One of the commonly used features of Shopify is its ability to add custom information to various entities of the store using a special feature called meta fields. Metafields allow store owners to put additional data that is specific to store to products, product variants, orders, and customers.
Additionally, third-party apps can add data to meta fields that are specific to the app.
Furthermore, Shopify provides amazing API to manage meta fields, with API you can manage fields for each entity and set values of fields.
For example, order meta fields can contain information such as expected Delivery Date and Time, Delivery method, Referral Identifier, and so on.
Products and product variants can also have meta fields that contain information like Supplier Code, Internal Product Group, or Model Year.
Customers can also have meta fields that contain data about Birthday, Related Affiliate Identifier, or Code of Customer Segment.
Metafields also widely increase opportunities for creating reports that are specific to e-commerce or business needs.
There are three main types of Shopify reports that can be built using meta fields:
Meta fields can be used to view orders pending delivery with a delivery time stored in the meta fields and so on.
All kinds of sales reports are grouped or filtered by meta field. Meta fields add a finished or completed look to reports. It's much easier to operate information if all values are in one sheet.
A large variety of reports extends with meta fields. Like product performance by the supplier or products to re-stock with supplier and supplier code.
To export customer lists for email campaigns filtered by meta fields or calculate affiliate commission, where affiliate code is the customer’ meta field.
Since meta fields are unique for each store, you just need to add a new column to your reports with the required ACE expression.
In most cases, the ACE expression syntax for meta-fields is:
JSONPATH(products.meta_fields, "custom.supplier_code") JSONPATH(orders.meta_fields, "custom.delivery_date")
Additionally, you can apply any data transformation expression to the field value.
For example, convert string to date to use calendar filter by delivery date:
Omit unwanted characters to transform values to the identical representation form:
SUBSTITUTE(LOWER(JSONPATH(products.meta_fields, "general.sku")), "-", "")
You can find more details on how to use JSONPATH in the manual. Once the new column is added, it can be used across all built-in reports or with new reports.
Shopify meta fields allow add useful information to your reports or create new reports with that fields.
A product performance report with supplier information shows the performance of each product (or product variants) in terms of sales, along with information about the suppliers (meta field).
This type of report can be used to identify the best or worst-performing products in relation to the supplier.
The report also can be extended with additional columns, like the cost of goods sold (COGS), gross profit or margin, last purchase date, or percent from total sales. The report can help you optimize pricing policy and supplier relationships.Live example of Shopify Product Performance Report
In that report we add 2 additional meta fields:
Also, variation of built-in Inventory On Hand reports with supplier information:Inventory On Hand
A sales report with a breakdown by the supplier shows the total sales for each supplier, total cost, and profit/margin per supplier. This type of report can be useful for identifying which suppliers are the most profitable to a store, and for identifying changes in sales for each supplier over time.
Additionally, this report can be used as a step to optimizing the supplier chain: identify suppliers, identify best-selling/worst-selling products by supplier, and make decisions.Breakdown by the supplier
An alternative to using meta fields for assigning information to entities in Shopify, such as orders, customers, products, and variants, is to use tags. Shopify provides the ability to assign tags to these entities, making it a universal solution for categorizing information.
In some cases, tags may be preferred over meta fields for assigning information.
For example, if the number of possible tag values is limited ( such as the supplier name having only a few dozen variations, but the supplier code/SKU not being suitable for tags)
Additionally, if you need to import/export information using built-in Shopify features, tags may be a better option as they can be easily exported and imported.
Another scenario where tags may be preferred is when the number of different types of information is small.
In terms of creating reports, there is not a significant difference in using meta fields or tags as the value. Both can be used to build reports, and the choice depends on the specific requirements and uses case.
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