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This article applies to selling in: United Kingdom

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 in terms of Size, Color, Flavor, etc. Good variation relationship listings allow buyers to compare and choose products based on different attributes such as size, colour, 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 T-shirt that comes in three sizes (Small, Medium, and Large), and three colours (Blue, Red, Black). Rather than having to browse separate pages for each colour and size, the customer can select the preferred size, and choose the colour from the three available colour variations on the same page.

Examples of good variation families are:

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

Here is an example of how a variation appears to customers:

Elements of a variation relationship

There are three components to a parent-child relationship:

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

    The listing displayed only in the Seller Central’s search results. Amazon catalogue uses the parent listing to establish relationships between the child products. Amazon catalogue 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 multiple child products that are all related to one parent product. Each child varies in some way, for example, by size, colour, etc.

  • 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 & Luggage category, child products can differ from each other by size or colour; ; and child listings in Pet Supplies category can differ in flavour, 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.

The Beauty category supports colour variations because products do not fundamentally change due to the variation in colour. Since the variation for colour 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 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 colour or size)?
  • Would customers expect to find these products together on a single product detail page?

Product Bundles

Amazon has historically used variations to surface Bundles. A bundle is a group of complementary items that a customer buys together, sometimes at a discount. An example of a bundle is a camera, camera bag and an SD card. While a bundle that includes the camera is not a true variation of the camera, customers expect to see available camera bundles on the camera’s detail page and often prefer, as a matter of convenience, to buy the bundle containing the camera instead of buying each item separately.

Bundles are not considered valid variations. However, they are currently allowed until an updated shopping experience is launched, that will allow bundles to co-exist with variations in a way that highlights the strengths of each product.

Bundles are allowed if they meet the following criteria:

  • A fixed group of components (ASINs), offered by a given merchant (e.g. Amazon) on a given marketplace (e.g. US) and fulfilment network, that are also sold separately by that merchant on that same marketplace and fulfilment network.
    • Key here is that a customer should be able to compare components of one bundle vs components of another bundle so each component much have its own detail page. A shrink wrapped hard bundle does not meet this criteria.
  • Components (ASINs) within a bundle must be complementary in nature (e.g. Amazon Echo Show plus compatible Smart light bulb)
  • Bundles with ‘base’ components such as cameras and accessory bags should be variated with the base component (the camera in this example)
  • The bundle creator must have approval of the brand owners of each component to use the component in the Bundle. A bundle can be composed of digital plus physical ASINs (e.g. Amazon Echo Dot plus Amazon Music Unlimited subscription).

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 mobile 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.
    • For example: A colour and size variation theme must not include any information other than colour and size respectively. Different phone models, for example, should not be listed within a colour theme.
  • Do not introduce a large variation family. Large variation families deliver poor customer experience as the Detail Page may take a while to load or not load at all.
    • Check the current size limit for the variation family in Variation Relationship FAQ.
    • When a variation family is approaching the limit, break it into smaller families with distinct characteristics.
    • Example: If you have a product called Women’s Comfortable Boots, a large variation family with 4000 child ASINs, and there are five colours of this product, you can consider breaking it into families in different colours with all sizes available in each new variation family.
    • Note that this is only an example and you can decide on the classification, split and title as you see fit.
  • Do not list a hard bundle (one ASIN which includes multiple components but the components are not buyable individually or do not have their own detail pages) as a variation. This is to make sure that customers can compare/review components of bundles individually on their own detail pages.
    • A common example of a hard bundle is a shrink wrapped camera bundle where the components of the bundle are not individually identifiable ASINs.
  • Amazon Devices detail pages are strictly controlled and maintained (e.g., no other merchants sell Amazon Devices on Amazon). Please reach out to the Amazon Devices team before removing a bundle from Devices detail pages.
  • A bundle consisting of multiple variations of the same parent is permissible (a black Echo Dot with a White Echo Dot, for example).
    • However, a bundle consisting of more than one of the same component is not permissible (2 black Echo Dots).

Learn more about variation relationships

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