Top 3 Workarounds for Shopify’s 100-Variant Limit | Product Customizer

You probably already know that product variants are one of the best ways to increase sales in your Shopify store. What you might not know is that you don’t have to limit your shop to the variant limits inherent to the platform – 100, to be exact.

If you’re wondering about a work around for the Shopify product variant limit, good news: with the right approach, there’s no limit to the number of variants you can have per listing. In fact, with some careful research and help from the Shopify app store, any online store owner can leverage vast numbers of different product  variants.

But just how do you work around the native limits?  Exactly how many variants can you have on Shopify? And how do you make the transition?

We will answer these questions and others in this guide on how to market your Shopify store effectively by increasing the number of potential customizations for each listing. Keep reading to find out more about workarounds as well as the best third-party apps to get the job done.

How Many Product Variants Can You Have on Shopify?

Shopify has a 100-variant option limit. That means no matter how many options you add, the resulting combinations must be fewer than 100 total.

Think of this like a math problem. Each variant you have, when combined with the other variants, must be multiplied out. So if you sell rings, and you offer a gold ring and a silver ring with the option of a red or blue stone, you have four total options: gold with a red stone, gold with a blue stone, silver with a red stone, silver with a blue stone.

This is a simple listing, so the number of variants is manageable. However, when you get to a more complicated product page, the variant option potential goes up exponentially.

For instance, consider a ring that can be gold, silver, copper, or rose gold (four options). Its stone can be red, blue, green, or black (four options). The band can have diamond accents or not (two options), and the metalworking can be flat, twisted, or braided (three options). Now your variant section has 4 x 4 x 2 x 3 = 96 options.

Phew! Just under the limit for your native Shopify store functionality. (Though note that it’s more than three option sets, which also isn’t allowed … bummer.)

But if you were to add variants to give your shopper the option of a ring box or not, you must multiply your choices by two again. Now it’s 192, and you’re over your Shopify product variant limit. It’s easy to see how online store owners could become frustrated with the options available for a single product … you haven’t even added in different sizes for your ring yet!

Unfortunately, this doesn’t just limit your creativity and require you to have more listings in your store than necessary, which makes it cluttered. It also annoys shoppers not to find the right combination of traits, and they may not take the time to hunt down alternate listings in your shop. And if they leave, your conversions take a dip – maybe a big one.

While Shopify has its reasons for limiting variants, trying to keep the platform streamlined, it’s still frustrating for you. You need a better solution.

3 Ways to Get Around the 100-Variant Limit

Ready to create unlimited custom products for your Shopify store without limitations? Looking for info on how to improve your Shopify store the smart way? Here are the top three ways to do it.

1. Use a Third Party App to Offer Unlimited Variants

The best way to get around Shopify’s variant limit is to use a third-party app. Such apps allow store owners access to unlimited options per product page, and unlimited variant combinations. In turn, you no longer need separate listings for each product variation—just one main product page will do the trick. Using conditional formatting, shoppers can make preference selections and order the exact item they’re looking for—all with no added product management on your end.

When looking for an app, make sure to choose one whose features and functions allow you to customize one main product/SKU so that you can aggregate your limitless possibilities into simple posts that your shoppers will enjoy scrolling through and customizing.

The best apps for Shopify variant limits include multiple options, and Product Options & Customizer is easily the most flexible and user-friendly. It offers a dozen ways to customize your product pages, customizable option names and line item properties, and the ability to save page templates for ease of use in building future product pages.

2. Change How You Group and Separate Products

If you don’t want to use an app, you always have the option to restructure your Shopify store to account for multiple variants. The downside is this means you’ll likely have to create separate products for what are actually the same items (in that ring example from above, you might need a listing specifically for gold rings, another specifically for silver rings, etc.).

However, if you prefer to avoid using an external plugin or paying for one – even though most good plugins are quite affordable – then you can do an overhaul of your product catalog. To do this, you’ll need to use canonical URL tags and internal links on each product page.

For instance, you would break out each product option onto its own page – e.g. red v-neck t-shirt, blue v-neck, green v-neck, and so on. Then you could add a few variants to each page – e.g., size, fabric type, stitching.

Some people think this is a more user-friendly option because shoppers can see your separate products right on your store page, with old and new variants each associated with a variant image using color swatches. That way, instead of choosing the color inside your t-shirt listing, you would have at least two listings with the colors on display.

The problem with this is that if shoppers get inside one of those listings and can’t find a color variation (or any other variant you might not have used), they might just leave. It’s a risk you take that isn’t necessary with the third-party app.

3. Modify Your Shopify Theme Code

Lastly, you can modify your Shopify theme code. While this is not recommended if you don’t already know how to code, it’s an option that offers some flexibility if you do. We are including it because it is technically possible, with the strongest warning to make sure you understand programming well before you make the changes.

How does it work? Essentially, here’s the idea:

  1. Create a product listing with variants up to 100
  2. Create another product listing for the same item, with different variant options, also up to 100
  3. Use theme code to merge them within the coding section of your Shopify admin

If you choose this route, you will likely need a high-level tutorial of both how to write the code and where to insert it.

While it’s true anyone can modify their Shopify theme code as a workaround – as in, Shopify does give you access to the code – this is a big challenge even for those who know what they’re doing. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can break your site ... and Shopify does not guarantee they’ll be able to help you fix it. Plus, each theme’s code is different, so there’s no one true tutorial that can show you how to do this safely.

Also, while this strategy does work around the variant limit, it does create duplicate variants, which can create SEO issues and require additional work to hide the superfluous product pages.

The long and short of it is, if you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t want to start over, it’s better to stick with one of the strategies above for modifying existing products and new products alike.

Using Product Options & Customizer to Add Variants

You may have picked up on the benefits that a third-party app provides regarding getting around those 100-variant limits. With a third-party app, you’re no longer restricted by Shopify’s limitations. Instead, you can upgrade product pages with limitless product details, so your store offers customized products in an easy-to-shop catalog structure.

And if you’re looking for the best app for the job, we can say with confidence that Product Options & Customizer is it. Not only does it offer a fantastic selection of custom options to add to your pages – like dropdown menus, checkboxes and radio buttons, calendar date selections, font pickers, and image and color swatches – but it’s also incredibly easy to plug and play ... no theme code modifications required.

With Product Options and Customizer, you’ll never have to wrestle with Shopify’s limits again. When you add in per option upcharge pricing, you can finally recoup the cost of more expensive materials as well.

Ready to give it a try and start upping your Shopify average conversion rates? All you have to do is download the app and get started today!

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