What you need to know about Category Structure

This is a very sensitive topic amongst eCommerce sellers as well as data providers like PSS.  What is the correct category structure?  What should be the true top levels of a category structure?  The questions go on and on forever.  

When you are dealing with a small product pool that has minimal variations it should be pretty easy to find an agreeable structure amongst many sellers.  Jewelry sales for instance.  If you are in the jewelry industry you have things pretty easy for yourself.  Your category structure probably has three or four standard parent categories and everything fits nicely into a profile.  Necklaces, Bracelets, Rings, Earrings.  95% of jewelers out there could probably agree on that structure and call it a day.

However, when you are dealing with the hundreds of thousands of parts and products with endless product variations; things get a little tricky.  That is the space that we all operate in and the reality of powersports.  Add in thousands of dealers and industry professionals that are all set in their ways and you have hundreds of hardline opinions on "They way things should be done".  

While there may be a profitable business model out there to build websites and custom category/product mapping for dealers, PSS just does not see it as a worthwhile venture.  Instead, we offer a logical categorization offering where all of the work is done for you.  The entire catalog is mapped to our best efforts and is being managed and updated on a weekly basis for all dealers that Opt-In for "PSS Webstore Managed Product Mapping".

PSS Webstore Managed Product Mapping includes:
*Top level parent categories of Shop Apparel, Shop Helmets, Shop Parts, Shop Tires
*Weekly addition and categorization of new products
*Weekly category updates for existing products 
*Automatic listing of new categorized product to your webstore
*The entire PSS catalog mapped to your store on day 1 (Zero effort required by you!)

Is our category structure perfect? Depends on who you ask.  Are all products mapped 100% perfect? Not even close. This is a best effort offering designed to save powersports dealers time and money!

I still want to use the PSS Webstore but, must have my own custom category structure

After working with dealers on webstore solutions for several years we have come away with some great notes and observations!  A good question to ask yourself at this point; How many full-time employees can you dedicate to categorizing products for my webstore?  

If the answer is less than 3 we strongly recommend that you do not even try going down this path.  
The fact of the matter is that you all want it done differently.  Maybe 1 out of every 50 powersports dealers we interview has the resources to drill down these products and map them to a custom category structure. We have seen two dealers do it in the past couple years and each of them had 4 catalog technicians on payroll full-time. Total cost was roughly $77,000 per year, just to assign products (500,000+) to their custom category structure.  On the flip side of things we have seen countless dealers spend the money to try their own custom categories and fail.  Most don't even get 2,000 products categorized before giving up.

In closing, PSS fully supports the ability to build out your own detailed category structure.  As you may have just noticed we simply want you to be fully prepared for it and make sure you are setting yourself up for success.  You may find the instructions  on how to build a custom structure here: http://help.powersportsupport.com/knowledgebase/articles/1858177-creating-a-custom-category-structure

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