WooCommerce: Why Variable Products Are Too Limited (and How Add-Ons Can Help)

WooCommerce is rich with customization options for different kinds of eCommerce businesses. However, it’s quite limited when it comes to certain shopping solutions your online business may need – such as displaying product variations.

For instance, a customer may need to choose RAM size, storage size, and device color before buying a mobile phone. In this case, using the default WooCommerce variations will require you to create a variable product with hundreds if not thousands of attribute combinations.

This can be exhausting, and despite all that work, the result is often a slow and difficult to manage product backend due to a huge number of variations . Besides, your customers would have a hard time finding the exact variation when the only option they have are dropdowns with dozens of options.

The best way to give your customers a seamless user experience is to allow them to customize their products on the same page without using variations. Now, you can’t do that with WooCommerce alone. This is where WooCommerce product add-ons plugins come in.

In this article, we’ll show you the easiest way to create and sell variable WooCommerce products using WooCommerce Product Options. But before that, let’s talk about why you need additional product options in your store.

Why add extra product options?

Adding extra product options to your WooCommerce store is a surefire way to boost your store’s overall shopping experience. WooCommerce product add-ons offer a more convenient way for buyers to customize products during checkout.

WooCommerce comes with an inbuilt feature that allows you to add variations to your products. But the drawback is that variations are fairly limited.

For instance, t-shirts come in various colors and sizes. If the WordPress features limit t-shirt colors to two, say white and black, you can only choose any of these variations and nothing more at checkout.

With default variations, you’re also limited to using a drop-down arrow to make your selections. You’ll need to use a WooCommerce extension if you ever require more selection options.

On the flip side, custom product variations offer flexible customization options depending on customers’ preferences. With WooCommerce product add-ons, you can choose custom texts and images for a custom t-shirt design.

Also with a custom product options plugin, you don’t need to create multiple products for each option because all the options are managed in one place. You can choose from various option types like checkboxes, radio buttons, color swatches, text fields, etc.

Another important factor to bear in mind is the stock-keeping unit (SKU). Usually, variations would work for products with a unique SKU. For instance, you could have queen cake and sponge cake as different products in your cake store. Each product has a different SKU, so it’s okay to use variations.

But if you want to add more options like butter icing, candle sticks, and more, it’s better to add them as product options to keep your store’s stock keeping in order.

Variations may allow you to assign basic identifiers to products. But product options give you more flexibility with specifying product attributes in detail, giving customers more control over their customization and orders.

How to Add WooCommerce Extra Product Options

The easiest way to add WooCommerce extra product options is to use a WordPress plugin. WooCommerce Product Options is a powerful plugin that makes it super easy to add extra product options to your WooCommerce store. It’ll save you a lot of time, and you won’t need to hire a developer either.

Whether you want flexible text customization options for t-shirts, wrapping options for your jewelry, or you want to choose your preferred flavor for a cake order, WooCommerce product add-ons have you covered.

The WooCommerce Product Options plugin is designed with the needs of various eCommerce stores in view. So, whatever product you sell, you can always adjust the settings to suit your store’s needs without any hassle.

Let’s check out some notable features that make the WooCommerce Product Options plugin stand out.

  • Multiple option types like radio buttons, check boxes, file upload fields, images, text, and more.
  • Add product options in minutes and assign them to specific products later.
  • Choose products on which options are displayed.
  • Set quantity limits for product options.
  • Assign variable or fixed prices to product options individually.
  • Add multiple product options to products as option groups.
  • Beginner-friendly. No special skills are required for setup.
  • Conditional logic controls the display of additional options based on customers’ input. 
  • Order product options based on your preference.

With these highlighted rich features and more, you can trust the WooCommerce Product Options plugin to cater to your eCommerce store’s customization needs.

Setting up extra product options with WooCommerce Product Options is pretty easy when you follow these three simple steps:

  1. Install WooCommerce Product Options in your WooCommerce store.
  2. Create a new product options group.
  3. Add the product options to the groups.

Let’s walk you through details on how to sell WooCommerce product addons in your store with the WooCommerce Product Options plugin.

Installing Product Options Plugin

The first step is to install and activate the WooCommerce Product Options plugin on your WooCommerce store. If you do not have the plugin, you can get it here.

On your WordPress admin dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New.

Click on  ‘Upload Plugin’ and upload the plugin’s zip file. 

Next, click Install Now. Once the installation is done, click on Activate Plugin.

After the plugin is activated, WooCommerce Product Options will ask you to enter the license key. Insert the key you received in your email after getting the plugin and click on the  Activate button.

Creating WooCommerce product addons or assigning WooCommerce product options to products is pretty straightforward. For this, you have to create a specific options group containing product options. And then, you can then assign the groups to your preferred products and product categories.

Let’s dive into how you can set up a product options group.

Setting Up Product Options Group

The WooCommerce Products Options plugin comes with a predesigned product options group template. You can edit it or create your own group from scratch.

For example, suppose you run an online cake store selling different cakes. In that case, you may want to allow customers to choose their flavor, color, and shape. Each of these cake attributes is a product option.

If you place all three options in the same group, you can assign that group to a cake product, and customers will see the options on the product page when they want to make their orders. 

So how do you create a new product options group?

First, go to Products on your WordPress dashboard. Next, go to Product Options > Add Group

Next, choose your preferred mode of assigning an options group to products. Options groups can be assigned to specific products, a group, or all your products. You can also exclude specific products or product types.

Finally, review your selections and adjust settings where necessary.

Adding Product Options to Groups

Now that we’ve created a product options group, the next thing is to add product options to the group. To do this, click on Manage Options

If you’d like to add an option to the group, name the option appropriately. Next, assign your preferred field type to the option. 

Your field type option would depend on your product’s requirements, so let’s explore some different types to see how they work.

  • Radio button: Lets you choose one out of many options. For instance, where you have chocolate, velvet, or cream cake flavors, the radio button allows you to choose one.
  • Text: Works for customized messages and text for birthday cakes, jewelry, t-shirts, etc.
  • Checkbox: Allows users to pick many options for a particular product. 
  • Paragraph: This field allows you to add notes or additional specification details alongside your order. For example, when making a cake order, customers can indicate that they want low sugar content for their cake using the paragraph field.
  • Image: This field allows customers to send product images as they place orders. 
  • Color swatches: Customers can choose their preferred color using the color picker. An instance where this is perfect is a custom t-shirt design.

WooCommerce Products Options Pricing Features

Asides from field options, you can also add pricing to product options. WooCommerce Product Options gives you different pricing options to choose from.

  • The flat price setting assigns a fixed price to an option. Even if customers choose different variations, they still get to pay the same price.
  • With the quantity-based price setting, the price increases based on quantity. If the fixed price for one cake candlestick is $2, then two candlesticks will cost $4.
  • You can also set the product price to increase or decrease by a certain percentage depending on selected product options. 
  • The character count setting allows you to charge your customers based on the number of characters they choose. This works for products that require personalized text, like t-shirts.

Additional Product Options Settings

You can use several other settings to give your store the feel you want. For instance:

  • You can make some product options default or allow customers to make their choice.
  • Each product option can also have a subset of choices from which customers can pick. For instance, you can have chocolate, lemon, and velvet as cake flavor options.
  • It’s also possible to add descriptions to product options that may confuse customers.
  • You can use the ‘required’ checkbox to indicate compulsory product options.
  • In addition, you can determine how many product options a customer can choose in one order by setting quantity rules.
  • You can limit the number of characters a customer can use in text customization options in one order.
  • Also, you can use conditional logic to determine that customers can only have access to some options provided they choose a specific parent option.

Explore the settings and adjust them to suit your preferences. Once you’ve changed the required settings, click on Add Option. You can add more options by following the same process. 

And with this, you’re done setting up your extra product options. Click on Save Changes and preview all added product options on your product pages. Check out this detailed guide on adding extra WooCommerce product options to learn more about the available options.

After making all the changes, this is what the single product page for our cake shop looks like. It features multiple variable options including flavor, icing, shape, text, photo upload, and even a rush charge checkbox.

Start adding options to WooCommerce products now!

Adding WooCommerce product addons to your online store is a great way to boost its shopping experience and keep your buyers coming back. With the default WooCommerce variations, your customers won’t be able to customize their product options during checkout. Fortunately, a product addon plugin can help offer them more flexibility.

In this article, we’ve discussed all the key benefits of adding WooCommerce product add-ons to your store. We also showed you how to use WooCommerce Product Options to offer as many customization options as you want to your customers.

Here are some of the plugin’s rich features that make it worth your consideration:

  • Multiple product field options, like color swatches, radio buttons, and paragraphs.
  • Quick and easy setup requiring no special skills. 
  • Several pricing options, like a variable, fixed, and percentage-based pricing to suit your product requirements.
  • Minimum or maximum number of product options that customers can add to one order.
  • Conditional logic to control customers’ product option choices.
  • Add all product options at once and subsequently assign them to individual products. 

Ready to boost your WooCommerce store’s shopping experience? Get WooCommerce Product Options now and set up extra product options on your WooCommerce store easily. 

Now that you know how feature-rich the WooCommerce Product Options plugin is, would you consider it a suitable solution for your eCommerce business?

We’d love to know your thoughts!

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Rodolfo Melogli

Business Bloomer Founder

Author, WooCommerce expert and WordCamp speaker, Rodolfo has worked as an independent WooCommerce freelancer since 2011. His goal is to help entrepreneurs and developers overcome their WooCommerce nightmares. Rodolfo loves travelling, chasing tennis & soccer balls and, of course, wood fired oven pizza. Follow @rmelogli

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