Websphere Commerce provides two different catalog structures; the Master Catalog and Sales Catalog.
The master catalog serves primarily to keep similar products in the same category so that promotion setup becomes very easy and maintainable. All category identifiers for categories in the master catalog have to start with “M_”. The master catalog can be managed from Accelerator via Products > Catalog Management.
The sales catalog contains all the navigation structure that is presented to the customer. All category identifiers for categories in the master catalog have to start with “S_”. The sales catalog can be managed from Accelerator via Products > Sales Catalogs. There can be multiple sales catalogs, however, only one of them can be used at a time.
Every product must be assigned to a category in the master catalog. If we want customers to be able to browse to a product, it must also be assigned in the sales catalog to a category.
Categories in the Master Catalog:
Categories in the master catalog are mainly used to group similar product. This allows for easier setup and maintenance of promotions. A Product is grouped by the company that owns the product and is then further structured by product type to distinguish between for instance cameras and camcorders. Further subdivision is used to differentiate between main models and accessories.