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Can't search for Product Variant using the Variant's Barcode or SKU in POS App and also in Shopify

2 0 10

When searching for a specific product variant using its specific barcode or SKU, the Shopify POS system does not show me the exact product variant, instead it shows me the main product only, and I have to manually select the variant that I want.

 This is an issue because:

  • It takes a lot of time at the shop having to manually select each variant when customers are checking out
  • Leads potentially to too many human errors by staff accidently clicking the wrong variant

I tested the barcode / SKU scanning function in 4 areas of the platform and the results are so mind boggling I find it hard to believe I am the only one experiencing this. Surely, this simple feature should be a basic requirement for any E-Commerce / POS system?

I mean, the platform behaves completely differently based on if you’re scanning a barcode or an SKU. Secondly, the different areas on Shopify where you can search for a product all behave differently. Let me illustrate:


Scanning SKU

Scanning Barcode

POS Camera Scan

X Says product not recognized

Shows Product + Specific Variant

POS Product Search

X Shows Product but no variant

X Shows Product but no variant

Shopify Product Search

 X Shows Product but no variant

X Shows Product but no variant

Shopify Draft Orders

Shows Product + Specific Variant

X Shows Product + All Variants


For illustration purposes, I will use an item called “A10 Leather Girth” which has 3 Variants. The details are as below.




145 cm



140 cm



130 cm



Here are the 4 different case scenarios I test

Case 1: On the POS System using a barcode scanner and also manually writing the barcode/sku

  • When I search for the variant SKU or Barcode it only shows me the main product but NOT the variant.



    Case 2: On the POS System using the POS App’s camera barcode scanner
    • When I search for the variant SKU it says “Product not recognized”.


    • When I search for the variant barcode it pulls up the specific variant.



    Case 3: On the PC Product Search Tab
    • When I search for the variant SKU it only shows me the main product but NOT the variant.




      When I search for the barcode, the same issue is present



    Case 4: On the Draft Order Tab
    • When I search for the variant SKU it shows me the item + its variant.
      Thank goodness! One case scenario where the system works as it is supposed to.



    • When search for the variant Barcode it shows me the item + all its variants?


    Am I missing something here our does this system seem completely broken? Does anybody have a solution for this? I mean it would make sense if the simple barcode/sku scanning function worked consistently the same throughout the platform.

Replies 22 (22)
7 0 10

Have you had any luck with getting any answers for this?


I chatted with help on this and they did not have any answers.


We have products that have close to 100 Variants. This is ridiculous that the variant barcode does not find the correct variant.


4 0 3

Also wondering if anyone has had any luck with this? 

seems so ridiculous if every variant has a unique barcode it should be an easy matchup.


a terrible pos if this is the case 😞 

7 0 10

I installed an app called Quick Scan.

It allows you to enter a barcode for a specific variant and it will find that specific variant.
It can be used to create orders or to edit inventory quantities.
It does have a monthly fee. Frustrating for something that should be built in.
4 0 3
Hi Ken!
Thanks for this recommendation! I just checked it out and installed it. Is the App something that is integrated into Shopify, or do you have to open a separate browser window to scan and use?

Thanks for any forsite!
Shopify Partner
60 2 4

Hi @TheHandmadeHous 

You might also want to you out our app EasyScan.

We offer fulfilment, order creation, inventory checking and updating all within our app. 

It is within the Shopify admin and can be used on mobile devices or a stand-alone scanner!

Please let me know if you would like more information.



If my comments are helpful, please Like my post and Accept Solution.
Product Manager at
6 0 4

This query was raised in 2021. It is 2023 now and still this problem persists.


I have started re-organizing my entire brick-and-mortar store using shopify thinking that this is the best solution out there, but once I started using the POS,

this issue of manually selecting the variant arised and is slowing down the entire billing process.


Is the shopify support staff even useful or are we just posting queries in thin air.


This is really frustrating. Hope someone from support sees this and resolves this issue 

15 0 40

try the latest update using device camera to scan, it should bring up the exact variant.


4 0 3
Thank u
It’s definitely getting better
3 0 19

We have the same problem.  Support says there was a programming change and suggests using a two part process of entering sku/upc, etc, then filtering - this is of course a labor and time adding process versus what used to work.  Maybe one day, programmers will be forced to gain some user insight before making these detrimental changes that damage functionality.

15 0 40

try the latest update using device camera to scan, it should bring up the exact variant.

6 0 11

Again - what was the point of buying their recommended expensive scanner if we need to use the iPad camera which I agree at least works.

3 0 7

Thank you for putting this information together Xebu13 - I am experiencing the same issue.

I am helping a client connect a scanner to their POS device.  When scanning a particular variant (example Hoodie, 3XL) it will only bring up the parent variant, then I have to manually drill down to the variant, however, when I use POS device camera (ipad or iphone), it scans perfectly to the variant.

  • Does not work = Bluetooth scanner connected to POS, when scanning variant barcode, it only brings up the parent product SKU, not the product variant.
  • Works = scanning with the POS devices camera allows me to scan to the variant level. Problem is, it has a wide field and often scans the wrong barcode (we use scan cheat sheets with all the barcodes for warehouse orders)

Dear Shopify UX team,

Please fix this issue - scanning devices should have the ability to scan down to the product variant SKU via barcode, not just to the parent level SKU.

Thank you

Your customer

15 0 40

i have the same issue with barcode scanning which forces me to pick the exact variant when there is already a barcode for the exact variant. Manually narrowing down to the variant is time consuming and promotes human error, defeats the purpose of having barcode/scanner/speedy checkout.


Shopify, fix this.


This shouldn't be a feature for app developers to milk us users on a monthly basis.

5 0 3

What is everyone using for a work around with this issue?

Or is everyone just going and manually clicking the variants? By the looks of it this has been an issue since 2014...mind blown!

6 0 11

This is basic scanning functionality for a POS. Scanning the barcode should bring up the variant! Having to manually select the variant is time consuming and error prone. Any idea when this will be fixed?

15 0 40

good news! Latest update for the POS using iPad, barcode scanning using the device camera brings up the product variant itself, BRAVO shopify.


unfortunately, barcode scanning using the barcode scanner, doesn't bring up the exact variant, still needs to choose the variant manually with additional steps.


also, once the barcode scanner is connected to the ipad while scanning barcode, the keyboard disappears without the ability to bring it up again for a manual keyword search. the barcode scanner needs to be disconnected in order to be able to bring up the keyboard again.

6 0 11


I have the exact same experience - what is particularly annoying is the fact that it locks the keypad and you have to disconnect it to launch again. Scanning is integral to POS - I cannot understand how this software is released without testing with their recommended (expensive) scanners!

3 0 3

I agree.  So good to see this post as I thought I must have set up the system incorrectly.  I bought the bar code scanner to avoid human error when checking out an item.  What's the point in having it if doesn't find the exact item? I don't think you can add a bar code to the product on the App either which is really annoying and I have a really hard time switching the scanner between using it on the ipad and my lap top or from app to website (haven't figured out where the problem lies yet!). 


2 0 2

Shopify needs to up their game. This is a really basic functionality. We have variant barcode so that we can find the variants through the barcodes.


Even when creating transfers on the website. If you put the barcode it returns a list of all the variants in the product instead of the specific variant. 

3 0 11

Please look at this, Shopify. The Barcode search should take you directly to the variant with that barcode.

1 0 1

Following this.

To be honest, the device camera scan is nonsense - it just doesn't scan well.

Seriously this problem is the biggest red flag for us.

2 0 0



There are several threads with exactly the same issue here.  We make apps and its not hard to add a simple BLE scanner connection which opens up so many easy inexpensive scanners that would just work.  Then on scan if it matches a sku/barcode add the product to the cart.  I understand shopify early on allowed multiple variants (regardless of product) with the same sku and people still use it that way.  If someone scans a sku and its on multiple variants, just show them in the list.


product search

- Product 1

- Product 2

- Product 3


product search with text that matches a sku or barcode (example with multiple variants with the same sku/barcode)

- Product1

-- matching sku/barcode

-- matching sku/barcode

- Product2

-- matching sku/barcode


on ipad/iphone camera scan or ble scanner scan, if value matches exactly to a single variant (add to cart), no search necessary.


This is so simple and such a core component to checking out I cant believe 10 years later it still has not been addressed