In Sales Layer we use the term Families to refer to the different types of forms that a company might use to manage its products. Sometimes this can lead to misunderstandings because it could be seen that families are the same as categories, but they are totally different concepts: families in Sales Layer basically mean form, and it needn’t be related to the category, which is a different field. Selling an air conditioning system is not the same as selling clothes, CDs, or books. The information you would need to store on each respective product would be very different, therefore different fields will be required for each type of product to make sure that only valid information is stored for each one. It makes no sense to have a field called “number of pages” for a t-shirt whereas for a book it does.
This is where families come in, they can be thought of as a collection of fields which contain product information. Products belong to a family, and the fields that are part of that family are the ones we can store information on for its products. Without Families managing product information could become very confusing, and the Quality Score would also be affected as products would have a lot of empty fields.
There are different ways to create a family. For instance, we can do so automatically when we import products, by placing the name of our new family in the Family field of a product in our Excel file. If we leave this field blank then the product will be imported “Without Family”.
Alternatively, we can create a new family through Sales Layer, using the Families page; from here you can also view all the families you have, modify them, or even delete any you no longer need.
When editing a family we can move fields between tabs, as we saw in the video on forms, as well as creating new fields, renaming, removing, or changing the type of current fields.
When we add fields to a family, we can either create brand new ones from scratch, incorporate ones that already exist in other families, or reactive ones that are not currently being used.
It is important to realise that when you remove a field from a family, that field is not deleted, but simply disconnected from the family. If, in the future, you find that you need that field again, you can simply reactivate it.
It’s important to emphasize the green checkbox whenever you make any changes to a Family; this controls whether you want the change to apply just to that family, or to be replicated across all of your families. If you set this option to true by mistake it could lead to undesired results which could then involve a lot of work to rectify.
At this point, there are two interesting details worth clarifying:
- You can remove fields from a form or family without deleting those fields from Sales Layer. They would merely be disconnected from the Family that is being modified, and therefore we will no longer see them but we can still recover them later if needed.
- You can incorporate existing fields into another family using Add new field (this will let us choose the type of field if it is new, or select from among one of the existing fields).
Note: families apply to products and their variants (not to categories). This way, variants will have a list of fields according to the family of the product where it belongs.
Finally, if you wish, you can quickly export families, or even just parts of them, to an XLY file which could then be used to complete and import more product information. As you can see, when exporting you can choose which fields you want to be included in the file, which you can also do when importing new data, this makes it very easy to work with the data structures you have created in Sales Layer.
Note: Many families can be created for products, but it is not convenient to create an excessive number of families by organization and maintenance. The "field does not apply" option may be more convenient. (SEE SECTION “QUALITY REPORT: Field does not apply”)