What Is the Shopify Variant Inventory Policy?

Understand what Shopify's variant inventory policy is and how it impacts your store. Also, get tips for managing your inventory effectively.

Kelli Harris
By Kelli Harris
Romi Hector
Edited by Romi Hector

Updated July 9, 2024.

Shopify store owner holding a smart phone with icons coming out of it indicating the Shopify variant inventory policy.

To accommodate expanding sales, your Shopify inventory management must be equally adaptable. Learning how to upload Shopify product variants in bulk will help you manage your Shopify inventory more efficiently.

Using a CSV file to upload your products' data is one option, but by doing so, you must ensure that you follow Shopify's CSV structure requirements for the inventory variant policy. This option is also effective if you share product information between Shopify and another system.

» Enhance your inventory adaptability as you grow. Learn more about advanced inventory management techniques for your expanding Shopify store

Understanding Shopify's Variant Inventory Policy

Shopify's variant inventory policy dictates what happens when you run out of a specific product variation, like a certain size or color.

It's a rule that tells Shopify what to do when a variant's stock level reaches zero. You have two choices:

  • Deny: This is the default setting. When a variant reaches zero inventory, customers won't be able to add it to their cart. Instead, they'll see an "Out of Stock" message.
  • Continue: If you turn this option on, customers can still add the out-of-stock variant to their cart. This allows for backorders, but it also means you risk overselling and facing fulfillment issues.

» Learn how to handle out-of-stock products. Find tips for managing inventory under Shopify's variant inventory policy

How to Use Shopify's Variant Inventory Policy

Variant inventory policy states that when the inventory level for a product or variation reaches zero, you have to indicate how this is handled. Follow these steps to specify your options in the CSV file:

  1. In the Variant Fulfillment Service column, you can enter the name of the fulfillment service you use.
  2. For manual fulfillment, you can just enter Manual.
  3. Next, enter and compare the prices in the next two columns.
  4. In the following two columns, indicate if the Shopify variants require shipping or if they're taxable.
  5. Enter the barcode if you have one for your listing.

» Keep your store tidy and efficient. Follow these easy steps to hide out-of-stock variants in Shopify

Push Your Out-of-Stock Items to the Bottom

Managing out-of-stock situations goes beyond just the basic policy setting. You can enhance the way you handle these situations with a dedicated app that specializes in the visibility management of out-of-stock items.

Out-of-Stock Police, for example, can help you keep your store's collection pages neat, organized, and SEO-friendly by automatically pushing your out-of-stock products to the bottom.

Out-of-Stock Police puts the items you have in stock right up front. That way, shoppers won't get annoyed seeing a bunch of sold-out products first. This software can help you:

  • Automatically manage your sold-out products in real time
  • Get alerted via email or in-app when supplies are running low or out
  • Avoid losing organic traffic by strategically hiding out-of-stock items
  • Improve SEO and boost assisted conversions with out-of-stock products

» Considering hiding out-of-stock items? Explore whether this strategy is right for your Shopify store

Learn more about how Egnition's Out-of-Stock Police can effectively manage sold-out products:

Leverage Smart Inventory Management for Shopify Success

Staying on top of your Shopify inventory is key to keeping your store running smoothly and your customers happy. By understanding how to upload product variants in bulk and mastering Shopify's variant inventory policy, you'll be well on your way to inventory management success.

And remember, when it comes to handling out-of-stock items, you've got options. Using a dedicated app like Out-of-Stock Police can help you keep your collection pages looking fresh and user-friendly while also giving your SEO a boost.

» Improve your eCommerce SEO today! Discover strategies for managing out-of-stock products effectively

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