Understanding the Dynamics 365 Product Catalog | Introduction

This is Part 1 of a 5 Part series on the Dynamics 365 for Sales Product Catalog

What is a Product Catalog? The Dynamics 365 Product Catalog is much more than a catalog of products. It is a group of sales settings that dictate what is sold and in what quantities. It determines the discounts and currencies in which products are sold. And it defines different lists of products that may have different sales amounts for different types of customers. This will make more sense as we progress through this blog series, but suffice it to say, that setting up a Product Catalog should be a thoughtful and tailored process for your organization.

Microsoft provides documentation on Setting Up a Product Catalog. These instructions will walk you through all the steps.

The emphasis in this series is to understand the Product Catalog, how it’s put together, and how setup affects how products can be used in Dynamics 365 (D365).

The Product Catalog contains the following:

Throughout the Understanding the Product Catalog series, we will discuss the following concepts:

  • Product Catalog items listed above
  • Currency and its importance
  • Opportunity, Quote, Order, Invoice and their relationship to the Product Catalog

I will not cover the following concepts as they pertain to the Product Catalog:

  • Field Service
  • Project Service Automation (PSA)
  • Product Relationships
  • Product Properties (Sales Hub)
  • Subjects
  • Sales Collateral

During the course of this series, I will use screenshots, instructions, and concepts for the 9.1.0000.10743 Wave 2 Enabled D365 version.

Business Scenario

To help us walk through the various concepts, I will use the following business scenario, all of which is fictional.

I have started a new business, named C3O.  It stands for Cheese, Crackers, Chocolate & Other.

I sell products in the following quantities:

  • Cracker (of different types) – each, pack, box, pallet
  • Cheese, block – each, box, pallet [not weight]
  • Cheese, cubes – weight (in store only)
  • Cheese, cubes – bag, box, pallet (in store and shipping)
  • Cheese cutter – each, set, box, pallet
  • Cutting board – each, box, pallet
  • Cheese-making training videos – each, set

I sell products in the following families:

  • Cheese
  • Crackers
  • Chocolate
  • Displays
  • Parties
  • Training

I sell products in the following bundles:

  • Cheese and Cracker Bundle
  • Samples and Display Bundle
  • Party and Display Bundle

I sell services:

  • Displays
  • Parties
  • Training

I provide the following discounts:

  • Percentage discounts on all crackers in box and pallet Units
  • Amount discounts on all blocks of cheese in pallet Units
  • End of year percentage discounts on all cubes of cheese
  • Percentage discounts on all parties and displays for Corporate and Platinum members

My customers:

  • In-store customers
  • Online customers
  • Corporate members (Hotels, Restaurants, Vacation Cruises, etc.)
  • Government
  • Platinum members (they get one free party a year, marketing, special deals, etc.)
  • I do not sell to resellers

Key Focus Items

There are so many Product Catalog components to consider, but we will pay particular attention to:

  • Unit
  • Currency
  • Amount
  • Percentage
  • Price
  • Cost

For the most part, we will follow the money and what affects the final purchasing amount for your products, not including sales tax, exchange rates, shipping costs, and other non-Product Catalog related items. We will discover what fields have a significant impact on how Products are consumed, and which fields are required, seemingly optional, or optional. We will explore the relationships between the Product Catalog entities (record types) as well as what entities are independent or dependent on others. And we will understand some of the limitations and/or ramifications with how the Product Catalog is set up.

Questions to Answer

Before moving to the Part 2 of the series, Understanding the Product Catalog – Unit Groups and Units, there are a handful of questions we need to ask about our new business.

In particular, we need to ask the following questions:

  1. In what quantities will I sell my products/services (individual, pack, box, pallet, etc.)?
  2. Will I sell products/services at different amounts/prices based on region?
  3. Will I sell products/services at different amounts/prices based on sales promotions?
  4. Who are my customers?
  5. Will I sell products/services at different amounts/prices based on customer type?
    1. Examples are:
      1. Retail, Wholesale, Reseller, Online, Government
      2. Corporate, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze
      3. Executive, Business, Gold Star
      4. Standard, Premium, Signature
      5. Gold
  1. Will I sell products/services at different amounts/prices based on number of products purchased?
  2. Will I discount amounts/prices by percentage (10%) or actual amount ($5.00 USD)?
  3. Will I sell products/services with different currencies?

Some of these questions have already been answered in the Business Scenario. The remaining will be answered as we work through the series.

Containers

The last section in this article will cover a basic yet overlooked concept that will assist in understanding the characteristics and operation of the Product Catalog: containers.

My dad had an unusual sense of humor. I remember one holiday where he executed the classic gift trick. He gift-wrapped a large box, set with a ribbon and bow. When my mom opened that box, expecting to see a present inside, instead she pulled out another box, also wrapped in holiday wrapping. This repeated several times until she landed on the actual surprise.

I will use this analogy to help us understand certain elements of the Product Catalog. There are several entities, or record types, that perform much like the first big gift-wrapped box: it is a container for other more important items. It’s important in and of itself but not as important.

Review this diagram:

Product-Catalog

The diagram above illustrates six of the Product Catalog entities and their relationships to each other. Unit Group, Discount List, and Price List are containers. They are important, but the contents play a much bigger role when considering the Product Catalog.

Unit, Discount, and Price List Item are the contents of those containers, and they hold critical data to determine in what quantities products may be sold, levels of Discounts may be applied, and pricing methods will be followed.

Coming up next in the Product Catalog blog series is Unit Groups and Units. If you have any questions about Dynamics 365 for Sales, please connect with us.

Dynamics 365 CE (CRM) How-To eGuide

41 pages of step-by-step instructions for 6 different key tasks in Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CRM). Includes interactions with PowerApps and Flow!

Get the eGuide

Dynamics 365 CE (CRM) How-To eGuide

Get the eGuide