Transition to Items with Variants

If your inventory contains basic items with modifiers or you’ve created separate items to deal with a product’s variations, transition these items into individual items with variants to simplify inventory tracking and reporting. We’ll show you how to transition these items, go over what items with variants look like in reporting and at the register, and touch on some unsupported features.

Not sure whether to stick with basic items and modifiers or switch to items with variants? Visit our Variants vs. Modifiers article for help deciding.

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 Items 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.
  • Basic items with modifiers must be created individually as 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, however, be assigned to multiple variants within a single item with variants.
  • Barcode labels printed with a basic item’s SKU 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.
  • Currently, there are some BackOffice features that are incompatible with items that have 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 Items List or in bulk using spreadsheets with Bulk Management.

    Items List

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

      See here for more detailed instructions on creating an item with variants.

      Click to Enlarge
    2. Enter a name for the item and fill in its other settings.

      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.

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

      When an item with variants is created, the item’s name appears on the Items List. The list contains both basic items and items with variants. Click the arrow next to an item to view its variants.

      Click to Enlarge

    Bulk Management

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

      See here for more detailed instructions on importing items with variants.

      Click to Enlarge
    2. Enter a name for each item.

      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. Input 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.
      Click to Enlarge
    4. Fill in the remaining parameters for each item.
      • Values entered (e.g. UPC, Price, etc) apply to each of an item’s variants. After import, variants can be edited from the Items List.
      • 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 spreadsheet.
    5. When the spreadsheet is finished, save it and upload the file with Bulk Management.

      Visit our Bulk Manage: Items with Variants article for step-by-step instructions.

      When the import is done, each item’s name appears on the Items List. The list contains both basic items and items with variants. Click the arrow next to an item to view its variants.

      Click to Enlarge

    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 the totals, export reports to a spreadsheet and combine 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.
    Click to Enlarge
  • Use the Adjustment History report to see 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 the basic item, such as a customer’s request to add milk 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 Items List. Select an item with variants, click the down arrow next to any 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 is representative of a separate item in reporting.

    Click to Enlarge

    Don’t see an item with variants on the register? Visit our troubleshooting guide for help.

    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 Pricing
  • Open Pricing

    • Help us improve ShopKeep Support. Was this article helpful?
    • YES   NO