Nick here from Shopify.
Good question. Other than collections, the best way to group a set of products together would be by using tags. Tags are searchable keywords associated with your product. Tags can help customers find your product through your online store search and in collections also if you have any. Shopify has a Youtube tutorial on tags which you could find useful.
Can I ask why you don't want to go down the route of using a collection? By understanding why you don't want to use a collection it might help figure out any other ways you can approach what exactly you're looking to do.
Hopefully, this helps and lets you do what you need though. Any other questions, just let me know.
All the best, Nick
Hi, Nick - I'm not the original poster, but I have the same question. In my case, I will have relatively few products in my store (9-12 products, perhaps) and I would prefer to have them all available right on the homepage. In this case, collections would add unnecessary clicks and hierarchy to a customer's navigation of the site. What's the best way to get rid of collections and list items right on the main page? Thanks.
I'm thinking, a theme which is designed for highlighting a smaller amount of product, especially on the homepage could be a good way of doing what you want. I took a look at the theme store and the Minimal theme looks like it could potentially work.
The items being pointed to are products on the homepage display. Do you think this could be an option for you?
The Minimal theme is also a Shopify designed theme and free.