When you create parent-child relationships (also known as “variations”) between products, you help customers find different versions of the product they are viewing. For example, a t-shirt may be available in multiple sizes and colors. The parent product is the t-shirt itself (short sleeve, cotton, crew neck). The child product is the variation of the parent (t-shirt in pink, t-shirt in XXXL). For more information, see Variation relationships.
You may also be able to use the Check My File feature to automatically detect variation sets in your inventory file.
Imagine that a customer searches for a t-shirt on Amazon and finds 10 products. Each shirt comes in 3 sizes and 2 colors, which means that there are 6 unique size and color combinations for each t-shirt. When multiplied by 10 products, there are 60 separate products which match the search criteria. Rather than display all 60 products, Amazon groups similar products using parent-child relationships. The result: the catalog displays only one product (the t-shirt), and the product detail page displays the variations (size and color).
Even though parent products have no variation theme attributes, you can use an image to represent your parent product, and that image can show both a size and a color. In the Help topic Elements of a parent-child relationship, the parent product uses a picture of a medium size, red t-shirt. For an optimal shopping experience, we recommend that you use an image that represents a typical example of the available variations for your products
Not every category supports parent-child relationships, but if an appropriate variation theme exists for your products, you must include your products in a parent-child relationship.
For example, suppose you sell both lipstick and hand lotion in the Beauty category. By checking the Beauty template, you see that the Beauty category supports color variations, but does not support fragrance variations. Lipsticks vary by color, so you must establish a parent-child relationship for each product in your inventory. However, lotions vary by fragrance, so you do not use parent-child relationships, because the Beauty category does not support this variation theme.
Not all related products are valid variations. The following questions can help you to determine whether certain products are valid variations:
For more information about deleting relationships between products, see Modify Your Inventory File: Special considerations.