How Shopify Product Variants Work

Shopify product variants allows your customers to have more options when browsing your wares, raising the likelihood of them purchasing something from your website.
Here we help small manufacturers understand what Shopify product variants are, how to add to your store and edit existing variants.

Shopify product variants allows your customers to have more options when browsing your wares, raising the likelihood of them purchasing something from your website.

Who loves cake? That's a silly question, we all love cake! 

"But I have dietary requirements." You might be muttering under your breath. But no drama, there is probably a cake out there that is perfect for your diet. 

That’s the beauty of cake. 

Now imagine you didn’t have those options. Imagine that you stumbled across a bakery that only sold Victoria sponge cake. 

Hey, if you like Victoria sponge you've hit the jackpot! But a lot of us won’t be in the mood for it, and maybe we can’t eat it for whatever reason. 

A bakery that only sells one type of cake is going to lose customers because it can’t cater to all cake lovers. 

If your store doesn't have Shopify product variants, it's going to struggle to attract customers just like the bakery. 

Obviously, this isn't the case every time. For example, you might be a bespoke manufacturer, meaning all of your products are custom made so by definition you should only have one type of product.  

So, what are Shopify product variants and how do you add them into your store.  

What Are Shopify Product Variants?

Shopify product variants are quite simply different versions of the same product that a store sells.  

Shopify is already awesome in giving us manufacturers a channel to sell our wares. However, they also allow users to add up to three options for variants on a product. An option meaning “What is your variant type?” 

So, you would be able to add variants onto Shopify if you have a product that comes in different variants. These variants can be things such as style or color. 

By having these options available for your customers, you will be able to increase your customer base and to improve their overall experience while they’re visiting your website.  

“How could it possibly improve their experience?” you ask whilst casting a cynical glare. How would you feel if you were browsing clothing stores and came across one that sold one t-shirt in one color and size? You’ll probably be amazed, but mainly because you have, in one click, saw all the store has to offer!  

By selling the product in different variants you’re allowing the visitor on your website to spend more time browsing through your wares, which will increase the likelihood of them making a purchase.  

Edgar Friendly from Demolition Man eloquently explains it. People want freedom of choice!

Shopify multiple variants are a tricksy beast.

Edgar Friendly might be at risk of damaging his health, but he’s making a point about the freedom to choose what you want. Having Shopify multiple variants gives your customers the freedom to choose a variant that meets their requirements.

If you’re a manufacturer who produces something innovative or a product that is not readily available on the market, it might be a disadvantage to try and create variants. 

But Shopify product variants are perfect for small manufacturers who make their own clothing, footwear, or even produce and sell their own jewelry on Shopify.   

Shopify Ebook

How to Add Variants on Shopify?

Here’s how to add Shopify multiple variants: 

Step 1: On the “Product Page” go to the “Variant section” 
Step 2: Edit the “Option name” to detail what the variant is, for example, it could be the size, color or material 

this is how you add How to add variants on Shopify

Step 3: Within “Option values” add your variants and separate them by a comma. If you’re inputting colors, it will look like this “blue, green, red” If you need to add more than one option, simply select “Add another option” 

That’s it! 

When you’ve populated the relevant fields Shopify will generate every possible combination of your product.  

Though you can edit prices, the SKU and barcodes for each variant here too.

But, whatever you do, don’t forget to save! 

Shopify product variant and how it looks to edit the fields

PRO TIP: If you’re struggling to come up with your own Shopify SKU’s for your products, why not take advantage of our free Shopify SKU generator to save you time and hassle from having to think of your own Shopify SKU’s for every product.

Smart Manufacturing Software for Shopify

Syncing Shopify with Katana

Knowing how to add variants on Shopify is important for if you make multiple variants of one product, as this is going to save you time getting your store set up.

Knowing how to add variants on Shopify is important for if you make multiple variants of one product, as this is going to save you time getting your store set up.

Firstly, a little bit about Katana. Katana’s Shopify inventory management software allows small manufacturers to grow and manage their business, all from one dashboard. 

It helps businesses with features such as: 

1. Smart Inventory Management
Katana has a unique auto-booking system which updates and automatically saves any inventory movement in real-time. Also, when a manufacturing order is generated, Katana allocates available material to an operation, so you can get a clearer understanding of your stock levels.   

2. Streamlined Floor-Level Management
Get updates on the status of projects with our visual and easy to understand dashboard. A drag and drop system in Katana allows you to prioritize those important orders. Katana will also redistribute available material to the most important orders if you do decide to rearrange your manufacturing tasks.  

3. Integrate Your E-Commerce Accounts
Finally, you can integrate your e-commerce and accounting software, like Shopify inventory integration and QuickBooks accounting integration, to receive orders and generate invoices, all from one place.  

Integrating your Shopify account with Katana allows you to run your business from one visual dashboard. 

When you synch the accounts, Katana automatically pulls all your Shopify data, such as stock levels, customer information, and even your Shopify product variants so you don't have to switch between different apps whilst monitoring your operations.  

So, how do you connect Shopify with Katana? 

Log into your Katana account:  

Step 1: Go into “Settings” at the top of the screen. 
Step 2: Select “Integrations” from the menu to the left. 
Step 3: Type in your Shopify stores address and click “Next”. 
Step 4: Select the option to import Shopify customers, products, and stock levels. You can also choose to keep or exclude the tax rates on your products whilst importing.  
Step 5: Review the details and if everything is cool, click “Ok, connect my store” and you’re ready to rock and roll!  

Once you have synced your accounts, you’ll be able to transfer all your products and stock levels into Katana with minimal effort, helping you get the smoothest order fulfillment you can by managing orders and production in one place. 

If you would like a more in-depth guide into the Katana integration steps, feel free to take a look at the Shopify inventory management blog.  

In case you need to add new product variants in Katana, here’s how to do it.

It is quite similar to Shopify, but you need to open up a product or material cards instead of a product page.  

When creating a new item card, you’ll notice an option to select “Yes, this product has multiple variants”  

How to add variants on Shopify is similar to how you add products onto Katana.

This will take you to a new window where you can make the necessary edits to your items card.  

Just like the Shopify multiple variants, Katana can set up multiple variants, but more!

Just like Shopify, edit the fields with the relevant information and select the plus symbols if you wish to add more options to the product.  

Once you’re finished, select “Generate Product Variants” to auto-generate each possible variant of your product.  

If there is a variant you wish to remove, simply select the trashcan icon to delete the item.   

Shopify variants limit means to input more data you’ll need to get yourself smart inventory software.

Shopify variants limit means to input more data you’ll need to get yourself smart inventory software.

At this screen, you can also edit each individual variant code, reorder point, sales price or purchase price. However, completing these fields is optional. Katana will take and calculate the associated costs if the materials used have been imported or added correctly into the material card. 

Editing Variant Options and Values 

You are also able to edit the variant options and values for existing products and material by selecting “Open configuration...” on an item card.  

Shopify product variants can be edited once you have imported them over to Katana.

If you delete a variant value, such as one of the colors a product comes in, it will appear blank on the product card. However, if you delete an option, along with all the values, the respective variant option will be removed from the item card.  


Adding Shopify product variants has never been easier. But with software such as Katana, you can maximize your business's performance by syncing all your Shopify data into one dashboard. One where you can also monitor your day-to-day operations, making managing your business all the easier.  

Why not take a look for yourself? We offer a 14-day free trial so you can find out why Katana is essential for your business’s growth.   

Having Shopify product variants gives your customers the option to choose and allows them to browse through your site, improving their shopping experience.  

However, be sure to not cannibalize your sales! More options don’t necessarily mean more sales, you need to find a balance and prioritize your Shopify product variants that do sell to avoid creating dead stock.   

Until next time, happy manufacturing.

Smart Manufacturing Software for Shopify