This article applies to selling in: Australia

About parent-child relationships

When you create parent-child relationships (also known as “variations”) between products, you help customers find different versions of the product they are viewing. For example, a t-shirt may be available in multiple sizes and colours. The parent product is the t-shirt itself (short sleeve, cotton, crew neck). The child product is the variation of the parent (t-shirt in pink, t-shirt in XXXL). For more information, see Variation relationships.

You may also be able to use the Check My File feature to automatically detect variation sets in your inventory file.

What is a parent-child relationship?

Imagine that a customer searches for a t-shirt on Amazon and finds 10 products. Each shirt comes in 3 sizes and 2 colours, which means that there are 6 unique size and colour combinations for each t-shirt. When multiplied by 10 products, there are 60 separate products which match the search criteria. Rather than display all 60 products, Amazon groups similar products using parent-child relationships. The result: the catalogue displays only one product (the t-shirt), and the product detail page displays the variations (size and colour).

Even though parent products have no variation theme attributes, you can use an image to represent your parent product, and that image can show both a size and a colour. In the Help topic Elements of a parent-child relationship, the parent product uses a picture of a medium size, red t-shirt. For an optimal shopping experience, we recommend that you use an image that represents a typical example of the available variations for your products.

When to use a parent-child relationship

Not every category supports parent-child relationships, but if an appropriate variation theme exists for your products, you must include your products in a parent-child relationship.

Note: See the inventory file for your specific category to see whether it supports relationships.

For example, suppose you sell both lipstick and hand lotion in the Beauty category. By checking the Beauty template, you see that the Beauty category supports colour variations, but does not support fragrance variations. Lipsticks vary by colour, so you must establish a parent-child relationship for each product in your inventory. However, lotions vary by fragrance, so you do not use parent-child relationships, because the Beauty category does not support this variation theme.

Not all related products are valid variations. The following questions can help you to determine whether certain products are valid variations:

  • Are the products fundamentally the same?
  • Do the products vary only in a few specific ways?
  • Would customers expect to find these products together on a single product detail page?
  • Could the products share the same title?
Note: Amazon might remove products that do not correctly use established variation themes.

Establish a parent-child relationship

You may also be able to use the Check My File feature to automatically detect variation sets in your inventory file. For details and supported categories, see Use the Check My File Feature.

You can find everything you need to set up a parent-child relationship in the inventory file template. The following table demonstrates how you might use an inventory file to set up a parent-child relationship for a several t-shirts that come in three sizes and two colours.

  • The exact column headings in your product template might differ. Refer to the Data Definitions tab in your Inventory File Template for the specific columns you use to establish relationships.
  • Some attribute fields in your template may be noted as optional, but they will nevertheless be required in order to describe your child product offerings accurately in relation to the variations of each parent product.

SKU Title Size Colour Parentage Parent SKU Relationship Type Variation Theme Price Quantity
101 T-Shirt



101MB Royal Blue T-Shirt M Medium Royal Blue child 101 variation SizeColour 15.97 50
101SB Royal Blue T-Shirt S Small Royal Blue child 101 variation SizeColour 15.97 50
101LB Royal Blue T-Shirt L Large Royal Blue child 101 variation SizeColour 17.97 50
101MR English Red T-Shirt M Medium English Cherry Red child 101 variation SizeColour 15.97 50
101SR English Red T-Shirt S Small English Cherry Red child 101 variation SizeColour 15.97 50
101LR English Red T-Shirt L Large English Cherry Red child 101 variation SizeColour 17.97 50

In the example above, SKU 101 "T-Shirt" is the parent product. Because parent products are not offered for sale, fields such as size, colour, price and quantity are irrelevant and should not be used.

However, you should still describe other aspects of the parent product, including an image that represents the generalised product. The only information to omit relates specifically to price, availability and shipping.

The variation theme column indicates that products in this particular parent-child relationship differ from each other based on both colour and size. The Data Definitions tab in the inventory template lists the terms you can use for variation themes.

  • Be sure you use only SKUs for building relationships.
  • Do not include price and quantity values for parent products. Including price and quantity can cause your products to disappear from the catalog.
  • When you list your child products, fully describe each child product and include data for all of the variation attributes of the parent product, so that they are included in browse and search results and on product detail pages.
  • Follow the recommendations in the Product Page Style Guides when determining the variation attributes to use for each child product.

About parent-child relationships

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