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WooCommerce provides many types of products inside it. As a shop manager, you can choose any of the products and continue to add them to the list. The one that we are going to talk about is the variable product. A variable product is one of the options given in the product type. While adding the product, you can choose a variable product.

In this post, we will see all about WooCommerce what is a variable product and how to add it. Further, we will also discuss some of the things about variable products that will help you.

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What is a Variable Product?

Without wasting more time, let’s first address the main question. In WooCommerce, what is a variable product?

A variable product is a product that has one or more variations. Each variation may or may not have different options such as price, image, etc. Further, one can also manage the stock of each of the variations differently.

For example, if you have a clothing store and are selling t-shirts, you will have many colors and sizes. You can add them as variations. Color and size will be the two attributes here. You can set a different value for each of the attributes. Here, we can add blue and black as values in the color attributes.

Now, you can manage all the variations with each. You can set different pricing for blue colored t-shirt and the image may also be different. It is up to you whether you want to manage stock of the entire product as a single one or have different stock management strategies for different attributes.

This looks quite simpler from the top view. However, if you start doing the procedure, you will come across many problems.

So, we will be seeing all the issues that you might face as well as we will see how you can manage the variable products with ease.

Terms used in Variable Product

There are many terms that you will find when you are adding a variable product. Some of the terms will be new to many people. We will be seeing the exact meaning of all those. This will help you in adding the variable product to the WooCommerce store easier.



The first term that you might come across is the attributes. Attributes are the name of the variation. For example, for a t-shirt, the attributes will be color and size.

Each of these attributes has a value in it as we mentioned. The values are separated by “|”. You can add “Red | Blue | Green”. So, the product will show the color as red, blue, and green.

In the same way, you can add more than one attribute. You can add size and color together. In this way, the customers can select the size and color. The pricing can also be different for each color and size. For example, you can set X price for blue colored large-sized t-shirt and a different one for a red-colored large-sized t-shirt.

So, you will have plenty of options to choose from. Further, you can also set a different image for all the attributes. This will be useful when the product images are different. You can easily set them using the variable product.

Global and Custom Attributes

The next thing you should know is global and custom attributes. There are two main types of attributes that you can add. One of them is global attributes and the other one is the custom attributes.

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You can add global attributes by going to Products > Attributes. Whereas, the custom attributes can only be added from the product data.

The global attributes are something like the default attributes. You can use it directly with ease. In this way, you will not have to enter the custom attributes again.

So, if you have most of the products where you can have the same attributes, you can set global attributes. Moreover, if you want to add a unique product where you want different attributes, you can also use the custom ones.

In some of the products, you might want to add all different attributes in all the products. In this case, you can use custom attributes in all the products.

You can select custom attributes or global attributes from the product data’s attributes menu. You will find the product data when you are adding a new product. Just scroll down and you will find a new section for it. We will talk more about it when we see the actual tutorial to add variable products in WooCommerce.

Inside the attributes, you will have to enter the value of the attributes. Here is some information about the value.

Adding Value in Attributes

Your next job is to add the value inside the attributes. Attributes are where you specify what is the variation and values will represent the actual variation.


For example, size or color can be attributed. The values here are small, medium, large and red, blue, green respectively. Of course, you can add as many attributes and values as you want.


Values are separated by pipes (“|”). You can also write “,” and it will be added as the new one.


The next term is the variation. In the product data, you will see the variation. You will have to add all the information here in the variation tab.

Inside the variation tab, you can either add the variation yourself or you can click on “create all possible variation”. If you click that button, WooCommerce will automatically generate all the possible variations.

What is a Variable Product

You can then add the information to it. The information you can add includes price, SKU, description, image, weight, etc. All you have to do is click on the “expand” button in the variation tab and you can add all these things.

Further, you can also set the shipping class. You can either inherit it from the parent product. In simpler words, it will follow the same shipping class as the main product or you can also set a different shipping class for the variation. It is highly recommended that you can use the same shipping class.

It is optional to add these things. If you don’t add a unique product image on all of these, it will show the default image to all the variation. However, if you want to change the image whenever the user clicks on a variation, you can add a different image in each of them. It is your choice.

Stock Management

You can manage stock at an individual level or you can also do it at the product level. It is up to you.

Just head over to inventory and you will find all the options to make these changes. You can set it at an individual level or you can set different stock management for all the variations. Depending on your business model, you can do these changes.

The last option is where you can tick “sold individually”.

This is very much useful for shop owners who want to sell one quantity per customer. With this, the customer can’t buy more than one quantity. This is also useful in grocery and vegetable stores.

How to add Variable Product?

Now, let’s get into the actual step by step guide on how to add variable product. Most of you might already have got the idea of how to add it now. However, if you don’t know, here are the steps you can follow.

  • Open the WordPress dashboard and head over to Products > Add new


  • Inside it, you can fill out all the information like title, image, description, category, etc.
  • Once you do it, you can scroll to the product options. Select the variable product from the drop-down.

What is a Variable Product

  • Now, you can add the information to it. To start with, you can first add the attributes. You can add global or custom attributes.
  • Thereafter, you can come to the variation tab and add the information about the variation. Here, you can enter the price, image, etc.
  • The next thing you can do is add inventory management. This is completely optional. If you want to manage the inventory differently you can choose the option or you can manage all the variations as a single product. Again, this step is also optional.
  • Add the skipping information and select the advanced options if you want.
  • Once everything is done, you can recheck all the things and hit the publish button.
  • That’s it, your variable product is live and customers can now buy it.

Tips for Variable Products

Now, we will see some of the tips that can come handy when you have a lot of variable products or you are dealing with variable products.

This will make your work faster or increase your sales.

Bulk Editing

Sometimes, the variations are just to give users options but the pricing is the same. In such cases, you can bulk edit the pricing.

When you click on the variations, you will see another dropdown right below the attributes. You can click on “Set regular pricing” and hit the “Go” button. Now, all the variations will have the same pricing.

Cart Options

As you might be knowing the option to add products to the cart has been changed. You will now see the “Select options” button instead of the “add to cart”. If you want to change it back to “Add to cart”, you can use a plugin to do it.

Here is a free plugin you can use > Custom Add to Cart Button Label and Link

Pricing Display

The next problem faced by many people is the pricing options. The pricing usually shows as “10 to 100” where 10 is the pricing for the least priced product and 100 is pricing for the highest-paid.

Now, this is very much transparent and most of the businesses do not work this way. Some of them display the least pricing on the product page. This is because they don’t want to confuse the users.

So, here is the small trick that you can use to display the first pricing only. This will help you in various ways. It will also have a default variant. So, when the user opens the product, they will see the default product.

The solution is simple and easy. All you have to do is use a plugin. You can use Force Default Variant Plugin. Don’t worry, it is a free plugin.

WooCommerce Swatches

For some people, this term might be new. Swatches will show the customers the visual representation (image) of the attribute values. For example, instead of show “Blue”, it will show you the blue color.

You can also set the image on your own which will be very much useful. So, this is especially for the customers and not for you. This will make it easier for the users to choose the variant and eventually it will drive more sales.

There are two plugins available to add WooCommerce swatches. You can either use Variation Swatches for WooCommerce by ThemeAlient or Radiustheme. The name of both of the plugins are the same and they both use similar. You can try out both and then see which is better. This is the ultimate way to see which plugin is the best.

Final Words

To conclude, this was all about WooCommerce what is a variable product and how you can add it with ease. You will need a variable product if you are running an eCommerce store. Therefore, it is always better to have the information about it. The main goal is to display it properly. The user should know all the information about the attributes. Most people forget to write more about their attributes. You should clearly state all the things when you are having a variable product. It is highly recommended to have a unique image for all the products if the images are different. This will help your customers to know your product better. Also, add the variations swatches if needed.

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Alexey Seryapin
Founder of WPServices