6 min read

We are going to add and edit a lot of information for manufacturers, vendors, and product categories. Actually, in this article, our VirtueMart shop will really take shape with products we want to sell.

Catalogue management

The product catalog for an online shop comprises of the products we sell in the shop. Whatever products we want to sell should be added to this product catalog first. Once products are added to the catalog, customers can browse the products and decide to buy whatever they need. Therefore, managing the catalog is one of the primary tasks of the shop owner.

Products that we add to the catalog need to be organized to help customers easily find the right products. In VirtueMart, customers can sort the products by product categories and manufacturers. Therefore, before adding products to the catalog, we will look into managing manufacturers and product categories.

Managing manufacturers

In VirtueMart, whenever we add a product to the catalog, we also need to assign a manufacturer for that product. In reality, every product has a manufacturer, and for better management of the shop, we should be able to find products by their manufacturer. Therefore, first step will be to identify the manufacturers and enter their information in VirtueMart store. We can also categorize the manufactures as publishers, software developers, and so on.

Adding a manufacturer category

There is a default manufacturer category for use in VirtueMart. We can use that default category for creating a manufacturer. However, when we are selling large number of products from a large number of manufacturers, classifying them into categories will be convenient for managing the manufacturers.

For adding a manufacturer, in the VirtueMart administration panel, click on Manufacturer | Add Manufacturer Category. This shows Manufacturer Category Form:

Managing Manufacturers, Vendors, and Product Categories with Joomla! E-Commerce VirtueMart

In the Manufacturer Category Form, provide information for the Category Name and the Category Description fields. Once these are provided, click the Save icon in the toolbar to save the manufacturer category. In the same process, you can add as many categories as you want.

Adding a manufacturer

For adding a manufacturer, in the VirtueMart administration panel, select Manufacturer | Add Manufacturer. This shows Add Information screen:

Managing Manufacturers, Vendors, and Product Categories with Joomla! E-Commerce VirtueMart

In the Add Information screen, type the manufacturer’s name, their URL, email address, and a brief description. In the Manufacturer Category field, select the category. The drop-down list will show the manufacturer categories you created earlier. Once all the information is provided in this screen, click the Save icon in the toolbar to save the manufacturer information.

Listing the manufacturer categories

Once you have added the manufacturer categories, you can view the list of manufacturer categories by selecting Manufacturer | List Manufacturer Categories. This shows Manufacturer Category List screen:

Managing Manufacturers, Vendors, and Product Categories with Joomla! E-Commerce VirtueMart

In the Manufacturer Category List screen, you will see all manufacturer categories you have created. From this screen, you can add a new category by clicking the New icon in the toolbar. Similarly, you can remove a category by clicking on the trash icon in Remove column, or by selecting the categories and clicking the Remove icon in the toolbar. You can edit a category by clicking on the category name.

To view the list of manufacturers, click on the Manufacturer List link in the Manufacturers column, or select Manufacturer | List Manufacturers. This shows Manufacturer List screen displaying all manufacturers you have added:

Managing Manufacturers, Vendors, and Product Categories with Joomla! E-Commerce VirtueMart

From the Manufacturer List screen, you can create a new manufacturer, remove one or more manufacturers, and edit any manufacturer. For editing a manufacturer, click on the manufacturer’s name or the Update link in Admin column. This will bring up the Add Information screen again. You can also create a new manufacturer by clicking the New icon in the toolbar.

From the Manufacturer Category List screen, you may think that clicking on the Manufacturer List link against each category will display the manufacturers added to that category only. Ideally, this should be the case. However, until VirtueMart 1.1.2, it shows the list of manufacturers from all the categories. We hope this will be fixed in the upcoming releases of VirtueMart.

Managing vendors

The idea of multiple vendors is something what you can see on Amazon.com. Different vendors add their products to sell, when the order is placed, the store notifies the vendor to fulfill the order. The main store usually gets a commission from the vendor for each sell made through the store. However, VirtueMart’s vendors feature is still in its infancy and does not yet function properly. You can add multiple vendors in VirtueMart, and assign products to the vendors. However, adding vendors has no effect on selling any product on the VirtueMart store, except when applying different vendor-specific tax rates and shopper groups. At the moment, it also helps to identify products from different vendors. In the following sections, you will see how to add and manage vendors.

Vendor category

Like manufacturers, you can also create vendor categories. For creating vendor categories, go to Vendor | Add Vendor Category. This displays Vendor Category Form:

Managing Manufacturers, Vendors, and Product Categories with Joomla! E-Commerce VirtueMart

In the Vendor Category Form, type the name of the category and its description. Then click the Save icon in the toolbar. You can add as many categories as you want.

Before trying to add vendor categories, first plan how you are going to categorize your vendors (for example, based on the product they sell or their location). Have a full category tree on hand and then start creating categories.

Adding vendor

Once you have created the necessary vendor categories, you can proceed to adding vendors. For adding vendors, click on Vendor | Add Vendor. This displays the Add Information screen:

Managing Manufacturers, Vendors, and Product Categories with Joomla! E-Commerce VirtueMart

Caution
Note that there is a warning sign at the top of Add Information screen. It warns you about using the vendor feature as it is in the ‘Alpha’ or pre-mature stage. Also note that we have used Simple Layout for displaying it. If you try adding a vendor from Extended Layout, you will open up an edit screen for existing vendor information, which you already added during the initial configuration of the shop. Up until VirtueMart 1.1.2, a bug has been encountered and which will hopefully be fixed in future releases when it crosses ‘Alpha’ stage.

The Add Information screen shows three tabs: Store, Store Information, and Contact Information.

From the Store tab, add the vendor’s store name, company name, logo, web site URL, minimum purchase order value, and minimum amount for free shipping. You can also configure the currency symbol, decimal points, decimal symbol, thousand separator, positive format, and negative format.

Managing Manufacturers, Vendors, and Product Categories with Joomla! E-Commerce VirtueMart

In the Store Information tab (seen in the previous screenshot), you can add the address of the store, city, state/province/region, zip/postal code, phone, currency and vendor category. The vendor categories you have created earlier will be available in Vendor Category drop-down list.

Managing Manufacturers, Vendors, and Product Categories with Joomla! E-Commerce VirtueMart

In the Contact Information tab (seen in the previous screenshot), you can set the contact details of the vendor, such as name, title, phone, fax, email. You can also add a brief description of the vendor which will be displayed in the vendor details page in the store. Type a brief description in the Description rich-text editing box. In the Terms of Service rich-text editing box, provide terms of service applicable for that vendor.

Once information in all the three tabs are provided, click the Save icon in the toolbar to add the vendor.


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