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Getting Started with Product Variants

Often, one of the most difficult parts of working with an ecommerce plugin is creating product variants. Exchange’s motto from the very beginning has been “Simple.”  And we’ve continued that idea into our newly released Product Variants add-on. Today we’ll create two products, one with a simple variant option and another that’s a lot more complex.

Product with Simple Variants

Our first product is going to be a basic, black t-shirt that comes in 5 sizes with the largest size having a different price point.  This is will just take two variants. You’ll start by creating your product as you always have with Exchange.  The one difference is that you with your start is, when creating your product image gallery, you’ll want to think about what default variants you’ll want for your product and use those images. With the Product Variants add-on enabled, you’ll now see Product Variants in  your advanced options. Check the Enable variants for this product box to get started.

Simple Product - Enable Variants Once the box is checked, you’ll see the Add New Variant button.

Add New Variant Clicking the Add New Variant button will open your variant options:

    • Dropdown
    • Radio
    • Color
    • Image

There is also a preset variant option of Sizes.

Variant Options Once you’ve selected your variant type, you’ll start adding values to the variant.  The values are the specific options for that variant.  For instance, if the variant is Size, the values could include Small, Medium and Large.

Simple Variants - Adding a Value Once you’ve finished adding values to your variants, you’ll need to update your product. After updating your product with your new variants, you’ll see new options for your variants including:

    • Variant Pricing
    • Variant Inventory
    • Variant Image Galleries

This allows you to control the specifics for each variant value.  For instance, larger size shirts are often a higher price than smaller sizes.  The Variant Pricing option allows you to charge more (or less) based on the product size. You’d go into Variant Pricing in the Advanced Options.  Select the variant value that you want the price to apply to, click Add New Price Variant then enter the new price.

Variant Pricing Now, when customers view the product, they are able to select the size they need.

Frontend Size and Pricing Variants

Product with Complex Variants

The next product will be a much more complex and will include various sizes, colors, inventories and variant galleries. We’re going to start with the Simple Variant product we just created, so we don’t need to add the size variant. Instead, we’ll start by adding our color options.  This will work just like adding the sizes.

Adding Color Varient Once you’ve added the color variant, you’ll be able to add your color values. To add your colors, you can use the color picker, enter a hexadecimal value, an rgb value (red, green, blue) or hsb (hue, saturation, brightness).

Selecting Color Values Once you’ve added all of your color values, you need to update or save your product. With each variant addition, you’ll have to make updates to your variants of variants (Variant Pricing and Variant Images). Having two variants means you can create variant combinations.  In this instance, instead of just changing the price for the XXL sized shirt, you could then add a Price Variant for shirts that are XXL AND Black. The same is true with Variant Images.  You can create image galleries based on a combination of your variants. Once you create your variants and save or update your product, you should see a tab for Variant Images with your product images.

Variant Images Tab When you open that tab, you’ll select your combination of variants and then click the Create New Image Set button.  There you’ll upload the images you want for that variation.  You can create a variant gallery for each of your variant combinations.

Variant Images

We didn’t create a variant gallery for the black t-shirt option, because that is the default variant so it will use the default gallery.

Lastly,  you can create an inventory count for each of your variant combinations.

In your Advanced options, go to Inventory and check Enable Inventory Tracking for this Product then Enable Inventory Tracking for variants? A table will open with each of the variant combinations where you can enter the inventory count for each. Variant Inventory If the variant combination the customer selects has an inventory of zero, the customer will see an out of stock message in place of the Buy Now button.

Out of Stock Even with the most complex of variant combinations, Exchange makes it simple to create your product variants.


  1. Is it possible to use product variants for digital downloads? I sell a newsletter and would like to give non-subscribers the option of purchasing select back issues. The variants would be the different issues (Jan 2014, Feb 2014, Mar 2014, etc.) and the customer would need to receive the corresponding digital download.



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