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How to Create a WooCommerce Variable Product

How to Create a WooCommerce Variable Product

As its name suggests, the variable product is a WooCommerce product type that lets you offer a collection of variations on a product. Thus, your customers will be able to choose between different colors, patterns, or sizes of the same product. WooCommerce variable products can be used for any sort of product that comes in different sizes and colors. As the default product type it can easily be made with WooCommerce, but many developers and companies offer variation swatches plugins packed with tons of options that can upgrade basic WooCommerce features.

If you want to create a WooCommerce variable product, this article is for you. Below, we covered these topics:

What is WooCommerce Variable Product Type?

Often, the same product comes in different color variations. So, when you want to offer the same product that has different attributes, use WooCommerce variable product type. By using WooCommerce attributes you can differentiate products by offering variations. Product attributes have informative character and they don’t allow you to choose products based on certain characteristics.

If you want to let your customers buy a product in a certain color (we will use this attribute as an example, but it can be everything from product dimensions to its materials), you can do this by creating a simple WooCommerce product for each product variant.

WooCommerce same products different colors

This method is valid, but not perfect. It’s time-consuming since you need to add more products at once. Also, it can impact your website base and speed, plus your customers still won’t be able to see all the available product variations in one place. On the contrary, they will have to go through your shop to check out all the variations of one product. As you see, showing different product variations through different product pages isn’t the best solution. Luckily, you can do this with ease by creating a WooCommerce variable product.

WooCommerce variable product

When you create a WooCommerce variable product, your customers will be able to see all the available product variations. This will give them the freedom to find the option that fits their needs without the risk to miss something.

First Step: Creating Attributes

Creating a WooCommerce variable product depends on creating attributes. Actually, without product attributes it’s not possible to create product variations.

Let’s take a bag (shown in the image above) as an example. As you can see, our variable product (bag) has two color variations (pink and yellow). To create this kind of product, we have to first create WooCommerce product attributes – in this case, it’s color. Once this color attribute is created, we will assign two values – pink and yellow.

After we create attributes we can start with product adding.

Note: You can add as many attribute values as you want. Our attribute (color) can have other values as well. Also, it can be used for other products. When you create the product you can choose which attribute values will apply to that product specifically.

Second Step: Creating WooCommerce Variable Product with the Help of Attributes

WooCommerce variable product is created just like any other product type. Go to Products and click Add New. Insert product title/name, set the scheduling date, and change slug before everything else. Have in mind that the name of the product will apply to every product variant. If you organize your product around color variations (pink and yellow in our case), your product name should be general (bag for instance) without color or any other specification.

Basic product page informations

Now, choose the Variable product type. Find Product data and select Variable product from the dropdown menu.

Set Variable product type

Product Descriptions

You can create two types of product descriptions. There are two textual editors you can use for this purpose. Both are placed on the product page.

Variable product descriptions

The first product description is shorter and it sums up the essential product info. This description applies to each product variation. The second description type will be placed in the description tab. It also applies to all product variations.

Variable product description

Inventory Settings

Like every other product type, a variable product has its unique settings. However, unlike the simple product type we’ve already discussed, variable products and grouped WooCommerce product type don’t have General options. For this reason, you will have to insert product prices directly on product variations, not in the General tab.

Now, let’s take a look at the Inventory tab and its fields.

Variable products inventory tab

Here, you can first set the product’s unique SKU (stock keep unit). You can’t add one SKU to two different products. In case you do this, the WooCommerce plugin will automatically notice the problem and add a number to the same base SKU to make a differentiation. Once you create SKU it will apply to all the variations of the same product.

If you want to assign a different SKU to each product variation, keep reading. We will explain this later in our article.

Also, we recommend you to manage stock settings for each product variation. If you input this info (for instance, that product is out of stock) now, it will apply to all the variations of this product.

Our advice is to use the Inventory tab for inputting product SKU or limiting product purchase to one product (mark Sold individually). Everything else should be done on the level of each individual product variation.

Shipping Settings

The shipping info you input here will apply to every product variation. To prevent potential mistakes, input the shipping weight/dimensions info on each product variation individually.

If you organize your product variations around color as the main characteristic, and if each product variant has the same dimensions, fill in dimensions here, not on every product separately. It’s easier and faster.

Shipping tab variable product

Linked Products Settings

Creating related products is useful for many reasons. Firstly, it inspires buyers to check out similar products. Secondly, it can boost sales when you wisely choose the product that makes a good combo with the product you primarily sell. You will be able to show related products on the product page (upsells), or on the user cart page (cross-sells).

Linked Products tab variable product

Attributes Settings

As we’ve already said, attributes are essential for WooCommerce variable products. Based on attributes, you will create product variations.

The first thing you need to do is to choose the attribute type you want to build your variation around.

Create variations

Now, you can choose desirable attribute values. As you can see, the same attribute can have more than one value. You can use the same attribute for another product – just select the values for that particular product (black and red instead of pink and yellow, for instance).

Choosen attributes for variations

When you want to use attributes for a product variations don’t forget to mark the Used for variations option.

Another useful option is Visible on the product page. Mark this field if you want to include product attributes into the Additional information field. This field is placed on the product page, below the product.

As you can see in our example, the product attributes allow the customer to choose different product variants with one click – we used attributes to create these variations. Also, we marked Visible on the product page option, and our attributes appeared in the Additional information tab.

Attributes Visible on the product page

Variations Settings

You can create product variations with two available options. The first is Add variation.

Create variations

This method allows you to manually create every product variant.

Any color variation

We want to create two color variations, so we need to use the Add variation option twice.

Add all variations

Apart from this, we can use the Create variations from all attributes option. Thanks to it, WooCommerce will automatically create all the possible attribute combinations. In other words, we don’t have to use the Add variations option multiple times. On the contrary, Create variations from all attributes will do everything for us (as shown in the image above).

The final result is shown below.

WooCommerce variable product

But what if we want to use two, different attributes for product variations? Let’s assume we want to use color and size as attributes. In this case, we need to choose two attributes and their values.

More than one attribute for variations

Now option Create variations from all attributes can be used to its full potential. When we use more than one product attribute, this option will create all possible combinations so we don’t have to add each attribute separately. The more attributes we have, the harder it gets to add them manually, so this option makes a real difference.


In our example, customers can choose the color and size of the product. It looks like this.

Two attributes variation

Since we’ve explained how you can create all the variations for a certain product, let’s see what info you can insert for one product variation.

Variation product item options

As you can see, most of the info you can input here we already mentioned. SKU is one of them. If you want to assign a unique SKU to each product variable, you can do it here. In case you forget to input your SKU here, you don’t need to worry if you previously input it in the Inventory tab.

Have in mind that you should add the price (or sale price) for each product variation as well. If you forget to input the price to a certain variation, it will be marked as Out of stock. So, make sure to fill in the price for each product variation even if they have the same price.

Also, don’t forget to add dimensions for each product variant. If you skip this step, the dimensions you input in the Shopping tab earlier will be automatically used.

The product description is optional. It’s a short explanation about specific product variation and it will appear as additional info on the product page.

Individual description

Now, pay attention to the image above. As you see, it’s changed since we selected the yellow product variant. Each variant can have a unique image, which is great for the shopping experience.

Also, you can see the number of products that are available in the stock (3 in stock). Stock quantity option allows you to define the number of products in stock. On the other hand, Allow backorders option lets you define what will happen when you sell out everything – whether you want to allow reordering or not.

Besides the physical items, product variation covers both downloadable and virtual product types. In this case, the options for inputting product info will be slightly different. Some options that apply to physical products will disappear, while others will show up. For instance, downloadable product type brings the option for file download.

Virtual or downloadable

Lastly, there are many other interesting options you can apply to all created product variations.

Interesting options

When we have a couple of variations of the same product, sometimes it’s hard to go through each of them to update the information. Thanks to these options, you can set a certain value to all variations at the same time. Before you decide to change something, check out if you can do it through these options. Remember that all the changes will apply to all variations of one product.

Featured Image

Besides the field that you have in each variation for adding an image, you can add an image through two other fields on the product page. The product image is the main image of your product and we recommend you always add it. On the other hand, creating a product gallery is optional.

Product images

The product image will be shown in each product variation until you add separate images for variations.

Tag and Categories

Don’t forget to add tags and categories, since they make navigation easier.

Variable categories and tags

Let’s Wrap it Up

When you want to sell products that are available in different colors, sizes or dimensions, use WooCommerce variable product type. It will improve the shopping experience, speed up the process, and make shopping easier. We hope our article will help you set your online store with ease!

We hope that you found this article to be helpful. If you liked it, please feel free to check out some of these articles as well!


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