Shopify Smart Collections: Confusion, Followed By Resolution

By Cesar Beltran

After staring at the screen and saying some inappropriate words for a couple of hours, I learned something new about Shopify’s Smart Collections today: They use the ‘and’ operator, not ‘or’. If you want your products to go into a Smart Collection, you need to target them with specific tags or vendors, not try and lump them all together like I did.

Even as a developer, this had me stumped for some time.

A Concrete Example: Smart Collection Confusion

Let’s pretend we want a Smart Collection called “Blue T-Shirts”.  I wanted to capture all the product tags related to blue T-shirts.  This is what I did:

The product tag is equal to light-blue-shirt + Product tag is equal to dark-blue-shirt


But it produced nothing.  The products didn’t get added to my smart collection, and I was stumped.

Why?  No products will go into your collection, because this tells Shopify

“Give me products that have the product tag ‘light-blue-shirt’ and ‘dark-blue-shirt'”.

There probably won’t be such products in your collection, because a shirt can’t be both light blue and dark blue.  Silly Tristan.

Prior to this experiment, I’d thought it would put both blue-shirt and dark-blue-shirt into the collection, but it doesn’t.

How Do We Solve This?

What we really need for “Blue T-Shirts” is an operator that is both simpler and smarter:


This will catch both dark-blue-shirt and light-blue-shirt.

You could also use the product title (as long as your blue shirts have “Blue Shirt” in the title), or vendor if they’re by the same vendor.  Just don’t use mutually exclusive operators like I did in the beginning.

Is This A Flaw In Shopify’s Design?

I don’t think it is.  I think this is a clever way to do it because it allows you to drill down to very specific criteria.  Developers like me just need to pick up on their correct usage more quickly 😉
I hope this article saves you a headache or two in working out Shopify‘s smart collections.
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Comments 4

  1. Thank you! I understand a little bit more but still trying to figure our how to layout my products. It is confusing :-/

  2. You are a life saver! I’ve been going crazy trying to work this out without having a million tags on each page. My site is now neat, clean and highly practical. Cheers!! 🙂

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