The complete guide to variable products

Variable: A variable product has different variations or versions that a customer can choose from. A typical example would be a shirt which is available in different sizes and different colours. The customer doesn’t just choose ‘Shirt’; they choose the medium shirt in red.

So a variable product is a product type in Rofoda  that allows the product to be divided up into different variations.

What is the difference between a variable product and a variation? #

So having cleared up what a variable product is, we now need to understand what a variation is. And to understand what a variation is, we need to know what an attribute is.

What is a attribute? #

In order to fully understand what a variable product is, we need to understand what an attribute is.

Attributes are ways of grouping products. You can create an attribute like ‘Size’ then configure terms under the attribute, like ‘Small’, ‘Medium’, ‘Large’.

In the example of the shirt above, we might have our product, the Shirt, which is available in the following sizes: Small, Medium, Large. In this case, the attribute is ‘Size’.

Continuing with our shirt example, we have variations according to the Size attribute. We create our product, Shirt, then assign it the Size attribute. Finally, we create variations for the product according to the attribute terms. These are our variations: Small, Medium, Large.

It starts to get more complex if we have more than one attribute assigned to a product. Continuing the shirt example, we could assign two attributes – Size and Colour. If our shirt is available in all sizes and all colours, we could end up with a lot of combinations, e.g.:

  • Small, Red
  • Small, Blue
  • Small, Green
  • Medium, Red
  • Medium, Blue
  • Medium, Green
  • Large, Red
  • Large, Blue
  • Large, Green

All these combinations are separate variations of the product. Yikes.

What’s so special about variations? #

Although it can potentially feel confusing to have so many combinations of your product, it’s really useful to be able to manage these as variations. With a simple product that doesn’t have any variations, you can manage stock, price, SKU, etc at the product level.

Variation data #

With variations, you can manage all this data for each individual variation. So you can track inventory for your small, red shirts separately from your large, green shirts. You can set product prices, set different shipping classes, manage sale prices – all independently. You can even set different product images for each variation.

In total, you can manage the following data for each variation of your product:

  • Product image
  • SKU
  • Enabled
  • Downloadable
  • Virtual
  • Manage stock – toggle this on or off to manage stock for the individual variation
  • Regular price
  • Sale price
  • Stock status
  • Stock quantity
  • Allow backorders
  • Weight
  • Dimensions
  • Shipping class
  • Tax class
  • Description

What is the difference between variations and attributes? #

Hopefully, I’ve answered this question above. But just to clarify: an attribute is a way of defining information about a product – like Size; variations are the specific instances of an attribute – like Small, Medium, Large.

You can think about it another way. Take a look at the screenshot of a product page below.

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