Explore channel management concepts

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Channel types

Dynamics 365 Commerce supports three different channel types:

  • Store

  • Call center

  • Online

Store channels

A store channel represents standard brick-and-mortar stores. Each store can have its own defined set of point of sale (POS) registers, cash management rules, and staff configurations.

Call center channels

Call center channels represent the traditional inbound call center and customer service tooling needed by organizations to support taking new orders as well as servicing existing orders that may have been created by the Store or Online channels.

Online channels

Online channels represent online e-commerce storefronts. Once an online channel is created, a site must be created by using the Dynamics 365 Commerce Site Builder tool or other third-party e-commerce solution.

Channel setup basics

Channel setup is performed in the Commerce Headquarters application. Each channel can have its own payment methods, price groups, product hierarchies, assortments, and set of products. After you create a channel, you assign the products that you want it to carry and sell at that channel by creating product assortments. Certain channel types have a unique set of features that may need to be configured. For example, a Store channel needs to have assigned employees, registers, and customers address books. Once a new channel is created, it needs to be assigned to an organization hierarchy.

To learn more about setting up a channel, use the links in the Summary and resources unit at the end of this module.

Commerce hierarchies

You can create a category hierarchy to organize and group the products you sell through your channels in a logical way. You can then use these categorized product groups to not only organize your products for marketing purposes, but to also more efficiently and quickly create product assortments or special product discounts or loyalty promotions for a group of products. You can also assign product attributes and properties by category to make product setup easier, and you can use the product categories as a grouping mechanism for various system reports.

Three types of category hierarchies are available in Dynamics 365 Commerce:

  • Product hierarchy: Use this hierarchy type to define the overall product hierarchy for your organization. You can use this hierarchy type for merchandising, pricing and promotions, reporting, and assortment planning. Only one product hierarchy can be assigned this hierarchy type.

  • Supplemental hierarchy: Use this hierarchy type for any additional category hierarchies that you want to create. For example, in the spring, you have a promotion for swimwear. Therefore, you include your swimwear products in a separate “spring” category hierarchy and apply the promotional pricing to the various product categories.

  • Navigation hierarchy: Use this hierarchy type to group and organize products into categories as you want for them to be shown when customers or store employees are browsing for products in the online or store channels. For example, for your merchandising team, you may have categories for all shirts under a single "shirt" category in your product hierarchy, but when selling online, you want to categorize and group these products into a more refined set of grouping, such as “t-shirts,” “polo shirts” and “dress shirts.”

By using a category hierarchy to structure your products, you can save time when setting up and maintaining product attributes and properties at the category level. These attributes and properties include settings for product dimensions and POS settings. Any products that you assign to the categories automatically inherit the attributes and properties that you define. For example, if you define the "shirt" category to default to the size/color product dimension, then all new products created under this category will inherit that product dimension trait (although the user can modify and change settings on the individual item level when needed). You can also quickly copy any updates to property settings for any product to all the products in the selected category at the same time.