【Shopify Tips】How to share inventory in products and variants

So you are putting a lot of hard work in to make products for that Shopify store you are working on – creating the descriptions for the products, tweaking the images so they are just right and calculated an effective price that means you can compete with your rivals effectively.

However, it could be that you are facing one particular problem with Shopify settings for products, like many people before you – setting a inventory quantity total shared by many different variants of a product on Shopify.

What Is Shopify Inventory Management?

With regards to Shopify, the inventory refers to the amount of a specific product or variants of that product that you have to sell.

Having appropriate tracking set-up for your inventory can help you to know when you need to make or order more of a particular product, as well as preventing you from selling items that are not actually in stock anymore. (This is by far one of the most common issues that leaves customers dissatisfied.

In Shopify, the Inventory section is where you can start tracking, view and make changes to your inventory These settings look different when you have multiple variations of a product or just one single product.

Simple Product Inventory Settings

Multiple Variations of Same Product Inventory Settings

Above you can see that the green, black and red variants of the same product have their own individual inventory counts. When you don’t sell green, 2 black and 1 red, your inventory would be as follows:

Why Would You Want To Create One Inventory Quantity Total And Shared Access For Different Variations?

The reason why you would want to create a single inventory total amount that synchronizes with different variants of the same product is to ensure that you can sell a variety of different products that are consumed with the same base product.

Say, for instance, you are selling uni-sex tees and have 2 individual products setup in Shopify, with individual photograph designed to target male and female customers separately. Every time you sell one of those tees, you will reduce the base quantity, no matter if it is bought from the male or female department.

A similar situation is when you are selling event tickets. Usually, you will have different tariffs for the same seat, such as one for senior citizens, one for children and one for adults. Through Shopify, you would probably set it up as three individual variations. However, selling just one ticket to a child, would still reduce the total number of seats available across the tariffs.

Both of these situations show why it may be sensible to create a base quantity for your inventory across multiple similar products and variations.

How Do You Create A Shared Base Inventory?

The Connected Inventory App through Shopify is the best way to create an inventory with a shared base. This app allows you to sync the inventories of different variations and products through Shopify.

You can find the app by clicking the following link:

New users are entitled to a free trial of Connected Inventory that lasts for 5 days. Adding the app to your Shopify store can be done simply by clicking Install App and then Approve Charge.

You have two options after installing the app – Connect Manually or Auto-Connect By SKU.

You have the option to either create a Smart Connected group, or if you prefer a Manually Connected one.

Smart connected groups consist of groups of variations or the same products using the same SKU number. The Connected Inventory app does this automatically. This option is ideal if you have a Shopify store full of products.

While a manually connected group is one that consists of particular variations and products you choose yourself. This kind of group will only feature the same variations and products unless you remove or add anything different. If you are looking for the maximum amount of flexibility, this is the best option.

Variants or products which can be defined with the exact same SKU value are known as a Smart connected group. Choose the “Auto-connect by SKU” option if your online store has a lot of products.

Selling Event Tickets – An Example

If you are selling event tickets, you will probably have different tariffs for different age groups. In the following example, we are going to sell tickets at the following prices:

Adult: $250
Child (Age below 12): $125
Senior (Age over 60): $125

When your customers buy a ticket, they have the option to buy any seat they desire. Therefore, regardless of the actual seat they bought, the number of total seats available will still drop across all the different prices.

Choose the Connect Manually option from Connected Inventory.

Now, you can name the group. With the example we are looking at in mind, let’s call it ‘Tickets’..

To ensure that all ticket tariffs have the same base inventory, you need to use the right hand side bar and add senior, child and adult to the Tickets group.

After you have added each thing that you want to share an inventory in this group, you can go ahead and click the Save option.

There you go. You now have 3 different ticket tariffs with the same base inventory.

Say for example, there are 500 available in the inventory and then you sell 2 adult tickets – the Connected Inventory app will change the inventory quantity across the senior and child tickets too. This ensures that all types of tickets have just 498 available seats.


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Who Benefits From Connected Inventory?

The industries and shops that use Connected Inventory include:

– Accessories
– Florists
– 3D Printers with additional accessories
– Card making and other forms of printing
– Laptop, tablet and smartphone cases
– Hotels and other retreats
– Event tickets
– Uni-sex apparel

About the Author

Billy Yeung is an expert in all things Shopify, who has worked alongside more than 200 different Shopify online stores to help them launch, grow and automate their businesses since 2015.