Transition to Items with Variants

If using basic items with modifiers or separate inventory items to sell variations of a single product, transition to using items with variants to simplify inventory tracking and reporting. We’ll show you how to transition these items, review how items with variants appear in reporting and at the register, and touch on some unsupported features.

For help deciding whether to continue using basic items with modifiers or switch to items with variants, visit our Variants vs. Modifiers article.

Table of Contents

What to Know Before Transitioning

Before transitioning basic items into items with variants, there are some important details to be aware of.

  • Items with variants can be created from the Item List or imported via Bulk Management.
  • Items with variants cannot have the same name as existing basic items.
  • There is no automatic way to change a basic item into an item with variants.
  • Reporting for an existing basic item cannot be linked to an item with variants.
  • Do not delete the existing basic item. Instead, modify the item with Bulk Management and set its ‘Register Status’ to ‘inactive’ after creating the item with variants.
  • A UPC code cannot be used by more than one item. If a basic item has a UPC needed for an item with variants, first remove the UPC from the basic item. The same UPC can be assigned to multiple variants within a single item with variants.
  • Barcode labels printed with the SKU of a basic item must be reprinted after the item is re-created as an item with variants. Visit our ShopKeep Label Printing article to learn how to do so.
  • Some BackOffice features are not supported by items with variants. Learn about these features below.
  • Basic Items to Items with Variants

    Transition basic items into items with variants one at a time from the Item List or in bulk using spreadsheets with Bulk Management.

    Item List

    1. From the Item List, click 'Add New' and select 'Create' under 'Item with Variants'.

      For more detailed help creating an item with variants, visit our Add an Item with Variants article.

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    2. Enter a name for the item and fill in the other settings.

      All items must have unique names. If an existing basic item is called ‘Sheet Set’, give the item with variants a different name, such as ‘Sheet Sets’. Do not delete the basic item.

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    3. Enter the variations, such as size and color, from the existing basic item into the corresponding 'Option Name' and 'Option Value' fields.
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    4. Enter a price for each variant.
    5. (Optional) Enter a 'Quantity', 'Cost', 'UPC', and/or 'Reorder Trigger' for each variant.

      If the existing basic item uses a UPC that must be used for a variant, remove the UPC from the basic item before adding it to the variant. Failure to do this will result in a ‘UPC already used’ error.

    6. Save the item.

      Items with variants appear on the Item List alongside basic items. Click the arrow icon next to an item to view its active variants. To show or hide variants for every item on the list, click ‘Expand all’ or ‘Collapse all’.

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    Bulk Management

    1. Start a new Bulk Management job and download the blank import template.

      For more detailed help importing items with variants, visit our Bulk Management article.

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    2. Enter a name for each item.

      All items must have unique names. If an existing basic item is called ‘Sheet Set’, give the item with variants a different name, such as ‘Sheet Sets’. Do not delete the basic item.

    3. Enter the variations, such as size and color, from the existing basic item into the corresponding 'Option Name' and 'Option Value' fields on the template spreadsheet.
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    4. Fill in the remaining parameters for each item.
      • Values entered (e.g. UPC, Price, etc.) apply to all variants of an item. After importing the spreadsheet, individual variants can be edited from the Item List.
      • If an existing basic item uses a UPC that must be used for a variant, remove the UPC from the basic item before adding it to the spreadsheet.
    5. When the spreadsheet is finished, save it and upload the file with Bulk Management.
      • For step-by-step help saving and uploading the spreadsheet, visit our Bulk Management article.
      • Items with variants appear on the Item List alongside basic items. Click the arrow icon next to an item to view its active variants. To show or hide variants for every item on the list, click ‘Expand all’ or ‘Collapse all’.
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    Reporting

    Learn about some of the reporting available for items with variants. For an extended look, visit our Items with Variants in BackOffice article.

  • Reporting data starts for an item with variants when it is created. Reporting data for the original basic item remains in BackOffice and cannot be merged with the new item with variants. To view combined totals for both items, export reports to a spreadsheet and manually add together the data.
  • Keep the basic item in inventory for reporting purposes. It does not have to be deleted.
  • The Stock Items Export provides a copy of all existing items with each variant listed on its own row.
  • The example below shows a basic item followed by one variant from the newly created item with variants. The ‘Quantity’ column contains the total quantity sold of both instances.
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  • Use the Adjustment History report to view quantity on hand adjustments made to both basic items and items with variants.
  • Basic items with modifiers do not have the same reporting capabilities as items with variants. Variants represent separate items, whereas modifiers represent alterations to a basic item, such as a customer’s request to add milk to their coffee.
  • The Inventory Value report includes both basic items and items with variants in the total inventory value. The list of items below the total inventory value displays both basic items and individual variants.
  • The Inventory Reorder Report lists basic stock items and items with variants separately. Click the tabs to move between lists.
  • View the quantity history for any variant from the Item List. Select an item with variants, click the down arrow next to a variant, and select ‘View History’.
  • At the Register

    When an item with variants is selected at the register, its variants appear, similarly to modifiers. Keep in mind that each variant represents a separate item in reporting.

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    Missing an item with variants on the register? Visit our troubleshooting guide for help.

    Unsupported Features

    The BackOffice features listed below are not supported for items with variants. Not to worry, they all still work for basic items.

  • Kitchen Ticket Printing
  • Raw Goods
  • Modifiers
  • Unit Pricing
  • Open Pricing