Taxonomy terms and Product type can be used for cataloging. For example, I can have "T-shirt" as either a taxonomy term or a specific product type.

So, what is the best practice then? If I am going to use Taxonomy terms for cataloging, what should I do with "Product Type"?

Thanks in advance.

Posted: Jun 9, 2014


DNZ Andy @ BlueFusion on June 10, 2014

As Ryan said on the other thread there isn't really best practice - just whatever suits your use case.

Adding Product Types lets you have products with different types of features/variations - if you're using it just to categorize products for the end user then you're probably doing it wrong.

For example, if your store sells two types of product - T-shirts and Peanut Butter - then you're probably going to want two separate product types. One with colour & size and the other one with jar size, added salt, crunchiness etc.

However, if your two products are T-shirts and Shorts then one product type will probably do the job - size and colour will work for both products. You then use taxonomy to 'tag' them with 'T-shirts' and 'Shorts' as appropriate and provide your end user with categories based on that.

Every Product Type you add brings overhead - it's a way of keeping your data & interface clean but if can avoid adding product types without doing stuff you'll regret later then do.

Just for completeness... You could, in the t-shirt & peanut butter example, have one Product Type with all the options available and then just use the options you want to. Eg it's up to you & your users to not create a "salt-free, crunchy t-shirt" or a "XXXL Unicorn sparkles Peanut butter".

I hope that answers your question, but if not then post your product types & an idea of the variant options here.