Amazon Product Variations 101 – by PiWheel’s Nur Atbinici

By Nur Atbinici, customer success manager at PiWheel

What is a Variation?

Amazon is one of the most customer centric companies in the world. They try to implement and create features that drive better customer experience. Amazon is making online shopping extremely convenient for customers and ‘variations’ is one of the best features Amazon created for a delightful customer experience.

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We often see the size, color, style, etc. options available when we open products on Amazon for sale under one listing. This is what variation means.

After I decided to buy a specific dress of course I would like to check the sizes and colors. With variation it is possible to see all options on one product detail page. Otherwise that would be time consuming and hard to search, find, and decide.

How to create ‘Variations’ on Amazon?

These are the steps involved for creating variations on Amazon:

Selling partners need to download and fill ‘variation sheet’ from their vendor/seller central. The sheet is available on VC/SC Support centre.

Below information are needed on variation sheet:

  • Product title (this needs to be exact title because if it is different, system will change the title)
  • ASIN numbers (child ASINs)
  • Variation Theme (colour, size, style, etc.

After filling out the sheet, the selling partner should contact Amazon Support, and if the variation is correct Amazon Support will create the variation.

Each variation takes up to 48 hours to be live on the system. If it is not live, selling partner should connect with Amazon Support to investigate the reason.

Amazon launched Automatic Variation Services (AVS) program at the end of 2019, but this is not available or chosen by selling partners in many marketplaces. This program enables the automatic creation of variation (twister) product relationships.

For sellers only, there is feature called ‘Variation Wizard’ on seller central but most selling partners chose to contact Amazon to create variation. This way, they would make sure if the variation is correct and if it will go live.

What does ‘Variation Family’ mean?

In order to create a variation, there are three words we need to be familiar with: Family, Parent and Child.

Let’s say iPhone 14 Pro Max is one product but when it comes to different colours, the product has different barcodes/ model number.

  • iPhone 14 Pro Max Deep Purple: ASIN A
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max Gold: ASIN B
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max Space Black: ASIN C
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max Silver: ASIN D

ASINS: A, B, C, and D have different barcodes and model numbers on Amazon. Since they are identical products but different in colour, we may create a variation to show the customer different options for a better experience.

The ASINs: A, B, C, and D are child ASINs that eventually make up a family. So, they are the children of the family.

Now what is the parent ASIN?

Selling partners often get confused about parent ASIN on variations. Parent ASIN is not visible till the variation is created. Amazon system generates an ASIN as parent ASIN for each variation family. It is important to note that a parent ASIN is not a sellable ASIN and this ASIN will not appear on the product detail page while we are seeing the 4 child ASINs.

These 4 child and automated parent ASIN gather as one ‘Variation Family’.

Now this same product- iPhone 14 Pro Max- also has size differences and come in 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB. The selling partner would like to create a size variation as a new family too.

But the good part is that the selling partner can create two different characteristics into one variation family. So, they can combine colour and size into one variation family.

Size and Colour variation together as 1 family look like below:

How to break Variations?

Breaking a variation is sometimes necessary when selling partners want to create new variation or want to do some changes on products that no longer belong to the variation.

This action is not possible manually. Selling partners need to contact Amazon by giving the child ASINs to Amazon Support to break the variation family.

We all need to be aware that 1 ASIN can only be a part of 1 variation family. Amazon does not allow a child ASIN to be a part of another family. If a selling partner wants to include an existing child ASIN to a different family, they need to remove that ASIN from the old family.

How to determine if products are valid for Variations?

These are the questions we need to have as answer to before we create variations:

  • If we give the same name to these products would that be, okay?
  • Are these products almost identical and only differ by colour, size or style?
  • As a customer, would I expect to see these products together on one detail page?

Products not eligible for Variations

As a simple rule, similar and almost identical products are not allowed for variations. For example, products that have:

  • Different brand names
  • Bundles but are not similar products
  • More than 3 different characteristics (colour-size-style etc. hence not similar product)
  • Multipacks but not expected to see them together as custome

How many variations can you have on Amazon?

Selling partners may combine 2 variation themes together as the example above. They may create limitless variation on their catalogue as well. There is no limit to create variations.

The only important rule is that a product cannot be added into a new variation family if it is already a part of another family. Selling partners need to contact Amazon support to remove the product from one family and add it to another. 1 ASIN can exist only 1 one variation family.

What are the benefits of Amazon Variation listing?

Creating variation is very useful for a better buying experience. Having to see almost identical products together would help to increase visibility and sales. Below are some important benefits:

  • Increasing Visibility (Amazon A9 algorithm prioritises items that have variations)
  • Increasing Discoverability (It is an opportunity to search and discover other products)
  • Increasing Conversion
  • Increasing Sales