Solution to CMS to allow clients full control...?

Hello fellow CMS-ers. I am desirous for someone to confirm with me that this is a viable option… or see if there are any suggestions on how to do it better…

My problem: The CMS cannot house categories with sub categories inside of them… My work around is to build the entire database of shirts that my client would like to offer current and future clients. and then use the search tool to be able to sort and find the products they are looking for. See here:

This is the best solution I could figure out with the limitations of the cms… because I don’t want to have to create categories for the client myself, which means all the products need to be in the same database (as far as I can tell). Which is what lead me to using the search feature. You can try searching for “Caribou” or “Logan”, and search results will pop up for those items I have in my database so far (I have to wait a day for more to index).

The idea was to use the business name in the title to make that part searchable… and then the appropriate title and image would pop up in the search results that way I have it set up right now. I’m currently using a Shopify solution to allow clients to purchase products here. It will hopefully work pretty slick since we don’t have the Webflow commerce ready to go yet.

Does anyone have any thought if there’s an idea that I’m missing that might be better? The biggest limitation I can see right now… is the limit of 30 search results… there might be some individual companies that may have more than 30 products they could potentially order from.

Much gratitude.


Here is my public share link:
(how to access public share link)

Hi @Bodwa

You can definitely get a layer of sub-categories going with Reference and Multi-Reference collections/fields, it’s just not obvious at first glance.

Rather than the sub-categories sitting inside of the main categories, you actually just create collections and reference them to each other…

Example - set up 3 Collections;

  1. Main Categories: Cotton, Jersey,
  2. Sub Categories: Plain Cotton, Patterned Cotton, Plain Jersey, Patterned Jersey
  3. Products: T-Shirts, Overalls etc
  • Set these collections up as needed, including in your ‘main category’ collection - a ‘multi-reference’ field, that connects to the ‘sub category’ collection.

  • In your subcategory collection, include a single ‘reference’ field, called ‘parent category’.

  • In your products collection, include a ‘reference’ field for connecting to it’s (main) category and also a ‘multi-reference’ connecting to any ‘sub categories’ it also belongs to.

So, you can now choose the Cotton (main category collection) and reference multiple sub categories.

You can also select the Plain Cotton (sub category collection) and reference it’s parent (main) category.

Finally, you then select a T-shirt, and set the main and sub categories that the product belongs to…

Behind the scenes this has set up a Collection Template Page for Main, Sub, and Products, so you can pull in any items into a dynamic list and set various conditions and filters.

Hope that’s useful…

Thank you for this @StuM. Very helpful for sure. I didn’t think reference fields would work in my case… but I’ve figured out that they actually will now. So that’s sweet!

I think the largest challenge I will have (not impossible but a little bit annoying) is when I select products that shoudl relate to categories, and there’s over 200 products to sift through to select the products in the multi-reference field, that will be a little tricky. But doable.

This is my rudimentary changes right now:

Thanks again for springborading this along for me to figure out.


Hi @Bodwa

I would probably do this the other way round (less sifting!). So just ensure that when creating a Product that the (parent/main) Category is a mandatory field.

I think this should still get the connections between collections that you need, whilst ensuring you don’t miss any. Essentially there are different ways to connect the data, rather than a right way, but this might be a better approach.

To display that data in the Categories Template, you would drop in a dynamic list to the Categories Template, connect it to Products, with a filter of ‘Product Category is Current Category’.

You could also create a mini custom nav for the different categories here with another list, bind it to Categories, drop in some link/blocks/buttons, get name from Categories, and link to the purple collection pages as appropriate. I’ve done this before and created a ‘symbol’ to re-use it around a site.

It looks like you might be using Selz instead, but if you take a look at this tutorial video from @foxy - you can see a similar data set-up going on which might be useful:


Holy Cow! @StuM Bind them the other direction? MIND BLOWN. and you just made this approach feel a lot less hard now :slight_smile:

The selz page you saw is actually something we probably won’t do… I was providing a client an additional option if they didn’t want to have to upload 2 sets of info (one to Shopify and the other to Webflow cms). However, I think and hope we will got with the Shopify solution instead. I thought about foxy cart… but I just don’t feel like it’s as nice looking as Shopify is in their checkout process.

Selz demo is here:
Shopify embed is here:

Those dynamic list suggestions I’ll look into for sure. I think the structure I have so far will be sufficient for what they are looking for, but we’ll find out :slight_smile: this is fantastic though! Thank you so much for helping me get to a usable direction on this! I REALLY appreciate it!!

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Hi @Bodwa.
Thank you for your feedback about Foxy. We agree. We’re not the sexiest (yet). That said, all Foxy related templates are 100% customizable with your own html, css, and js. In fact, our friendly support team is here to help if you run into any issues.

We’ve spent the past couple of years helping hundreds of Webflow users with ecommerce. We offer an unlimited free trial and our seamless integration means you can manage your products without ever leaving Webflow.

We’d love the opportunity to serve you. So if you think Foxy may be a good fit, please let us know. We’re more than happy to hop on a phone/Skype call to walk through your needs (and even put together clonable demos specific to your setup) Feel free to message us here or get in touch via our website: