Inventory attributes are a powerful way to organize and manage your inventory, specifically if your store operates as a consignment/retail hybrid where you are stocking multiple variants of one product.
Take shoes, for example, if you are consigning a dozen ballet shoes of the same designer, you can use a shoe size attribute to distinguish all of the different pairs from each other, creating a variant for each size you have. This reduces the amount of time spent on creating individual products and printing labels.
There are 3 basic elements that need to be defined to clearly understand how this works:
Variants: These are the different versions of identical products. For example, you can carry a series of women's shirts, all the same except for size and color. The variants here could be Small/Green, Medium/Green, Small/Blue, and Medium/Blue. So you would have 4 variants in this example.
Attributes: These are the labels of the various ways you want to divide up your variants. These attributes are managed in your store preferences in Preferences > Product. For example, you create an Attribute called "Shirt Size" containing the values of S, M, L, XL, XXL. You can now use this in your products to create a variant of that product based on size.
Values: These are the actual elements (Small, Medium, Large, XL, etc.) from an attribute assigned to a product to create a variant. Once the attributes you want are created, you can create a variant of a product using assigned values.
Variant Best Practices:
It is really easy to get carried away with variants, but they are most effective when used sparingly. We suggest using the same attributes as you see in most retail situations. For example, stick with color, shoe size, or item size. We often see stores create lots of attributes for things like wood type (in furniture), men's or women's, furniture style, clothing material, etc. We strongly discourage this use. \
Remember that attributes work best when distinguishing multiple, nearly identical products. If you want to categorize your inventory by features, it is best to do that with strong category and subcategory management.
Item attributes are also critical is you use the online web store. Just like how categories and subcategories create tabs in your primary navigation, item attributes act like variants on the product page itself. Meaning if you have multiple sizes of a jacket, for example, users can select the Small, Medium, Large, or Extra Large from the drop down when buying online.
First, we need to populate our attribute categories:
- Navigate to Preferences > Product > Attributes
- Click the yellow "+" icon to create a new attribute tree.
- Set the Attribute Name (ex: Color)
- Set the Attribute Values (ex: Blue, Red, Green). Note that you can rearrange these, so if the list is ordered and you add something later, you can drag and drop them to the order you need.
- Click Save
To assign attributes to a product and create a variant:
- Navigate to Products
- Find the product you wish to create a variant for, or create a new product.
- Switch the "Has Variants" toggle to on. This will change all of the fields in the Pricing & Inventory box.
- Select the attribute relevant to the variants you need.
- Select the values you are carrying of that product.
- Add new attributes and values as necessary. 3 attributes is the maximum allowed.
- You will see that as you add attributes and values, Ricochet will automatically create the various possible combinations of products based on your attributes and values being used.
- You can toggle on or off any variants you aren't carrying in your store.
- You can save time entering the details for each variant by entering the information for one and clicking "Copy to All."