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I'm looking to incorporate a product catalog into a client's website. I need the product display functionality in terms of being able to display a grid of categories with thumbnails, then browse each one and have the option to add subcategories, and finally a product listing with individual product display.

What I don't need is to sell products online, so anything related to ecommerce is superfluous: prices, stock, cart, checkout.

I'm using Woocommerce because it's very flexible and it handles my catalog needs fine. But there are way too many stock/pricing/selling/shipping options and I'd like to keep the admin as simple as possible for my client to handle their products.

What other options exist out there that may be better suited for this type of application? I tried Googling but seems every single "catalog" plugin is geared to ecommerce. I would've done it with custom post types but I need that ability to browse categories and subcategories and have thumbnails assigned to them.

Edit:

I'm comfortable with custom fields and custom post types and I'd actually prefer using that; what I'm not sure how to achieve is the category/subcategory pages. I'd need to be able to assign images to categories, plus create a three level page system:

  • Catalog index would be a list of categories, with thumbnails.
  • Clicking on a category would take you to another page with a list of its subcategories. Ideally, this page could also show a complete list of items under that category, to be filtered when a user clicks on a subcategory.
  • Finally, when clicking on a subcategory, the products under that subcategory would be displayed in a thumbnail grid.

I hope I'm explaining myself well. Thank you.

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    You can use custom post types, custom taxonomies, and custom fields to build it. Custom post types, so that products have their own menu in the admin and own page in the front end. Create one or more custom taxonomies to organize your products into categories. Create custom fields to add custom content such as images, availability and sizes to the custom post type edit page. – gdaniel Mar 11 '14 at 16:58
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    Can you clarify what would constitute an acceptable answer? What do you need that a custom post type and taxonomy don't already provide? Keep in mind that plugin recommendations are offtopic – Tom J Nowell Mar 11 '14 at 17:18
  • Thanks for your responses. I've edited my question to include new information. – Adrian Pauly Mar 13 '14 at 22:19
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You're practically asking how to build a custom post type and all related templates, specifically made for your needs. You will not get am answer here, unless you break it up in specific questions. But here are some guidelines:

I would go with WooCommerce and add some CSS to hide unneeded areas in the product edit screen. This way, if your client does need to sell at some point, you're good to go.

If not, what you need to do is:

  1. Create a new post type
  2. Create the archive template for the custom post type with if functions to distinguish between taxonomies with subcategories and taxonomies that show products.
  3. Use template parts so that you don't have all scenarios in the same php file.
  4. Create the loops for these template parts, depending on your needs. Add your JS to filter items dynamically where yo need to and so on.
  • Thank you very much and I apologize for my poorly stated question. I ended up just using Woocommerce and disabling everything I didn't need just like you suggested. – Adrian Pauly Dec 1 '14 at 1:26

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