Attributes, attribute groups, and their associations with various Retail entities in Finance and Operations

Important

This topic applies to Dynamics 365 for Retail and Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.

Attributes provide a way to further describe a product and its characteristics through user-defined fields (such as Memory size, Hard disk capacity, Is Energy star compliant, and so on). In Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, attributes can be associated with various Retail entities, such as product categories and retail channels, and default values can be set for them. Products then inherit the attributes and the default values when they are associated with the product categories or retail channels. The default values can be overridden at the individual product level, at the retail channel level, or in a retail catalog.

For example, a typical television product might have the following attributes.

Category Attribute Permissible values Default value
TV & Video Brand Any valid brand value None
TV Screen Size 20–80 inches None
Vertical Resolution 480i, 720p, 1080i, or 1080p 1080p
Screen Refresh Rate 60hz, 120hz, or 240hz 60hz
HDMI Inputs 0–10 3
DVI Inputs 0–10 1
Composite Inputs 0–10 2
Component Inputs 0–10 1
LCD 3D Ready Yes or No Yes
3D Enabled Yes or No No
Plasma Operating Temp From 32–110 degrees 32
Operating Temp To 32–110 degrees 100
Projection Projection Tube Warranty 6, 12, or 18 months 12
# of Projection Tubes 1–5 3

Attributes and attribute types

Attributes are based on attribute types. The attribute type identifies the type of data that can be entered for a specific attribute. Finance and Operations currently supports the following attribute types:

  • Currency – This type supports a currency value. It can be bounded (that is, it can support a range of values), or it can be left open.
  • DateTime – This type supports a date and time value. It can be bounded or left open.
  • Decimal – This type supports a numerical value that includes decimal places. It also supports a unit of measure. It can be bounded or left open.
  • Integer – This type supports a numerical value. It also supports a unit of measure. It can be bounded or left open.
  • Text – This type supports a text value. It also supports a predefined set of possible values (that is, an enumeration).
  • Boolean – This type supports a binary value (true or false).
  • Reference – This type references other attributes.

Set up attribute types in Finance and Operations

  1. Sign in to the Finance and Operations back-office client as a retail merchandising manager.

  2. Go to Product information management > Setup > Categories and attributes > Attribute types.

  3. Create two attribute types of the Text type, set the Fixed list option to Yes, and then add a list of values:

    • Name one attribute type Lens shape, and add the following values: Oval, Square, and Rectangle.
    • Name the other attribute type Sunglass brand, and add the following values: Ray ban, Aviator, and Oakley.

Attribute types

Set up an attribute in Finance and Operations

  1. Sign in to the back-office client as a retail merchandising manager.
  2. Go to Product information management > Setup > Categories and attributes > Attributes.
  3. Create an attribute that is named Lens.
  4. Set the Attribute type field to Lens shape.

Attributes

Attribute metadata

Attribute metadata lets you select options to specify how the attributes for each product should behave. For example, you can specify whether attributes are required, whether they can be used for searches, and whether they can be used as a filter.

For retail products, the attribute metadata settings can be overridden at the channel level. This capability will be discussed later in this topic.

As you might notice, the Attributes page includes options that are related to attribute metadata. Under Attribute metadata for POS, one option that is named "Can be refined" affects the behavior of the attribute values in the retail point of sale (POS) or the way that the system handles those attribute values. Only attributes for which you may set the "Can be refined" option to "Yes", will show up for refinement or filtering of products in the retail POS.

Here are the remaining attribute metadata options on the Attributes page:

  • Searchable
  • Retrievable
  • Can be queried
  • Sortable
  • Allow multiple values
  • Ignore case and format
  • Complete match

These options were originally intended to improve the search functionality for the online storefront. Although Finance and Operations doesn't include the online storefront out of the box, it does include the eCommerce Publishing Software Development Kit (SDK). Customers can use this SDK to put products into a search index of their choice. Although the product data is imported, customers should still be able to distinguish searchable data, data that can be queried, and so on. In that way, they can build an optimal index to make sure that they index only attributes that, in their opinion, should be indexed.

For information about the purpose of these remaining options, see Overview of the search schema in SharePoint Server 2013.

Filter settings for attributes

Filter settings for attributes let you define how the filters for attributes are shown in the retail POS. To access the filter settings for an attribute, on the Attributes page in Finance and Operations, select the attribute, and then, on the Action Pane, select Filter settings.

The Filter display preferences page includes the following fields:

  • Name – By default, this field is set to the name of the attribute. However, you can change the value.

  • Display option – The following options are available:

    • Single value – This option is available for the following attribute types: Boolean, Currency, Decimal, Integer, and Text. This option enables single value selection for these attributes in the client for refinement.
    • Multi value – This option is available for the following attribute types: Currency, Decimal, Integer, and Text. This option enables multi-value selection for this attribute in the client for refinement.
  • Display control – The following options are available:

    • List – This option is available for the all attribute types.
    • Range – This option is available for the following attribute types: Currency, Decimal, and Integer.
    • Slider – This option is available for the following attribute types: Currency, Decimal, and Integer.
    • Slider with bars – This option is available for the following attribute types: Currency, Decimal, and Integer.
  • Threshold value – This setting is required if you selected Range as the display control type. You can define values by using a semicolon (;) as a delimiter.

    For example, for the filter like Bag Volume, a threshold value can be 10; 20; 50; 100; 200; 500; 1000; 5000. In this case, the retail POS will show the following ranges. Any ranges that don't have any products in the result set will appear dimmed.

    • Less than 10
    • 10 – 20
    • 20 – 50
    • 50 – 100
    • 100 – 200
    • 200 – 500
    • 500 or more

Attribute filter settings

Attribute groups

After attributes have been defined, they can be assigned to attribute groups. An attribute group is used to group the individual attributes for a component or subcomponent in a product configuration model. An attribute can be included in more than one attribute group. Attribute groups can help users configure products, because the various selections are arranged in a specific context. Attribute groups can be assigned to retail categories or retail channels.

You can also set default values for attributes that are included in an attribute group. For example, you add an attribute for color to an attribute group and select Blue as the default attribute value. In this case, when the attribute group is added to a retail product that includes color as one of its attributes, Blue appears as the default color for that product.

Attribute groups

Create an attribute group

  1. Sign in to the back-office client as a retail merchandising manager.
  2. Go to Product information management > Setup > Categories and attributes > Attribute groups.
  3. Create an attribute group that is named Fashion Sunglasses.
  4. Add the following attributes: Lens shape and Sunglass brand.

Assign attribute groups to retail categories

One or more attribute groups can be associated with category nodes in the following types of retail category hierarchies: Retail product hierarchy, Channel navigation category hierarchy, and Supplemental product category hierarchy. Then, when products are categorized, they inherit the attributes that are included in the attribute groups.

Retail product hierarchy – Product attribute groups

Follow these steps to assign attribute groups to categories in the Retail product hierarchy.

  1. Sign in to the back-office client as a retail merchandising manager.

  2. Go to Retail > Category and product management > Retail product hierarchy.

  3. Select Fashion navigation hierarchy.

  4. Under Menswear, select the Pants category, and then, on the Product attribute groups FastTab, add an attribute group that is named Men's belt.

  5. Select the Fashion sunglasses category, and verify the new attributes in the Fashion Sunglasses attribute group by selecting View attributes.

    The attribute group should show the new Lens shape and Sunglass brand attributes.

  6. Under Menswear, select the Pants category, and verify the attributes for the Men's belt attribute group by selecting View attributes.

    The attribute group should show the Men's belt brand, Belt fabric, and Belt size attributes.

Note

This procedure can also be used to assign attribute groups to categories in the Channel navigation category hierarchy and the Supplemental product category hierarchy. In step 2, use the following navigation paths:

  • Retail > Category and product management > Channel navigation categories
  • Retail > Category and product management > Supplemental product categories

Assign attribute groups to retail stores

One or more attribute groups can be associated with one or more retail stores in the retail store hierarchy. Then, when products are enriched for specific retail stores, they inherit the attributes that are included in the attribute groups.

  1. Sign in to the back-office client as a retail merchandising manager.

  2. Go to Retail > Channel setup > Channel categories and product attributes.

  3. Assign attribute groups to the Houston channel:

    1. Select the Houston channel.

    2. On the Attribute group FastTab, select Add, and then, in the Name field, select SharePointProvisionedProductAttributeGroup.

    3. Select Add again, and then, in the Name field, select Men's belt.

    4. Select Add again, and then, in the Name field, select Fashion Sunglasses.

      Note

      An option lets you specify that this channel should inherit the attribute groups from its parent channel in the hierarchy. If you set the Inherit option to Yes, the child channel node inherits all the attribute groups and all the attributes in those attribute groups.

  4. Enable the attributes so that they are available in the Houston channel:

    1. On the Action Pane, select Set attribute metadata.
    2. Select the Fashion category node, and then, on the Channel product attributes FastTab, select Include attribute for each attribute.
    3. Select the Fashion Accessories category node, select the Fashion Sunglasses category, and then, on the Channel product attributes FastTab, select Include attribute for each attribute.
    4. Select the Menswear category node, select the Pants category, and then, on the Channel product attributes FastTab, select Include attribute for each attribute.

Channel categories and product attributes – Attribute groups

Overriding attribute values

The default values of attributes can be overridden for individual products at the product level. Default values can also be overridden for individual products in specific catalogs that are targeted at specific retail channels.

Override the attribute values of an individual product

  1. Sign in to the back-office client as a retail merchandising manager.
  2. Go to Retail > Category and product management > Released products by category.
  3. Select the Fashion > Fashion Accessories > Fashion Sunglasses category node.
  4. Select the required product in the grid. Then, on the Action Pane, on the Product tab, in the Set up group, select Product attributes.
  5. Select an attribute in the left pane, and then update its value in the right pane.

Product details page – Product attribute groups

Override the attribute values of products in a catalog

  1. Sign in to the back-office client as a retail merchandising manager.

  2. Go to Retail > Catalog management > All catalogs.

  3. Select the Fabrikam Base Catalog catalog.

  4. Select the Fashion > Fashion Accessories > Fashion Sunglasses category node.

  5. On the Products FastTab, select the required product, and then select Attributes above the product grid.

  6. On the following FastTabs, update the values of the required attributes:

    • Shared product media

    • Shared product attributes

    • Channel media

    • Channel product attributes

      Note

      If shared product media and shared product attributes are created in Finance and Operations, they apply to all the retail products.

Catalog product attribute groups

Override the attribute values of products in a channel

  1. Sign in to the back-office client as a retail merchandising manager.

  2. Go to Retail > Channel setup > Channel categories and product attributes.

  3. Select the Houston channel.

  4. On the Products FastTab, select the required product, and then select Attributes above the product grid.

    Note

    If no products are available, add products by selecting Add on the Products FastTab and then selecting the required products in the Add products dialog box.

  5. On the following FastTabs, update the values of the required attributes:

    • Shared product media

    • Shared product attributes

    • Channel media

    • Channel product attributes

      Note

      If shared product media and shared product attributes are created in Finance and Operations, they apply to all the retail products.