Relationships

Products group together generalities/commonalities for one or more variations, allowing them to be presented such that the customer may pick from the available variations. They aren’t directly sellable.

Variations are the sellable items (SKU) and are responsible for storing specifics, such as stock, price and differentiating attributes such as size/colour.

Sets are for presenting two or more products, so a customer may conveniently select from the associated variations and purchase them together.

Bundles present two or more specific variations be purchased together by the customer, with optional discount applied.

Products, sets and bundles are assigned to categories.

Hierarchy

  • Set (optional, sellable)
    • Product (non-sellable)
      • Variation (sellable, at least 1 per product)
        • Barcode (non-sellable, at least 1 per variation)

Comparisons

Product Variation Set Bundle Category
Sellable No Yes No Indirectly No
Contains Variations Barcodes Products or Bundles Variations Products
Sets
Bundles
Parent Set (optional) Product or Bundle - - -
Examples T-shirt XL Red T-shirt Suit
3-piece-suite
Xbox+game
Wardbrobe
Sporks

Variations

These are sellable/stocked items. They represent the level within Fusions that pricing and stock information is held, along with whichever other attributes make sense for logistical or enrichment purposes.

They're called variations, because most products have variants based on size, colour, quantity, quality and so on - which typically affect pricing.

Examples:

  • A bottle of water (product) may be sold in 500ml, 1l, 2l variations
  • A polo t-shirt (product) may be sold in Small Red, Small Blue, Medium Red etc. variations

All variations within a product share common attributes, such as brand, description, specifications.

Products

General details/attributes are held at the product level, only those specific/unique to the variation should be stored against them.

This means that, for simple products, details/attributes are split between product/variation which can seem counter-intuitive at first, but is the optimum way for a system to manage all scenarios sensibly.

One colour and multiple sizes

  • GEM103 Red top
    • G000000006 Red, Small
    • G000000007 Red, Medium

Multiple colours and multiple sizes

Single style, with colours combined into one product:

  • GEM104 Polo shirt
    • G000000008 Red, Small
    • G000000009 Red, Medium
    • G000000010 Blue, Small
    • G000000011 Blue, Medium

Alternatively, the same style as above, but with colours split between two products. For example, to show more products in search results on a website front-end only able to present simple products:

  • GEM105 Red polo shirt
    • G000000012 Red, Small
    • G000000013 Red, Medium
  • GEM106 Blue polo shirt
    • G000000014 Blue, Small
    • G000000015 Blue, Medium

One colour and one size

  • GEM107 Watch
    • G000000016 Silver, One Size

Sets

Two or more products optionally purchased together (without discount) where the customer picks the variations. No quantity is specified in Fusions.

No attributes are specified, but category and description are. Products typically complex, but simple allowed – just means the customer is clearly shown that only one variation is available

Suit example

A suit contains jacket and trouser products. Those products are individually setup with their size and colour variations (which a customer may pick from) giving the following overall structure and relationships:

  • SET123 Suit
    • PRD101 Jacket
      • V000000001 Black, Medium
      • V000000002 Black, Large
    • PRD102 Trousers
      • V000000003 Black, 30
      • V000000004 Black, 32
      • V000000005 Black, 34

CSV import

New sets can be created by importing a CSV file containing the name in the first column, followed by product IDs to be included in subsequent columns. See example.

Bundles

These allow two or more variations to be grouped together as one sellable item. An included quantity per variation must be specified, along with category and description.

Optionally, the price of a bundle can be influenced – either by an amount/percentage discount, or by specifying a fixed price.

Bundle components can be either:

  • Visible: where the components can be purchased individually – for example a Black Games Console and Game bundle saves the customer £10 (but they can’t pick the white console)
  • Hidden: where the components can’t be purchased individually – for example a Wardrobe bundle containing 1x Carcass and 2x Door

Bundles don't have attributes.

CSV import

New bundles can be created via a CSV import which, as per the example, contains the name in the first column, followed by the variation IDs to be included in any subsequent columns.

Categories

These are nested within each other to form a hierarchy/tree of categories.

Items (products, sets and bundles, but not variations) are assigned to categories, with one assignment for the item being its primary category, and any further assignments classed as additional categories.

Auto-assignments

Rules can be configured by manager users to automatically assign products into categories. For example:

  • Sale: products where one or more variations have both a previous and a current price are auto-assigned to Department \ Sale
  • New: stocked products with Approved/Published status, that aren't auto-assigned to Sale are auto-assigned to Department \ New for X non-consecutive days
  • Attributes: (coming Mar-Apr 2017!) products where the type is Hat and the size attribute value is XXXL, are auto-assigned to Hats \ Plus sizes (if multiple attribute values are specified, they must all match)

Individual products can be excluded from Sale/New auto-assignments, via checkboxes on the product details page.

To apply the Attribute rules, run the Process Auto-assignments task (or schedule it to run every evening for example) which will produce a report of:

  • Assigned products: new products matching an existing rule, or existing products qualifying for new rules
  • Unassigned products: that were previously auto-assigned, but no longer qualify

Where products have been manually assigned to the category specified by a rule, auto-assignment is skipped. This ensures those manual assignments remain in place should auto-assignment rules change.

CSV import

Values for existing categories can be updated with a CSV import in a specific format, but new/unknown categories are ignored.

Barcodes

13 digit (twelve, plus a check-digit) UPC’s are the lowest level of information stored in Fusions.

Barcodes sit within a parent variation, however only one barcode in the same variation can be considered active.

A barcode history is maintained for variations, allowing barcodes to be moved/reused while keeping an audit trail.

Sanitisation and validation

During imports, the check digit is either appended or calculated if unavailable and leading zeros are removed.

Before and after examples:

  • 123456789012 9 -> 1234567890129 (check digit appended)
  • 123456789012 -> 1234567890129 (check digit calculated)
  • 0001234567890129 -> 1234567890129 (trimmed leading zeros)

Sanitised barcodes that are too long (123456789012345) are typically ignored by Fusions.

Photos

Imported photos can be automatically associated with variations, products, sets and bundles.

When viewing the product details page, you’re able to change the default photo for a product. This decides the primary photo, secondary photos, plus any video/panorama movies to be associated with the master product.

Managing requests

The Photos section is used to help manage photography requests in three states:

  • Missing: lists Draft/Editing products with non-zero transit/delivery stock that haven’t already had a photo requested. A size is chosen for each product, and they move to the ‘Requested photos’ page
  • Requested: lists Draft/Editing/Excluded products that have had a photo requested, but the photo has not yet been received. When it is, the item will automatically move to ‘Received photos’, and any outstanding photography requests for the same product will be cancelled.
  • Received: lists Draft/Editing/Excluded products that have received a photo and need manually approving by way of assigning to a new or existing product

Photo requests are automatically removed from the Requested photos list once a product has received a photo.

Requests for Set and Bundle photography currently need to be made outside this process, but are automatically associated along with the others.

Ranges

Ranges group variations that you're intending to launch together. This allows managing the launch readiness by viewing stock availability.

Availability percentages are calculated as:

  • Current availability: percentage of variations having stock
  • Launch availability: percentage of variations having 'allocation expected' date at least N days before the range 'current launch' date

Variations marked as cancelled are excluded from these figures.

CSV export/import

Click 'Export' on the Ranges page for a CSV file to analyse the data in detail, or to make changes before importing back into Fusions.

Only updated information is applied, no new ranges are created.

Workflow statuses

Items in Fusions use a workflow process to determine their status.

  • Draft: A product created via a data import, having only the most basic of details. They’re in a 'holding area' until you decide to begin enriching with details.
  • Editing: You’re adding/amending details, ensuring minimal checklists are complete to enable updating the status to Preview.
  • Preview: You’re finalising details, ensuring all checklists are complete and exporting it for a staging website environment. Only once this has been done, should you update the status to Approved.
  • Approved: If you’re happy with the preview, this will mark the product as ready to be exported for a production website environment.
  • Published: Once an Approved product is exported and been sent to a production website environment, the status is automatically updated to Published.
  • Excluded: You’ve prevented a new product from being exported to all website environments – a reason must be selected from a dropdown list.
  • Offlined: You’ve removed a Published product from future exports to all website environments – a reason must be selected from a dropdown list.
  • Archived: No changes can be made to the product in Fusions and it’s held back from all exports, i.e. no longer included in even the full exports. If stock arrives, it’ll move back to Preview automatically.

Checklists within Fusions automatically notify when an item needs additional detail to progress to another status.

Status for multiple products

Allowed status changes

Products and bundles may move between statuses, either automatically or manually (by picking in the dropdown) as follows:

  • Draft to:
    • Editing (automatically) when it’s manually saved for the first time; or when assigning a photo to a new product via the Received Photos page
    • Excluded (manually) if it should be excluded from the website
  • Editing to:
    • Draft (manually) if it was changed to Editing by mistake
    • Preview (manually) but only if checklists pass
    • Approved (manually) if all details have been approved (logged that user skipped Preview stage)
    • Excluded (manually) if it should be excluded from the website
  • Preview to:
    • Editing (manually) if the details need further changes, or (automatically) if it no longer passes the minimal checklists
    • Approved (manually) if the details have been approved (can also be done via the bulk changes tool)
    • Excluded (manually) if it should be excluded from the website
  • Approved to:
    • Editing (manually) if the details need further changes, or (automatically) if it no longer passes the minimal checklists
    • Preview (manually) if the details need to be re-approved
    • Published (automatically) once sent to front-end
    • Excluded (manually) if it should be excluded from the website
  • Published to:
    • Editing (manually) if the details need further changes, or (automatically) if it no longer passes the minimal checklists
    • Offlined (manually) when no longer wish to sell
    • Archived (automatically) based on auto-archiving rules
  • Offlined to:
    • Editing (manually) if it should begin it’s journey back onto the website
    • Archived (automatically) based on auto-archiving rules
  • Excluded to:
    • Editing (manually) if it should no longer be excluded from the website, and the details are being edited
    • Preview (manually) if it should no longer be excluded from the website, and the details need to be re-approved
  • Archived to:
    • Editing (manually) if it should begin it’s journey back onto the website
    • Preview (automatically) when stock arrives

Status for a single product

Bulk updates

To update many items at once, there are two options depending on the complexity of your needs:

  • Update a single attribute to the same value - the Bulk changes tool is the quickest and easiest option
  • Update multiple attributes with different values - a Bulk export/import lets you manage this
  • Collate changes offline, perhaps over several days - a Bulk export/import gives you that flexibility

Bulk changes tool

When listing products/variations/sets/bundles, tick individual items you want to change, or the top-left All checkbox to select everything matching your chosen filters.

Then click Next... below them to view available updating options.

Bulk export/import

When listing variations only, tick individual items you want to change, or the top-left All checkbox to select everything matching your chosen filters.

Then click Export above them. Only variations where the product has a type will be included. There is a maximum limit of 5,000 items per export.

The exported CSV file will contain, for each variation:

  • Variation ID (read-only)
  • Product ID (read-only)
  • Product title (128 characters)
  • Variation name (128 characters)
  • Type (read-only, as affects attributes)
  • Product description
  • Searchable flag
  • Product primary category ID
  • Product additional category IDs (first eight only)
  • Type scoped attributes
  • Variation scoped attributes

Attributes have a few simple rules that are helpful to know:

  • They're ordered by attribute ID, and named in the heading columns, so they're easy to find when there are many
  • N/A is used when a type scoped attribute doesn't apply to the variation, or when a variation doesn't have a value for variation scoped attribute
  • Headers (AT id, Export id and Name) are read-only

Values can be updated in a spreadsheet application, before saving as a CSV file and uploading back into Fusions via the Import button on the variations page.

Changes are validated before being applied. A correction screen allows unknown attribute values (where the attribute has a pre-approved list) and category IDs to be amended.

When an import file contains multiple variations for the same product, the product title and product description of the last variation row will be imported to the product.

Advanced features:

  • Entering "DELETE" (or "N/A") for an attribute value causes the attribute to be updated to blank in Fusions
  • Attribute columns can safely be removed and will be ignored by Fusions - handy for keeping large CSV files focused on the attributes you're working with

Comments

During the enrichment process, it can be helpful to comment on important current issues or next steps.

These raise awareness for other team members, and act as reminders to yourself. As such they're displayed immediately when viewing product, set or bundle detail pages.

Once a comment is no longer considered current, it should be marked as resolved to avoid alerting people to outdated issues.

The last fifty comments can be viewed on the Dashboard, allowing you to easily catch up on recent activity and discussion.

Administration

Users typically resolve comments themselves, but can overlook doing so once items reach Approved/Published statuses.

Within Settings, the Comments page shows up to a hundred items having the oldest unresolved comments. Comments for each item are listed from old to new - allowing admin users to quickly make relevancy judgements and bulk resolve.

Attributes

An attribute contains a list of appropriate values, with the attribute then associated with one or more types.

Per associated type, an attribute is either required or optional. Required attributes mean a value has to be set before the product can go online.

Patterns

  • defined_alpha: Pre-defined (sorted alphanumerically)
  • defined_manual: Pre-defined (sorted manually)
  • colour_alpha: Colour (sorted alphanumerically)
  • colour_manual: Colour (sorted manually)
  • free_single: Free-text (single line)
  • free_multi: Free-text (multi-line)

Scope

The scope of attribute determines where and how it’ll be used.

Variation scope attributes are especially important as they define the uniqueness of a variation within a product. They allow multiple variations in a product with identical variation-scoped attributes to be treated as being the same, and then grouped up.

Fusions only considers the variation in a group with the most stock as being online. For example, items may have colour and size setup as variation-scoped attributes. This allows multiple stock items for the same Red Small T-shirt (for example, when supplied by different manufacturers) to be grouped.

Multiple selection

Most attributes ask the user to input/select a single value, for example Brand. Occasionally an attribute may be needed that allows multiple values to be selected, such as Washing Instructions where 'Hand wash' and 'Cool iron' may both be appropriate.

Defaults

You may specify the default tag for defined and boolean pattern type attributes, as long as they are not set to allow multiple selections. These changes will be applied to all future items as and when they are saved (e.g. via the user interface by a user, via a task etc.). Should you need to affect items immediately you should use the bulk changes feature.

External references

When exporting attribute data that needs to match up with a reference in another system, up to three external references can be held per attribute:

  • Export value: The attribute-id value for a <custom-attribute> element when tag values are to be exported for the attribute (default behaviour)
  • Export group: The attribute-id value for a <custom-attribute> element when tag groups are to be exported for the attribute (non-standard behaviour)
  • Export ID: The attribute-id value for a <custom-attribute> element when tag IDs are to be exported for the attribute (non-standard behaviour)

CSV imports

Attributes can be managed within Fusions, or via CSV imports as per the example files for attributes, attribute values and product type attributes.

Extra columns can be added to the attribute values import to add aliases (corrected from values), as seen in the example.

To create a new attribute you should leave the ID column blank. Fusions will assign the new attribute an ID when it is created. Any row with a valid attribute ID in the ID column will be updated.

Note: attribute IDs below AT300 must not be used, and are reserved for system use.

Browser requirements

We support the latest web browsers available (for vendor-supported operating systems) along with the previous browser version for six months, unless security needs dictate otherwise.

This means Internet Explorer (IE) versions 7, 8, 9 and 10 are unsupported.

We support IE 11, and recent versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Edge.

SFTP connections

  • Uploads happen as soon as files are exported (we check every minute)
  • Downloads happen every ten minutes (providing there are new files)

Retries and alerts

To allow for minor server connectivity issues, logins/transfers will be retried five times, with successively longer pauses between, before an alert is raised.

Files already downloaded by Fusions are skipped, and uploads are prevented from being uploaded again.

Firewalls and restrictions

Fusions has safety checks built in to prevent the staging environment uploading to a production server for example; each connection is locked down to only connect from specific environments. All environments are prevented from moving/deleting/renaming server files.

Additionally, we recommend servers be locked down such that:

  • Connections are only allowed from the specific environment IP addresses shown on the connection details page
  • Users only have read-only access to directories/files, other than those the environment must upload to

Keys versus passwords

For security, and to allow automated connections, authentication must be with an RSA key pair, and not a password.

SEO templates

When SEO fields for products, sets, bundles and categories are empty, they’ll be automatically generated from the templates shown on the Settings > SEO templates page.

SEO fields can also be manually edited, and for categories, imported via a CSV file.

Privacy

Fusions PIM Limited ('Fusions') only have customer contracts with businesses, not individuals. We balance security, business needs, usability and legal regulations — such as the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — to respect the privacy of individuals who interact with our company/software via our customers.

Our website (www.fusionspim.com) doesn't use cookies, but our software (app.fusionspim.com, or customer-specific address) does — in order to function and be secure.

Data Processor

We help our customers meet their legal obligations where they use Fusions software as a data processor of their user accounts, which are made up of:

  • First and last name
  • Email address (expected to be owned by the customer, not the individual)
  • Password (securely hashed)
  • IP address at login (expected to be owned by the customer, not the individual)

Customers may (at any time) use the software to:

  • Correct the name and email address for a user
  • Delete a user's details (providing this wouldn't leave audit trail data incomplete)
  • Redact the name and email address for a user (if deleting isn't an option)
  • Opt-in/out users to receive non-marketing email alerts (sent automatically when significant errors or issues occur)

Since ‘an employer does not need consent to use your work email address’, we don't gather explicit consent for email alerts, or other system/transactional emails such as password resets.

Users (individuals) may (at any time) use the software to:

  • View their name and email address (with guidance on amending)
  • Amend their password
  • Opt-in/out to email alert notifications

As data processors, we don't provide users with direct access to view/export data associated with their account. Our customers, as data controllers, are expected to consider any such request and instruct Fusions via standard support mechanisms.

User data (including prior to amending/deleting) will be retained in backups until automated expiry policies delete the data permanently.

Data Controller

To do business with our customers, we're a data controller for limited information relating to their employees and suppliers, including:

  • Analytics — names, email addresses, web browsers, IP addresses, click history and screenshots are mandatorily and automatically captured while using our software (but not our website) and retained for one month (to aid with support queries)
  • Communications — email and GitHub/Jira/Slack discussions are retained indefinitely
  • Holidays and birthdays — key customer employees may be invited to share their personal holiday calendar to help manage support needs (this invite may be declined and entering a birthday is optional) and this calendar will be retained indefinitely
  • Internal notes — these are necessary to ensure a record of decisions and agreements is accurately maintained (retained indefinitely)
  • Invoices and billing information — to satisfy legal requirements (retained indefinitely)
  • Newsletters — we don't currently send marketing emails or newsletters
  • Social media — we only use Twitter, and any individuals we follow can manage the privacy of their own account

Subprocessors

A subprocessor is a third-party data processor engaged by Fusions which has access to personal data. We provide notice of any new subprocessor by posting such updates here, so please check back frequently.

Fusions use a commercially reasonable selection process by which it evaluates the security, privacy and confidentiality practices of proposed subprocessors. The adequacy of each subprocessor used is demonstrated in the notes beside each entity listed:

Queries

Please direct any queries to privacy@fusionspim.com. Fusions isn't required under GDPR to have a Data Processing Officer.

User guide version 1.0.1