How to Group Products into Variants in Shopify

Presenting products in an efficient and intuitive way is vital for any eCommerce site. One way to make the shopping experience easier for the end consumer is to use variants.

Variants allow you to present multiple product options on a single page while giving you control over their prices, stock, and images. Effective use of variants improves product visibility and conversions.

While variants are useful, however, converting existing products into variants can be a time-consuming process. Thankfully, there exists an easier way of doing this than manually creating new variants. In this post, we’ll walk you through creating variants out of existing products in Shopify using the Matrixify app.

Creating Variants with Matrixify

Using the Matrixify app, it’s possible to convert individual products into variations of a single product. Let us take you step-by-step through an example, so you can see the simple process.

We’ll group four t-shirt products (red large t-shirt, red small t-shirt, blue large t-shirt, blue small t-shirt) into a single t-shirt product with variant options for colour and size.

Before we begin, we’ll need to make sure we have the following:

  • The Matrixify app installed on our Shopify site
  • An application that can view and edit .xlsx spreadsheet files (e.g., Excel)

Step 1: Export Products using Matrixify

From your Shopify admin page, click on ‘Apps’ in the sidebar, then click on Matrixify under ‘Installed apps.’

Under ‘Export’, click the ‘New Export’ button.

On the ‘New Export’ page, ensure the ‘Products’ checkbox is ticked. Leave the other options unchecked.

Under the ‘Simple’ tab in the ‘Products’ field, select the options ‘Basic Columns’, ‘Inventory / Variants’ and ‘Images.’

Under ‘Advanced’, you can leave everything as its default. Using the ‘Filter’ option you can narrow the scope of products that will be exported. This option is very useful if you’re managing many products.

Once that’s all done, click ‘Export.’ When the export process is finished, click ‘Download Exported File.’

Step 2: Edit the Columns on the Exported Spreadsheet

Open the exported spreadsheet and delete any rows that you don’t want to change. In our case, we’ll only have the four t-shirt products we’re going to change.

Save a copy of the spreadsheet somewhere. We’ll use this copy later when deleting our old products.

Change the following columns:

  • ID – Delete this column, so that a new product will be created instead of overwriting your existing ones. We’ll do this so that if we mess anything up during the import process, we’ll still have our original products.
  • Handle – Set the handle to be the same for all rows you’re going to turn into variants. In our example, we’ll give all rows the handle “t-shirt”. If you’re creating multiple variant products in one spreadsheet, see the ‘Creating More Than One Product’ section below.
  • Title – Set an appropriate title, it should be the same for all rows you’re turning into variants. In our example, we’ll use the title “T-shirt”. This is the customer-facing title on the product page, you can change it later via the Shopify product admin.
  • Body HTML – This is the product description. The top row will become the description for our new product with variants. We’ll change the top row to “A coloured t-shirt in multiple sizes” and leave the rest blank.

  • Variant ID – Delete this column so the importer knows these are new variants.
  • Variant Inventory Item ID – Delete this column
  • Option1 Name – This will be the name of the first variant option. In our case, we’ll make it “Colour.” We only need to set this for the first row of each product group, as any blank rows below will be assumed to have the same value as the row above it.
  • Option1 Value – These will be our values for our first variant option. We’ll use “Red” and “Blue” here.
  • Option2 Name – The name of the second variant option. If you only have one variant option, this field can be left blank. We’ll set it as “Size”
  • Option2 Value – We’ll set “Small” and “Large” here.
  • Variant Image – This is where we’ll set the image for each variant. If you’ve already set an image for the product, copy the value from ‘Image Src’ here.

Step 3: Import the Updated Spreadsheet into Shopify Using Matrixify

We’ll return to the Matrixify app homepage and upload our edited spreadsheet in the import section.

Make sure the “Total” products in the import are the number you want. In our case, the total is 1. Since we’re making one t-shirt with variations this number is what we expect.

Press the import button in the top right corner. If you’ve done everything right, you should now see your new product with variations on your products page.

Step 4: Delete Old Products

Open the copy of the spreadsheet you created earlier prior to editing any columns and change the values in the ‘Command’ column to “DELETE”

If for whatever reason you don’t have a ‘Command’ column you can insert a new column and give it the header ‘Command.’ The column can be placed anywhere.

Save and import this spreadsheet the same way we imported the other spreadsheet earlier in step 3.

Click import in the top right corner.

We’re done! Our individual products have now been replaced by a single product with variations.

Creating More Than One Product

More than one product with variants can be created in a single import. The different variant groups can be distinguished by giving them different handles. In our example below, if we wanted to create two products, a red t-shirt and a blue t-shirt, with variants for size, we could fill in the columns like this:

Integrating with Inventory Management Solutions

Variants can prove difficult to integrate with inventory management solutions. Unleashed, for example, doesn’t support variants. When creating a t-shirt product as we have above, we would have to create unique products for every possible variation, then these products would be created in Shopify as individual products. Using Matrixify, we can have the benefits of integration between Unleashed and Shopify, while still being able to create and manage variant products.


If you’d like to find out how TIDEConnects can help you integrate Unleashed Inventory Management System and Shopify, visit our connector page for details on how it works. Go to the Unleashed and WooCommerce Connector page.

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