Variant is the general term for describing variations on a particular product. The most common variants in the real world are probably size and color. In the screenshots below, you can see an example of a product that has variants, and how it's displayed in app when selected. From left to right we have the different size options, and from top to bottom we different color options.
Handshake provides an extremely flexible system for describing multiple variants of multiple dimensions on any given product, but you'll need to understand a few things to get this part right.
We use the term Dimension to refer to a type of product variation. "Color" is a dimension. "Size" is a another dimension. In practice, there are usually two or less dimensions to a product because having more than two makes it hard to draw them out in a grid.
To create variants for products, simply add columns to your spreadsheet with the dimensions as the headings and the values for those dimensions next to each item, then map those columns to the
dimension:2 etc columns when doing your import:
- You can leave some (but not all) dimensions blank. If you have some products for which a particular dimension is irrelevant, just leave it blank. For example, if your products are mostly broken down by size & color, but some of your products are only broken down by size, then it's fine to leave the color cells blank for those variants.
- The order of the dimension columns matters. It determines the order in which they will appear in the iPad app. For example, if you have shirts with Size and Color variants, and buyers normally choose the Color first, then you want to map Color to
dimension:1and Size to
- The order in which the different values for a dimension appear also matters. You will notice that in the Cupcake spreadsheet, Sprinkles appears before Plain, and that they appear in this order in the iPhone app. Similarly, Vanilla appears before Chocolate which appears before Lemon, and this order is preserved in the iPhone app too. This is really important to get right with things like sizes (e.g. XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL) to make sure that the options appear in the order you want.
Item SKUs and variant SKUs
In Handshake, both variants and items have SKUs. For an item with variants, the SKU of the item is what you might call a "master SKU".
In reality, every brand does things differently. Some brands have SKUs for every size / color combination (e.g. they have a real SKU for each variant). Some brands have real master SKUs for each item. Some brands have both.
When uploading variants, you have a few options for how to deal with SKUs for variants:
Provide both variant SKUs and item SKUs. If you have real SKUs for your variants as well as master SKUs for each item, then this is the way to go. You provide the variant SKUs in the
skucolumn and you add a
master skucolumn which you put the item SKUs in.
Provide item SKUs and let Handshake generate variant SKUs. Do this if you have master SKUs but don't have individual SKUs for your variants. In this case, you will put the item SKUs in the
skucolumn, repeating the same SKU for each variant of the same item. Handshake will auto-generate variant SKUs for you by appending
.002etc to the item SKU for each variant.
Provide variant SKUs and let Handshake generate item SKUs. If you have individual SKUs for each variant but do not have master SKUs, this will make sense for you. Put the variant SKUs in the
skucolumn and make sure that the
nameof each variant is the same so that Handshake will link them together properly. The item SKUs will be generated automatically as increasing numbers of the format
When displaying a variant, Handshake usually displays the name of the item and the dimensions, e.g. "Hooded Sweater (Blue, S)". If you have specific descriptions for individual variants you want Handshake to display, you can provide a
variant description column with the custom descriptions you want Handshake to display instead of the normal format shown above.
Whoa, this looks time consuming
If you have a catalog that has a lot of variants in it, you're probably starting to worry about the number of rows you're going to have to generate for this troublesome variants spreadsheet. We don't blame you!
Instead of specifying each dimension on its own row, you can list them in a single row like this:
[BLUE,WHITE,GRAY,BLACK] (i.e. surrounded by square brackets, separated by commas, no spaces). Handshake will automatically figure out all the combinations for you.
If a particular combination is not available (e.g. let's say BLACK shirts are not available in XS) then this shortcut won't work for you, and you'll need to list out a separate row for the BLACK shirts to avoid accidentally including the invalid XS variant.
When specifying variants using this shortcut syntax, you lose the ability to list individual SKUs for each variant, and you will end up with
.002-style variant SKUs as discussed above.
The screenshot below shows an example of declaring all the sizes and colors of three different shirts on just three rows, using the shortcut above: