Product and Inventory Management with Perch Shop

One of the things we’ve been working closely on for the new Perch Shop is the way that products and inventory management is handled. These are two very core concepts to most ecommerce stores, and we wanted to make sure that they were flexible, but not bafflingly complex.

A product is the core item that you sell from a store. In reality that product might be something less tangible like a service or access to digital resources, but at a base level a product is the thing that you sell.

Often, a product has a limited supply. You might have 20 t-shirts to sell, or 200 tickets to an event, or just one of a bespoke item. This is where inventory management comes in. A product has a stock level, and when that item is sold the stock level is decreased. Once it’s gone, the product is flagged as out of stock and customers can no longer buy it.

For simple stores, that could be as deep as you need to go.

Product options

In reality, many stores will be more complex. If you’re selling t-shirts, chances are that you have different sizes available, and maybe different colours or styles. In Perch Shop, we call these Options. You might set up a Size option and a Colour option for your t-shirts. Combining these various options results in product variants – a large green t-shirt, or a small blue t-shirt.

Product variants

In this case, you’ll likely have different stock levels for those variants. You might have 10 small green t-shirts, but 15 medium red t-shirts. The customer doesn’t care how many t-shirts you have in total, they just need to know if they can order in their size. For this reason, inventory can be controlled on the variant level.

Once your options have been set and variants have been created, you can go into any variant and adjust its stock level, price, tax status or shipping requirements.

Not all products work this way, however. Take our example of tickets for an event. Your venue might have a capacity of 200, so you have 200 tickets to sell. Some of those tickets could sell at full price, but others might be offered at a concessionary price. You don’t know before hand what the split between full price and concessionary tickets will be, and you need to make sure you don’t sell more than 200 or refuse sales you could have made.

Stock management

In this case, the inventory needs to be handled on the parent product not on the variants. Selling either of the variants will reduce the stock level on the parent product, making sure that only 200 tickets are sold.