In this article, I will address the issue of Facebook displaying the most expensive variant for the product in the Facebook shop.

First I will briefly explain what are Facebook variants and what is the issue with them that people are complaining about.

Note: If you are looking for an automated solution for the bug, check out our Facebook Shop Integration extension. It has the solution to the variants bug embedded in it. Otherwise, if you want to implement the solution yourself, keep on reading.

Facebook variants

Facebook variants are Facebook shop products that are variations of some product. That is, they usually will represent the same product with a different option value - ie: different color, size, material or pattern.

Facebook calls the main product “product group” and its variations “variants”. Let's look at an example:

    Example:

    Product group: D&G pants

  • Variant #1: D&G pants, color: white, size: M
  • Variant #2: D&G pants, color: white, size: L
  • Variant #3: D&G pants, color: black, size: L
  • Variant #4: D&G pants, color: red, size: L

How do variants look in the Facebook Shop

In the Facebook Shop (which is located in the “Shop” tab of your Facebook Business page), the variants are grouped together. That is, Facebook displays only the main product (aka the product group), and option drop downs -

When the customer changes options values, the product data is updated according to the matching variant.

If you are still not sure what the variants are, read my previous article about Facebook variants.

Facebook variants bug

The Facebook variants bug affects the default variant that is displayed in the product in the Facebook shop. People over the internet complain that the variants seem to be random, or even the most expensive one.

That is, Facebook seems to select the default options to display in the product randomly. And if the options (the variants) have different prices, it can cause that the most expensive options will be selected by default. Needless to say that displaying the most expensive variant to the user can cause higher shop abandonment rates, and hurt the sales.

The bug is cross-platform

It seems that the bug is on the Facebook side, ie it is not platform related. You can see that Shopify, as well as Bigcommerce users, complain about it.

The solution

After playing some time with the feed, I made an interesting observation: It seems that the default variant is the one that was the most recently modified. Moreover, the modification has to be done on a required field.

This observation led me to implement the following solution of the bug:

  1. Create an update schedule that runs frequently (every hour).

    - if you don’t remember how to create a fetch schedule on Facebook, refer to my previous article about Facebook integration.
  2. Change the feed file every hour with a slight modification to one of the required fields of the cheapest variation. That is, made a slight change to the feed file in the row of the variant product that has the cheapest price.

    - in our Facebook Shop Integration extension, we did it by adding an extra parameter to the product URL, with a different value on every change. Note that the value doesn’t have to be different all the times, it just has to differ from the previous value. So you can basically use two different values and change between them every time.

Note that the solution is not solving the problem 100%. That is - there will still be some times when the most expensive variant will show up by default.

However, the longest that it can be for is 2 hours. Once Facebook will pick up the new version of the feed file, the cheapest variant should show up again as default.

Summing up

In this article, I explained what are the variants in the Facebook shop, and what is the Facebook variant bug. I also suggested a solution for this bug. I hope that this solution can help some ecommerce merchants out there.

If you tried the solution and it works (or doesn't work) for you - please share it in the comments. I am looking forward to hearing feedback!

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