Planning & Organizing Variant Catalog Items

When an item can be purchased from the supplier in multiple variations such as different sizes and colors a configurable is used. Benefits of a configurable item:

  • Tracks inventory for each variant using an associated simple item
  • Simplifies data entry by creating all simple items when configurable item is created
  • Simplifies, search, data entry and quick pick selection by showing only configurable parent (you can set visibility to show all variants if you like). 
  • Unifies reporting by consolidating data under the configurable parent item.

Search Fields

Manufacturers provide part numbers, model numbers, product id's, UPCs and SKUs. Sometimes you have SKUs from an old system. We give you plenty of fields to use for identifying and searching for your products:

Product Field
Has to be Unique*
SKU yes yes yes
Name yes yes yes
Manufacturer UPC yes yes no
Style yes no no
Product ID yes yes yes
Alternate SKU yes yes yes
Item Number yes yes yes

*only 1 item in your system can have this ID!

Important to Note
  • You can change any of the fields above whenever you want.
  • Configurable items will append any configurable attributes automatically to the end of product name for each simple item it creates automatically .. so Men's Red Polo becomes Men's Red Polo - Small and Men's Red Polo - Medium and so on .. You can do this with the SKU field as well or simply have it increment the next SKU.


Product Settings Tab >> Make Simple Items Visible controls whether the variant simple items of a configurable item always show up on lists and searches - or whether just the configurable item is displayed.

Color Variant or New Item

When an item comes in multiple colors should the colors be a variant option? Take something like a basic Polo Shirt - you probably want to let the customer choose a color (red, blue, green) as they're adding it to the cart on your web site. But consider a Red Floral Dress and a Blue Floral Dress - the customer might or might not see these as a 'choice' and may be more likely to respond to them as separate items on your web site. That's pretty much your most important consideration. 

Grouping Colors

You probably want an attribute that's a basic color list. But beyond that you probably want separate attributes that list colors specific to your important suppliers - some large suppliers that change frequently may even warrant having different color attributes for different years. Nike Colors 2014. The only guidelines are:

  • Try and keep the list to under 50 colors or it will become hard to find what you want. 
  • Make sure all the color variants you will need for a single product are all options in the same attribute.

Grouping and Ordering Sizes & Sub-Sizes

  • Do not put all sizes in one attribute called sizes unless you have less than 10 sizes for every product in your store. Even then ...
  • Create an attribute for all sizes that would be offered as variants for a single item such as small, medium, large, 5,5.5,6..., 38,40,42... and so forth.
  • Create a separate attribute for sub-sizes such as short, regular, tall or B,C,D ...
  • If you have more than 6 or 7 attributes for sizes then consider separating them into multiple attribute sets such as one for footwear and one for clothing or one for men's clothing and a separate one for women's clothing. This will help you find what you need quicker. For examples check out Attribute Strategies.

Magento Considerations

There are other product types in Magento that you can use for product variants that are not yet supported in MicroBiz. You can choose to not replicate these items at this time.

  • Custom Options - these are product variants you do not stock such as whether an item has pockets or cuffs, whether its monogrammed and so forth.
  • Bundles - these are custom assemblies of items more than the are variants so pick skis, poles, bindings, goggles ...