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This article applies to selling in: Japan

Variation Relationships Overview

What is a variation relationship?

Variations (also known as parent-child relationships) are sets of products that are related to one another. Good variation relationship listings allow buyers to compare and choose products based on different attributes such as size, color, or other characteristics from the available options on a single product detail page. For example, a customer searching for a short sleeved T-shirt might click on a product detail page for a shirt that comes in three sizes (Small, Medium, and Large), and three colors (Blue, Red, Black). Rather than a cluttered view of all possible color and size combinations, the customer can select the preferred size, and choose the color from the three available color variations.

Examples of good variation families are:

  • Items of clothing that come in different sizes (small, medium, large)
  • Items that come in different colors (blue, red, black)

Elements of a variation relationship

There are three components to a parent-child relationship:

  • Parent listing: The product listing is a non-buyable entity used to relate child products

    The listing displayed only in the Seller Central’s search results. Amazon catalog uses the parent listing to establish relationships between the child products. For example, if 2 shirts have the same parent, then they are related and are considered child products.

  • Child products: The products that are related to each parent listing

    The child product is an instance of the parent product. You can have many child products that are all related to one parent product. Each child varies in some way, for example, by size or by color.

  • Variation theme: The relationship between the parent and the child

    The variation theme defines how related products differ from each other. Depending on the category chosen to list your products, variation themes also vary. For example, in the Clothing & Accessories, Shoes and Bags categories, child products can differ from each other by size or color, or package quantity; and child listings in Pet Supplies category can differ in flavor, scent, quantity, etc.

The following examples illustrate relationship listings in different product categories:

When to use a parent-child relationship

Not every category supports parent-child relationships, and not every variation is appropriate for a parent-child relationship. 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.

The Beauty category supports color variations because products do not fundamentally change due to the variation in color. Since the variation for color exists within the Beauty category, you must establish a parent-child relationship for each color variation of your lipstick product inventory so long as no other feature (such as brand) is different between the products.

The Beauty category does not support fragrance variations because in certain circumstances the product, such as perfumes, will be fundamentally different even if all other attributes are the same. Due to the unavailability of the fragrance variation, lotions that are otherwise the same but vary by fragrance would not use parent-child relationships.

Not all related products are valid variations. The following questions can help you to determine whether certain products are valid variations:

  • Are the products fundamentally the same (i.e. the similarities of the ASIN’s design and function are so basic as to be hard to alter resolve, or overcome)?
  • Could the products share the same title?
  • Do the products vary only in a few, specific ways that do not alter the core essence and nature of the item (such as color or size)?
  • Would customers expect to find these products together on a single product detail page?

Amazon may remove products that do not correctly use established variation themes. To learn how to list parent and child products, see Create parent-child relationships.

Best practices

  • Do not list different products together:
    • Example 1: A cell phone charging cable and a portable charger, while related, are not the same product and should not be listed on the same detail page.
    • Example 2: A laptop bag with handles and a laptop bag without handles are two different product styles that should be listed on separate detail pages.
  • Do not use variation themes incorrectly; they should only be used for their defined purpose.
    • Example: A color and size variation theme must not include any information other than color and size respectively. Different phone models, for example, should not be listed within a color theme.
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