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This article applies to selling in: United Kingdom

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 might 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.

To learn how to create variations using parent-child product relationships for Fashion products, please watch the Seller University video.

You might 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.

When customers select the T-shirt listing, the product detail page shows the parent product.

Buyers select a size from the drop-down menu.

Using XML for parent-child relationships:

You can use XML uploads instead of inventory file templates to set relationships between products.

For more information about using XML to manage your inventory, see Data-exchange overview.

Delete parent-child relationships

For more information about deleting relationships between products, see Modify your inventory file: Special considerations.

See also

Note: Parent-child relationships are also known as variation relationships. Parent-child relationships that vary by more than one attribute (such as size or colour) use a hybrid theme. In order for your child products with hybrid themes to appear correctly on product detail pages, you must provide data for all of the variation attributes of the parent product. Amazon will suppress child product offerings if data for the variation attributes (such as size or colour) is missing. This is because buyers would not have the information they need to make a purchasing decision.

Components of a parent-child relationship

There are three components of a parent-child relationship:

  • The parent products: The products displayed in the search results.
  • The child products: The products that are related to each parent product.
  • The variation theme: The relationship between the parent and the child.

The parent product

The parent product is a product, such as a T-shirt, that illustrates what the child products have in common. Although the parent product must be part of your product data, you do not offer it for sale. Instead, the Amazon catalogue uses the parent product to establish relationships between the child products. For example, if two shirts have the same parent then they are related and are considered child products.

The child products

The child product is an instance of the parent product. You can have many child products that are all related to one parent product. Each child varies in some way, for example, by size or by colour.

The variation theme

The variation theme sets the parent-child relationship by defining how related products differ from each other. For example, in the Clothes, Shoes & Jewellery category, child products can differ from each other by size or colour. You can also use hybrid variation themes. For example, the Clothes, Shoes & Jewellery category supports variations by both size and colour, so you can use "SizeColour" as a variation theme. See the inventory file for your specific category to see which types of relationships it supports.

Then they select a colour.

Product detail pages in all other categories

All categories – other than Clothing, Sports and Outdoors, and Beauty – display only the best-selling child product in search results and on product detail pages. This means display elements such as product title and price appear from the data associated with the best-selling child product. Clicking on the product loads the product detail page for the best-selling child product. From this page, customers can view other child products from the same grouping using a drop-down menu or product images.

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