Variations 101

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What is a Variation?

A variation is a combination of items that may differ by size, color, style, etc. These items are combined into one single detail page, called a variation.

What Makes up a Variation?

A Variation is made up of two different parts:

-A Parent Listing

-A Child Listing

Parent Listing:

The Parent is the listing that holds the items together (think of a shelf at the store holding all the merchandise). The parent is not a purchasable product on Amazon and will not display on the detail page. This listing will appear in your inventory if you create a parent for the variation you are listing on Amazon. If you do not create a parent for the listing in your inventory your items will still be in the variation but will not appear in the variation in your inventory.

  • When creating a parent listing make sure you do not contribute any offer-specific information to the listing (price, color, size, etc.) as this is not a purchasable product.
  • You also want to refrain from contributing any offer specific information to the title of the listing

Child Listing:

A Child Listing is a product that a buyer will purchase from you. This item will display on the detail page if you have the available inventory. If your child listing is inactive, it will not appear in the variation on the detail page. If you click on a child that is inactive the detail page will show the next available child in the variation.

  • If a child breaks off from a parent, you may hear Amazon support refer to it as an “orphan child” as it no longer has a parent.
  • If your child listing contains the same values as another child listing within the variation, this is considered a “shadow child”
    • For example: 2 children within the variation cannot share the same size. For the listings to display as separate listings on the detail page, these values need to be different.

How Do I Create a Variation?

There are 3 different ways to create a variation.

1. Through the Add a Product Tool

2. Through the Variation Wizard

3. Through a feed file upload

All 3 of the above ways allow you to create a new variation or list against an existing variation.

PDMG recommends the feed file upload process when creating variations. This process is the most comprehensive and provides informational details for the report that was uploaded, whether it was successful or if there are errors. If your upload results in errors, the system will explain what the errors mean.

Benefits of Using Variations:

-When items are listed in a variation, the buyers can view multiple similar products on a single detail page.

-Having all your similar products on one detail page may potentially drive sales.

  • For Example: If your products differ in color, the buyer may purchase more than one product from you but in various colors.

-Your listings are easily accessible under a single listing in your inventory.

Important Notes:

-To list your products in a variation, they must be under the same brand name and category. They must also be the exact same product and only differ by size, color, style, etc. If your product is physically different, whether it be as simple as different packaging, they cannot be listed in the same variation.

-Amazon has different variation themes to choose from based on the category you are listing your products under. Make sure you are selecting the variation theme that best suits your product. Amazon’s Seller Performance team is very strict when it comes to following the variation creation policy. If they see you are violating this policy, they may break your variation apart and prevent you from creating variations in the future.

-Reviews are shared across your variation if the category matches across all listings in the variation, including the parent listing. If you have issues with the reviews synching, Amazon support will be able to assist you with this issue.

-If Amazon Retail is the variation creator or is listing against the variation, you may have to contact Amazon support to assist with adding the listing to the variation. When you contact support, make sure you are providing the reason as to why the listing should be in the variation.

-When your products are part of a variation, only one of the listings will appear on your seller storefront.

-When searching for your variation product, only one item will appear within the search results. This item is typically the best seller/best-ranked item in the variation. This is generated by an automated system, so you cannot change what listing appears within the search results.

-If you want your variations to appear in a specific order on the detail page, you need to provide Amazon support with the order, and they will submit a request with an internal team to update the variation sort order. (This process takes time, and the case submitted with Amazon support is typically resolved.)

-If the brand name changes, the variation will eventually break apart as this information needs to match across all listings, including the parent listing. A simple space before or after the brand name, punctuation, or a misspelling can cause the variation to break apart.

-When contributing information to your child listings, make sure all information is consistent across the listings to make for the best buying experience and a clean detail page.

For Example: Format your size/color/style names the same to prevent buyer confusion.