What is a Variant?
A brief explainer on variants and how they can help organize your catalog.
Chris avatar
Written by Chris
Updated over a week ago

A variant is an altered form or variation of the original product. This could be (but isn't limited to) size, flavor, or color. Each variant has its own inventory quantity and serves as an option for its "parent" product.

Below you will see examples and explanations of how variants are vital to setting up an efficient catalog that is easy to search, update, and manipulate.

Catalog "layers" hierarchy

Thrive offers three "layers" of differentiation: Category, Product, and Variant. 

  • A Category is the first layer. 

  • Then you select the Products under that Category. 

  • Finally, you select the Variants under that product.

In addition, depending on your integration, we also integrate with modifiers which you can read more about here!


Each field allows you to add plenty of info, so for instance:

Category: Snacks

Product: Potato Chips

  • Variant: Classic

  • Variant: BBQ

  • Variant: Sea Salt & Vinegar — etc...

Here's what that would look like on the Edit Product page of Thrive Inventory:

When creating a new product, you’ll have the option to “Create Variant” or “Generate Variants” as shown here:

Much like the wording suggests, by selecting the Create Variant option, you will be able to create a single variant, one at a time.

The other option, Generate Variants is generally better for the bulk creation of variants for that specific product. For more information about Generating Variants with multiple attributes, please click here.

Depending on the integration you’re syncing to specifically, this option may change how those variants (or attribute sets) display. With all things, if you’re unsure, it’s always best to test out your specific integration first to see any potential differences.

There are any number of configurations, even for more complex inventories.
For instance:

Category: Nike

Product Name: Men's Zoom KD - Regular Fit

  • Variant Name: Size 10 - Black

  • Variant Name: Size 10 - Blue

  • Variant Name: Size 8 - Black ... etc.

Here's what that would look like on the Edit Product page of Thrive Inventory:

How you set up your Variants depends on what makes the most sense for your business. As a reminder, each variant will have its own price, cost, and quantity. 

Adding a variant

To add a new variant, simply click on the Product Name from the Products page.

That will open up the "Product Details" page where you can add a variant to your product.

If it's a simple product, you'll see an option to "Create variant." This will let you enter an initial variant name.

A simple product does not have multiple variants or "options." For example, this Banana:

If your product already has one or more variants, you can still select "Create variant" in order to add another Variant to the Product.

To clarify, there's only a slight difference between simple products and products with variants, even though they are both commonly referred to as "products."

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