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Product Experience Strategy

Apr 04, 2023

8 min to read

Improve Your eCommerce Experience with Product Variants

Product variants have the potential to improve your eCommerce experience by offering more flexibility and personalization to your consumers, but they rely heavily on up-to-date, accurate product information.



Customer Experience

Digital Commerce


Have you ever walked into a store and bought the very first shirt you saw without looking at the size? Or ordered a brand new couch online without checking the dimensions and color? Probably not. (And if you have, you’re either an extreme risk taker or very short on time.)

That’s because one size – or color, or material – doesn’t usually fit all. Each customer has their own unique needs for any given product and so, to create a better user experience, businesses must offer product variants. 


What are Product Variants? 

Product variants are products that are based on the same foundation model, but differ in some way from each other, like size, color, flavor, etc. These variations are often found on the same product page, making it easy for consumers to flip through options. Each product variant will have its own unique product identifier, such as a SKU. 

Though product variants are not required, they’re incredibly important for retailers to have. Not only do they provide a more customized experience for consumers, they can also impact sales. In fact, offering too few options might mean customers flock to competitors to find a better variety. After all, nobody wants to find the perfect t-shirt only to realize it comes in just one size. 

But as with most things in life, balance is key. Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt “paralyzed by choice.” You’re not alone. Studies show that providing too many options can actually have the opposite effect, causing consumers to feel overwhelmed and delay purchasing.


Product Variant Examples 

Product variants can be simple, such as the same coffee machine offered in three different colors, or they can be complex with several different product features combining to make many product options. For example, when buying a shirt you might be able to choose the size, the sleeve length, the color, and the material to custom-build the tee of your dreams. Each available shirt combo is a new product variant. 

Every industry can offer product variants, for example: 

  • Potato chips that come in different flavors, such as salted or BBQ
  • Couches available in different fabric materials and/or sizes
  • Screwdrivers with long or short handles 
  • Shampoo that comes in regular or travel-sized containers

Product Variants

Benefits of Product Variants for eCommerce Sales

Creating product variants can increase sales AND improve the overall customer experience. What’s not to love? 

In the world of eCommerce, product variants can be a powerful tool with benefits like: 

  • Improved conversion rate: Product variants keep consumers browsing on your eCommerce site longer – and reduce the chances they’ll check out your competitors. The easier it is for them to find the exact size, color, or style they need quickly, the more likely they are to convert.
  • Increased sales: Not only do product variants impact conversion rate, they also can affect the total number of sales. Variations can allow you to reach new audiences that may have unique product needs.
  • Improved customer experience: Product variants are key to providing a customized and personalized shopping experience, something that over 71% of consumers now expect from retailers. 
  • More efficient internal operations: Instead of creating product variants for a t-shirt, some brands create a new product listing for every size and color combination. Not only does this confuse your customers, it definitely does not endear you to the internal team tasked with updating the listings. Product variants = a streamlined process. They allow teams to upload one “master” product and incorporate/adjust variants quickly as they go.


How PIM Can Support Product Variants

More product variants mean more product data to monitor and update. To support these extra variants and the data that comes with them, you need a central place where all product information is up-to-date and accurate. 

This is where a PIM (Product Information Management) system comes in. A modern PIM acts as a single source of truth for all your product information. It allows you to create a “master” product with product variants, which can then be easily syndicated to all your eCommerce channels. 

With PIM, you can manage all product information in one place, avoiding errors or outdated information, and providing your customers with consistent, accurate and personalized product information.

PIM and product variants are a powerful duo, working together to improve the shopping experience for customers and increase your company’s bottom line. To learn more about how a PIM can support product variants, reach out to an Akeneo expert.

Akeneo Product Cloud

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