A Seller’s Step-by-Step Guide to Product Variation Creation on Amazon

Creating options on Amazon is critical for any brand to succeed. If you sell t-shirts, you want shoppers to go to one product page and see all the available options in one place, just as they would in a retail setting.

Amazon allows for product variations to show different sizes, colors, styles, flavors, unit count, etc., on one product detail page. The options for the variation are dependent on the product category, and there are some limitations to the types of variations you can make. Follow this step-by-step guide when creating your very first product variation. 

A new Amazon product variation needs to be uploaded to Seller Central via an Inventory File template. This is because you are establishing a new product relationship in Amazon, and this new variation will be assigned its own product ASIN. Once a variation has been created, you can make changes and updates to it using the Variation Wizard tool in the Parent ASIN product editor. 

To begin, you need to download the appropriate inventory file. Follow the below steps to find the Templates for Specific Categories section of Seller Central. Here, you can download the file that is applicable to your products’ category on Amazon. NOTE: ALL PRODUCTS that are added to a product variation MUST be classified in the same product category. 

1. Select Inventory, and then Add Products via Upload.

2. Choose the Product Category that your products are classified under. 

3. Identify the marketplaces that you need the template for Amazon US, Amazon.ca, or Amazon Mexico. 

4. Select the mode that you will be using for the template. Advanced gives you all the template options. This is what I recommend if you’re creating a brand new listing. Custom allows you to select which sections of the template you’d like if you’re only making select changes to existing products.

5. Download the template by clicking the Generate Template button. It will then appear in the Previously Generated templates section should you need it for future use.

6. Complete the template with your product information. There are several key steps you want to be sure are completed correctly, so attention to detail is key.

6.1 Navigate to the Template tab of the spreadsheet.

6.2 Name the parent SKU so that it is identifiable. Once the SKU has been assigned, it cannot be changed.

6.3 Enter product information such as Brand Name, Title, Product Description, bullet points, etc.

6.4 Assign the product variation. Here we need to tell Amazon what the parent product is and what products should be added underneath it. We also assign the type of variation we’re creating such as size, color, flavor, scent, quantity, etc. This is the product’s relationship to each other. Each product category has a different collection of applicable variations that are allowed, so how the products are variated will depend upon what is available for the product classification.

Enter the parent SKU you’d like all the child SKUs to reference back to in the parent SKU fields. For the parent SKU, leave the Parent SKU and Relationship Type fields blank. Select variation for all the child SKUs in the Relationship Type field. To complete the variation section, assign the variation theme. This is a dropdown menu where you can select the size, color, style, etc., options that the shopper will choose from.

6.5 Assign if the upload is an update, partial update, or deletion. If the product is brand new to Amazon, it will be an update. If you’re adding an existing product that is already listed in your account, it will be a partial update. Selecting ‘update’ for an SKU that is already in your inventory manager instead of ‘partial update’ tells Amazon to get rid of the prior product information associated with the SKU and only use what is in the newly uploaded file.

If you select update without completing all fields in the file, you will be replacing the title, bullet points, description, etc, without necessarily meaning to. We have had clients come to us with missing images, product descriptions, and titles after an incorrect file upload.

7. Save your file and upload it to Seller Central. Once you’re satisfied with your spreadsheet, upload it under the Upload your Inventory File section of the Add Product via the Upload tab.

8. Enter the email you’d like the processing report sent to once the sheet has been processed. You will get an email stating that the changes have been made or where there are errors in the sheet if it was not able to be processed. There is also a Monitor Upload Status tab that will tell you where the processing of your current and previous file uploads is at.

Once complete, there is the option to download a Processing report. This will give you the same information as the email but in the file spreadsheet format so that you can make the needed corrections and reupload that file.

Below is an example of a file that was uploaded with errors and the email summary of the file that indicates which fields have issues and what the system needs to complete them. Make the necessary corrections in the original file or in the Processing Report and then reupload.

Once a variation is already established, you can add new and existing products to that variation using the Variation Tool under the parent ASIN.

To modify an existing variation, follow these steps:

1. Select Edit on the parent ASIN.

2. Navigate to the Variations tab in the product editor.

3. Add any new variations you’d like to add to the product family.

4. Select edit to update any existing child ASINs that are already in the product family.

Another option is to use the Variation Wizard tool that can be found on the Add a Product page.

Here, you are given the option to search for and update an existing product variation or to create a new one. If you select to create a new variation family, you will be given the steps to create the variation family with the file upload process we just explored. 

With this guide to product variation creation on Amazon, you should now be a Variation Wizard yourself!

Remember these four key takeaways, and you should be in good shape.

  1. All products in a variation family must be in the same product category.
  2. Only set to ‘Update’ for new products or if you want to replace the previous product information.
  3. Use the Processing Reports to troubleshoot file upload issues.
  4. You can modify existing variations using the Edit feature for the parent product or the Variation Wizard tool.

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