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Introducing items

This introduction provides an overview of the item structure in plentymarkets.

1. What is an item?

In the plentymarkets item structure, an item is a data container that consists of global data and at least one main variation. The global data applies to all variations of the item and are referred to as item data or data that is saved on the item level.

Item data:

  • Global settings (condition, manufacturer, age rating, etc.)

  • Texts (name, descriptions, technical data, etc.)

  • Characteristics (old properties)

  • Cross-selling settings

Every item has a main variation that cannot be deleted. In addition, items can have an unlimited number of additional variations. The data saved for variation also is referred to as variation data. Variation data is saved for each variation separately, i.e. on the variation level.

Variation data:

  • Images

  • Market availability

  • Sales prices

  • Barcodes

  • Units

  • Warehouses

  • Stock

  • Categories

  • Suppliers

  • Properties

Figure 1 shows a schematic representation of the item structure in plentymarkets.

item structure
Figure 1. plentymarkets item structure

2. What is a variation?

Variations are different versions of an item. Whereas items are data containers, variations represent the actual products that customers can buy. Items are used to group and manage variations with similar characteristics. In plentymarkets, you can create variations either based on different variations of unit and content or by working with attributes:

Variation Example

Combination of unit/content

Variations differ from each other in terms of quantity and unit only
- Soap: 100ml, 250ml, 500ml

Combination of attribute values

Variations can be distinguished from each other based on other attribute values, i.e.
- Couch: Colour (red, black, brown) = 1 attribute
- Quilt: Colour (yellow, green), Size (Single, Double) = 2 attributes
- Shoes: Colour (black, brown), Size (5, 6, 7), Width (narrow, normal) = 3 attributes

Creating variations is optional. If your product portfolio does not lend itself to grouping products with similar characteristics, you do not need to create variations. However, rember that even if you do not create variations, because items are not sellable products, your product is still equivalent to the main variation, not to the item itself. The main variation can either be a sellable product or can be virtual. A virtual main variation is used to manage the other variations of the item using the inheritance feature.

3. How does inheritance work?

The main variation of an item differs from the other variations of an item because some of its settings can be passed on, i.e. inherited, to the other variations. As such, the main variation is a parent variation that passes on settings to its children. By default, this inheritance function is active. When a new variation is created for an item, this variation inherits the inheritable settings of the main variation by default if no other data is saved.

There are two types of inheritance in plentymarkets:

  • Individual inheritance

  • 1-to-n inheritance

Both types of inheritance are described in more detail below.

3.1. Individual inheritance

Individual inheritance means that one setting is passed from the main variation to the variation. The following settings are inherited individually:

  • Availability settings

    • Availability

    • Available if net stock is positive

    • Not available if net stock is 0 or negative

    • Store: visible if net stock is positive

    • Store: invisible if net stock is 0 or negative

    • Invisible: in item list

  • Dimensions

    • Length/Width/Height

    • Weight gross

    • Weight net

    • Show unit price

  • Costs

    • VAT

    • Net purchase price

    • Net transportation costs

    • Net storage costs

    • Customs

    • Operating costs

  • Shipping

    • Order picking

    • Main warehouse

    • Pallet type

    • Packing units

    • Extra shipping charge 1

    • Extra shipping charge 2

3.2. 1-to-n inheritance

1-to-n inheritance means that the variation either inherits the complete data set for a setting or none of those settings. The following settings are inherited in their entirety:

  • Sales prices

  • Categories

  • Suppliers

  • Warehouses

  • Markets

  • Client availability

The 1-to-n inheritance is deactivated automatically if at least one of the inherited values is changed for the variation or if a new value is added to the variation. When you deactivate the inheritance, the inherited settings are saved at the variation level. If you reactivate inheritance, the settings saved for the variation are deleted and replaced with the main variation’s settings.

3.3. Controlling inheritance behaviour

When a variation is created, it will inherit settings from the main variation. If you want to use different settings for the variation, then you will need to deactivate the inheritance function for the variation and carry out new settings.

Table 1 shows the different types of variation settings that can be inherited. The table lists the visual appearance, the behaviour and the process for deactivating the inheritance.

Table 1. Inheritance settings
Type of setting Display Deactivation

Drop-down list

The first value in the drop-down list represents the one set for the main variation. Inherited values are displayed in grey font. Empty fields can also be inherited.

Inheritance is deactivated as soon as you select a value that differs from the main variation.


Inherited check boxes can have three states:
Activated = Check mark
Deactivated = No check mark
Inherited = Red and crossed out with additional check box showing the main variation’s setting

Click on the crossed out check mark to deactivate inheritance.

Text field

Inherited values are displayed in grey font. Empty fields can also be inherited.

Inheritance is automatically deactivated if a text field is cleared, filled with text or if the inherited content is edited.
If you want to have an empty value in the variation, you need to leave the field blank in the main variation and manage this data on the variation level instead.

Text fields with 1:n links

Inherited values are displayed in grey font.
Either all or none of the data is inherited. It is not possible to only inherit some of the data.

Use the button in the header area to deactivate the inheritance.
The inheritance is automatically deactivated if a value is changed or added to the variation. Unchanged values are inherited and saved directly for the variation. If the inheritance is activated again, then all of the values will be deleted and taken from the main variation again.

3.4. Inheritance when the main variation is switched

You can turn a different variation of an item into the main variation. The inheritable values of the new main variation are compared to the values of the other variations of the item. When you switch the main variation, all values are saved and the following inheritance logic is applied:

  • For values that are identical to the values of the new main variation, inheritance is activated automatically.

  • Values that are not identical to those of the new main variation are saved with the variation, i.e. inheritance is not activated.

4. What is linked data?

To make item management more flexible, some data is managed centrally in the Setup » Settings » Item menu and then linked to items or variations. This allows you to centrally manage this data, reducing your administrative work. The following data is managed centrally:

  • Categories

  • Units

  • Attributes

  • Properties

  • Characteristics

  • Shipping profiles

  • Manufacturers

  • Barcodes

  • Suppliers

  • Sales prices

The most important types of linked data are described below.

4.1. Categories

Categories are used to group products in the online store. Variations can be linked to an unlimited number of categories. However, a default category must be specified when an item is created. You can change the default category at any time. However, a variation must always have a default category.

4.2. Units

Units define the content of variations. These units are managed centrally. The units are linked to the variation and a quantity is saved. There are 52 units saved in plentymarkets by default. These units are based on the ISO code. However, additional units can be saved in the Setup » Item » Units menu.

4.3. Attribute

Attributes allow you to abstract and centrally manage product features. You can create an unlimited number of attributes in the Setup » Item » Attributes. For each attribute, you also can create an unlimited number of attribute values. As described above, these attributes can be used to create variations.

4.4. Properties/characteristics

Products can have several passive characteristics that are not used to create variations of an item. With properties and characteristics, you can highlight features of products, e.g. technical details such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, etc. Properties and characteristics are not linked to stock.

  • Characteristics are linked to items. As such, they apply to all variations of the item. Characteristics are being phased out and replaced by properties.
    Tip: Characteristics also used to be called properties but have now been renamed to distinguish them from the new variation properties.

  • Properties are linked to variations. Properties are a new feature in plentymarkets.

Table 2. Properties/characteristics in plentymarkets
Type Explanation


No property type


Allows you to enter a whole number for the item or variation, e.g. a size.

Decimal number

Allows you to enter a number with decimal places for the item or variation, e.g. a measurement.


Allows you to enter text for the item or variation.


Creates a selection list.


Allows you to upload a file for the item or variation.

4.5. Shipping profiles

Shipping profiles contain the shipping options that are offered in you online store. Shipping profiles are managed centrally and linked to items. No shipping profile is linked by default when you create an item. Activate at least one shipping profile per item. Otherwise the shipping costs may not be calculated correctly.

As such, the shipping costs of a variation are based on the shipping profile that is linked to the item. However, to allow you to charge higher shipping costs for large or bulky products, you can define extra shipping charges for a variation. These extra shipping charges only are applied if the option Item extra shipping charge is activated in the shipping profile.

4.6. Manufacturers

Manufacturer data also is managed centrally in the plentymarkets settings and linked to items. The central manufacturer data record contains the name, contact data and market specific IDs for the manufacturer.

Some manufacturers charge commissions when you sell their products via certain channels. To account for this, you can save a commission percentage for a manufacturer. Commissions are saved based on client and referrer.

4.7. Sales prices

plentymarkets price management is very flexible. A distinction is made between sales prices and prices. In this section, you can find out more about this concept and the ways that you can offer discounts to your customers in plentymarkets.

4.7.1. What is a sales price?

Like items, sales prices are data containers that allow you to centrally manage the characteristics to be applied to a price. As such, a sales price is a combination of settings and conditions that determine the price at which a variation is sold.

4.7.2. What is a price?

In contrast to this abstract concept of a sales price, the price is the actual monetary amount at which a variation is sold if the conditions defined by the sales price are met. You can assign an unlimited number of sales price to a variation. To do so, you first link a sales price to the variation. For each sales price, you then save a price for the variation. This price is applied, i.e. the customer can buy the variation at that price, if the conditions defined for the sales price are met.

By default, the combinations of sales price and price are passed on from the main variation to the other variations of the item. In other words, all variations of an item are assigned the same combination of sales price and price if the user does not save any other data for the variation. Inheritance of all sales prices of the variation is deactivated as soon as a setting that differs from the inherited values is saved for the variation. When inheritance is reactivated, all sales prices and prices saved for the variation are replaced by the inherited values.

4.7.3. What discounts are available?

The prices of a variation saved in plentymarkets can be influences by the following additional settings in other plentymarkets modules:

  • Discount based on the payment method

  • Category discount

  • Customer class discount

  • Redeeming a coupon

4.7.4. What is a price calculation?

Price calculations allow you to update the prices of variations automatically based on specific criteria. Price calculations will automatically be taken into account for saved prices of a variation.

Price calculations are saved in the Settings » Item » Price calculations menu. The following data saved for the variation can be included in a price calculation:

By applying the price calculation, the sales price specified as the Price source is changed. The following costs can be added to this source price:

Transportation costs = The transportation costs saved for the variation are added to the source price.
Storage costs = The storage costs saved for the variation are added to the source price.
Customs = The customs costs saved for the variation are added to the source price.
Operating costs = The operating costs saved for the variation are added to the source price.
VAT = The VAT saved for the variation is added to the source price.

Price source and additional costs are now linked to selected sales prices. By selecting specific combinations of client (store), referrer, operator and operand you can create very specific price calculations.

The centrally managed price calculations are linked to products at the variation level. If inheritance is active, these prices are passed from the main variation to the other variations of the item as normal.

When a price calculation is linked to a variation, a manufacturer commission also is added if the conditions defined for this commission apply.

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