November 14

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How to Create, Add, and Fix Amazon Variations

By Lydia Hinrichs

November 14, 2019

amazon fba, variations

This post is written by Lydia Hinrichs.  She is a pro at adding variations, creating variation families, and fixing orphaned listings.  She runs a Facebook Group called Tarrant Toolbox.  You can also find more about her at her site TarrantToolbox.com.

Enter Lydia.

We know a thing or two about adding variations and creating variation families. 

We have fixed or created thousands of ASINs over the past several years.

Whether you're rejoining an orphaned child listing to the correct parent or adding a new variation(child) listing these tips will keep you out of trouble with Amazon's catalog team.

It’s impossible to guarantee that you won't get a policy violation even if you do everything correctly. But if you keep track of every thing you did and follow these tips for making sure you're actually adding variations to the correct parent, you'll be able to respond with confidence when policy violations occasionally pop up. 

The key is responding when you receive them. 

Don't let them build up. THAT is what will get you in trouble.

More...

Keep a record of everything you do.

Start out organized that way if something does come up you won’t be scrambling to find the information.

We work off of lists that I generate and I archive the important information when we're finished.  

There are 5 columns in each list: 

  • Title 
  • Child ASIN (or UPC if you're adding a variation) 
  • Parent ASIN
  • Additional ASINs
  • Notes

Anytime we add a child listing (whether it's an orphan or a new listing we're creating) to a parent we record everything.

This includes the parent ASIN, the way the parent was added to the child, and if we created a parent ASIN we add the additional ASINs we put in the template upload to the additional ASINs column.

When creating listings, whether it's a variation or a stand alone listing, always save a picture of the product with the tags visible. 

You want photo proof available of the UPC on the tag.  

This can be useful if you need to open a case or prove that you were using the correct UPC.

amazon variations

Use flat files.  Save your templates. 

We save our templates with the child ASIN as the title or, if you're creating a parent, go back and save the template as the new parent ASIN once you've created it. 

Working out of flat file templates lets you save the proof of the work you've done. 

It's also much easier to troubleshoot errors when working in a template. 

It can look intimidating but the "Add Products via Upload" function in Seller Central will give you error codes and even highlight the fields you need to fix.

Saving your templates allows you to reference them if there are any problems in the future with the variations you've created. 

You can use them when you open a case to fix issues or respond to an unlikely Policy Violation. 

Proof that you were creating proper variations is always smart to have.

Once you've downloaded the template you'll want to fix any inconsistencies in the titles.

You can remove unnecessary information from the parent title.

Color and size information only belongs in parents with corresponding variation themes

You can remove the extra information from the parent title and correct the child titles to make them match the parent. 

The only difference between parent and child listing titles should be the addition of color so if you already checked to make sure that the parent and child are exact matches you can update the titles in the flat file template.

You'll want titles to be uniform.

The listings title should follow this basic format:

PARENT -   Brand + product name

CHILD -  Brand + product name + color + size

Even if the changes aren't pushed through having made the changes in the template shows that you were trying to improve the Amazon catalog. 

Amazon wants sellers to proactively fix problems.

Trying to NOT contribute to the problem isn't enough. So, having proof that you tried to fix the problems that were already there will go a long way.

Make sure you've found the correct parent not just a "close enough" parent.

When adding variations it's important to make sure you have the correct parent ASIN. 

I have a list for you of things to look at on the Amazon page when trying to find the correct parent for your variation. 

These are things we review anytime we try to locating a parent listing for the child we're working on:

  • Department - Mens, womens, boys, and girls products must stay in their own departments.
  • Title - Titles must match exactly, the only difference should be that the child listings title includes the variation specific information(color and size, in most cases)
  • Pictures - make sure the pictures match! For some shoes you have to do crazy things like count the number of grommets for the shoe lace. That's how thorough you want to be.
  • Model Numbers - many listings have the model number, check the title and product description for it. This should match.
  • Bullet Points - The bullet points can have product style details that are important. They can have material type, texture, fit type (IMPORTANT).  The fit of an article of clothing must match. You can't add slim fit shirts to a parent for classic fit or loose fit. Same for fabric type or texture, you can't add tweed pants to a parent for regular 'no iron cotton pants' or denim to a parent for khakis.
  • Variation Theme - in apparel there are 3 basic variation themes you'll encounter- Color, Size, and Colorsize. The variation theme is Amazon’s method for organizing a parent listing. This is what the variations are sorted based on. Read this post on variation themes. It's important to understand before attempting to create or rejoin variations.

Where to look for more information

When the titles or details on the parent listing page don't match up exactly, but you think it might be a match, you should always look for more information. 

You can search the UPC of your variation listing and a variation already under your target parent.

Websites like barcodelookup.com can be helpful. 

You can also look on eBay, it's not as reliable but many people resell new clothing items on eBay and they upload pictures of the UPC and product name on the tags.

 If you have more questions about adding variations make sure you join our Facebook group!

If you would like to become an expert I have courses available with step by step instructions for using flat files to add existing and new variations to parent listings, create new parents, and troubleshoot flat file template errors.

You can learn more about those courses on my site.

I hope these tips were helpful.  If you have any questions make sure to drop a comment below.

Lydia Hinrichs

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