Overcome the Shopify Variant Limit by Using Metafields

Shopify is pretty awesome, but even it has limits.  Currently, one of the most cumbersome limits is related to product configuration -- we have a limit of 3 product options (such as Color, Size, and Material), with a maximum of 100 variant combinations between those 3 options.  

That might sound like plenty, but it's quickly exceeded.  I find jewelry sellers in particular hit these limits quickly.  What if you want to have 20 sizes of engagement ring, with 3 colors of gold, and 4 band widths?  20 x 3 x 4 = 240 variant combinations!  Shopify just can't do it. And if you want to also add Gemstone options in there, now you have more than 3 options.  

The typical workaround has been to use a Product Options/Product Customizer app, such as Bold Product Options or Infinite Options.  These apps both work well as a workaround to Shopify's variant limitations.  However, if you've used these apps (or others like them) for any length of time,  you have likely found that:
  1. you can't run reports on what customers chose ... for example, if you use an app to create a gemstone option, you can't easily see what ring combinations are most popular,
  2. app selections on orders don't always flow through properly to fulfillment services,
  3. you can't track inventory for options created with apps, and
  4. adding/removing options can be a hassle.

Even if you are within the limits of 3 product options / 100 variants, you may find it challenging to organize product photography.  Ideally, shoppers should find it easy to determine which product photos apply to which variants -- that isn't always the case.

Since the release of Shopify 2.0 and native metafields, there's a new workaround -- you can use metafields to create additional variants and options!  See this screenshot of WEND Jewelry's product page, where we used metafields to give us our Color, Width, and Gemstone options.  Standard shopify variants are used for the gemstone size.  Wendy is currently using an options app for the ring size, however this could now be moved into each product's standard variants if she decides to scrap the app.

Test drive it here, and check out her incredible hand-crafted, nature-inspired jewelry while you are at it.  You'll notice each of the variant "swatches" actually reroute you to a different product.  This allows each "variant" to have its own set of images, its own place on a collection page, and its own set of statistics on reports.  Yet they are all linked together so it's easy for customers to see all available options.

Behind the scenes, this is what her metafields section looks like:

For more details about the configuration, watch the full walkthrough:


Interested in exploring this option for your store?  Contact me for a free consultation.

Looking for beautiful, custom, nature inspired jewelry?  Check out Wend Jewelry.