Each schema can be broken down into a hierarchy of subclasses, which is referred to as the taxonomy. A taxonomy allows you to organise a product family into a hierarchy of classes and specify which attributes are applicable at each point in that hierarchy. In order to set up the taxonomy within a schema, attributes must already have been created in the system.
A product may exist in only one subclass within the taxonomy. The subclass defines the attributes applicable to any product at that level. All taxonomy subclasses must have the attributes in the default attribute set applied - these are applied as standard and cannot be removed.
Whilst a product can only sit at one level within a schema taxonomy hierarchy, it can be assigned to any number of categories to enable sorting and filtering. The way that products are organised within a taxonomy is often quite different to the way that this is organised on a store website or catalogue. Taxonomies group together products which share similar attributes, whereas categories make products easier to locate.
As an example, the schemas and taxonomies for a department store could be organised as follows:
However, a pair of men's formal shoes could be linked to a number of different categories, as follows:
This allows products with completely different attributes to be sorted together, for example men's formal suits, shoes, shirts and ties.