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Options, SKUs, and Rules

A product option is used for products that come in different variations. Size and color are common examples of product options, but they can also be things like checkboxes or fields for custom text.

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Product options are made up of values. A size option would have values like small, medium, and large. For some option types, values are created by the shopper, like custom text fields or file upload fields.

A variant is a particular variation of a product and has specific option values defined — like a small, blue shirt.

You can create a required option for products that need it (like size for clothing). That means the shopper must select a value (like small) before they can add the item to their cart. You can also create non-required options. That means the shopper can select/enter a value, but doesn’t have to. This is good for add-ons or customizations, like engraving.

Stock keeping units, or SKUs, are a code you can assign to products and variants in order to track inventory. With BigCommerce, you can assign SKUs to both the base product and its individual variants.

Rules are a way to change product data — like price, weight, or the image shown — depending on which value-combination or SKU the customer selects for their options.

 
 

Creating Options

To add a product option and option set to your product:

1. Go to ProductsProduct Options and click Create an Option.

2. Select the type of option you want to create (like size).

3. Specify values for the option, if necessary (like small, medium, and large).

4. Add the option to an option set.

5. Apply the option set to your product.

Since each option created is created differently depending on the type, we've provided individual guides for each option type below.

Variants

Each possible combination of opition values for a particular product is known as a variant or variation.

For example, you might sell a single shirt that comes in two sizes (small and large) and two colors (blue and red). Since the shirt has two sizes and two colors, that means this product has four variants (2 sizes x 2 colors = 4 variants).

For inventory tracking purposes, variants are typically identified using SKUs. For the small, red shirt, the SKU might be something like SHIRT-SM-RD.

The terms variant and SKU are sometimes used interchangeably but are not to be confused with options (like size and color) or values (like small and red).

 
 

Option Sets

An option set is used to apply an option (or group of options) to a product. For example, if your product was a t-shirt, you might have an option set named T-Shirts that has options for Size and Color.

An option must be first assigned to an option set before it can be applied it to a product — options are not applied “directly” to a product.

Diagram showing the relationship between values, options, option sets, and products

Sets can be specific to one particular product, or they can be reused across several products, so you don’t have to create a new set for similar products.

Rules (like changing the price based on selected options) can also be associated with option sets. Unlike product-level rules, option set-level rules are reusable since the same set can be assigned to several products.

Creating or Editing an Option Set

To create a new option set or edit and existing one, go to ProductsProduct Options and click on the Option Sets tab.

  • Click an existing option set’s name to edit it, or click Create an Option Set to make a new one.
  • The option set Name is not shown on the storefront but is used for identification in the control panel, so name it something relevant to the product or brand.
  • In the list of Available Options, click Add next to the options you want to be in your product. When you select them, they will appear to the right, under Options In This Set. Click the minus button (-) to remove an option from the set.

To remove a particular value (like Small) or change whether a particular option is required, click Edit next to the option under Options In This Set.

  • Uncheck boxes of values you don't want to include.
  • An asterisk appears next to option names that are set as Required.

Select the option(s) you want to include in this set

Applying an Option Set to a Single Product

To apply an option set to a product, go to ProductsView and edit a product.

  • On the Options & SKUs tab, use the Option Set dropdown to apply a set. This will enable the SKUs and Rules tabs on the left side.
  • To remove an option set, select (None).
  • Save your changes.

Applying an option set from the Add/Edit Product page

Applying an Option Set to Multiple Products

You can also apply an option set to several products at once.

  • Go to ProductsView and check the box to the left of each product you want to apply the option set to. Use the search bar to filter the product list.
  • In the Choose an Action dropdown at the top of the list, select Apply Option Set and click Confirm.
  • In the popup that appears, select the option set you want to apply to the checked products.

Applying an option set to multiple products at once from the View Products page

 
 

Creating SKUs

SKUs can be created manually, or automatically using the Auto-SKU Generator.

In addition to being creatable in the control panel, SKUs and SKU-specific product data can also be imported via CSV file. See Importing and Exporting Products for more information.

SKUs can be created for the following option types:

  • Color
  • Size
  • Swatch
  • Multiple choice
  • Product pick list
  • Checkbox

Using the popular example of color and size, your SKUs might look something like this:

ProductSKU
Red, small shirtRS100
Red, large shirtRL100
Blue, small shirtBS100
Blue, large shirtBL100

To create a SKU, edit a product, click the Options & SKUs tab at the top, then click SKUs. Click Create a SKU.

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In the popup that appears, fill out the following SKU data:

  • SKU (required) — product code for the variant
  • UPC/EAN — variant's UPC or EAN
  • Cost — variant cost; used for accounting
  • Price — Use if you want this SKU to have a different price from the base product. It will be the new base price before any price change rules or discounts are applied.
  • Options for this SKU (required) — Select the values that should be attributed to this SKU. These are populated from the associated options.
  • Image
  • Weight — Use if you want this SKU to have different weight from your base product. It will be applied as the base weight before any rule-related changes. This is used in real-time shipping quote calculations if enabled/offered.
  • Width, Height & Depth — physical dimensions for the SKU; used in real-time shipping quote calculations if enabled/offered. These fields can also be updated in bulk; see Importing and Exporting Products.
  • BPN — Bin Picking Number; used for warehouse organization/logistics
  • MPN — Manufacturer Part Number
  • Enabled — Check if this SKU is purchasable by your customers. If unchecked, you can set an optional, custom Purchasing Disabled Message.

If you have ShipperHQ enabled, you can also use the following ShipperHQ-specific fields.

  • Shipping Groups — offer different shipping options based on the product being purchased
  • Origin Locations — specify an origin location if you ship from more than one
  • Dimensional Rules — typically used for products which are packed in a different way, or separately from the rest of your products
 
 

Creating Rules

You can create the following rules:

  • Changing the price
  • Adjusting the weight
  • Make it unavailable for purchase
  • Show a different image
  • Stop processing rules

Rules can be added to individual products or applied to multiple products simultaneously by assigning an option set in bulk.

Rules can be set for the following option types:

  • Color
  • Size
  • Multiple choice
  • Swatch
  • Checkbox
  • Product lists

Rules cannot be set for other types of options, like text fields or date fields.

When creating a rule, you may want it to only apply to an individual product, in which case you would create a product-based rule. If you want to be able to apply the rule to multiple, similar products at the same time, you can create an option set-based rule, which will apply to all products using the same option set.

Rules can also be imported via CSV file. See Importing and Exporting Products.

To create a rule, edit a product, click the Options & SKUs tab at the top, then click Rules. Click Create a Rule.

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For When These Are Selected, select the option/combination of options you want the rule to apply to. To select them, click the plus sign (+) next to the name of the option, and select your choice. Under Make These Changes, put a checkbox next to each change you want to implement when the customer selects option or combination you've selected above. You may need to add additional details for some rule types. See Rule Types below for a walkthrough for each rule type.

Rule Types

  • Adjust its Price — This rule lets you adjust the price when a particular value or combination of values is selected. You can add to or remove a certain amount (based on your currency) or percentage. You can also set a fixed price.
  • Adjust its Weight — This rule lets you adjust the weight when a particular option or combination of options is selected. You can add to or remove weight (based on your Physical Dimension Settings your Store Settings). You can also set a fixed weight.
  • Make it unavailable for purchase — This rule can be used to make a certain option or combination of options hidden or unavailable. You have two choices:
    • Hide the option — use for a particular value or values you don't want the client to see as being available. For example, if you offer a shirt in multiple colors and sizes, but don't want to let customers see the red shirt, you can opt to hide red. This will hide all instances of the values you select, instead of targeting specific combinations. For example:
      • Selecting both small and red will hide the small and red options.
      • Selecting to hide a SKU will result in the same effect as Show Unavailable.
      It cannot be used to create conditional options (e.g. if the customer chooses small, hide red as an option). To learn how to set up conditional options, see Creating Conditional Options.
    • Show Unavailable message — use to make a certain option or combination of options show an 'unavailable' message when selected by the customer.
  • Show a different image — This rule changes the primary product image when a particular option or combination of options is selected. The image must be saved on your computer to be selected. This function does not work with the Image Manager. Select Browse to select the new image from your computer.
  • Stop processing rules — This rule makes it so that once a rule has been triggered, no other rules will be triggered afterward. For example, you would use this if you have a rule that adds $50 to the price, and another that will add $5 to the price for something else, but you don't want to tack on the $5 if your customer is already choosing the $50 option.
 
 

Color

The color display type is used to show a color of a product or one of its attributes. It’s commonly used for products that are available in different colors, like clothing.

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Color Details

  • Option Name — Give your option a name. This is for your reference and is not shown on the storefront.
  • Colors — the name of the color or pattern. Customers will only see this when hovering their pointer over the swatch.
  • Hex code — If you have a particular color’s hexidecimal code (a six-digit color code) that you want your swatch to use, enter it here. The swatch color will populate automatically.
  • Color swatch — Click to display the color picker, then select the color for your swatch.

To add a new color, click any plus (+) button.

To remove a color, click the minus (-) button next to it.

 
 

Size

The size display type is used to show the available sizes of a product. It’s commonly used for products that are available in different sizes, such as clothing, shoes, or food. This option will use a rectangle display type. If you prefer to display your sizes in a drop-down or radio buttons, try a multiple choice option.

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Size Details

  • Option Name — the name of your option (internal only, for keeping track of options)
  • Values — the sizes you want to offer, one on each line
  • Make Default (optional) — select a size that will be the default. The customer will be able to select a different size, should they wish.

To add a new size, click any plus (+) button.

To remove a size, click the minus (-) button beside it.

 
 

Multiple Choice

The multiple choice display type lets customers select a particular value from a set, such as a color from a range of colors, or a material from a range of materials. Generally, this option is used to help a shopper select a particular variation of a product. For example, a multiple-choice display type could be used to offer salsa that comes in different levels of spiciness or a lunchbox that comes with different characters on it. You can even combine different options together, like a candy bar that comes in different sizes and flavors.

Multiple choice options can be displayed as a dropdown list, radio buttons, or rectangles.

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Multiple Choice Details

  • Option Name — This is for your reference and is not shown on the storefront.
  • Display Name — Option label shown on the storefront.
  • Display Type — Multiple choice
  • Display Style — Choose between radio buttons, a dropdown list, or rectangles.
 
 

Checkbox

A checkbox display type allows the customer to confirm a single statement or opt to include a single add-on. It is commonly used to offer simple upgrades or to confirm terms of service.

This option type can be used with option rule logic to trigger certain updates, such as changing the picture, the price, or the weight. For example, if you’d like the customer to add insurance for $5, you would create a rule that adds $5 when Yes is checked.

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Checkbox Details

  • Option Name — This is for your reference and is not shown on the storefront.
  • Display Name — Option label shown on the storefront to the left of the checkbox. For example, Want a free keychain?
  • Display Type — Checkbox
  • Default Status (Checked/Not Checked) — Is the option checked automatically (Checked), or will the customer have to select it manually (Not checked)?
  • Field value — The text shown to the right of the checkbox. For example, Yes, please include a free keychain with my order.
 
 

Swatch

The swatch display type is used to show a color or texture for a product or one of its attributes. It’s commonly used for products that are available in different colors or materials. For example, you could use swatches to let your customers select from available patterns of fabric.

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Swatch Details

  • Swatch name — the name of the color or pattern. Customers will only see this when hovering their pointer over the swatch.
  • Swatch type — select whether the swatch will contain one, two, three colors, or be a pattern (i.e. an uploaded image)
  • Hex code — if you have a particular color’s hexidecimal code (a six-digit color code) that you want your swatch to use, enter it here. The swatch color will populate automatically.
  • Color swatch — click to display a color picker, then select the color for your swatch
  • Upload image — if you are using a pattern, you can upload an image of your texture or pattern. It will be automatically resized to fit your theme.
 
 

Text/Number Field

Text field options allow your shopper to enter text, messages, or numbers to associate with the product that they're ordering. They're a great way to let your shoppers customize products, and can also be used for the customer to send specific information or requests to you. Text fields are commonly used for custom messages or words for engravings or embroidery.

When creating a text field option, you can control the number of characters, lines, and type of information (alphanumeric or numeric only) your customer can enter. Text fields cannot be used in conjunction with price changes or other option rules.

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Text Field Details

  • Default Value (optional) — Enter sample text that your customers can overwrite (e.g. Recipient's name).
  • Validate Length — If checked, you can set a range for how many characters can be entered.
    • Least — the minimum amount of characters that can be entered
    • Most — the maximum amount of characters that can be entered
    • Use 0 to not set a particular limit.

Multi-line Text Field Details

  • Default Value (optional) — The text contained in the text field by default; can be overwritten by your customer (e.g. Type your message here).
  • Validate Length — Put a check in the box beside either option to control how many characters or lines can be entered.
    • Least — the minimum amount of characters/lines that can be entered
    • Most — the maximum amount of characters/lines that can be entered
    • Use 0 to not set a particular limit.

Numbers-only Field

  • Default Value (optional) — Enter a sample number that your customers can overwrite.
  • Limit Input — If checked, this will limit the lowest value, the highest value, or both. Use 0 to not set a particular limit.
  • Whole Numbers Only — If checked, only whole numbers can be entered.
 
 

Date

The date field display type allows the customer to select a date from month, day and year dropdowns. It is commonly used for products or services that are time sensitive. For example, you could include a date field to select a delivery date for a surprise gift or an event date for concert tickets.

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Date Field Details

  • Default Value (optional) — If a date range is selected, it will be populated automatically until the customer changes it.
  • Limit Date Range — If checked, you can limit the earliest date available, the latest date available, or both (date range).
 
 

File Upload

The File Upload Field lets your customer choose a file from their hard drive to include with the product information. This is typically done for custom printed products. For example, you could use a file upload field to get your customers’ logo for printing on your product.

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File Upload Field Details

  • File Types — Select whether you want to allow customers to upload files of any type or limit the file types to the following options:
    • Images and photos
    • Documents and text files
    • Other (specify the extensions you want to allow, separated by a comma (pdf,mp3,zip))
  • Maximum File Size (in KB) — Enter the maximum file size you want your customers to be allowed to upload, or enter 0 for no limit. The file size will still be limited by the server to approximately 500,000 KB (500 MB).

Customers' Uploaded Files

You can access and download customers' uploaded files from the cart contents listed in the expanded order details when viewing orders.

File uploaded by customer highlighted in the cart contents of an expanded order

 
 

Product Pick List

A product pick list option allows customers to add an additional product while viewing another product. This can be used to upsell related products and add-ons or to bundle products together.

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There are two major uses for the product pick list option: upselling related products or providing options when bundling products together.

Upselling Related Products

Product pick lists can be used to upsell related or complementary products. For example, if one of your products was a book, you could use a product pick list option to offer another book by the same author. You could even combine it with a price change rule or SKU product data to make an offer like "Add another book by John Smith, save 30%!".

Bundling Products Together

Product pick lists can also be used if you're selling a "bundle" of individually purchasable products. For example, if you're selling a gift basket that consists of a bottle of wine, a cheese, and crackers, you could use product pick list options to give your shopper a choice of which wine, which cheese, and which crackers they want to include. Each choice (wine, cheese, or crackers) would be its own product pick list option. To see more information on how you would set a gift basket like this up, see Product Pick List Bundling Scenario: Gift Basket.

Product Pick List Details

  • Display Style — Choose between a Pick list or a Pick list with pictures.
  • Adjust Inventory — Check to adjust the inventory for the optional product when a purchase is made.
  • Adjust Product Price — Check to add the price of the optional product to the price of the main product – if you want to add a different price, you can do so with a price change rule or with SKU product data instead.
  • Factor For Shipping — Factor the optional product's weight and dimensions (package) into the shipping quote.
  • Default Selection — Select which product will be selected by default (Cannot be selected until after adding products in the following step.)
 
 

FAQ

Can I use special characters (e.g. @, #, $, %) in SKUs?

Yes. However, storefront search does not recognize special characters in search strings. If your customers search by partial SKU match, we recommend avoiding using special characters in SKUs.

Why isn't my product available in the product pick list?

Product pick lists do not work with products with any the following attributes:

  • Product Options
  • Downloadable products
  • Event dates
  • Configurable fields

Products with options or configurable fields cannot be added to a product pick list option or a discount rule because there is no way for to determine which particular option or configurable field the customer would choose.

What happens if I change the Option Set on a product?

Changing the option set on a product will remove any existing SKUs or product-level rules from the product. Use caution when changing the option set of an existing or live product - deleted SKUs or rules can only be restored manually or with a backup.

What does it mean when an option is “required”?

It means the user must select a value for that particular option before the product can be added to the cart or purchased. For example, most apparel has a required size option.

Options that are not required and do not have a default value set will display “Choose Options” or “Please Choose an Option” until a value is selected.

Can I apply an option set via import?

Yes. The importable field Option Sets can used to apply sets to products using a CSV file import. See Importing and Exporting Products.

I don't have a "Choose an Action" dropdown on my View Products page.

Assigning an option set in bulk is not currently supported by the new product list, which is turned on when you enable eBay or Amazon in Channel Manager.

How do I delete customers' uploaded files?

If you have a product that allows customers to upload a file of their own (with a File Upload Field product option), that file will be stored on the server. To delete the file, you will need to access your store through WebDAV and delete the file from the server. The files are stored in product_images/configured_products.

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