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Product catalog concepts


Product catalog concepts

The product catalog relies on the following: products, product rate plans, and product rate plan charges.

When creating a subscription, you can select from one of the available products and rate plans in your product catalog to add to your subscription. Therefore, it is important to first set up your product catalog to ensure the products and rate plans are available to select from. 


Each product item in the product catalog represents a product or service that your company sells. Products in Zuora Billing tend to be "services" that people or companies subscribe to instead of a physical item that they purchase. Here are definitions of some essential terms:

  • Name: The product name identifies the product item. It must be unique; different products cannot have the same name.
  • Effective Start Date: The effective start date is the date on which the product becomes available for sale and can be added to a subscription.
  • Effective End Date: The effective end date is the date on which the product expires and is no longer available for sale, thus cannot be selectively added to a subscription.
  • Effective Period: The effective period is the date range during which the product is active and available to be added to a subscription.
  • SKU: Like the product name, SKUs also identify the product item and must be unique for each product. SKUs are auto-generated by Zuora Billing upon the creation of a product. The SKU is auto-incremented even if the product is deleted afterward. You can override the auto-generated SKU with a custom one. For information on modifying the standard SKU prefix, see Define numbering and SKU formats. It is not recommended to use the auto-generated SKU as an indicator of the total number of products because SKUs might not be consecutive numbers due to product deletion or manual override.
  • Category: Product items are categorized into base products, add-on services, and miscellaneous products. Organizing your products in these groups makes it easier to report on revenue by product type.
  • Product Image: Products can have an image that helps to identify the product. The product image is optional. Acceptable file formats for the image are jpg, gif, jpeg, png, or bmp.

Products are a container for rate plans and charges; each product can have one or more rate plans and charges.

When you view detailed information about products through the Zuora UI, a maximum of 1,000 product rate plans are now displayed on the product details page. 

If one product contains more than 1,000 product rate plans, Zuora arbitrarily displays 1,000 of the product rate plans. You can call the Get product rate plans operation to retrieve detailed information about all the product rate plans of one product.


A feature is a product or service component that is not offered as an individual sale item, e.g. computer accessories or an extra mobile data plans. By adding features to a product, your product entity becomes a package or a kit of features. Rate plans define how you price, and features define what you get. 

Use of features enables detailed provisioning and bundling use cases. Features is supported in Subscriptions, Amendments and Zuora APIs.

There is a many-to-many relationship between features and products in Zuora product catalog. A product can contain multiple features, and a feature can belong to multiple products.

To create features in the product catalog and use them in subscriptions and Zuora Quotes, you need to enable the following:

Product rate plans

The price of a product is described by a rate plan. A rate plan represents a collection of charges that your customers may incur when buying your product. When a customer purchases a product, they can pick from one of the available rate plans. Through the use of rate plans, Zuora Billing provides the power and flexibility to handle complex pricing plans for any product or service, and supports a business model where the amount to charge a customer is calculated and invoiced periodically based on the amount of services consumed.

Each rate plan has an effective start and effective end date that can be the same as or different from the product’s effective start and effective end date. That way, the user can expire a rate plan without expiring the product and all other rate plans contained within the applicable product.

Each product rate plan contains one or more charges, and each charge contain the price of the product.

Product rate plan charges

Product rate plan charges are the fees that you charge your customer when they sign up for your product. They also include the rules surrounding those fees. Each rate plan can include any number of charges (or fees; these terms are used interchangeably).

There are three different types of product rate plan charges: one-time charges, recurring charges, and usage-based charges.

  • One-Time: One-time charges are the simplest type of charge that can be included in a rate plan. One-time charges occur once only, with no recurrence, and can be used for activation, cancellation, or setup fees.
  • Recurring: Recurring charges are the most common type of charge for subscription-based businesses. Recurring charges are used for basic subscription fees that are invoiced on a periodic basis, in advance, on a periodic basis until the subscription ends.
  • Usage: Usage-based fees are used to track resources that are metered (counted) and charged based on amount consumed. Usage charges can vary by the amount of your product or service that a customer uses. Such charges are billed on a periodic basis in arrears (after the customer’s usage is incurred).

Modify charges in subscriptions

When you modify a charge in a subscription, you can also modify the charge in the product catalog. See Automated Price Change (Uplift) for Renewed Subscriptions for information about automated changes to charges. 

Product catalog dates

See Product Catalog Dates: Product Rate Plan Charge Date Attributes for detailed information about the dates that you can set in the product catalog. Also see Dates in Zuora for more information about how dates are used throughout the Zuora application.