Bulk Management: Items with Variants

Use Bulk Management to create, update, or delete large numbers of items with variants at once using spreadsheets. After learning when to use Bulk Management, start a new job in BackOffice to begin managing inventory with this tool.

Table of Contents

When to Use Bulk Management

Bulk Management is a powerful tool that can transform how you manage inventory. Before jumping right in, it is important to learn when you should and when you should not use this feature.

Use Bulk Management:

  1. When you have many inventory items to create

    For merchants with large inventories, it’s more efficient to import items via Bulk Management than to create them one by one from the Item List.

  2. When you have a digital copy of your items

    If the items you need to create already exist in a spreadsheet file, just copy their information into our template. Once in our template, the items are ready to import via Bulk Management.

  3. If you need to update or delete many existing items

    It is more efficient to manage large numbers of items with Bulk Management than it is to update or delete those items one at a time from the Item List.

  4. If you have multiple linked locations and want to create the same new items with variants in each.
Don’t use Bulk Management:

  1. When you have just a few items to create, update, or delete

    In this case, it is less efficient to prepare a Bulk Management spreadsheet than it is to create, update, or delete those items one by one from the Item List.

  2. If you are not comfortable working with spreadsheets

    Using Bulk Management requires editing, formatting, and saving spreadsheets files. If you don’t feel confident doing these actions, Bulk Management may not be right for you.

Start a New Job

Whether you need to create new items with variants, update existing ones, or delete some from inventory, begin by starting a new Bulk Management job.

  1. In BackOffice, click 'Items' and select 'Bulk Manage Items'.
  2. Click 'New Job'.
  3. Select a type of job, then click ‘Next’.
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  4. Continue to one of the options below to complete the Bulk Management job.

Create New Items

While you can create items with variants one by one from the Item List, importing inventory using Bulk Management is sometimes more efficient. We recommend this method if you have a lot of items (over 50) or need to create the same items in multiple linked locations.

Prep the Spreadsheet

Download an import template from BackOffice and fill it in with your inventory information.

  1. After starting a new job, click 'Download a blank inventory template'.
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  2. Open the template in spreadsheet software.

    If you don’t have spreadsheet software, try Open Office for free.

  3. Enter your inventory into the spreadsheet.

    For a rundown of what goes in each column, click here.

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    Items with variants cannot use open or unit pricing, they must have their Price Type set to system.
    The only required columns are Name and Price. Prices must be the same. Any columns left blank will automatically be assigned the default value (TRUE or 0).
  4. For items with variants, enter values in the 'Option Name' and 'Option Value' columns.
    • Options are the types of variant choices a customer can make (Size, Color, etc).
    • Option Values are selections within each Option (Small, Medium, Large, etc).
      • Option Values must be each be separated by a comma.
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    For a rundown of what goes in each column, click here.

  5. Save or export the completed spreadsheet in .CSV format.

    Visit our Spreadsheets for Bulk Imports article for help saving the file.

Upload the Spreadsheet

With the import spreadsheet saved, return to Bulk Management to upload the new items to BackOffice.

  1. In Bulk Management, click 'Choose File' and select the import spreadsheet.
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  2. (Optional for multi-location accounts) Check the box to create the items in all linked locations.

    This option is only available to merchants with multiple linked locations and is only visible to the Business Owner. Visit our New Store Setup article to learn how to create a new linked location or our Multi-Store Management guide to learn how to link existing locations.

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  3. Click ‘Next’ to map the import.

    If you get an error, visit our Items Troubleshooting guide for help.

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  4. On the 'Map Fields' page, match 'Your CSV Headers' to the 'Stock Item Fields' and click 'Next'.

    Most fields will automatically map to the correct CSV headers, but you must manually map Cost.

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    Set any fields you are not using to unassigned.
  5. Verify that all fields are mapped correctly, then click 'Confirm & Proceed' to process the import.
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  6. Refresh the Bulk Management page to check the status of the import.
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If the import returns errors, visit the Items Troubleshooting guide for help.

Update Items

Updating existing inventory items is a multi-part process. Export your current inventory, make updates to the export, and return to Bulk Management to import the changes.

  • Only Register Status, Price, Cost, Quantity, Reorder Trigger, and UPC can be updates using Bulk Management.
  • To make an entire item with variants’ Register Status ‘inactive’, not only individual variants, you must manually edit the item.
  • Inactive variants can only be made active by manually editing the associated item.
  • Prep the Spreadsheet

    Since you’re updating existing items, you need to start with a spreadsheet of your current inventory.

    1. After starting a new job, click 'Export your existing inventory to a CSV'.
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    2. Open the export in spreadsheet software.

      If you don’t have spreadsheet software, try Open Office for free.

    3. Modify the spreadsheet to reflect the updates you want to make.

      Below is an example of a price change. Item UUID is required for import, Name stays as a reference, and Price is the only column that changes. Rows/Columns not being updated are removed.

      Before:

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      After:

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      Items with variants support bulk updating Register Status, Price, Cost, Quantity, Reorder Trigger, & UPC.
    4. Save or export the updated spreadsheet in .CSV format.

      Visit our Spreadsheets for Bulk Imports article for help saving the file.

    Upload the Spreadsheet

    With your import spreadsheet finished, return to Bulk Management to upload the changes to BackOffice.

    1. In Bulk Management, click 'Choose File', select the updated spreadsheet, and click 'Next'.

      If you get an error, visit our Items Troubleshooting guide for help.

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    2. Set any field not being updated to 'unassigned' and click 'Next'.
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      When updating items, ‘Cost’ is unmapped by default. Modifying cost will override weighted average cost calculations.
    3. Verify that all fields are mapped correctly, then click 'Confirm & Proceed' to process the import.
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    4. Refresh the Bulk Management page to check the status of the import.
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    If the import returns errors, visit the Items Troubleshooting guide for help.

    Delete Items

    Deleting items with variants via Bulk Management is a multi-part process. Learn how to export the current inventory, prepare an import spreadsheet, and upload the variants to be deleted.

    Before deleting items with variants, note the following:

  • Deleting all of an item’s variants removes the entire item from inventory. Deleting some of an item’s variants removes those specific variants and keeps the item in inventory.
  • We recommend only deleting variants that will not be sold in the future. For variants that may be sold again, update their ‘Register Status’ to ‘inactive’ instead of deleting.
  • To re-add a deleted variant, you may need to temporarily delete some other variants. Labels printed for variants before deletion will not scan at the register. New labels will need to be printed.
  • Deleted variants will still appear on sales reports for dates prior to deletion but will not appear on some other reports. Visit the Inventory FAQ to learn which reports are not supported.
  • Prep the Spreadsheet

    Using your preferred spreadsheet software and a list of existing items exported from BackOffice, prepare the .CSV file to only include items you will delete from inventory.

    1. After starting a new job, click 'Export your existing inventory to a CSV'.
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    2. Open the export in any spreadsheet software.
    3. Remove any items and variants not being deleted from inventory by deleting rows from the spreadsheet.

      Here’s an example of two items with variants being deleted via import. Variants appear on separate rows with the item name and ‘Option Values’ in the ‘Name’ column. All items and variants remaining on the spreadsheet will be deleted.

    4. Save or export the completed spreadsheet in .CSV format.

      Visit our Spreadsheets for Bulk Imports article for help saving the file in the correct format for your spreadsheet software.

    Upload the Spreadsheet

    With the import spreadsheet prepared, return to Bulk Management and upload into BackOffice the variants to be deleted.

    1. In Bulk Management, click 'Choose File' and select the import spreadsheet, then click 'Next'.
      • Be sure to select the spreadsheet saved in the previous section, NOT the original file exported from BackOffice. All items and variants in the spreadsheet will be deleted.
      • If an error appears, visit our Items Troubleshooting guide for help.
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    2. Click ‘Next’, then ‘Confirm & Proceed’ to process the job.
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    3. Refresh the Bulk Management page to check the job status.

      If there are errors, visit our Items Troubleshooting guide for help.

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    Template Columns

    This section explains the Bulk Management template’s columns and the information required for each.

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    Name | Name of the item as it appears on the register and receipts. This field is mandatory, must be unique, and must be under 255 characters.
    Option Name | The types of variant choies a customer can make (Size, Color, etc.).
    Discountable | TRUE – Yes, the item should be able to havae a discount applied to it. FALSE – No, the item should not be discountable at the register.
    UPC | 8, 12, or 13 digit barcode from the product that can be scanned at the register. UPC codes cannot begin with 2, 4, 5 or contain letters.
    Taxable | TRUE – Yes, the item should have tax applied to it. FALSE – No, this item should not be taxed.
    Department | Optional field used for item organization, reporting, and ticket printing.
    Category | A subgroup within a Department.
    Supplier | The vendor or party from whom the item is acquiured.
    Supplier Code | Any reorder code associated with the item.
    Price Type | How the item’s price is entered. System – The item has a set price. Open – The price entered at the register when the item is sold. Unit – The item is sold at a per-unit price (e.g. by the pound). NOTE: Items with variants must have their Price Type set to system.
    Unit | Two character abbreviation for unit pricing (oz/lb/etc.). Use only if Price Type is set to Unit. NOTE: Items with variants cannot use unit pricing.
    Tax Rate | Assign the item to a tax group to override the default tax rate. Tax groups must be set up in BackOffice ahead of time. Enter the name of the tax group and its rate, e.g. Alcohol @ 11.25%.
    Track Inventory | TRUE – Yes, BackOffice will keep track of the item’s quantity on hand. FALSE – No, BackOffice will not keep track of the item’s quantity on hand.
    Register Status | active – The item appears on the register and can be sold. inactive – The item appears only in BackOffice and cannot be sold at the register.
    Price | What the customer pays at the register for the item.
    Cost | The cost of the item to the business. If Track Inventory is set to FALSE, leave this blank and enter the cost in the Assigned Cost column instead.
    Quantity | How many of an item is on hand.
    Assigned Cost | The cost of the item to the business. If Track Inventory is set to TRUE, enter the cost in the Cost column instead. NOTE: Leave this field blank for items with variants. To track cost, set Track Inventory to TRUE and enter item cost in the Cost column.
    Reorder Trigger | Low quantity amount that prompts the time to appear on the Reorder Report.
    Recommended Order | Quantity required for the item to be considered fully stocked.


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