Automatically Categorize Products To The Shopify Product Taxonomy in 4 Steps

Matt Payne
September 9, 2022

Shopify stores and marketplaces use product taxonomy trees to organize their products in their catalog to make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for. The hierarchical structure allows ecommerce stores to refine and filter their categories into granular groups to help customers to reach products in the least amount of time and clicks. 

What is Shopify Product Taxonomy?

adding a standard product type to a shopify product
Adding a Shopify Product Taxonomy to your product via Shopify

Shopify Product Taxonomy (SPT) is an ecommerce taxonomy tree with 5,595 unique categories used by Shopify to categorize products in a customer's store into a standard tree. There are two ways to categorize products in Shopify, standardized and custom product types. Standardized product types use only a predefined product category from the Shopify Product Taxonomy (SPT). The SPT is an extension of the popular Google Product Taxonomy with small modifications to account for extra categories.

Custom product types allow you to input a custom category that is based on your own internal taxonomy tree or because the category doesn’t exist in the SPT. It’s best practice to only use a custom product type if you cannot find a category match for your product’s main function or the SPT category is not specific enough given the granularity of your store's products. A great example of this is the Google Product Taxonomy category “Apparel & Accessories > Shoes”. This is as deep as the tree goes and would not be granular enough for a shoe marketplace. 

key differences in categories between the shopify taxonomy tree and google taxonomy tree
Key difference between Google and Shopify taxonomies

Why Use The Standardized Shopify Product Taxonomy?

There are a number of reasons why it's beneficial to organize products with standardized product types in Shopify. 

- A key reason for using the Shopify Product Taxonomy is the ease it provides when selling products on other channels such as Facebook and Google Shopping Feed. These product categories have an associated ID that is often required in these platforms for categorization and sales tax reasons. 

- It makes it much easier to manage your product catalog and create an effective hierarchical structure for your store. A Forrester research study found that poorly structured sites sell 50% less than organized sites.

- Search engines favor the structure that Google Product Taxonomy provides when ranking product pages. The Shopify Product Taxonomy follows the same categories and is nearly identical.

- When using the direct checkout feature on Instagram or Facebook the Google product category ID number is required for tax reasons.

How To Add a Standardized Product Type

You can start manually adding a standardized product type to your products in Shopify by going to the Shopify admin and clicking a product. Then in the product organization section click Type. From there you can either enter your product’s type and select what you feel is the most accurate result from the standardized type list or click through each level of the taxonomy tree and find the deepest product category. 

The steps for doing this from the mobile app are:

- Go to Products > All products

- Tap on a product to edit it

- Go to More details and then product organization

- In the “Type” Section you have two options - click on the magic wand to choose the suggested type for your product or click “Add type” to search for a specific category. 

Automatically Fit Your Products To Shopify Product Taxonomy In 4 Steps

Deep learning & Ai has made it easy to automatically categorize Shopify products into the standardized Shopify Product Taxonomy in bulk. These models have learned the relationship between the SPT tree and product data with over 92% accuracy. This relationship uses deep learning with millions of examples so there’s no need for business transformation rules or keyword matching algorithms. 

You can go from thousands of Shopify products to structured, categorized data in a matter of minutes with Pumice.ai

Step 1. Upload Product Data or Connect To Our API

The first step is gathering product data and preparing it for automatic categorization through our endpoints. Pumice.ai endpoints require the product title and description and have optional fields of price and GTIN. Shopify allows you to export your existing products via a CSV and reimport your products with your new categories (guide).

You can interact with the Pumice.ai endpoints through the dashboard or a direct connection to the APIs. In the dashboard, you’ll be required to upload your product data CSV file and will receive a CSV back with your product data and the categories. API connection allows you to add automatic categorization to your product creation workflow and remove any manual effort needed to process. 

workflow for pumice.ai. Data plus machine learning equals data

Step 2. Select Shopify Product Taxonomy In Pumice.ai

batch run of CSV for the dynamic categorization endpoint

Both the Google Product Taxonomy and Shopify Product Taxony are built into our dynamic categorization endpoint and offered as fine-tuned models. These models have been trained on millions of products and use examples from popular ecommerce stores such as Amazon, Macy’s, Shopee, eBay, and more. Simply select the model_id for either Shopify or Google taxonomy and start categorizing products.

Step 3. Automatically Fit Your Products To Shopify Product Taxonomy Tree

product data plus taxonomy plus product information

Once you’ve uploaded and mapped your product data, or connected to the API you’re good to go! You’ll receive your results back in the same format you sent them in. Our dynamic categorization API focuses on fitting product data to categories dynamically at runtime. This means the deep learning models do not need specific training on your product data or hierarchical taxonomy structure.

This endpoint can also be used for a “custom type” taxonomy in Shopify. Store owners can export their custom taxonomy instead and start classifying products. Unlike when using the standard taxonomy you’ll be required to upload a taxonomy file in the same format as the standard taxonomy. 

screenshot of the pumice.ai dashboard and the generated product data

Step 4. Integrate New Data Into the Shopify Platform

full automation pipeline for pumice.ai automated product categorization
Full automation pipeline for product categorization

Once you’ve run the dynamic categorization endpoint and generated product categories you can take advantage of this data by adding them to your online store products. This data can be automatically uploaded to Shopify through our custom integration available to enterprise customers. This takes your automation to the next level with zero human intervention to go from bulk uncategorized product data to live products. 

Start automating your product categorization today

Pumice.ai is a PIM enhancement platform that leverages ai models to help customers automate product information tasks. Our starter package allows you to get started with automation endpoints such as the Shopify product categorization endpoint in a matter of minutes with no custom models required. You can join today and stop wasting time on manual PIM: Let’s Go

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Shopify Product Taxonomy Categories

Here’s a list of the categories as provided by Shopify.