Item templates and variants vs regular Items

I’m just setting up ERPNext and will be integrating with a PIM to manage the syncing of our products as ​ERPNext items.

While testing the system I’ve been using the templates and variants to create Items, as most of our products have 2 variants, but when creating them via an integration with a PIM I’m wondering what the advantages are of using this approach rather than just creating regular Items.

I know the templates do not show up everywhere in ERPNext as they do not have stock, but they do appear in some screens (although I suspect they could probably be hidden via roles). Any updates to the products, such as disabling them would likely be managed in the PIM and then synced across.

It doesn’t look like it is possible to convert an Item to a variant after it has been used so I feel we need to decide now, before it is operational.

Are there any other advantages to using Templates and Variants?

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