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Offering a variety of products might be key to growing your sales. One study shows that having a variety of brand offerings adds a perceived higher quality and expertise in the category, increasing the likelihood that customers make a purchase.

But what is the best way to add variety? Should you create new listings or add variations to an existing listing?

Adding variations is a better way to offer product variety because it lets you sell a single product with all its variants from the same page. However, adding variations to listings is a bit more complex than creating a new one. Many new sellers may struggle in adding variations to their  existing listings. 

Therefore, we will keep our focus in this post on the particular query: how to add variation to Amazon listings. Furthermore, we will also discuss why listing variation is important and how it can benefit sellers on multiple fronts.

What Are Listing Variations?

A variation is essentially a sub-listing of your main product page based on feature changes such as, color, sizes, quantities, etc. Amazon refers to those primary and sub-listings as parent and child listings, respectively and so, they have different ASINs.

In some cases, you also get to set the combo of two features in one variation theme. For instance, you get the “SizeColor” variation theme for the example mentioned above. With this variation theme, you can introduce a variety of colors and sizes within the same “Parent ASIN”.

Example of a Product Listing Variation

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This is the product page of Nike’s Air Force shoes. Here, the parent item or ASIN is Nike Men’s Air Force 1 Low Sneaker. Meanwhile, there is a list of child items or ASINs with size and color variations within the same listing. This listing with variations allows customers to buy Air Force 1 Low Sneaker in different sizes and colors from the same page. 

Parent vs. Child ASINs: What’s the Difference

ASIN is the unique identity that Amazon assigns to items listed in its catalogs. However, the ASIN dynamics play out differently for listings with variations. For instance, parent ASIN only points to a non-buyable entity. It represents a parent product that one can only buy through its variations. For example, a buyer can’t just buy Nike Men’s Air Force 1 Low Sneaker (parent ASIN) unless they choose a variation (child ASIN) based on size and color. 

A regular product with no variation gets its ASIN displayed in the Product Details section of the given product page and URL. However, that’s not the case with listing with variations. Here, the ASIN you see in the Product Details section is the parent ASIN. For the child ASIN of each variation, you need to look at the URL of the variation after selecting it from the parent page.

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This is the parent ASIN of Nike Men’s Air Force 1 Low Sneaker. It will remain the same no matter which variation you pick.

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This is the ivory white variation of Air Force 1 Low Sneaker. You can see its child ASIN in the URL.

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This is the university red variation of the same Nike shoe line. You can see that it has a different ASIN shown in the URL.

Variation Listings Overview

The illustration below sums up how parent and child ASINs are tied together and how Amazon product variations come about.

How to Determine If You Need to Create Listing Variations?

You need to ask yourself these four questions to determine if your Amazon listings would benefit from having variations. 

  1. Are the products essentially the same? 
  2. Can the products share the same title?
  3. Do the products only differ in a couple of ways that don’t change the core nature and utility of the product?
  4. Do customers expect these products to be bundled together on a single product detail page?

If the answer to all these questions is yes, you should definitely add a variation to your listings.

Adding Variation to an Existing Listing— A Step-by-Step Guide

There are primarily two ways through which you can add variations to an existing listing. Let’s go through them one by one.

  1. Adding Variations of Existing Items through Seller Central Dashboard
  • The first step of creating a variation is to log in and go to your Seller Central dashboard. Hover over the Inventory tab and choose Manage Inventory from the drop-down menu.
  • Go over your product listings and choose the product that you want to create a variation for. Next, click on the Edit button on the far right of the listing to open the drop-down menu and then click on Copy Listing.


  • Click on the Variations tab.

 

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  • Choose the variation theme you want to introduce in the given listing. You can also pick the combination of the two features as your variation theme. Here, you can only make those combos with "size," e.g. size-material, size-shape, etc. These combination options will vary from product to product.
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  • Suppose you introduce three variations to the listing based on size. First, pick the sizes and then click on Add Variations button.
  • Once you click on Add Variations, it will open the below chart. Fill in the seller SKUs you’ve assigned to those different sizes, the product ID you’re using (UPC, EAN, ASIN, etc), the condition of the product (new, used), standard price, and quantity of each variation. 

Note: If you’re using ASINs as product ID, enter the parent ASIN in the above table.

Once all the information is filled in, click on Save and Finish. If you’ve correctly entered all the information in the above table, your existing listing will be updated with the newly introduced variations.

How to Add Images of Listing Variations?

After updating the variations, you can add images of the variation products by clicking at the Manage Images from the drop-down of the Edit tab of the parent listing present in your Seller Central inventory. 

  1. Creating Variation through Inventory File

You can also use the inventory file to establish the parent-child relationship among the products you want to list as variations. There are gazillions of columns in the inventory file. However, you need to locate and focus on these four columns in the inventory file to add variations.

  • You will write down the SKU of the main product type (e.g. T-shirt) in the parent SKU column. 
  • You will mention how variations and main categories are related (parent and child) in the parentage column. 
  • You will put "variation" in the relationship-type section.
  • For variation-theme, you have to mention the type of variation i.e. size, color, flavor, or any combination of attributes. 

The relevant sections of the inventory file will look like this after the variation updates. Here, we’ve introduced three sizes and two colors (variations) of a T-shirt.

If you aren’t used to creating inventory files, you can understand how they work by downloading a template from your Seller Central Account using the following steps.

  • Go to the Inventory tab from the dashboard and select Add a Product.



  • Then click on I'm uploading a file to add multiple products.
  • Select the product category and sub-category. Once you do that, the Generate template button will turn yellow. You can then download an Excel template of the inventory file.
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Even if you find spreadsheets a bit scary, you have nothing to fear with this one. Amazon provides all the necessary information for you to accomplish this template properly. They even have an Example tab to help you make sure that what you’re doing is correct.

If things still seem tough, Amazon has prepared a video explaining how to fill up this template.

Things to Remember When Adding Variations

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of how to make variations, it is significant to remember a couple of things before you start updating your listings.

Make Sure that Parent-Child Variations Are Related 

When creating variations, make sure you’re only combining products that are similar within the same category and product type. In our example earlier, a pair of shoes can lead to multiple variations in terms of size and color among other things. 

Other types of products can be combined into unique variations, like when you sell bundle variations as part of a promotion. What we should all agree, though, is that some variations cannot and will not work. You can refer to Amazon’s rules about this to learn more.

Don’t Go Overboard with Your Variations 

Having choices is nice, but too much can lead to consumer decision fatigue. Try to find that sweet spot for your listing variations where customers can find ample variety without getting overwhelmed with too many options. 

Don’t Forget to Add Images 

Have you ever encountered a product page with multiple variations but without pictures of all the versions? Yes, there have been some instances where sellers become sloppy and either forget or ignore adding a picture of all the items listed under the parent product listing. So, always review your variation listings once you update them on the parent (main) listing.

Be Aware of Amazon’s Rules about Variations 

Not all categories on Amazon can be authorized for variation listings. It goes without saying that it would do you well to check which categories are allowed for variations. That way, you can either adjust or avoid those categories altogether should you consider making variations for some of your product listings.

Advantages of Adding Listing Variations

As a seller, you can reap many benefits by adding and selling appropriate listing variations. 

Variety Translates Into More Sales

When you provide more variations of products on a single listing page, you start catering to a larger audience. For instance, a T-shirt listing that offers three sizes and four colors on the same product detail page has more target audience than a listing that offers only a single size or color. 

Also, more users are likely to convert into customers when they don’t have to look for and click on multiple product listings to find similar items in different colors, sizes, shapes, or flavors. 

A Booster for New or Low-Performing Listings 

Suppose you already sell red T-shirts like hotcakes and have a separate listing for the same T-shirt in green that doesn’t perform that well. By combining these two child listings (variations) under the parent ASIN/listing, you can improve the traction and sales of the green shirts as well. Similarly, if you're introducing a new color in the same shirt, you can give its listing a head start by adding it as a variation to the existing listing already doing well. 

Better Performance with BSR and Organic Search Ranking

Customer reviews and sales history remain cumulative for different child listings tied by a single parent listing. For instance, if your red T-shirt has 50 customer reviews and 200 monthly sales volume and the green one has seven reviews and 25 monthly sales volume, the number of reviews and sales volume for this parent-child listing will be 57 and 225, respectively. 

This accumulative consideration of reviews and sales numbers plays an integral role in improving your products' Best Seller Rank (BSR) and organic search ranking.

Listing Variations: FAQs

Before wrapping up this guide, let’s answer some frequently asked questions regarding listing variations.

How Do You Break Variations on Amazon?

You need to delete the parent and child items and listings from your inventory file and the Seller Central profile. You should wait 24 hours for the system update before turning every child listing into an individual product page. 

How Many Variations Can You Have on an Amazon Listing?

Usually, Amazon allows sellers to have one varying feature per listing. However, you can include two features in a single variation for some product categories as well e.g. size and color for clothing items.

Can I Delete Parent Listing on Amazon?

Yes, you can delete the parent listing. However, when you delete any parent listing, the existing product page with variations will disappear and all its child listings will automatically become individual product pages. Moreover, reviews will reside with whichever child ASIN the review was set against. This means all child listings won’t have even split of reviews when they will become individual listings.

Final Words

Adding variations to existing listings is a great way to improve your seller profile by offering more options to customers and garnering better revenues. The above discussion has laid it out pretty well that introducing variations to existing listings is not that difficult. You can easily do it via Seller Central Dashboard or an inventory file. 

However, the key is to identify the categories and products where introducing variations pays off. 

For understanding such nuances and getting valuable seller insights, sign up for ZonGuru’s weekly live training. Every week, our experts share their knowledge, experience, and secrets of selling on Amazon that are hard to find elsewhere on the web. 

You can join the training without paying a cent. On top of free training, you also get a one-week free trial of the ZonGuru seller toolkit that comes with no terms and conditions.

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