Using Filters in OpenCart can serve various purposes in an easy and simple way. Before getting on with the procedure of adding Filters and categorizing products in a more streamlined manner, it is important to know and understand the need for filters in OpenCart. In the front end of a conventional store, an Advanced Search feature is provided which the customers can make use of for filtering the given set of products as per their preferences. However, sometimes the need arises to combine together various types of products, which might belong to varied categories. Besides this, in some cases, users might want to attach tags to specific products to make it easier for these to be found in front end.
The entire scenario can be explained clearly with this example. Imagine a sub-category titled Monitors, under the main category of Components. A user wants to categorize the monitors by LCD, CRT and LED. The first and most obvious option is creating a different set of categories under the Monitors. However, doing this will complicate the things more, as it is quite complex. Therefore, rather than adding another level of categories, one can make use of filters in OpenCart.
The primary advantage of adding filters in the scenario mentioned above is that when the Filter module is enabled, in front end a nice block is provided allowing users to filter and refine the products as per their choice. Let us get started with the process and begin by setting up Filters in OpenCart, which are not only easy to access but enhance convenience as well.
Crating new filter group
Start by visiting Catalogue and then Filters which can be found in the admin section of OpenCart. Clicking on Insert button will open a new screen where new filters and filter group can be created.
Filter Group Name can be used for distinguishing filters in case the number of filters available for display is more than one. Name the filter group as Monitor Types and fill filter values as LED, CRT and LCD. Click the Save button after making the changes.
Assigning filters to products and categories
After setting up filter group and filters, it is time to assign filters to relevant products and categories.
Assigning filters to category
Begin by editing Monitors category. Click on Catalog and then Categories in order to edit sub category named Monitors which can be found under the main category of Components. Click on Data tab showing various fields, along with Filters.
Being auto complete field, the values in Filters can be filled by typing just a few letters. In the given example, choose filter values as LED, CRT and LCD. Once the changes have been made, click on the Save button. Doing this is important as when Filters block gets displaced in Monitors category page in front end, all the three options will be displayed when Filters field is selected under Data tab.
Assigning filters to products
Now it is time to assign filters to every product which is to be filtered by Monitor Types criteria. However, it is important that the products under Monitors category are edited as the filters for this category have been filtered in previous section.
Select Products in Catalog and edit the product titled Samsung SyncMaster 941BW. There is a Filter field present under Links tab. Here select LED before saving the product.
Similarly, assign LCD to another product titled Apple Cinema 30. After doing this there will be two products which have been assigned two separate filter values. If the need arises, then assigning more filters to one product is also possible. However, it is not required in this example.
Enabling filter module
Now the setup is almost complete. The only thing left now is enabling the filter module and assigning it to appropriate layout in front end. For doing this, select Modules which is given under the Extensions menu and then install Filter module. Once the Filter module is installed, click on Edit option in order to open module configuration page. A new row can be added by clicking on Add Module button and selecting the options given.
In the given example, it will be helpful if the module is displayed in Category layout. This will help to ensure that when the products are browsed category wise by a user, the Filters block will allow him to filter out the products.
From the drop down titled Layout, select Category and make sure it is displayed in Column Left position. After making the changes click Save.
Testing Front end
After the entire setup is complete, it is time to test it and see how the things appear in front end. Go to front end and select Monitors (2), which can be found under the Components menu, in order to get the list of products which are available under Monitors category. A block named Refine Search can also be seen on left sidebar. The end result will be a nice looking and easy to access block, which shows various filter options; in this case, total number of products which are available in each filter. Click on LED and then further on Refine Search in order to see the listing of filtered products.
Those who are familiar with Faceted Search will find the interface similar to that, as most of the steps and instructions are same. Similarly, more filter groups, as well as filters can be set up in order to display a richer and more refined interface in the front end of the store.
The procedure mentioned above explains a highly interesting and exciting feature of OpenCart. Filters can be incorporated in OpenCart very easily; however the ease and convenience it offers is immense. Implementing the process is very easy and can be done by simply following the step by step instructions mentioned above. Overall, it makes the search for a particular type of products easier, allowing with providing more flexibility to the users.