Managing stock of products with options

Inventory tracking helps to know if it’s time to replenish a product stock and what product variations are the most popular in your online store. If you sell products that slightly differ from each other, for example, by color or size, you can add them to your catalog as one base product with Color and Size options.
To track stock levels of these product options automatically, you have to create variations out of them (Red Small, Red Medium, Red Large; White M, White L, White XXL, etc). You can also create variations for products that have only one option with different values (e.g., sizes S, M, and L). Every variation needs to have its own SKU and stock quantity for inventory purposes.

Enabling inventory tracking for variations

After you add products with options like size and color, you can track the stock level of every product variant if you create variations out of options. A product variation is a combination of product options, for example, Red Small or Yellow Large.

You can quickly generate all possible product variations using the mobile app for iOS.

Every newly created variation inherits SKU and quantity properties (as well as price, weight, and image) from the product it belongs to. To track the stock level of a certain variation, you should set a unique SKU and quantity in stock for it.

To enable inventory tracking for a variation:

  1. From your store’s admin, go to Catalog → Products.
  2. Сhoose a product or add a new product.
  3. Click the Options tab in the product details page, and then Variations:

Variations tab

  1. Click on the default SKU next to a variation to set a unique SKU for it:

Variation SKU

  1. Click on Manage in the Stock column next to that variation:

Variation stock

  1. Set the stock quantity for this variation (and, if needed, at what quantity a low-stock notification should be sent):

Quantity in stock

  1. Click OK and save the changes.

Add unique SKU and stock quantity for other variations of the product in a similar way.

You can also use the Bulk Product Editor tool to edit SKU, stock and at what quantity a low-stock notification should be sent for your variations in bulk.

That’s it, now your store tracks stock levels of product variations. When buyers place orders (with Awaiting Payment or Paid payment status) for a product variation, its stock gets reduced for the number of items ordered. When the variation stock reaches zero, it becomes unavailable for purchase — it gets Sold Out label and can’t be ordered until its stock is replenished.

Out of Stock message

If you cancel or refund the order, the quantity of the variations in that order will be automatically returned to the stock of those variations in your online store.

Low-stock notifications for variations

You can set low-stock email notifications to be informed when this or that variation is about to run out of stock. When you replenish the stock of a variation (produce more of such a product variation or order and receive it from supplier), you can click Re-stock product button in such email to visit the product editing page and update the quantity in stock number for that variation in your store.

To receive low stock notifications to your inbox, you should specify at what variation’s quantity you should be alerted.

To set low stock notifications for a variation:

  1. From your store’s admin, go to Catalog → Products page;
  2. Choose a product for which you’ve added variations;
  3. Go to Options, then to the Variations tab;
  4. Click Manage under the Stock column next to the variation;
  5. Enter the low stock quantity in the Send me a note when quantity in stock reaches field:

Low stock quantity

  1. Click OK and save the changes.

To update the values in the Send me a note when quantity in stock reaches field for several products/product variations in bulk, you can use the Bulk Product Editor tool.

Now, when the stock of the variation reaches that low-stock quantity, you will be alerted by a special email notification. Make sure that the Low stock notification is enabled on the Settings → Notifications page in your store’s admin:low_stock_notification.png

If you do not set any low stock quantity for a variation whose inventory you track, a low-stock notification will be sent as soon as the variation reaches zero.


How do I know that it’s time to restock?

To get the list of out-of-stock products, you can use the Out of Stock filter in your store’s admin, go to the Catalog → Products page. If all variations of a product are out of stock, the product appears under the Out of Stock filter:

Filter out of stock products

Also, for every variation that you’ve enabled the inventory tracking for a low-stock notification will be sent to you as soon as the variation’s stock reaches 0 or a greater number if you specify the low-stock quantity for that variation.

As the Bulk Product Editor allows you to view product variations and their stock, you can use this page to track them. Just choose the products you need (or select all the items in your store) for editing in Catalog → Products, enter the Bulk Product Editor and scroll the table down to see whether you need to refill the stock.

How can I specify a different email address for Low Stock Notification?

You can specify an email address to which administrator notifications (both New Order and Low Stock) should be sent in your store’s admin, on the Settings → Notifications page. You can add several email addresses there, for example, yours and an email address of a person who manages your inventory:

Can I update the stock of several variations at once?

Yes. First, you can quickly do that using the Bulk Product Editor tool.

Second, you can use the built-in import tool to update the stock quantity of product variations if they have their own SKU in your store (in this case they are treated as individual products). For this, you can create a simple CSV file with any text editor and add two data types in it — SKU and quantity — and import this file to your store.

For example, you want to update the stock quantity of the variation Black Shoes Size 6 to 55 items and the stock of the variation Red Shoes Size 5 to 79 items. In this case, create a file with the SKU and Quantity columns:

import stock for variations

Save it as .csv and import to your store via store’s control panel → Catalog → Product, Import Products button.

As a result, the stock of these variations will be updated in your store:

Updated stock of variations in the store

Related articles

Creating variations
Product inventory tracking