How to set up product variations in Google Shopping

How to Set Up Product Variations in Google Shopping

Imagine you’re running a WooCommerce store and you’ve some products with different variations based on color, size, price, etc. Now, you might think to consider each variation as a single product and generate a feed in Google Shopping.

Well, it’s a possible way to add all the variations to your feed, but not the best way. It’s because it’ll be a hassle for your customers to know about all the variations of your product as they have to go through every single product. 

And there is a high chance that your customers won’t find the right variation, even if they’re looking for the exact one.

That’s where setting up product variations in Google Shopping is crucial for any eCommerce business like yours to maximize online visibility and drive sales.

The good news is, that Google Shopping comes with a pre-built feature that allows you to set up product variations with ease. It gives your shoppers a clear view of your offerings and eventually improves your chances of sales. 

In this guide, I will walk you through the complete process of setting up product variations in Google Shopping. You’ll get to know everything from setting up product groups to choosing the right variation type that ensures your product listings are accurate and informative.

Redefine Your Sales Potential: The Power of Product Variations in Google Shopping

Product variations are different versions of the same product. For example, if you’re selling t-shirts, you might have variations based on size, color, or style.

Now, why are these variations important? 

Well, think about it from a shopper’s perspective. People love options! If they’re searching for a specific product, they might have preferences on things like size or color. 

By including these variations in your Google Shopping listings, you’re making it easier for shoppers to find exactly what they want.

Product variations are the secret that makes your items stand out in the crowd of Google shopping. By offering different options like sizes, colors, or styles, you’re not just enhancing the shopping experience but also converting random browsers into buyers.

In other words, you’re giving customers exactly what they’re looking for, whether it’s a specific color, the perfect fit, or their preferred style.

Let’s break down how it affects Google Shopping and your potential customers:

Enhanced Visibility:

Including variations means your products show up in more relevant searches. 

Imagine someone is looking for “Red T-shirts.” Even if they didn’t specify “Red classic tee,” your red shirt appears in the results because of product variations. This broader visibility leads to increased sales, as your product reaches more interested shoppers.

Less work, more sales: 

Setting up variations might seem like a chore initially, but it saves you time in the long run. You’re not managing a million separate listings, just one with all the variations neatly organized.

For example, rather than creating individual listings for each size and color of a t-shirt, you have one listing with dropdown menus for size and color options. It simplifies your workload and boosts your sales in Google shopping.

Detailed listing:

With variations, tracking product listings is easier. Rather than managing stock for each unique product, you only need to monitor and improve the product listing for each size and color combo. 

For example, instead of worrying about whether the “out-of-stock” red t-shirt is the classic fit or the v-neck style, you just need to know how many medium-sized red shirts you have in total.

This simplifies inventory management, prevents confusion, and informs you about stock levels.

Setting Up Google Shopping Product Variations

Well, setting up product variations in Google Shopping isn’t rocket science. You just to define your product variations with the right attributes.

However, product variations include different attributes like color, size, price, and many more. So, sometimes you may get puzzled about how to deal with the variations in product attributes. 

But, Don’t worry!

Luckily, Google Shipping offers an excellent option to deal with this. You can add variations of the same product under a single listing.

Setting Up Google Shopping Product Variations

Here, you can see the 3 color variations of the Divi Engine Tee shirt. 

To make this work first, you’ve to make product groups for Google shopping which must have different Google’s supported variant attributes. 

To connect the related products with Google and understand that they belong under the duplicate listing, there is a field called item_group_id. You will have to use this item_group_id field to group your products on Google successfully.

It is very clear that if you don’t make the group using the item_group_id field, each of your product variations will have a separate listing. This may not seem to be a huge problem, but your customers will have a hard time navigating your products. 

Additionally, they may miss the desired color variation that you have in a separate listing as it’s hard to predict customer behavior. So, you must do everything in the best possible way.

You Must Know:

Before submitting your products on Google Merchant Center, you must be very careful. Make sure that you do everything right and there is no error with your product feed submission. Luckily, removing flags from Google Merchant is not a very difficult task. Here are a few things for you to better understand the process. 

First of all, there is a parent-child relationship between the product variations. Google needs to have this information so it can properly process your data. So, you must develop a way to determine this relationship. 

Next, you need to take care of the variant attributes. The product variations must have different SKUs with supported variant attributes. 

Additionally, you need to ensure that in the child SKUs there are values for the attributes in your data (at least one). So, if your product differs only in size, then all the child SKUs in the family must value the size.

So, before going to set up the variation of your product, let’s first discuss how to set the product groups.

How to Set the Product Groups?

To make the product groups on Google, you will have to use the item_group_id field first. 

Google uses the item_gruop_id as the ID for the products that include the variations. 

Here is the list of the supported Google Shopping attributes:

  • Color
  • Size
  • Pattern
  • Material
  • Age group
  • Gender

Google has specific requirements for item_group_id field, and you must be careful while configuring them. Here are some of the most critical recommendations:

  • First of all, you should use the parent SKU if possible.
  • Secondly, take note that this field accepts a maximum of fifty alphanumeric characters.
  • You must use a unique item_group_id for each of your variant groups. Most importantly, you need to use the same variant attributes for all the products in the same group.
  • Finally, Google has a comprehensive list of requirements and suggestions for product groups. Before submitting, go through the requirements in more detail.

Example of product variations of one product group:

Let’s assume that you have several variable products in your WooCommerce store. One of those variable products is a T-shirt that comes in multiple sizes and color variations. 

There are two different sizes: medium and large, and the colors are green and blue. The SKU of the parent product is 311.

The variations will look like the following.

  • Id: 311-M-Green

Item_group_id: 311

Color: Green

Size: Medium

  • Id: 311-L-Green

Item_group_id: 311

Color: Red

Size: Large

Set up Product Variations in Google Shopping

If you want to set up your product variations correctly, your products must vary with Google’s supported product attributes. Here is a reference list of the Google Shopping attributes supported by Google.

  • Color
  • Size
  • Pattern
  • Material
  • Age group
  • Gender

If your products have some attributes that do not fall into Google’s supported shopping data, Google Shopping won’t include them in your feed. 

Google provides full detail to describe each attribute properly. Let’s give you some highlights of creating a demo with a shopping attribute (color).

  • First of all, make sure to enter the full-color name instead of using just a single letter to represent your color. You have to include Green instead of the letter G. 
  • Secondly; please ensure that you don’t submit something that does not match your website. 
  • There should be perfect harmony between the data on your product feed and your website. 
  • Moreover, if a product has multiple colors, you can define the primary and secondary colors with a “/.”

Here is an example of a ballpoint pen with multiple colors.

  • Green ballpoint pen

title: Smart ballpoint – Green

id: 332-GR

color: green

item_group_id: 332

  • Black ballpoint pen

title: Smart ballpoint – Black

id: 332-BL

color: black

item_group_id: 332

How to Set Up Product Variations in Google Shopping with a Plugin

Now, you’ve got many products with different sizes, colors, and styles, and you want to list them all on Google Shopping.

But, in this case, listing each variation manually one by one sounds like a recipe for disaster, right?

That’s where the manual process of setting up variations can get messy and using a plugin provides a more convenient way.

Some plugins are available to let you set up the variations automatically in an error-free way, one plugin known as CTX-Feed truly stands out among them.

With CTX Feed Pro, you can ignore all the technicalities and create the most optimized product feeds. It is the best product feed generation and management plugin for WooCommerce. 

You just have to create a product feed and then you’re good to go to set up product variations in Google Shopping.

In case you don’t have any product feed yet, then creating the feed with CTX-Feed is easier than ever. You just have to provide the details of your product for your preferred merchant center and CTX -Feed will take care of the rest. 

And guess what?

No purchase is necessary! You can create your feed all with the free version of CTX Feed.

Include Variations: All you need to know about CTX Feed Pro

Now, for setting up your product variations, the premium version of CTX Feed, known as CTX Feed PRO, offers more options to deal with this. 

In CTX Feed Pro, you’ll see an option to Include Variations while creating a feed. By default, It’s chosen as All Variations, but it’s essential to know how it works and how it can be useful for your particular use cases.

If you look through the dropdown in this option, you’ll find 7 options available to use. Such as:

  • All Variations
  • Variable Products (Parent)
  • Default Variation
  • Cheapest Variation
  • First Variation
  • Last Variation
  • Variable + Variation

There are a lot of them. 

Let’s break it down by walking through some examples to show you how each option works:

Imagine you have two products in your inventory. The first is a simple product, let’s say it’s a Hoodie. The second product is a bit more complex, it’s a variable product like a T-shirt, but it comes with three variations, like different sizes or colors, such as follows:

  1. Hoodie
  2. T-Shirt
  • T-Shirt – Blue;
  • T-Shirt – Red;
  • T-Shirt – Black;

Now let’s create a feed with these 4 products and see how each option applies to these scenarios.

All Variations: 

As previously mentioned, the default setting for “Include Variations” is to include all variations. It means that all variations of each variable product will be included in the feed.

In this case, you have a total of four products (one Hoodie and three variations of the T-Shirt). So, when you select “All Variations” will automatically build a feed that includes all 4 of your products:

  • Single product: That single hoodie (your single product) will be listed as-is.
  • Variable product: Each variation of your awesome t-shirts (blue, red, black) will show up as a separate product in the feed.

This ensures that all products, including their respective variations, are generated into your feed seamlessly.

Default Variation:

If you choose “Default Variation” for the “Include Variation” option, it creates a feed with a slightly different outcome with 2 products:

  • Single Product: The cozy hoodie will still be listed as-is.
  • Variable Product: The entire “T-shirt” product (act as a parent product) will be included in the feed. However, it will include the details from its first variation.

This means shoppers will see the “T-Shirt” product listing, but they won’t be able to choose specific variations (red, blue, black) within the listing. It’s like a quick look at all your t-shirts, but without all the details.

Variable Products (Parent): 

When selecting “Variable Products (Parent)” during the feed creation process, you’ve to set both price and quantity.

Variable Product Price:

You also have three options here. You can either select and show the first variation price, the minimum price, or the maximum price of your product variations. 

Variable Product Quantity:

There are four options here. You can choose to display the first variation quantity, minimum variation quantity, maximum variation quantity, and the sum of variation quantity.

Variable Product Quantity

In this case, if the red T-shirt includes the maximum price and blue T-shirt has the minimum quantity, then here’s the breakdown of your feed with 2 products:

  • Single Product: The hoodie will be included as-is, no surprises there.
  • Variable Product: The “T-shirt” product (as the parent) will include the T-shirt with the maximum price with the minimum quantity.

Now, you might ask, where does it differ from the option “Default Variation”?

The default Variation option includes all the details of the first variation of your parent product (T-shirt), but the Variable Products (Parent) option will show the specific details of the price and quantity of your T-shirt you set.

Cheapest Variation:

Choosing “Cheapest Variation” for the “Variable Product Price” option creates a feed that showcases your most budget-friendly (Cheapest) option for the variation product (T-shirt). If your red T-shirt is $50, blue $30 and Black is $55, then, the feed will be with these 2 items: 

  • Single Product: The hoodie will be listed just like before.
  • Variable Product: The entire “T-shirt” product (as the parent) will include a blue T-shirt as the cheapest variation you have listed.

Expensive Variation:

Just like the cheapest variation, if you choose Expensive Variation, then the variable product will show up with the expensive variation if it. The feed will show the 2 products:

  • Single Product: The hoodie will be the same.
  • Variable Product: The “T-shirt” (as the parent) will show up only with the black T-shirt (expensive variation) you have listed.

First Variation:

With this option, the variable products will be listed with the first variation. If you first listed red color T-shirts, then blue and black, then the feed shows up with the following 2:

  • Single product: Your hoodie
  • Variable product: The T-shirt (parent) will only include the first variation (Red T-shirt) listed for the T-shirt, not all variations.

Last Variation:

Now, as you listed red color first, and black color T-shirt as the last variation of the variable product, then you’’ find the following 2 products on the feed:

  • Single product: The only variant of your hoodie
  • Variable Product: The T-shirt’s last variation from the list, which is the black T-shirt.

Variable + Variation:

Choosing “Variable + Variations” for your feed will create a feed with all 4 products. It’’ includes all the variations of the variable product (T-shirt) along with the single product (Hoodie). The listing is as follows:

  • Single product: Your Hoodie
  • Variable product 1: T-shirt (Red)
  • Variable product 1: T-shirt (Blue)
  • Variable product 1: T-shirt (Black)

Note: In this case, the price and quantity will be included with the variable product based on your customer’s selections.

That’s it. 

Overall, the process of creating a feed following your requirements is easy as long as you have a clear understanding of set-up variations with the available options. 

When you know how they affect the composition of your feed, you can set up the product variations in the best way to optimize your feed.


Setting up product variations in Google Shopping can enhance your listings and user experience. By grouping similar products and specifying variations like color or size, you provide buyers with a more accurate product picture. Google supports specific variation attributes, but if yours differ, explore including compatibility details in the description. 

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