| Step 3
The "Product Layout" tab allows you to set the overall layout of
the category. It will allow you to customize the info that is displayed to the
customer for all the products under that category as well as the 'look' for each category.
- "Product Fields" allows you to choose which
information is displayed to the customer about each product under the category (before
he/she goes to a product page). The Merchant default settings are shown above and in
the screen shots below. In our opinion it is best to have at least the product name
and price displayed.
- "Buttons" will allow you to decide which method(s)
the customer can use to purchase your products. "Add One to Basket" will
allow the customer to put one in his/her basket and continue shopping. "Buy One
Now" will add an item to the basket and take the customer directly to the checkout
- "Image" is fairly obvious and will either display
no image, a "Thumbnail", or a full sized image on the category screen. If
you do use an image, it will be hyperlinked to the product page. Using no image is
generally not a good idea on category pages since having an image in front of customers
will usually encourage them to find out more about the product more than a simple text
link will. Our recommendation is to use thumbnails since this cuts down dramatically
on loading time. If the customer is particularly interested in an item he/she can
get a larger view by clicking on the thumbnail (or text link) and going to the product
- "Inventory Level Message" allows you to set the
length of the message displayed if you have inventory tracking enabled. In general a
short message will say something like "In Stock" and a long message may give an
exact amount of how many items are available. Merchant has default messages setup,
but you can change them in "Inventory Tracking".
- Under the "Format" field there are two options,
"Expanded" and "Line Item".
The "Expanded" layout with thumbnails looks like
The Miva Merchant default is "Expanded" and most
stores use this option. You will note that the buttons used are standard form
buttons, but on Merchant 4.x these can be easily changed (click here) to use images or your own text. The text link
to the product page is the product name, and you MUST have this option selected under the
"Display Fields" if you want the customer to have a text link to the product
page. We recommend having a text link since it is a visual prompt and will encourage
customers to learn more about a product.
The other display option is "Line Item" which
will look like this:
You will notice that each product is displayed
in colored rows which alternate for each new product in the list. The colored lines
will overlay any background image you may have on your page. You will also notice
that the buttons in this display are different. They are the "Line Item"
buttons and are also customizable. In this layout the "Product Code" is
the link point to the product pages, and must be enabled under the "Product
Fields" if you want the customer to have access to a text link. Keep in mind
that the line item colors will be based on the store colors that you select and will not
necessarily be the same as the example above.
You will have to experiment with the layout of
your store to find the look that you like most. In most cases line item display is
used when you have a very small thumbnail (75 pixels high or less) and the extended layout
is used for larger thumbnails (100 pixels high or more). However, there are no set
rules and it all depends on what you like :o)
Click next to see "Adding
Products" or previous to see "Creating a Category".