Shopify Collections: How to Add Product Collections & Why They’re So Important

October 5, 2021
by
Sean Flannigan

Shopify Collections: How to Add Product Collections & Why They’re So Important

October 5, 2021
by
Sean Flannigan
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You can have the flashiest, speediest, loveliest looking online store in the history of stores, but if your shoppers can’t find what they are looking for, they will quickly head for the next store.

Getting the award for the most fabulous storefront won’t help you sell more stuff.

Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t have both because you most definitely can. But, before you get preoccupied with all the pretty things, you should focus on designing the customer experience.

If you start by understanding how to get shoppers from homepage to checkout with minimal friction, your amazingly gorgeous online store design can naturally sprout forth in support of that noble goal.

In the world of UX (short for user experience), this is called information architecture. Yes, even you can be an architect (of sorts).

Essentially, information architecture is about creating a user-friendly structure for your online store, consisting of logical hierarchies, helpful navigation, and clear categorization. 

This creates an ideal user flow through your site, helping them find what they need quickly and helping you get more sales.

Your Shopify store benefits significantly from this pre-work. And, what we’ll cover in this post is the categorization of your products, which on Shopify is called ‘collections.’

To get started, let’s dig a little deeper into what Shopify collections are and how you interact with them in other stores.

What is a Shopify collection?

On Shopify, collections are their version of product categories. 

These collections of products are defined by the stores that create them. They can be organized by product type, gender, material, color, size, season, sale status, whatever you want.

Some examples of collections might be:

  • Women’s tops
  • Kid’s bikes
  • Headphones
  • Earrings
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Haircare
  • Halloween costumes
  • Gifts for dad
  • Clearance items

The possibilities are nearly endless. 

And, while it may not serve any purpose for your store, you can create a totally random collection of products too. It’s your store, after all.

The point of collections is that your shoppers can more easily find the type of thing they want to purchase without having to keep clicking around. 

Starting from your homepage, shoppers have so many options to lead them through your site. 

With a clear set of collections to choose from in your navigation bar and throughout the page, they can find the right category of products for them.

pangaia homepage navigation product collections
PANGAIA’s collections available from the navigation bar

#cta-paragraph-pb#PANGAIA is just one example of a Shopify store that really knocks it out of the park. Check out our big list of top Shopify stores and get inspired to follow in their footsteps.

pangaia homepage product collections
PANGAIA has three prominent collections shown on their homepage

Basically, collections are quick and effective sales funnels to your stunning product pages

#cta-mini-pb#Build incredible collection pages with the help of Shogun. Start for free today


Automated vs manual collections

When creating a collection on Shopify, you can do so in one of two ways: automated or manual.

If you choose to create a manual collection, you simply pick all the products you want to include by hand. These are useful for creating very specific collections that couldn’t be made with automation.

The drawbacks to manual collections are that they are fixed lists and take more work to create and upkeep. Products can only be removed or added manually. 

An automated collection is more complex and versatile. These collections automatically add products based on one or more rules you set. 

Set rules based on: 

  • Product types
  • Product title
  • Product vendor
  • Product price
  • Product tag
  • Weight
  • Inventory stock
  • Compare at price 
  • Variant’s title

Even as you add new products to your store, automated collections will pull them in if they fit the conditions set. The only drawback is that it can sometimes be difficult to exclude certain products if they match your base conditions.

The trick to making automated collections more versatile is to tag your products to create unique individualized category structures that you can draw from.

What is a collection page on Shopify?

When you create a fancy new collection (or boring old collection, if you prefer), a new page is added to your store. This is your collection page (hi, collection page).

This page simply displays as a gridded assemblage of the products included in that particular collection styled based on your Shopify theme. 

Whatever you named the collection will become the page title, and the description paragraph (if you included one) will show below that.

Shoppers can use filters along the top to filter the products in a few ways:

  • Featured
  • Best selling
  • Alphabetically
  • Price
  • Date
  • Product tags

But, you can customize your collection pages further with Shogun for an even better customer experience.

pangaia collection page men's activewear
PANGAIA’s Men’s Activewear collection page

#cta-visual-pb#<cta-title>Your collection pages could look this good<cta-title>With Shogun Page Builder, you can create totally customized collection pages that drive conversions.Get started now


How to create a collection on Shopify

The first step to creating a collection is to find yourself on your Shopify admin dashboard. 

You there? Perfect.

Now, in the menu along the left side, go to Products > Collections. This is where you will find all collections you create. 

If just starting out, you may see a collection called ‘Home page.’ Once you begin creating your collections, this one can be deleted (or silently ignored for all time).

To create your first collection, go to the upper right corner and click the Create collection button.

shopify dashboard product collections create collection

Now you can start cobbling together your brand new collection! 

On this page, you will be able to title your new product collection, add a description, include an image, change how the page shows for search engines, and decide how products will be added to the collection.

shopify create collection page

Your title is vital as it will be the headline of your collection page and show up wherever you add your collection throughout your store. 

Adding a high-quality image here will provide some visual flare for your collection page (behind the title in the header) and other pages where the collection is added.

The collection description is optional but can help define the category of products included in your collection. 

The description will show up on your collection page below the header. It’s also great for SEO to include a description that further explains your products (search engines love extra context).

To get a sense of what your collection page looks like with and without the addition of a description and image, here’s my plain old Stuff We’re Loving collection page with just the title and the same page with the addition of an image and description.

shopify collection page no image or description included
My plain jane collection page, sans image and description
shopify collection page with image and description
My fancified collection page, helped by an image and a description

The page not only looks better, but it includes an SEO-friendly block of text that helps inform visitors on what the page is all about.

Speaking of SEO, you can edit exactly how your collection page will show on search engines with the last setting on this page. 

Just click Edit website SEO and go on to edit the title, description, and URL slug. What searchers will see displays at the top of the section as you make changes.

search engine listing preview edit website seo settings
shopify collection page seo settings change
Create your ideal search engine result details

Altering the title and description in the SEO settings won’t change the collection title and description, only how it shows on Google and other search engines.

#cta-paragraph-pb#If you are just getting started with Shopify, our ultimate guide to selling on Shopify can help you learn all the ins and outs of starting a business on one of the biggest ecommerce platforms out there.

How to add products to collections on Shopify

Now to get to the bread and butter of building collections—the products.

You can add products in one of two ways: manually or automated through rules.

shopify collection types manual automated

Once you save your collection, your collection type cannot be changed. Luckily, it’s easy to create a new one.

Manual collection

You’ll first have to save your collection with the Manual radio button selected to build a manual collection.

Then, click the search field to find particular products or click browse to select from all products. From there, simply choose the products you want included and click Add when finished.

You’ll be able to add more products to this collection whenever you want.

shopify manual collection search products browse
shopify manual collection add products

Once you’ve added your products, you can change how they will be organized on the page by choosing from the Sort: dropdown field. 

You can sort by best selling, alphabetically, newest, oldest, highest price, lowest price, or manually.

shopify manual collection products sort by newest

Click Save at the bottom of the screen, and your first collection is officially in the books!

Products can only be added or removed manually, so stay on top of editing this collection.

Automated collection

If you want a collection that maintains itself, an automated collection is the way to go. 

When you click the Automated radio button, a Conditions section will appear. This is where you will set your rules for how products are added to your new collection.

The products can match all conditions you set out, or they can match just one of the laid-out conditions.

shopify automated collection conditions product type

As I mentioned before, these conditions can be based on product type, product title, product tag, vendor, price, weight, stock level, compare at price, and variant’s title.

In our post about featuring products on your Shopify homepage, I dig deeper into how you can use automated collections to capture your whole product catalog—setting the product price condition to greater than $0.

You can automate collections based on product types to only show earrings (as in the example above) or bedroom furniture. Or based on pricing less than $50 and with the product tag of “gift” to capture unique collections for bargain gift buyers.

There are so many ways to create your perfect collection. I’ll leave that up to you.

How to add a collection to a page on Shopify

In Shopify, you can add collections to your homepage in two ways—as a featured collection or as a collection list.

Adding featured collections

Featured collections allow you to showcase your products from particular collections on your store’s most visited page in a grid (or a collage, depending on your theme). 

You can add multiple featured collections to your homepage to show off your excellent product line. 

Note that featured collections have a product limit that depends on the theme you are using. Using multiple collections can help you get around these limits when you want to feature your whole catalog on the homepage.

To add featured collections, follow our detailed step-by-step guide to adding all products to your Shopify homepage.

Adding collection lists to Shopify

You can add a collection list to your homepage too. Instead of showing the individual products, this will display blocks that link to your collection pages themselves. 

First, in your Shopify dashboard, go to Online Store > Themes and click Customize on your current theme.

shopify customize current theme

In the theme editor, you’ll automatically be on your homepage. 

On the section menu along the left side, go to the bottom and click Add section. In the menu that pops up, you’ll select Collection list.

shopify debut theme editor homepage
shopify theme editor homepage add collection list

A new section will appear on your page with a heading and three blocks. 

By clicking on one of the Collection options in the menu on the left, you’ll be able to choose the collection you want to add. 

Click Select collection.

shopify homepage editor collection list
collection list select collection

The collections you’ve already created will show up as options. Choose your desired collection and click Select. Repeat this process to fill up all three blocks.

shopify collection add collection to collections list
debut theme editor shopify collection list added

With that, you’ve created a collection list on your homepage that will bring visitors straight to your collection pages (and then on to your product pages). 

To edit the heading for your collection list, click on the section on the left and update the heading as desired.

shopify collection list update heading

How to create a customized collection page with Shogun

It’s easy to make your collection pages do more with the help of Shogun Page Builder

From your Page Builder dashboard, click Add page, go to the Collection tab, search for a collection, and click Import to Shogun.

shogun page builder add page
shogun page builder collection import to shogun

Shogun will pull in your Shopify collection page, and you can start customizing elements in the editor. 

You’ll see empty blocks begging you to “Drop an element here!” Choose your desired elements from the menu on the right and drag them into place. The collection page is your oyster! 

shogun page builder editor drag element

What will you add to your collection pages?

#cta-visual-pb#<cta-title>Start building better collection pages today<cta-title>With Shogun Page Builder, you can create totally customized collection pages that drive conversions.Get started now


How to add collections to Shopify pages with Shogun

You can also add product collections throughout your store by using the Collection element in Page Builder.

Just drag and drop the Collection element where you want it on your page and search for the collection you want to add.

shogun page builder drag collection to any page
choose collection to add to shogun page builder page

Once added, you can edit the columns per row, the number of products, and whether you want it to stack on smaller screens (for a great mobile experience). 

As with other elements on Page Builder, you can also easily edit the look and feel of your collection element by making changes in the Styles tab along the right side of the screen.

shogun page builder edit collection controls
shogun page builder edit collection element styles

Making your store look exactly the way you want is as easy and dragging and dropping the right elements into place.

Get your customers to checkout faster with collections

Create a clear path from homepage to checkout by creating awesome collections that will help your customers find the products they love.

Shopify makes it easy to assemble your perfect set of products into clear collections. Shogun helps you put those collections wherever you like in your store.

#cta-visual-pb#<cta-title>Make your product collection pages look so good<cta-title>With Shogun Page Builder, you can create totally customized collection pages that drive conversions.Get started now

Sean Flannigan

Sean is one of Shogun's tireless content marketers. When he isn't creating exciting ecommerce content, he's probably biking or at the park.