WooCommerce has several product ‘types’. These include:

  • Simple: this is the basic product type and, for many people, it’s all they will ever need. Simple products are usually physical objects, i.e. you’ll need to ship them, and they don’t have any options. A typical example would be a book.
  • Grouped: this is a more complex product type, which combines related products into a single ‘grouped’ product.
  • Virtual: a virtual product doesn’t need shipping. It could be something abstract, like a service.
  • Downloadable: again, not a physical product. A typical example would be a plugin.
  • Variable: this is the one we’re interested in. A variable product has different variations or versions that a customer can choose from. A typical example would be a shirt which is available in different sizes and different colours. The customer doesn’t just choose ‘Shirt’; they choose the medium shirt in red.

So a variable product is a product type in WooCommerce that allows the product to be divided up into different variations.