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How to Add Variants on Shopify in 3 Different Ways

GemPages Team
9 minutes read
add variants on shopify in three ways

Do you want to meet the unique needs of your customers and boost your sales? Offering product variants is a must..

Every customer is different, with their own preferences and requirements. To give your customers the best experience, it's important to have a variety of options available.

By providing product variants, you can cater to a wider range of customers and increase your sales and revenue.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step guides on how to add variants on Shopify through different methods.

What are Product Variants in Shopify?

In Shopify, product variants are different alternatives available within a certain product option. These options could be different colors, sizes, materials, styles, and so on—and all these options consist of their own variants.

Let’s take a look at the example we’ve taken from one of the popular Shopify-powered brands — Fashion Nova. In this product, Cargo Jeans, there are three different types of variants:

  • Option - 1: Colors
    • Variants: Brown, Green, Lavender, Light Wash, Medium Blue Wash, Pink, and White.
    • Option - 2: Fit
        • Variants: Regular, Tall, and Petite.
      • Option - 3: Size
        • Variants: 0, 1, 3, 5, and so on.

      A product page with examples of product variants

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      Which is the Best Method to Add Product Variants on Shopify?

      There are several methods to choose from, but the best approach depends on your specific product and needs. Here’s an overview:


      When to Use

      Shopify Admin

      - 3 or fewer simple product options (e.g., color, material, size) 

      - Less than 100 variants

      Shopify App

      - 3 product options and over

      - Over 100 product variants 

      - Other features along with product options/variants e.g. adding a text field for custom printing or package

      CSV Export-Import Functions

      Add product variants to multiple existing products


      Now, let’s take you through all these different methods one by one:

      How to Manually Add Variants on Shopify

      Step 1: Create a New Product

      Go to Shopify admin and click on the Products tab on the left sidebar. Then, click on the Add product button.

      Products in Shopify admin

      If you still don’t have any products in your Shopify admin, your Products section may look like this:

      Products’ section in Shopify admin

      In that case, click on Add your products. Fill in the necessary product details.

      Step 2: Go to the Variants Section

      Scroll down to the Variants section on the product page and click on “+ Add options like size or color”.

      Variants section on the product page

      Step 3: Choose the Option Name

      You'll see the Option name field, which will initially present default product options: Size, Color, Material, and Style.

      You can choose from these default options if they are suitable for your product. However, it's important to note that you are not restricted to these predefined choices; you have the flexibility to create your own option names.

      Variants section on the product page

      If you want, you can input your own Option name. For instance, suppose you are selling jewelry items that come with various types of boxes. In this scenario, you can enter "Box Type" into the Option name field.

      Step 4: Insert Option Values

      After selecting the Option name, you need to insert all different variants available under that option. Continuing to the example we’ve taken above, insert the different types of boxes under Option values as shown below:

      Variants section on the product page

      Click on the Done button once you’ve inserted all different variants under the Box Type option.

      Important Note: If your product has more than one option, you can include up to 3 options. To do this, click on the "+ Add another option" tab and follow the same process to add more options and their respective variants.

      Upon clicking "Done" the variants will be successfully added to the product.

      Step 5: Edit the Product Variant Details

      Now that you've created your product variants, it's time to add images and edit the details for all variants. Click on the image icon to assign images to each variant. This way, customers can see exactly what they're getting.

      On the right side, hit the "Edit" button. This allows you to fine-tune specific information for all your variants, such as prices, quantities, SKUs, and more.

      Variants section on the product page

      Shopify bulk edit variants: For quick bulk editing of multiple products, Shopify offers a handy tool. Click on the "Bulk edit" button to adjust different criteria for all variants on a single page. See the image below for reference:

      Bulk editing product variants

      Once you've added images and made necessary edits, simply click the "Save" button on the product page. It's always a good idea to preview the page to ensure everything looks just right.

      That's it! Your customers can now explore and purchase the specific product variants they desire. Happy selling!

      How to Add Variants on Shopify with an App

      As we mentioned earlier, Shopify has certain limitations – it allows you to add up to 3 options and 100 product variants through the admin. But what if your product requires more options and variants for specific use cases? 

      This is where a Shopify app comes in handy.

      Step 1: Search for Shopify Product Variant Apps

      Navigate to the Shopify App Store. In the search box, type the keyword "product variants," and you'll discover a variety of apps in this category.

      Product variant apps in the Shopify App Store

      Step 2: Install the Shopify App of Your Choice

      You can take some time to explore and pick the app that best suits your needs and budget. For this guide, we'll use the "Infinite Options" app as an example. It boasts an impressive rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars, based on feedback from over 3800 users.

      Additionally, it proudly displays the "Built for Shopify" badge, which serves as a reliable indicator that the app meets Shopify's quality standards.

      Infinite Options - Shopify app

      Click on the Install button to proceed with the installation. Review the Privacy details and Permission details, and then click on the Install app button to complete the installation.

      Installation of the Infinite Options app

      Step 3: Install the Theme Block

      Once you’ve installed the app, you’ll be redirected to the app dashboard inside Shopify admin. Follow the instructions from the app developer and install the theme block in your current theme’s default product template.

      Click on the Go to the Theme Customizer button. You may also click on the “Read help article” link if you need more information on this process.

      Infinite Options app dashboard

      Upon clicking it, you'll be directed to the Shopify theme editor. To access the product page template, click on the dropdown menu labeled "Home page" and then choose the "Default product template".

      Shopify theme editor

      On the default product page template, go to Template > Product information > Add block and then you’ll find the APP BLOCKS: Dynamic Bundle Price and Infinite Options Fields. Click on the app blocks that you want to configure.

      Shopify theme editor

      Step 4: Build Option Sets

      Once you’ve installed the app blocks, come back to the dashboard of Infinite Options. Now, you can start building option sets. 

      Click on the “Launch Getting Started Wizard” button.

      Infinite Options app dashboard

      Setup for Infinite Options app

      Follow all the instructions given by the app developer and fill in the necessary details to create product variants as per your needs.

      How to Add Product Variants with CSV Export-Import

      When you export and import product data, especially if your store has hundreds of products, it's crucial to avoid inserting incorrect data or disrupting existing information. Therefore, it's highly recommended to create a backup of your store data before proceeding with this action. This ensures that you can restore your original data if any issues arise. You can utilize store backup apps to assist with this.
      Important Note: Please note that the guide below is for reference purposes, and it's advisable to seek advice from an expert when dealing with complex data operations.

      Step 1: Export Your Product Data

      Go to Shopify admin > Products, and then select all the products to which you want to add variants. Once selected, click on the Export button.

      Products section in Shopify admin

      Select the appropriate Export option. In this case, we chose the “Selected 3 products” button.

      Under Export as, click on “CSV for Excel, Numbers, or other spreadsheet programs”, then Export products.

      Export products function

      Step 2: Add Product Variants

      Now, add the product variants in the CSV file. Make sure to keep the same “Handle” for all variants.

      You may also need to copy-paste some other cells that remain the same for all variants, e.g., weight, price, shipping, and tax conditions.  Once product variants are added, save and close the CSV file.

      Products data in a CSV file

      The cells are highlighted with colors just for explanation

      Step 3: Import the CSV File

      Now, go back to the Products section in Shopify admin, and click on the Import button. Upload your updated CSV file.

      Make sure to check the box that says, "Overwrite any current products that have the same handle. Existing values will be used for any missing columns." This will ensure that you don’t create duplicate products.

      Then, click on the Upload and preview button.

      Import function in Shopify admin

      In the preview section, you can check and see if the data is updated in the correct format. Once reviewed, click on the Import product button.

      Import function in Shopify admin

      And that’s it! Your new product variants will be updated in your existing products in just a few seconds.

      As you can see in the below screenshot, the highlighted product variants have been updated from 3 to 5 variants.

      Product section in Shopify admin

      You can also check and verify it on the product page as shown below:

      A product page with variants in Shopify admin

      Why Should You Add Product Variants?

      Increase Your Sales and Conversions

      The biggest advantage of adding product variants is increasing the opportunities to sell your products to a broad group of customers.

      For example, let’s say you’re a shoe brand. If you’re providing all (common) size variants, almost all customers would be able to find and buy shoes of their size. On the flip side, if you don’t, many customers would exit your store and go to competitors.

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      Better Searchability of Your Products

      Many customers use long-tail keywords to find the exact product they’re looking for. For example, instead of just typing “hoodie” in Google search, a customer might search for “XXL grey hoodie”.

      By creating proper bifurcation of product variants, you can make it easy for search engines as well as for customers to find your products.

      Enhance Customer Satisfaction

      Ever went shopping and found a great product — but felt disappointed when you couldn’t get it in your favorite color? The same might happen to your customers if they can’t find a variant of their choice.

      Thus, it’s important to have different variants, or at least the most common/popular ones, for your product as long as it’s feasible.

      Identify Your Customer Preferences

      Providing different product variants is also a great way to find out what your customers love the most and double down on it. Sometimes, you might need to run experiments with your variants to figure out what sells the most.

      Pro tip: While offering variants is crucial, you should also ensure that you’re not offering too many variants unnecessarily. You know that common psychology trait — too many choices may lead to confusion and customer may end up not selecting any of them.

      For example, if you’re selling clothing items. If you’re offering 15 different color variants for a t-shirt, the buyer might get confused and don’t pick any of them. Ideally, it’s advisable to offer a maximum of 5-7 color variants for clothing items.

      Display Your Product Variants Professionally with GemPages - the Shopify Page Builder

      Want to make your product variants professionally? Give GemPages a try.

      GemPages is the top-ranked page builder for Shopify. It's fast, smart, and packed with features like Image-to-Layout AI, 80+ templates, and 100+ customizable elements. It's the perfect tool to take your online store to the next level.

      With GemPages, you can easily customize how your product variants can be displayed, as well as many other important elements for your pages including countdown timer, pop-up, sticky add to cart, etc.

      Here’s the detailed YouTube tutorial on how to customize variation swatch with GemPages for your reference:

      Final Thoughts on Adding Product Variants

      Product variants play a crucial role in scaling the sales of your products.

      That said, it’s not necessary that having more variants will always result in more sales. It’s imperative to be mindful and strategic about how you create and offer variants under different products.

      The most important factor to consider is your target customer. You need to analyze and identify what they need and which variants are frequently bought by your customers.

      Take a data-driven approach and prepare your strategy accordingly.

      FAQs About Adding Variants on Shopify

      How do you add a variant to an existing product in Shopify?
      To add a variant to an existing product, go to Shopify admin and open the specific product. Scroll down and go to the Variants section and you’ll have two tabs: “Add another option” and “Add variant”. Click on the “Add variant” option if you only want to add a variant within a given option.
      Alternatively, you can also use CSV export-import functionalities if you want to add multiple variants.
      How do I add variants to multiple products on Shopify?
      If you already have multiple products on your Shopify and you want to add variants to all those (or selected few) products, you can do so by CSV export-import functionalities. Export all products, add variants in a CSV file, and then import data. Refer to the above guide for more information.
      Can I copy variants from one product to another in Shopify?
      You can’t copy variants from one product to another from Shopify admin. But you can use the CSV export-import functionalities to do this. Refer to the above guide for more information.
      What is the difference between a product and a variant?
      Variants are different or alternative versions of a single product. So basically, a product may consist of different variants.
      How many variants can you have on Shopify?
      You can have up to 100 variants under each option and you can create a maximum of three options.
      What is an example of variants?
      One of the simplest examples of variants is different color options in a clothing product. For example, if you’re selling t-shirts, a single t-shirt item may have multiple different colors such as black, blue, green, and pink. All those color options are variants of the t-shirt.

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