Keeping track of product inventory stock is hard. Keeping track of variations of those products is even harder. Often, sellers will decide to forgo variation tracking to save time in short run, having to define every variation separately, and will put just the main version of the product and let the customers define their choices during checkout.
While this may save time when starting your web shop, it will eventually come back to haunt you. After some time you’ll find that product has been ordered but you don’t have specific size, color, material or any other variation factor and the customer has already placed an order. And one thing you don’t want when running eCommerce site is unhappy customer with valid reason for his or hers displeasure. Other problems that arise from this approach is also not really knowing what you have and how much you have of what. Or if you do keep track, you keep track of specific variations in files, folders, notes or spreadsheets not connected to your website.
Instead of that, we offer you to setup your web shop right from the start. When you define to us what your product is, we will customize the product options and variations that suit the needs of your eCommerce website.
What is product variation?
Well, in this case product variation is every combination of variable options your product has. That can be anything from size, color, material, weight etc. So let’s say your eCommerce has a T-shirt that comes in three colors ( white, blue and red) and in three sizes (S,M,L). Not having product variations would mean you would have one product “T-shirt” and you would say you have, for example, 8 of them in stock. Once the customer orders that product, you’ll see the stock quantity go down but you will have no clear idea what options are currently in stock.
Having product variation means that in your catalog you will have products that actually reflect what you really have. So instead of only one product, your stock catalog will look like this:
1. T-shirt, blue, S
2. T-shirt, blue, M
3. T-shirt, white, M
4. T-shirt, white, S
5. T-shirt, white, L
6. T-shirt, red, S
7. T-shirt, red, M
8. T-shirt, red, L
So when on T-shirt page, customer can only see options that you actually have. He will have size field and color field where you can only select option combinations that are still in stock. To achieve this, when adding products, we add every variation of that product with all of data that is specific for that variation (SKU, price, stock quantity etc.). After that all of the variations belong to same variation group.
What does that mean?
That allows us to have multiple options when displaying products.
If you have hundreds of products on your web shop, you don’t really want to show every variation separately. For that reason, we can also show variation group as one default item. That way your listing page doesn’t show all the variations of the same product and the listing page looks more cleanly.
Also, some of the variables, can also be more or less expensive so product variations can have different prices show when all the options are selected.
Another great option we can have with variation groups are product photos. For webshop, product photo is the most important part and will often, with price, be the deciding factor whether you get a customer or not.
That’s the reason we have multiple option to display your variation photos. Depending on the product, you may want to have one or more photos per variation group. If the variation option is something you don’t see, for example size, you don’t want to add a photo for all of your variations. For this case, we have an option where you can display the photo from the default item for your variation group as photo for all variations. But sometimes the variation is visibly distinct, for example color, and then we can add a different photo for every variation. So what that means in our example with T-shirt, is that we add three separate photos for three colors, and as soon the customer selects the different value, corresponding photo will be show. This way the customer always has a good idea what product will be ordered.
While having product variations in your catalog can be time consuming at first, in the end it is the best way to keep track of your inventory state but also to keep you customers happy. It looks more professional and eases the process of having all your stock data synced, especially when you have multiple services like ERP or you feed your product catalog to other resellers.