Add an Item with Variants

Items that have variants include things like clothing or shoes where a single product is sold in different sizes, colors, etc. Variant items are easy to ring up and track in BackOffice.

Unsure if items with variants are right for your business? Visit this interactive support article to find out.

Watch our Adding an Item with Variants video below:

Add Items with Variants

Table of Contents

Create a New Item

First, go to the Items List and add a new item.

For the smoothest possible experience, add items with variants from a computer.

  1. Tap 'Items' and select 'Items List'.
  2. Select '+ Add New'.
  3. Choose 'Create' under 'Item with Variants'.

    To learn how to create a basic item, visit this support article.

Basic Details

Define the basic characteristics of the item before building out all of its different variants.

Item Description

Fill out the top section with some general information on the item.

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What the item is called. This appears on customer receipts and BackOffice reporting.

General grouping used for item organization and reporting.

A subgroup within a Department that is also used for item organization and reporting.

Register Status
If checked, the item is active and can be sold. If unchecked, the item is inactive and cannot be sold.
Buttons for inactive items remain on the BackOffice layout until removed. Visit our troubleshooting guide to learn how to remove an item’s button.

The vendor that supplies the item. Supplier appears on reports like Sales by Supplier and the Inventory Reorder Report.

Supplier ID
A reorder code, part number, etc. that the supplier associated with the item.

Item Settings

Change any of these optional settings to modify how the item and its variants work at the register.

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Yes or No. Determines whether or not the register charges tax.

Tax Rate
If there are multiple tax groups set up, choose which applies to the item.

Yes or No. Whether or not cashiers can discount the item.


With the item’s foundation laid, set up the different ways, or variations, in which it is sold.

Create Variants

The options (e.g. Size, Color, etc.) and option values (e.g. Small, Medium, Red, Green, etc.) entered create the item’s variants (e.g. Small Red, Medium Green, etc). Also enter price and UPC (optional) and if items are tracked, enter the quantity on hand, cost and reorder trigger.

  1. Enter the first option and its values.

    Use a comma to end one option value and begin typing another.

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  2. Use '+ Add an option' to create some more.

    There is a maximum of 3 options per item.

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    Options cannot be added or edited after saving the item. Option Values, however, can be.
  3. Uncheck variants not wanted in inventory.

    Inactive variants cannot be sold. Check this box, at any time, to make a variant active again.

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  4. Enter a price for each variant.

    If each has the same price, enter it in one row & choose Copy to all.

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  5. (optional) Enter UPC codes to scan items at the register.

    UPC codes must be 8, 12 or 13 digits and cannot begin with 2, 4, 5 or contain letters. If a UPC does not meet these criteria, print a new label via ShopKeep Label Printing.

    Getting a UPC related error? Visit our Items with Variants Troubleshooting guide for help.

Track Variant Inventory

Track inventory on variant items to keep an eye on cost of goods sold, know when to reorder, and see how many of each are in stock.

  1. Click the 'Track inventory' toggle.
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  2. Enter Quantity, Cost, and / or Reorder Trigger for each variant.

    Or enter everything for one & press Copy to all to fill in the others.

    Cost cannot be updated after saving the item. Visit the Weighted Average Cost article to learn more about cost and how it updates when receiving inventory.
  3. Click 'Save' to save the item.

If you need to delete an item and start over, click the ‘Delete Item’ link. Please be aware that:

  • If a deleted item is re-added later, labels printed for the original item must be re-printed.
  • Deleted items appear on sales reports, but do not appear on certain other reports. Visit the Inventory FAQ to learn which reports are not supported.
  • Sell an Item with Variants

    At the register, items with variants are as easy to ring up as any other type of item.

    1. Tap, search for, or scan an item to add it to the sale.

      When multiple variants have the same UPC, cashiers hear a beep & must select a variant after scanning the barcode. If the cashier does not make a selection, a green ‘i’ icon reminds them to return to that item before completing the sale.

      Don’t see your item with variants on the register? Visit our troubleshooting guide for help.
    2. From left to right, select applicable option values for the item being sold and tap 'Done'.

      Light grey option values represent variants that are inactive in BackOffice.

    3. Finish the sale as usual.

    Unsupported Features

    Currently, there are some BackOffice features that are incompatible with items that have variants. Not to worry, these all still work for basic items.

  • Ticket Printing
  • Raw Goods
  • Modifiers
  • Unit priced items
  • Open priced items
  • FAQ

    Below are a few common questions regarding items with variants. If you don’t see your question listed here, visit our Inventory FAQ and Setup FAQ articles to learn more.

    Where can I learn more about items with variants?

    Visit our Items with Variants Index for an assortment of articles about items with variants.

    Can I transition existing basic items to items with variants?

    If you have existing items to change over, please read our Transitioning to Items with Variants article.

    What are the differences between modifiers and variants?

    You can learn about the difference between these in our Modifiers vs Variants article.

    How do variants appear in BackOffice?

    Items with variants affect a few different BackOffice reports and features. Check out our Items with Variants in BackOffice article for more information.

    I added a few items with variants but don’t see them on my register?

    If you run into trouble finding or adding items with variants, check out our Variants Troubleshooting page.

    Can I print barcode labels for items with variants?

    Sure. You can print labels for items with variants directly from BackOffice using ShopKeep Label Printing.

    Can I add more variants to an existing item?

    You can add new option values to an existing item with variants by simply editing the item, but you cannot add new options.

    How many variants can a single item have?

    Each item can have a maximum of 150 variants. Multiply together the number of values for each option to find your number of variants.

    For example, if an item has two options (Size and Color) and each option has 5 values (Small, Medium, Black, White, etc.), there would be 25 total variants.

    Can I adjust the costs of my variants in BackOffice?

    No, the cost is set when creating your item with variants by clicking ‘Save’. When inventory is received, the cost will update to a weighted average cost.

    How can I get help if I have issues using items with variants?

    Visit our Items with Variants Troubleshooting guide for help solving some common problems.

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