When designing your product catalog, a good place to start would be the manufacturers section. Manufacturers represent the people or companies that have created the products which are available on the catalog, and as such it is recommended that we start building up our product catalog by listing the manufacturers and their details. Adding manufacturers to redSHOP is simple and effective, and comes with various benefits.
To access the manufacturer section, you can either click on the manufacturers button on redSHOP's main menu or click on the manufacturer list link on the left-hand side navigation panel when you're looking at the listing view anywhere else within redSHOP. You will end up directly on the manufacturer management screen, where you will see details listed for all the manufacturers that are currently available.
Overview of Manufacturer Listings screen
Manufacturer Name - the name of the manufacturer as it will be displayed on the front-end
Media - the manufacturer media button, which when clicked on will open up a lightbox and will allow you to add an image to represent that manufacturer (for example a logo), and adjust various details such as the source of the graphic, the images alt text, whether the image is displayed (published). More details are available in the media section
Manufacturer Description - the URL web address of the manufacturers website if it exists
Order - the order in which the shop administrator would like the manufacturers displayed on the front-end
Published - sets whether the manufacturer will be displayed on the front-end
by Field title - offers a search filter to narrow down manufacturer records displayed in the backend
New - takes the administrator to the add manufacturer screen where they can add a new manufacturer to the catalog
Edit - takes the administrator to the edit manufacturer screen where they can adjust the manufacturers details. The screen can be reached either by clicking on the manufacturer name or clicking on the checkbox next to their name followed by the edit button
Copy - lets the administrator duplicate a manufacturer record, simply check the checkboxes next to the names of the manufacturers to be duplicated and click on copy
Delete - deletes the manufacturers record from the product catalog N.B. this is a permanent delete
Publish - lets the shop administrator set manufacturers to be displayed on the front-end, with either single or multiple manufacturer records selected for publishing
Unpublish - lets the shop administrator set manufacturers to be hidden from the front-end, with either single or multiple manufacturer records selected for unpublishing
Overview of Manufacturer Details screen
Name - the name of the manufacturer, as it will be displayed on the front-end
Template - the specific template that should be used to display this manufacturers products when the customer accesses their product page from the front-end (more on this in the template section)
Email - the e-mail address of the manufacturer, which can be used in conjunction with the (send manufacturer e-mail) setting to notify the manufacturer of orders placed with their products
Manufacturer URL - the URL web address of the manufacturers website if it exists
No of products per page - the number of products that should be displayed on the manufacturer product page, the one selected in the template setting above
Published - sets whether the manufacturer will be displayed on the front-end
Description - a space where the manufacturer description can be stored. this will be the content that gets displayed where ever the manufacturer description is shown on the front-end, and where the [manufacturer_description] is used in manufacturer related templates. The shop administrator can use HTML and custom fields in this space, as well as call plug-ins and modules. VHTML)
SEO Page Title - the title of the manufacturer page, as it will be displayed in search engine results and in the browsers title bar or tab
SEO Page Heading - the main heading for this manufacturers page,
SEF Url - the search engine friendly URL that will be used instead of the standard Joomla URL that is generated for this manufacturers page
SEO Keywords - a space to insert the meta-keywords that are related to this manufacturers page
SEO Page Description - a space to insert the method description that is related to this manufacturers page
Meta Language Setting - a space to include the languages for which these SEO settings will apply for this manufacturers page, indicated by the Joomla type language and country codes separated by commas, e.g. "en-GB, fr-FR"
SEO Robot Info - a space to include specific instructions for search engine web crawlers and bots, ideal if the instructions for this page differ from the general instructions that can be put in redSHOP's global configuration SEO tab
Add - appears when adding a new manufacturer record, click on this to add the new manufacturers details to the product catalog
Apply - apply the changes made to the manufacturers details and refresh the page
Save - apply the changes made to the manufacturers details and return to the manufacturer listing screen
Cancel - return to the manufacturer listing screen without saving any changes
Once the product catalog has a few manufacturers listed, the shop administrator can begin making use of manufacturer related features and modules, as well as configuring the look and feel of the templates that will be used for the manufacture of pages on the front-end.
Working with Manufacturers within redSHOP
Assigning products and discounts
To assign a product to a manufacturer, head over to the product listing page within the product section and open up the desired product details. Then from within the "Product Information" tab, simply look for the "manufacturer" setting and select the appropriate manufacturer from the drop-down menu.
When adding a new mass discount, it is possible to limit the discounts affect to specific products, categories, and manufacturers. To apply a mass discount to one or more manufacturers, open up the product panel of the left hand navigation and click on the "add mass discount" link. As you fill out the details of the discount, scroll down to the bottom of the page until you see the manufacturer setting complete with a list of the available manufacturers in the catalog. For a single manufacturer, simply click on their name and make sure they're highlighted before saving the discount profile, and from multiple manufacturers hold down the control key on your keyboard while clicking on each name to highlight them. Once you saved, the discount will take immediate effect.
Page Access and SEO
In the event that there will be multiple administrators working with the backend of redSHOP, it is possible to restrict access to the manufacturer section, as well as define the permissions given to view and modify details, from within the "backend access management" section of redSHOP. This section must be enabled from within the redSHOP global configuration to be available, and this feature requires that shop administrators be assigned to at least one Joomla! backend user group. Simply access the backend access management section from the Main menu button or the left-hand navigation panel and then click on the manufacturers link, where you will be presented with options to limit the user groups that have access to the manufacturer section as well as their permission to view, create, modify and delete manufacturer records and details
In addition to the SEO settings that can be configured for individual manufacturer pages, you can also set up global defaults from the manufacturer section within redSHOP's global configuration 'SEO' tab. It is possible to create 'templates' for redSHOP to follow in automatically constructing page titles, headings, meta-keywords and meta-descriptions, and there are several tags to choose from that represents specific types of information that will be generated when the page loads on the front-end. These global settings will apply for all manufacturer pages except those who have their own individual SEO settings defined in which case those will be used instead.
There are several options within redSHOP's global configuration section that affect the look and layout of manufacturer related pages on the front-end. Within the 'layout' tab, you can modify the default sort order in which manufacturers are displayed, the default sort order of products displayed in the manufacturer product page, the maximum number of characters that should appear in the manufacturers name and a suffix to act as an indicator that there is more of the name that isn't being displayed. Within the 'images' tab, you can configure the dimensions of the manufacturer image thumbnail as well as up to three variations of dimensions for the product thumbnails on the manufacturer product page, and you can set if you would like to watermark either of the two.
While it is possible to assign a manufacturer their image or logo from the manufacturer listings page, it is also possible to upload manufacturer images in bulk from within redSHOP's media management section. To access it, click on the media button on redSHOP's main menu or the media list link from within the left-hand navigation panel, and you will end up in the media management screen. To display only the images associated to manufacturers, you can use the "media section" drop-down to filter and display only manufacturer related media.
You can create custom fields for various sections throughout redSHOP, including manufacturer pages. To access the custom field section, click on the custom fields button or the custom field list in the left-hand navigation panel, either of which would lead you to the custom field management screen. You can use the 'field section' drop-down to filter and display only those custom fields that have been assigned to the manufacturer section. To create a new custom manufacturer field, click on the new button or the 'add custom field' link and use the 'section' drop-down to select manufacturer when defining the custom field settings. More information on how custom fields work is available in the custom fields section.
When designing the look of the front-end product catalog, there are three pages specific to manufacturers whose templates can be modified:
- Manufacturer - the page where all manufacturers are displayed
- Manufacturer detail - the page that focuses on a particular manufacturer and their details
- Manufacturer products - the page that focuses on a particular manufacturers products, i.e. displays the products that have been assigned to that manufacturer
You can set the default manufacturer template from within the 'product/category' tab in redSHOP's global configuration, as well as assign specific manufacturer product templates to each manufacturer in their respective details pages. You can make specific links for your customers to view any one of these three pages from within Joomla!'s menu manager and using the available redSHOP manufacturer menu items, with menu item parameters that define the name of the specific manufacturer, the number of manufacturers and products to display.
Another way to display and link to your manufacturers is to use the manufacturer module which comes with the redCOMPONENT subscription. With redSHOP’s Manufacturer module you can display your manufacturers in a scroller, with various controls to modify the manufacturer detail template within the scroller and the scroller properties itself. For the scroller template, you can choose the number of manufacturers to display, their names, links and images, and whether you’d like the image to link to the manufacturer’s details or to their products. For the scroller properties, you can define dimensions and the speed of animation, as well as how the scroller will list the manufacturers once the customer has scrolled through all of them.