Making Editing Product Variations Simple

We’re currently working on an e-commerce website that sells, among other things, clothing and underwear in a large variety of sizes and colors. Using the WooCommerce e-commerce plugin for WordPress is fairly straightforward, but once you have four (or more) sizes, and five colors, for each product, we found that it started to get a bit unwieldy, especially once product photos and color swatches entered the picture.

In order to make the shopping experience easier, we added the WooCommerce Variation Swatches and Photos extension, which enhances the default drop down menus for size and color, by replacing them with visuals. This is of course particularly important for color, where you can show the exact shade or a thumbnail image of the exact product, making browsing a snap.

woo commerce variation swatches









But just seeing a small color swatch or image isn’t enough. What we wanted to do was enable clicking on a color swatch to change the main product image, so that for instance, if you clicked on the blue color swatch, you would see the full image in that color.

But wait, we still need to present sizes, remember?

Based on the extension documentation and even conversations with support, we were led to believe that if we wanted to make bulk edits, such as adding or changing the blue color for a Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large product, that we’d have to do it 4 times, one for each size. Even worse, if the price changed on a product, we’d have to edit each variation, because you can’t enter an overall product price if you have variations enabled. Of course, for our type of product, this was very frustrating, because the price remains the same whether the color is blue or pink or the size is small or medium.

We were told “I’m afraid there’s no way to accomplish this… within WordPress. You will need to update the price for each variation.”

Well, it turns out that in a case such as this, it’s not necessary to actually enable each variation, meaning that since the only thing that changes is when a color is selected, and not the price, we could associate each color with “Any” size. We want the main image to change with the color selection, but not with price selection. So we only need to manage the number of color variations, and not the number of color variations X number of size variations. Phew!

Additionally, there is a bulk editor at the top of the “Variations” tab. Just merely enter the bulk editfield you wish to edit, such as “Price”, and then a pop-up window appears. Enter the desired value, and boom! you’ve just updated the price for all variations!

So if you’re selling something like clothing, don’t get bogged down trying to manage every variation. Find out which is the main variable, and focus on that. You could save yourself a lot of time and frustration!

Maybe this stuff is obvious to those who regularly use the plugin, but we found all of the options overwhelming and the documentation not specific enough about how to find the easiest way to make your updates, depending on your needs.