Classification is a structure in SAP Commerce that enables you to flexibly define product attributes that may change per product. Classification based attributes are called category features. Defining and modifying these product specific attributes is easy because they are managed independently of the product type therefore you do not need to extend your product model with additional attributes that are only used on some products. You can see classification on any retail website, for instance the dutch DIY chain Gamma uses classification to filter between the type of screwdriver, a phillips or a flathead. However for paint these attributes are not applicable and you will not find them when searching for paint.
Classification helps simplify the management of product data independently of product catalogs or product definitions. To that aim, a classification system is preferably taking the form of a hierarchical structure characterised by an appropriate number of levels of detail according to the range of product data to be covered. This hierarchical structure is achieved by classifying categories similar to product categories of a catalog. A classification system’s independence from product catalogs, combined with the ability to inherit features from higher levels within its classification structure, makes it easy to assign product-related attributes.
Below is an example of a single branch of a simple classifying structure
||Assigned Category Features
|Classifying Category level 1
||General: weight, measurement, etc
|Classifying Category level 2
||TV/Video related: standards (PAL etc)
||All TVs, all DVD players/recorders
|Classifying Category level 3
||DVD Players/Recorders related: Region code
||All DVD players/recorders (but not to TVs)
|Classifying Category level 4
||DVD Recorder related: Hard disk capacity, type of hard disk
||All DVD recorders (but not players)
This means that when a product is assigned to DVD Recorder related category, you will be able to use all the category features from the DVD Recorder category but also from the levels above the DVD recorder. You can fill in the hard disk capacity but also the weight of the product.
Acorel has implemented both the the ETIM classification model (https://www.etim-international.com/) and the GS1 classification model (https://www.gs1.org/standards/gpc/how-gpc-works) with the classification functionality. These are industry standards that let suppliers and vendors speak the same language which makes it easier to exchange data.
In release 2011 SAP also added the possibility to use a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor for category features. This means that you can now also add features to a classifying category that need a rich text editor to get the information out to the customers. Other possibilities that where already possible are String, Number, Boolean and Value List.
Classification is a powerful tool in SAP Commerce that will let you model your attributes based on the specificity of the product. You will only get the attributes that are specifically needed for a certain product. It gives you the possibility to add new attributes from the Backoffice without the need of extending your product model or adjust them. You can adapt to any situation to give your customers the information they need.