How to Set Up Variable Products in WooCommerce

As any frequent readers (ha!) may know, I’m an avid fan of WooCommerce – I believe that it’s hands-down the best eCommerce platform available on WordPress, and one of the best available in the world. With untold flexibility and an ever-growing community, the sky’s the limit for the little plugin that started just a few years ago – but with such rapid growth, some features can get overlooked. Today, we’re going to look into one of the most powerful features built into WooCommerce core (and available free to all users) – Product Variations.

What Are Product Variations?

In WooCommerce, you have a variety of product types to choose from – Simple, Digital, Virtual, Variable, and many more. While a Simple product is a one-option, as-is product (think of a baseball – there’s not much to customize), users want options – so give them some choices!

When Should I Use a Product Variation?

A Variable Product is perfect when you have different types of the same thing where you want to track stock for each variation. Let’s make a sample scenario – you’ve gone back in time (with the Internet still?) and developed the first eight-color Crayola crayon set! Man oh man are you going to be rich, if only you could find a way to sell the colors individually (after all, who would want to buy a full pack? That’s ridiculous. Nobody uses anything but black).

You’ve already finished manufacturing the first batch – they’re packed, labeled, and ready to go, with specific stock numbers for each color.

Instead of going through and creating eight separate products, save yourself some time! Just select the “Variable Product” dropdown while adding product information to get started.


How to Add a Variable Product

A Variable Product in WooCommerce gives you a bit of flexibility in how you price and organize your offering – in our case, we can assume that all crayons are the same weight and size, but let’s say we find out that due to pigment costs, they actually cost a little bit different per color. We can enter the shared information in the main product tab like usual, and here’s where it gets interesting.

First, we need to add an Attribute to the product – the defining characteristic that sets versions apart. For our sample Crayon scenario, it’s obviously color – we can add this through Global WooCommerce attributes or by adding a product-specific attribute.

When we add the product-specific attribute, we’ll enter all of the potential colors separated by a pipe – |. So, in the Attributes field, we enter:

Red | Yellow | Blue | Green | Orange | Brown | Violet | Black

Be sure to check that this attribute can be used for variations, and don’t forget to hit save.


Once that’s finished saving, we can move to the Variations tab, and click “Link All Variations”. A few pop-up boxes later, our variations have been created!

Now, go step-by-step through each variation, adding an image, price, SKU, or any other special information you want to include. Finally, save your variations, and then Publish your product.

The End Result

TA-DA! Just like that, you’ve mastered Product Variations, and you can see our crayon demo live at The coolest part? You can have as many attributes and variation combinations as you’d like, though keep in mind the more combinations, the more you have to manage.

A Closing Note

Simply put, Variable Products in WooCommerce can be a simple thing when they work, or a complex pain in the ass when they don’t. Earlier this week, I posted a quick troubleshooting guide that will help address most issues users experience with Product Variations in WooCommerce, so if you’re having trouble, be sure to check it out!

That’s all for now – hopefully this helped unlock the mystery of WooCommerce Product Variations!

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