An alternative to creating 5 million of variants?

New Member
3 0 1

We want to migrate 3 print-on-demand shops with a combined total of 12,000+ designs. Each design is available on 10 different product types (t-shirts, hoodies, etc) with 20 color options and 10 sizes. You can also choose the print location (front or back).

The problem is that due to the way shopify works, we would have to create 1 variant for each product options, so 12000*10*20*2 = 4800000
Obviously, managing 5 million of Shopify product variants is not an option. Rate-limit would be a problem with a maximum of 1000 variants per day ... so it would take 13 years to create 5M variants

There must be a better way. I know there are some apps to get more variants, but those apps don't support the API, so I can't programmatically create and manage the variants.

This problem has been giving me a headache for weeks. The only workaround we found is to create the product "on-the-fly" so the products would be created on Shopify only when a user adds it to the basket. We display the Shopify products only during checkout as we have our own storefront and our own basket (we use Shopify only as a payment gateway so it's basically headless ecommerce). The downside is that if more than 1000 products are added to the basket at any day, it would break the shop and users won't be able to check out due to exceeding rate-limit. Not worth the risk. Imagine someday a shirt goes viral and we get a few thousands of orders. Tons of users wouldn't be able to complete their orders at a very important time. This is literally an entrepreneur nightmare, you go viral but you can't process orders.

I know the limits are doubled with Shopify Plus, but it's still not enough. We don't need any of the other features of Shopify Plus so it's not worth paying $22k per year.

Is it possible to get an increased quota at least just during the migration, without having to pay thousands of dollars just to migrate our business to Shopify? Or is there another way to avoid creating 5m of variants?

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Shopify Expert
808 67 188

I have some ideas I think will help:

Each product would have 3 options: Size, Placement, Color.

Each would then have the variants, but assuming a lot of repeating options, you could do mass uploading via spreadsheet.

There's usually no management involved in variants - once you upload em they're there management-free unless you want to change something. If you decide to change something, you can do a mass replace in a spreadsheet and reupload.

What I would do for uploading large quantity products:

1) Organize the product import CSV and enter the data for 1 product.

2) Create an SOP and hire a person(s) for data entry into the spreadsheet. Maybe have 1 person do 1 product type, and hire 10 VA's.

3) Upload all the spreadsheets as they're complete.

Alternatively, you're onto something with creating products on the fly. You can do this with a custom app. If 1 shirt goes viral, it's all good because you've only created 1 product - you can build a check into your app where IF product exists, don't create it, just add to cart (with shopify ajax api).


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Shopify Partner
72 12 24


So basically for 1 product, you will have 12000+ variants, I think this is overkill.

Another idea might be to separate the product options.

For example 12,000 design product, 10 products types(hoodies, shirts etc) with the color and sizes as options which means.(10*20*10)

When customer is on product page, he is presented with a custom product builder or bundle, he first select what design then what product type.

And these are added as 2 different products(like a bundle) to the cart.

Another idea would be use custom line properties for product design or color or size(note inventory tracking + pricing here).

31 1 1

Hi Webtek,

Vesta eCommerce has a solution for this.