Add an Item with Variants
Items with variants are inventory items sold in multiple variations, such as a t-shirt with different sizes and colors. This type of item allows you to create all variations at once instead of having to add a separate basic item for each. After learning more about items with variants, visit BackOffice to create one, then go to the register to sell it.
Watch our Adding an Item with Variants video:
Table of Contents
What are Items with Variants?
To understand how best to use items with variants, let’s define what they are, look at a few examples, examine their benefits, and review their limitations.
Prepackaged food items often come in different portion sizes and flavors. Examples include potato chips and bottled beverages. For made-to-order food items, we recommend using basic items with modifiers instead.
Items with variants can be used for a number of other retail items, such as vape liquid (multiple nicotine levels and flavors), jewelry (different sizes and colors), and sheets (sizes, colors, and materials).
Create an Item with Variants
Fill in the item’s description, configure some optional settings, and enter the item’s options to create a new item with variants in BackOffice.
- In BackOffice, click 'Items' and select 'Item List'.
- Click 'Add New'.
- Select 'Create' under 'Item with Variants'.
- Fill in the 'Item Description' details.
Name | How the item is identified at the register, on receipts, and in BackOffice. This is required. Examples: T-Shirt, Bottled Water, Sheet Set.
Category | Subgroup within a Department, also used for organization and reporting. Examples: Men’s Shirts, Water, Sheets.
Register Status | If checked, the item can be sold at the register. If unchecked, the item is added to inventory but cannot be sold.Buttons for inactive items remain on the BackOffice register layout until removed. Visit our troubleshooting guide to learn how to remove an item’s button.
Supplier’s Item ID | The item’s reorder code. This field is only active when a ‘Supplier’ is entered.
- (Optional) Customize the default 'Item Settings'.
Taxable | If Yes, tax will be charged for the item. If No, tax will not be charged.
Tax Rate | Select a tax group to override the default tax rate for the item. This field is only active when ‘Taxable’ is set to ‘Yes’.
Discountable | If Yes, discounts can be applied to the item. If No, the item cannot be discounted.
- Set up the options and option values that will define the item's variants.Enter an ‘Option Name’.Options are the traits that distinguish between an item’s variations. Options cannot be added, deleted, or edited after saving the item. Examples: Color, Size, Material.Enter ‘Option Values’, separating each with a comma.Option values are the specific types of options. Option values can be added or removed but not renamed after saving the item. Examples: Blue, Large, Cotton.(Optional) Click ‘Add an option’ and repeat a – b in step 6 to add more options.Items can have up to three options and 150 total variants.
- (Optional) Toggle 'Track Inventory' on to track the item's quantity on hand, cost, and reorder trigger.
- Uncheck the 'Active' box for any variants not being sold.
Inactive variants cannot be sold at the register. Reactivate a variant at any time by rechecking the box.
- Fill in each variant's details.
Click ‘Copy to all’ to copy a value from one variant to the others.
Price | Amount customers pay at the register. This is required.
Quantity | Total amount in stock. This field only appears when ‘Track Inventory’ is enabled.
Cost | How much the business pays to acquire the variant. This field only appears when ‘Track Inventory’ is enabled.
UPC | 8, 12, or 13 digit product barcode that can be scanned at the register to ring up the variant. Cashiers can also search for items by UPC.8 and 12 digit UPC codes cannot begin with 2, 4, or 5. No UPC codes can contain letters. If a UPC does not meet these criteria, print a new label via ShopKeep Label Printing to scan the item at the register.
Reorder Trigger | Low quantity amount that, when reached, prompts the item to appear on the Reorder Report. This field only appears when ‘Track Inventory’ is enabled.
- Click 'Save'.
- On the register, open the Control Panel and tap 'Get Updates' to sync the item to the register.
Don’t see ‘Get Updates’? Visit our troubleshooting guide for help.
Sell an Item with Variants
After creating an item with variants in BackOffice, learn how to sell it at the register.
- On the register, tap a button, search by item name, SKU, or UPC, or scan an item to add it to the sale.
- From left to right, select the option values of the variant being sold.
If an option value cannot be selected, it means that specific variant is not active. Visit our troubleshooting guide to learn how to activate the variant.
- Tap 'Done'.
- (Optional) Tap a line item to edit its option value selections.
- Complete the sale as usual.
Need help finishing the sale? Visit our Running Sales at the Register article.
Frequently Asked Questions
View answers to common questions about items with variants.
What is the difference between items with variants and basic items?
Items with variants are items sold in variations, such as a shirt with several size options. Basic items are sold individually without variants.
Should I use items with variants or basic items with modifiers?
Visit our Variants vs. Modifiers article to compare the benefits of using items with variants against using basic items with modifiers to decide which is best for specific items.
Can I transition existing basic items to items with variants?
Yes. If you have existing items to change over, please read our Transitioning to Items with Variants article.
How many variants can an item have?
Each item can have up to three options and 150 variants. The number of variants is calculated by multiplying together the number of values for each option. For example, if an item has two options (Size and Color) and each option has 5 values (Small, Black, etc), there would be 25 total variants.
Can I add variants to an item after saving it?
Yes. To add more variants to an item, edit the item and enter additional option values.
Can I edit the name of an option value?
No. However, you can remove the option value and re-add it with the correct name. Learn more about removing and re-adding option values here.
Can I print barcode labels for items with variants?
Yes. Visit our ShopKeep Label Printing article to learn how to print labels directly from BackOffice.
How can I view my current inventory?
The Item List in BackOffice shows every item currently in inventory. From the Item List, you can browse all items, search and sort to find specific items, view details of individual item variants, add new items, and edit existing ones.
How do I check the quantity on hand of an item with variants?
Visit our Inventory Tracking & Reorder Report article to learn how to view an item’s quantity both in BackOffice and at the register.
Can I import items with variants?
Yes. Visit our Bulk Management: Items with Variants article to learn how to import new items with variants from a spreadsheet.
How do I edit an item with variants?
Select an item with variants from the Item List to make changes to it. To update many items with variants at once, use Bulk Management.
How do I delete an item with variants?
Select an item with variants from the Item List, then click the red ‘Delete’ link. To delete many items with variants at once, use Bulk Management.
Please be aware that if a deleted item is re-added, labels printed before deletion will not scan at the register. New labels must be printed. Deleted items will still appear on sales reports for dates prior to deletion, but will not appear on some other reports. Visit our Inventory FAQ to learn which reports are not supported.
How can I get help if I have issues using items with variants?
Visit our Items with Variants Troubleshooting guide for help solving common problems.
After reviewing the sections above, move on to the articles below to learn about related topics, such as how to add items with variants to the register layout.
The register layout is the group of register buttons cashiers tap to ring up items. Visit our Register Layout article to learn how to add buttons to the layout and customize how it looks.
Print barcode labels for variants without UPC codes to allow cashiers to scan those items at the register. Visit our ShopKeep Label Printing article to learn how to print labels directly from BackOffice.
Items with variants appear in several areas of BackOffice, such as the Item List and Receive Inventory screen. Visit our Items with Variants in BackOffice article to learn how these items affect BackOffice operations.
Having trouble creating or selling an item with variants? Visit our Items with Variants Troubleshooting guide for help with any issues you experience. If you have a question not listed above, visit our Inventory FAQ.