If, say, you produce a red tee-shirt, and a blue one, you have two choices of how to list on Amazon. You could list each as a separate product. Or you could list them as a single product, ‘tee shirt’, which comes in two variations, red and blue.
You could give your customer even more choice if you also add size variations, such as S, M, L, all the way to XXL. This is a variation relationship listing; some people call it a ‘parent-child’ listing.
It’s pretty simple to do. You first need a Parent ASIN. The Parent ASIN isn’t a sellable item – it’s just a catalog entry. Then you need a Child ASIN for each of the variations. And the Child ASINs fit within a variation theme, such as size, color, flavor, pattern. Amazon even offers you a Variation Wizard to make the process easy.
Remember that you’ll need a different UPC bar code/EAN for each of the variations.
What are the advantages of having a variation listing instead of separate listings? It turns out that there are quite a few advantages.
First of all, a variation listing cuts down your work. Instead of having to create all the content for each of the products, you can create the content for one of the products, and then simply add a single photo for each variation. For instance, you might have a range of pillows with different motifs in the design – if they’re all the same size and made of the same fabric, you could put them all on a single page.
It’s also easy to introduce variations later. If, let’s say, you think your old colors look a bit ‘last year’, it’s easy to pick two of this season’s favorite colors and add those as variations to the existing product. That means they already benefit from all the marketing you’ve done on the existing product, and from its sales ranking, instead of starting out from zero.
Because the different variations are all on a single page and belong to a single ASIN, you’ll get better visibility and a higher ranking for the parent listing. You’ll also have all the reviews together on one page, so that you have more social proof available for customers whichever variation of the product they want to buy.
You have another advantage, too. If a customer comes and sees that you have variations available, they may decide to buy a couple of the variations. That’s not true for size, but if for instance I see you have a zig-zag design as well as a circle design cushion, I may decide my sofa would look good with both.
And while they’re thinking about checking the variation boxes, they’re not thinking about heading over to a competing product page to check out alternatives.
There is also a little bit of an advantage with inventory. If one of the variations is out of stock, it will just be grayed out, but your product will still show as available as long as another variation is in stock.
You can get a little bit clever with your listings. For instance, you might have a quiz game with different questions – history, music, general knowledge, and sport. How can you put these all on one page, as variations?
It’s simpler than it sounds. Just print the question cards and game board in a different color – say, green for history, pink for music, bright red for sport… That gives you the child ASINs. Now, the color variation allows you to insert different names, because you might want red, blue and green to show up as vermilion, azure and verdigris, for instance. So you just rename ‘green’ as ‘history’, and that’s what your customer will see in the product description. Smart, eh?
There are a few things you can’t do. For instance, a bag with handles and a bag with a shoulder strap can’t be sold as variations even if they’re otherwise identical – they need to have different listings. Related products, like a laptop and a laptop case, or a camera and spare battery, can’t be sold on the same page, either. And not every product category allows variations, though most do.