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Product Variations

Overview

This article describes product variations and explains how to use them.

You can achieve advanced product configuration scenarios using product variations. Product variations are alternative representations of a product, which can be used on your Storefronts to achieve various marketing goals. To better illustrate what a product variation is, take a look at this example:

You have created a new product called Space Adventure. You also offer your original product, called Island Adventure. License keys for Island Adventure are generated using an external script. When customers purchase the new Space Adventure product, you want to offer them Island Adventure as a cross-sell with a reduced price. You only want the discount to apply for customers who have selected to purchase Space Adventure. Customers who only select Island Adventure by itself must pay full price.

Rather than duplicating your original Island Adventure product to apply a lower price, you can create a product variation and edit the variation's price or apply a discount to the variation. As a result, you achieve the following:

  • Your original product is intact.
  • You can offer Island Adventure as a discounted cross-sell.
  • The variations share a single license generator for a more straightforward setup.

Another example of using product variations might be a holiday-related promotion. You could create a holiday-themed Storefront and make special discounted product variations for the promotion, and add the variations to the Homepage of the holiday-themed Storefront. This approach lets you keep your original products intact and switch your links back to the main Storefront at any time.

Here are a few more handy features of product variations:

  • Product variations automatically inherit the parameters and behavior of their parents, and you can change any specific values as needed. This is a great way to do a quick A/B testing of price, product naming, or offers while keeping other parameters the same. 
  • You can create any number of product variations for any product, and change any parameters in each variation. The only common setting for all variations of a given product is the Fulfillment actions.

 Note

Only one variation of any given product can be purchased in a single order. For example, if product A has variations A1 and A2, customers can purchase any of the three. However, they could not purchase A and A1 in the same transaction, nor A1 and A2, or other similar combinations. For products to be included in the same order together, they must each be a separate product (not multiple product variations of the same product).

 

To Create a Product Variation and Adjust a Specific Field

For these instructions, we are creating a variation of the fictional product Example Product 1 with a different SKU value.

  1. From the FastSpring App, select the Products menu and then select the ProductsBundles, or Subscriptions tab, depending on the item for which you want to create a product variation.
  2. Select the product, bundle, or subscription for which you want to create a variation.
  3. At the top right-hand corner of the product details page, click Options and then select Create Variation.


     
  4. The Create Variation popup window appears.


     
  5. In the Product Path field, enter the product path for the variation you are creating. This field is also sometimes called the product ID. The product path is used in reporting and becomes part of the Product Page URL for the new variation. Do not enter spaces or punctuation (except hyphens). In the example below, we are creating a variation for a product called Example Product 1. We enter a product path of example-product-1-variation.

     Tip

    The product path you enter is automatically converted to lowercase letters upon changing focus away from the Product Path field.
     

     
  6. In the Product Type field, select the type of product variation you are creating: Regular or Subscription. If you create a subscription variation, you will be able to configure the subscription properties for the variation after creation.
  7. In the Visibility field, select whether the variation is to be public (Public URLs) or private (Internal Offers). This field has the same effect as the selector found on the main product, bundle, or subscription details page.
  8. Click Add to complete the creation of the variation. The details page for the product variation appears, with a drop-down selector at the top left to let you switch between the new variation and the parent product.


     
  9. A column of source indicators on the right-hand side of the section for the new variation indicates whether or not each field's value is currently linked to the base product. Changing the value in one of these fields permanently breaks the link to the base product for that field only. Other fields remain linked to the base product, so any changes to the base product are automatically applied to the variation for those fields. In the example above, nothing has been changed yet, so most of the variation's fields are still linked to the base product, whose product path is example-product-1. (Note, however, that the EDS option and the Pricing field are never linked to the base product; these values are only inherited from the base product upon creation of the variation.)
  10. As with a standard product, bundle, or subscription, you can click anywhere in any line to edit the corresponding field. In the example below, we click the SKU field and enter a different value.


     
  11. After you click Save to save the change, the details of the variation appear once again. Notice the empty source indicator for the SKU field.


     
  12. Suppose we had changed the pricing for this product variation to a reduced price, intending to offer the variation as a cross-sell offer. In that case, we would click the drop-down selector at the top right-hand corner of the product variation's details and select Switch to Private. The Private status prevents a product (or product variation) from being purchased alone; you can only offer items with this status via product offers or product options. This restriction ensures that if a purchaser removes the triggering product from the cart, then the reduced-price cross-sell product variation is also removed, automatically. Thus, customers cannot receive the discount without purchasing the triggering product.


     

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