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This article applies to selling in: United Kingdom

About parent-child relationships

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 might be available in multiple sizes and colours. 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.

To learn how to create variations using parent-child product relationships for Fashion products, please watch the Seller University video.

You might also be able to use the Check My File feature to automatically detect variation sets in your inventory file.

What is a parent-child relationship?

Imagine that a customer searches for a T-shirt on Amazon and finds 10 products. Each shirt comes in 3 sizes and 2 colours, which means that there are 6 unique size and colour 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 catalogue displays only one product (the t-shirt), and the product detail page displays the variations (size and colour).

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 colour. 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.

When to use a parent-child relationship

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.

Note: See the inventory file for your specific category to see whether it supports relationships.

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 colour variations, but does not support fragrance variations. Lipsticks vary by colour, 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:

  • Are the products fundamentally the same?
  • Do the products vary only in a few specific ways?
  • Would customers expect to find these products together on a single product detail page?
  • Could the products share the same title?
Note: Amazon might remove products that do not correctly use established variation themes.

Establish a parent-child relationship

To establish parent-child relationships between products, use inventory files or the Add a Product tool. You can view the existing child ASIN(s) for parent ASINs in the Amazon catalogue on the Add a Product page in your seller account. if your product is not in the Amazon catalogue, you will have to create a new ASIN. For more information, see the ASIN creation policy.

You may also be able to use the Check My File feature to automatically detect variation sets in your inventory file. For details and supported categories, see Use the Check My File feature.

You can find everything you need to set up a parent-child relationship in the inventory file template. The following table demonstrates how you might use an inventory file to set up a parent-child relationship for several T-shirts that come in three sizes and two colours.

  • The exact column headings in your product template might differ. Refer to the "Data Definitions" tab in your Inventory File Template for the specific columns you use to establish relationships.
  • Some attribute fields in your template might be noted as optional, but they will nevertheless be required in order to describe your child product offerings accurately in relation to the variations of each parent product.
SKU Title Size Colour Parentage Parent SKU Relationship type Variation theme Price Quantity
101 T-shirt



101MB Royal blue T-shirt M Medium Royal blue child 101 variation SizeColour 15.97 50
101SB Royal Blue T-Shirt S Small Royal Blue child 101 variation SizeColour 15.97 50
101LB Royal Blue T-Shirt L Large Royal Blue child 101 variation SizeColour 17.97 50
101MR English red T-shirt M Medium English Cherry Red child 101 variation SizeColour 15.97 50
101SR English Red T-Shirt S Small English Cherry Red child 101 variation SizeColour 15.97 50
101LR English Red T-Shirt L Large English Cherry Red child 101 variation SizeColour 17.97 50

In the example above, SKU 101 "T-shirt" is the parent product. Because parent products are not offered for sale, fields such as size, colour, price, and quantity are irrelevant and should not be used.

However, you should still describe other aspects of the parent product, including an image that represents the generalised product. The only information to omit relates specifically to price, availability, and shipping.

The variation theme column indicates that products in this particular parent-child relationship differ from each other based on both colour and size. The "Data Definitions" tab in the inventory template lists the terms you can use for variation themes.

  • Make sure that you use only SKUs for building relationships.
  • Do not include price and quantity values for parent products. Including price and quantity can cause your products to disappear from the catalogue.
  • When you list your child products, fully describe each child product and include data for all of the variation attributes of the parent product, so that they are included in browse and search results and on product detail pages.
  • Follow the recommendations in the Product page style guides when determining the variation attributes to use for each child product.

How to add child variant to an existing variation?

You can add a new child variant to an existing parent-child variation using category specific template.

Enter the current Parent data in the template, one existing child and the new child information. You will need to perform a 'PartialUpdate' on the Parent and existing child and an 'Update' on the new child.

For example:

File SKU Title Size Colour Percentage Parent SKU Relationship type Variation theme Price Quantity Update delete
Existing Parent ParentSKU T-shirt



Existing child ChildSKU Blue T-shirt M M Blue child ParentSKU variation SizeColour 15 50 PartialUpdate
New child NewChildSKU Pink T-shirt M M Pink child ParentSKU variation SizeColour 15 50 Update

How variations appear on product detail pages

Parent-child relationships help to make search results manageable for customers. For example, you might offer a shirt that comes in four colours and four sizes. Rather than display all 16 unique combinations of the product in search results, only the one product from the parent-child grouping appears. The specific product that appears depends on the category.

Product details pages in the Clothing, Sports and Outdoors, and Beauty categories

The Clothing, Sports and Outdoors, and Beauty categories display best-selling parent products in search results and on product detail pages. This means that display elements such as product title, description and bullet points appear from the data associated with the parent product. Before customers can purchase the product, they must first use the drop-down menus on the product detail page to indicate which child product they want to purchase. Selecting options from the drop-down menus does not load a new product detail page.

For example, in Clothing, when customers look for a T-shirt, the best-selling parent products appear.

Using XML for parent-child relationships:

You can use XML uploads instead of inventory file templates to set relationships between products.

For more information about using XML to manage your inventory, see Data-exchange overview.

Delete parent-child relationships

For more information about deleting relationships between products, see Modify your inventory file: Special considerations.

See also

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