Based on the scope at which they are applied, product attributes can be classified into three types: product-specific attributes, product class attributes and global attributes.

Product-specific attributes are attributes that are configured on the level of specific products, like attributes for the product “Womens’ Tailored Dot Shirt”. 

Product class attributes are attributes that are configured on the level of a specific product class and can be assigned to any product belonging to this product class - like attributes for the product class “Apparel”.

Global attributes are attributes that can be assigned to any or all the products in your store.

When you decide to set up some attributes for a product, you need to consider what product properties may be important to buyers and to decide whether these properties are characteristic only of this particular product or of some other products in your store as well. This will help you to decide which type of attribute you will need to configure.

For example, if you sell t-shirts, you may benefit from setting up such attributes as “Size” (S, M, L, XL), “Color” (black, white, red, etc), “Fabric” (“100% cotton”, “57% Cotton, 43% Tencel®”, “rayon”, etc) and the like. If t-shirts are the only type of products you sell, you should consider setting up the aforementioned attributes as global; this way you will be able to use them for any SKU in your store. If, besides t-shirts, you sell other types of products (for example, bags), the attributes “Size”, “Color” and “Fabric” may not quite fit these other products. For example, size is a an important characteristic of a bag, but your customers are sure to find it much more useful if you write out the dimensions of each bag in inches or centimeters than just use the clothing-style sizes S, M, L and XL. Similarly to this, bags may be made not only of fabric, but also of leather, suede, plastic, straw and other materials that may not be called just “fabric”, but rather “material”. So in this case you should consider setting up a separate product class for each type of your products (for example, “Apparel” for t-shirts and “Bags” for bags) and go with separate sets of attributes for each of them (for example, “Size”, “Color” and “Fabric” for the product class “Apparel”, and “Bag type”, “Material” and “Dimensions” for “Bags”). 

Then, if one of your products has a property not found in any other products in your store, you should add the respective attribute on the level of  this specific product. For example, if you have a single t-shirt style with embroidery, whereas all the rest of the t-shirts you sell are not embroidered, you can specify what types of embroidery motifs are available for this t-shirt by configuring a product-specific attribute just for this very t-shirt style; for example, “Embroidery” (“Butterfly”, “Flower”, etc).

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