Variants without adding inventory

7 0 13


I am new, coming from Etsy (rolling eyes, kind of regretting it already)  trying to setup a product (graduation stoles), which are available with variants (without patch, with one patch or with 2 patches). I want to set a total available quantity for the stoles, no matter what variant is chosen, because the limited quantity is for the stoles not the variants. But the system will ask me to set specific quantities for each variant because if I put zero, will show not available.

I tried tutorials, blogs, Shopify answers etc. but 1. Most responses are old, some from 2011, 2016  2. Some are saying you can only have this with additional apps.  Is it true? To make Shopify do what Etsy does I need apps besides the site? And as I read some of them cost extra also. Do I have to learn Shopify + app + app? This sound ridiculous I hope in 2020 we have a straightforward way to do this directly on the site.

Thank you!


Shopify Partner
101 17 25

Hi @Dhyana 


If you want to have a single quantity it will be best to have only a default variant. That way you will be able to set the quantity for the whole product.


The other variants will be just properties ( if the option is to choose color for example ) this way you will achieve what you are referring. Have in mind that these custom properties will require custom logic or use of an app.


But if your variants are changing the price of the product then this solution will not work, since it will require different prices for each variant and it will require a specific App which I haven't come across.


So short answer is - No, you can't set a global quantity for the product, but if you change the variant logic it will be possible.

7 0 13

Thanks so much for your answer, yes, as I said having to use apps to set a website doesn't seem a good option for me. And yes, every variant changes de price. The more I get to know Shopify the better looks Etsy to me, it's pathetic. I don't believe is so hard for them to put a code for the variants not altering the quantity, unless one wants that. Anyway, thanks so much :)

Shopify Staff
Shopify Staff
477 68 118

Hi, @Dhyana!


I'm Miles from the Social Care team at Shopify.


I am sorry to hear you're having some trouble since migrating to Shopify! It can be a bit hard to learn a completely new platform when transferring from another.


One of the great things about Shopify is we try to make e-commerce easy and accessible for everyone. So that we don't have a really cluttered dashboard, we give an opportunity to our partners and developers to create apps for features that aren't yet built into the platform. This keeps an easy, basic flow in the admin while giving you plenty of options to be integrated into should you wish.


We also love hearing from our merchants in regards to what's working - and what could be improved. Inventory on variants is a great idea, and one that I will certainly put forward to our team for consideration in future releases.


Now, onto the issue at hand! You're right in the way that there's currently no built-in feature to separate the base variant from add-ons. We created variants with the most popular variants in mind (such as size and colour, where each variant has it's own inventory). Add-ons are best used with apps, but there is a workaround you can use.


When you add in the variants, add in an extra variant that could be called something like "Would you like to add patches" with the options of "yes" and "no". Then have your other variant being how many variants. You can then set the inventory of the stoles in the "yes" and "no" options. I know this could be a bit fiddly, but it is one way of avoiding the use of an app.


If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to get back in touch!



Miles | Social Care @ Shopify 
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7 0 13

Thanks, but it will not work, I still have to put quantity in the 'yes','no' options because even if they don't want a patch they can buy the stole, so the total would have to be divided between yes or no, or something strange like that. Plus, the inventory total is not working either;  I have set "when sold out stop selling". Check that image of the test, I bought 100,000 stoles and it is going to accept the transaction!  I don't get it, is the system adding up all the stoles in the world?  


I have worked with many, many sites along the years, and Shopify is not user friendly at all.

How is that when you create a collection, you have to look to create the navigation button in another menu, instead of just linking it around in the same page? And so on...I have been spending many hours trying to figure out Shopify, really wanted to work for me but at this point I believe is not for me at all.

Also, I did a purchase test, and no notifications whatsoever,  not for "seller" or the "buyer" and I have all set to notify enabled. Not even the "send test email works" and it says it was "successfully sent" (not into the spam folder, is not working) I checked for answers in forums and tutorials and it is an ongoing issue since who knows when, on 2015 there was an answer from Shopify "an issue with your mail host, contact your domain host or email hosting provider etc" ? I get emails from everywhere, even those when I won something, or received an inheritance from a relative I've never heard of.

I contacted chat support with yet another issue, the first person hang up on me, the second didn't know the answer either. Looked for blogs and many people asks/complains about the same issues I'm having without anybody solving them.


But I guess the variant issue is a deal breaker for me, I sell artisan handmade products in limited quantities and most can be personalized and/or customized with different prices so I really needed that feature.


I vented some my frustrations, a pity this didn't work out for me. Thanks so much for suggesting something though, I know you are not the developer of the site.


We’re a jewelry shop owner on Shopify that need this function as well. We have a set number of each color and size ring base, but allow the customer to pick the color guitar string we use when finishing the ring. This is a very basic function that Etsy has built in. We shouldn’t have to pay another $10 a month for an app to get a top level inventory option.

Christina and Ian Lacey
New Member
1 0 5

I'm having the same problem as I try to set up my store. Sooooo frustrating. Getting ready to try a different platform as this is a deal-breaker for me. This is the last issue I thought would derail my plans for a shopify site.

6 1 7

Hey Miles,

Just wanted to chime in as another Etsy-to-Shopify user. One of the products I sell is embroidered patches, and on Etsy I was able to let customers specify an iron-on or sew-on backing from one central inventory. This doesn't suit the system you guys have set up, as it expects that I have two different versions of the same patch sitting around. The way I keep my inventory is by having a bunch of regular sew-on patches, and then just add an iron-on backing before shipping when the customer requests it. Now with Shopify I'll have to manually keep track of stock on an individual sale basis, or maintain two skews for the same product. 


I know it probably doesn't sound like a big deal for the average person, but patch collectors have very strong opinions on sew-on vs iron-on, and not being able to easily offer both options makes it significantly more difficult for me to compete in an already saturated market. This also punishes artists like myself who try to do everything in-house as opposed to using dropship services.


Please fix this - I imagine I'm not the only craftsperson who can easily make finishing changes without requiring multiple skews. Etsy sellers are all looking for a reason to jump ship right now! Please don't make it more difficult than it needs to be.


The other solution I can imagine in the meantime would be something like a code to check if products with a certain tag are in the cart on checkout, and then allow shop owners to ask any further clarifying questions

5 0 10

Hey Miles,


I too am a recently changed over Etsy shop owner and am having the same frustrating issues.  i sell t-shirts that you can add vinyl on to. Therefore, the only quantity that matters in the shirt color and size, but yet if i add a color option for the vinyl then i have to add quantities for them which messes up the shirt quantities. There should be "variables" , things that are an option to your order but do not change the quantity or the price (unless you want them to).

New Member
1 0 2

And I am the opposite of