How to Create and Optimize Amazon Variation Listings

With increasingly heightened competition on Amazon, sellers need to create smooth customer experiences; one way to do this is by offering product variations. This article covers everything you need to know about Amazon variation listings, such as the benefits of creating variations and how to add variation to existing Amazon listings.

Amazon variation listing

Diversity is key. When aspiring to accommodate the needs of many, you cannot adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to product listings. Creating variations for existing Amazon listings allows you to satisfy the needs of various shoppers with one listing. Amazon listings variations are a great way to boost product visibility and improve your conversion rate on Amazon.

What Is an Amazon Variation Listing?

Amazon defines variations, or parent-child relationships, as different product options available within a single listing. Product options can offer various colors, sizes, multiple scents, or flavors. For instance, instead of having eight separate product listings for water bottles that come in eight different colors and three sizes, you can group them together on the same detail page. The multiple ASIN variations are displayed as color choices.

Amazon variation listing

According to Amazon, pieces of clothing that come in different sizes (large, medium, small) and various colors (black, blue, red) are examples of good variation families. 

Three Components of Amazon Listing Variations

Amazon listing variations comprise three components: parent ASINs, child ASINs, and Amazon variation themes.

1. Parent ASINs

The parent ASIN, sometimes referred to as parent listing, is a non-buyable commodity that serves as a placeholder for child ASINs or variations. In other words, the generalization of the variations is dubbed the parent ASIN, whereas the child ASIN is a variation of the product. For example, if two handbags have the same parent ASIN, they are related and considered child products.

2. Child ASINs

Child ASINs are variants of the parent product that you can buy. For instance, you can have various child products all related to one parent listing. However, child ASINs differ in terms of attributes.

3. Variation Theme

Your Amazon variation theme varies depending on the chosen listing category. For example, child ASINs in the Baby category can range in terms of portion, flavor, color, etc. While you can only use one variation theme for a single listing, some categories allow you to combine two variations. Combining variations helps customers choose their size and color preferences, removing the need to search for single products. Variations themes appear to shoppers in the following way “SizeColor”:

  • Medium Black Bag
  • Large Black Bag
  • Medium Grey Bag
  • Large Grey Bag

Amazon Categories That Allow Variations

Given that Amazon only lets you create variations for select categories, you should identify which ones they are before getting started. The main categories that include variations are:

  • Pet Supplies 
  • Toys & Games
  • Sports & Outdoors
  • Grocery
  • Health & Beauty
  • Clothing
  • Accessories & Shoes

How to Create Variations for Amazon Listings

You can create a listing variation in one of two ways: directly through Seller Central or manually by downloading and completing an inventory file. This section of the article explains how to create parent-child variations using the Amazon inventory file template.

To create your parent and child SKUs use this inventory file template:

Amazon variation listing

For your parent items, you need to first complete all the required fields by making sure you leave your parent SKU field blank, then insert the word "parent" right under the parentage field. Add a correct Variation Theme, leave the Relationship Type blank, and keep all the other non-required fields empty. 

You also need to fill out all the required fields for your child items, then enter the parent’s SKU value below the parent SKU field. The value that you insert must be the same for all the other child products that are associated. Next, enter the word "child" under the parentage field and variation under Relationship Type.

You should insert the same value you added for the parent under Variation Theme. Again, this will be the same value for all your child items. In the attribute field, insert desired values related to your variation theme. For instance, if you have a variation theme of SizeName, you will separately insert values in the correct fields, which would be Size and Name. 

While filling out the inventory file can seem daunting, Amazon provides you with all the necessary information to ensure you complete the template accurately. Make sure to follow these steps satisfactorily so that no inaccuracy pops up when you download your file. If you view the various tabs displayed at the bottom of the Excel Spreadsheet, you will notice the "Example" tab.

Then, make sure to click on it and go through it to see how you can fill out variation information. For instance, under the second example in the inventory file, Amazon states that the parent is not a product you can purchase for the parent-child relationships. Instead, it is only a description of a set of other products. 

Later, it provides you with valuable tips on how to enter your parent and child items. For instance: 

  • Ensure only inserting an image URL for the product item, not the color, type, count, size, quantity, relationship type, and parent SKU. 
  • For the parent product, avoid entering data such as weight, time-to-ship, price, and so on, as the child product data control these. 
  • For your child products field, make sure to enter the size, price, weight, etc., since it will be different for each. 

Visit Amazon Seller Central’s step-by-step process for additional details on creating parent-child variations for your Amazon product listings.

What Is the Amazon Variation Wizard?

Amazon variation listing

According to Seller Central, the Amazon Variation Wizard is an auto-populated inventory file template tool that enables you to create parent-child variation relationships in bulk. To use the Variation Wizard, simply go to the “Inventory” tab on Seller Central, click on “Add a Product via Upload,” and select “Create a Variation using Variation Wizard.”

How to Add a Variation to an Existing Amazon Listing

This section of the article offers a step-by-step guide explaining how to add a variation to an existing Amazon listing.

Step One

Go to the Seller Central home page and select "Manage Inventory" on the drop-down menu of the "Inventory" tab.

Step Two

Select the product for which you want to create a variation and copy the listing by clicking on the drop-down menu on the right and clicking "Copy Listing." Next, you will be redirected to the "Vital Info" page, where you will add the product ID. 

Step Three

Go to the "Variations" section and select the variation you want to add to your product listing using the drop-down menu.

Step Four

List all of your products variation details and then click "Add Variations." Indicate the necessary information and the SKU. Choose the item condition and set the price, then the quantity. 

Step Five

Click on "Save and Finish." Next, you should see a pop-up confirming your added variation.

Amazon variation listing

What to Avoid When Creating Amazon Variation Listings

To comply with Amazon's variation policy guidelines and optimize their listing variations, sellers should refrain from doing the following.

Unrelated Product Listings

To enhance customers’ shopping experiences, Amazon sellers should avoid listing together unrelated products on their listings not to overwhelm their customers with disorganized themes.

Variation Manipulation

Amazon sellers should refrain from creating parent-child relationships between two unrelated products as a means to generate profit. Doing so inflates the search rank through variation manipulation. For instance, when you launch a new product on Amazon, you pair it with a former parent listing that performed well but is no longer active to take advantage of its reviews.

These reviews would then manipulate your Amazon product listing and make your new product look as if it is well-reviewed and eventually help it rank higher on the search results. While some sellers still use this strategy to optimize their Amazon listings, it is considered unethical and does not adherer to Amazon’s variation policy compliance guidelines.

Merging Poorly-Rated and Highly-Rated Reviews

When creating or amending Amazon variation listings, sellers should not attempt to increase their product’s performance by combining poorly-rated and highly rated reviews. Today, Amazon displays reviews for each listing variation instead of combining them to ensure transparency for shoppers.

Unclear Listing Variation

Amazon listing variations should be clear and straightforward, not confusing and misleading. Sellers should ensure that each of their variations clearly states the differences with other variations using distinguished product descriptions and images.

What Are the Benefits of Amazon Product Listing Variations?

Creating new variations or adding variations to existing Amazon listings can significantly improve your SEO and selling strategy at large. Among the many benefits of Amazon product listing variations, four, in particular, stand out.

Amazon listing variations

1. Increased Sales

Displaying different options on your Amazon product listings simplifies the shopping process for your customers. They no longer have to go through the burden of looking separately for the right size, flavor, or color they want, as all these options are available immediately. 

Variations also enable customers to discover new products they never knew existed. Say, for example, you are a brand selling pink and grey bed covers. The pink bed cover is ranking well on Amazon search results, driving a compelling amount of traffic and converting a significant number of purchasers, while it is not the case for the grey bed cover. Chances that those buyers are not even aware of the availability of the grey bed cover are high. When you leverage these variations, Amazon instantly positions the grey cover as an additional choice for customers already keen on the pink bed covers, which helps you generate more sales and boost demand.

2. Increased Visibility

Variations can introduce customers to different product options they might not know exist if not for the variation listing. For example, when you match a low-performing or brand new product with a high-performing one, you automatically save it from being invisible in the search results. This variation helps it become more discoverable to potential customers on Amazon. Suppose you want to sell a new spray scent. Instead of building a new amazon product listing without reviews, you can simply add your new product as a variation to an existing spray listing. 

3. Increased Organic Search Ranking

Your Best Seller Rank and your organic search ranking will increase due to your variation listings’ overall sales history. This is because each sale made on your parent-child listing, no matter the variation, goes to your sales history and solidifies it. 

4. Combined Reviews

As stated previously, when you add a new variation listing to an existing Amazon listing with reviews, it enormously helps you with your ranking and visibility on the marketplace. The reviews of the variation listings will build up and increase, and all list under the same parent listing, no matter the kind of variation your customers end up buying.

Amazon variation listing

How Amazon Sellers Can Optimize Variation Listings

To optimize variation listings, Amazon sellers can implement the following six tactics:

  1. Make the most profitable variation the focal point of the listing. 
  2. List your products in a category that authorizes Amazon variation listings.
  3. Ensure your product listings are descriptive and clear. 
  4. Add as many good-quality images as you can to distinguish variations.
  5. Monitor and manage inventory after you list it at regular time intervals. For example, if you notice that your sales stagnate, you can switch your listing from variation to traditional. Note: An excellent way to keep track of your Amazon listing quality, and see if your variations are ranking higher and bringing more sales, is by using DataHawk’s in-house Amazon Listing Quality Score Dashboard.
  6. Do not hesitate to reach out to Amazon service providers or Amazon’s support team for additional guidance on categorizing listing variations.
Amazon variation listing


Amazon variation listings simplify the search process and shopping experience for potential buyers by providing them with various product options all on one product detail page. They also allow sellers to generate more sales and rank higher on Amazon search results. 

Though dense, the topics and suggestions discussed in this article will help you optimize, create and add variation to existing Amazon listings. That being said, be sure to follow all the steps listed above and use strong Amazon selling tools to create your error-free product variations. 

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