Shopify 101: Create Collections Like A Pro

Shopify 101: Create Collections Like A Pro

⭐THE HOT MESS TEAM BLOG⭐
This month: Senior Project Manager Karla talks menus, collections, tagging and more!

Hey, everyone, this is Karla here! I'm a Senior project manager here at Hot Mess Consulting, and today I'm going to shed some light on building out your collections for a Shopify store.

Your menus and collections go hand and hand, so we can't really discuss one without mentioning the other. Today, however, we'll focus on the collection side of things but will touch on menus as these are the building blocks to know what collections to create.

So let's dive in!!


Build your main menu

Firstly you want to dive into developing your ideal menu. You want to take into account what inventory you carry and the quantities. Decide what you would like your ideal menu to look like, starting with your top row or main menu - the first one your clients will see when they land on your site.  

That menu bar is precious real-estate, and we suggest keeping it on one line preferably, two at most. So choosing what to put here and gets face time is very important.

So think of your "must-have" categories, your best sellers, and your most stocked items.

Here’s a basic example of a boutique menu:

  • New Arrivals
  • Tops (Tanks, Graphic Tees, All Tops)
  • Bottoms
  • Dresses
  • Shoes
  • Accessories
  • Children's
  • SALE
  • About Us (About Us, Contact Us, Shipping & Returns, Any other informational pages you would like linked up here, Facebook VIP Group Link)

To subcategorize or not?

While there is no hard and fast rule on subcategories, we recommend NEVER having empty collections or collections with only a few items listed. But, if you have a lot of inventory, subcategories are highly recommended for easier navigation!

Here's an example: If you only stock two tank tops and you subcategorized this way, a client looking for tank tops would see your subcategory, navigate straight there, and never see any other merchandise in your tops collection.

Again there is no golden rule, and each niche of clients will have a preference, so try different breakdowns and seeing what ultimately works for you. Start basic and build out as you see the need to subcategorize.

Create collections

After you have decided what you want to put on your menu and where the next step is to dive in and create collections.

You'll need to decide what type of collections (or combination of collections) you want to use. You can create:

  • Automatic (tag-based) collections or,
  • Manual collections

We advocate strongly for tag-based collections to make it easier to break out your menu later, provided you tag products correctly. It also allows you to change your menu a lot faster than with manual collections, where you will manually need to place products to display. Either way works in the end, and it just depends on if you want to manually be in control of these products or allow the collections to review your products based on a conditional list you create for it to display.

After you make this choice, we can actually go about making the collection. Again here there are two ways of doing this:

  1. Creating a collection for each menu item, including subcategory and linking this up on the menu. This is the same if you use manual or automatic collection.

or

  1. This one only works with automatic collections where you create the main collections you need and then filter by using tags (consistency in tags and how to bulk tag is a whole other blog we can get into later!)

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Before you start with a menu overhaul, go to your existing collections and add a unique identifier to the front or back of the name. So when it comes to linking up the menu, you are not linking up the incorrect collection to your site.

Example: *Tops and a new collection Tops. That way, you can see which one to link up when you build the menu.

Now, phew, that was a lot, and we're just getting started!😂

But once you've worked out your menu and chosen a style, the bulk of the hard work is done because sometimes this is the trickiest part. Now it's time to build your collections!

We prefer to use tag-based collections, hide out of stock inventory, and build the menu filtering by tag. This allows you to create fewer collections to run your entire menu.

Building a manual collection

  1. Head to your My Shopify admin page
  2. And on the left menu go to > Products
  3. Go to > collections
  4. Give the collection a title
  5. Manage your collection availability channels (where the collection can sell on)
  6. Change collection type to Manual
  7. Add description (optional)
  8. Add image (optional) (only add images that are consistent)
  9. Save!

We steer away from collection images in most cases (depending on the theme) and prefer only to have the title listed.

Building an Automatic (tag-based) collection

  1. Head to your My Shopify admin page
  2. On the left menu go to > Products
  3. Go to > collections
  4. Give the collection a title
  5. Set up the conditions section; give the collection a Tag. We recommend using initial caps and plural form e.g Tops, but it does not really matter as long as you stay consistent. We do recommend keeping it clean if you want to have these tags displayed on the website via a tag filter later. If you are not doing restocking, add in an inventory condition to hide out of stock items on your site to automatically clean up the products when out of stock. (More in-depth deets on this in my Website Workshop video this month!)
  6. Manage your collection availability channels (where the collection can sell on)
  7. Add description (optional)
  8. Add image (optional) (only add images that are consistent)
  9. Save!

We steer away from collection images in most cases (depending on the theme) and prefer only to have the title listed.

With automatic collections you can also get very creative in the conditions section. You can have products display that adheres to any condition or all conditions.

Using the all conditions option, you can create a perfectly tailored collection to suit almost any need that you may have.


Now that you have created the collections, we can build the menu by linking up collections.

So, in summary, here are your action steps for building a Shopify menu: 

  • Figure out your ideal menu (based on the inventory you carry)
  • Chose collection type based on how you would like to run your menu
  • Set up collections
  • Link up menu's to display these collections on your site

I hope this will help you start building easy to navigate menus that your boutique clients will love!

Remember, if you need more help, we're here for you! Find out more about our services here, or book a FREE consultation call with us.

Happy menu building!  

Cheers,

Karla!

Meet the Hot Mess Team:

KARLA BOUWER

SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER



At Hot Mess I help, guide and bring to life the dreams and visions of boutique owners, assisting them on their journey to success and riches! Being there along the way and seeing the success of each and every client is what drives my dedication and passion for this company and position and every boutique we work with!!

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