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Simplifying Stock Management with Variable Products in WooCommerce

Managing stock for a store can be a very time consuming process so any way we can speed that up is great for business. Recently I was helping out a merchant who had this idea for how to simplify managing stock with their variable products.

Instead of creating a variation for every possible attribute combination on a product, they created one variation for the “any” of each attribute. They add a price to the variation and set it to be in stock. This sets the “default” state for our product.

Now when one of their variations goes out of stock, they create a variation for it. They enable the “manage stock” option and set the stock quantity to 0.

Now when customers go to this product, they can purchase any of the attributes except for the one they just created. When that combination is available again, they can remove it from the product or set it to be in stock again.

One catch I discovered is this currently only works when the option to hide out of stock items is disabled. When that is enabled, this currently does not work. There’s an open issue about this.

This is not an option for all stores but it could make inventory management easier for some stores so I wanted to make sure to share it.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

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