Amazon is an ever-evolving online shopper’s paradise, constantly striving to provide its customers with a sophisticated customer experience as they try to find the product that perfectly meets their needs in an assortment of an estimated 560 million items across its marketplaces throughout the world.

With the total number of sellers spanning across these products being estimated as over 5 million worldwide, competition is now greater than ever. This directly feeds into the need to create a hassle-free customer experience by not only optimized product page content, but also by clearly classifying product offerings under a common theme. In a bid to further simplify customer experience, we believe that Amazon has begun treating an increasing number of categories with high Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) volume differently.


What is variation on Amazon?

When several variations of an item are available under the same item, it is considered a “variated item” on Amazon. Items can be variated on several factors such as color, size, packaging size etc. A common example of variations is:

  • Shoes and Clothing items that a customer can choose in different sizes and colors

Variations on Amazon are referred to as parent-child relationships. The parent is the main product (for example, fabric softener) and the children are the variants, such as the different scents (lemon and lavender) or different pack sizes (1 pack and 3 pack). An item can have multiple variants, such as a bottle of water that comes in different flavors and different sizes, e.g. strawberry 500ml bottle and mango 1 liter bottle. The customer can select the flavor and size they want on the same product page.


How does item variation affect my business?

In 2018, Amazon expanded this treatment of variated items to an increasing number of product categories, making it much more difficult for brands to track an item at the child level. Fortunately for Edge customers, our dedicated team of data scientists have deep expertise in tracking variated ASINs in the apparel category and have extended our proprietary solution to the newly affected categories. This solution can be easily applied to the newly affected categories and is being rolled out as we speak. 


How can I use variations to my advantage?

Variations are an effective way for brands to readily make the customer aware that there are several options of an item available. This helps ease the process of online shopping for a customer since they can immediately seek and select an item suited to their preferences instead of painfully browsing through several search results.


Besides improving the customer experience, variations can help brands in two ways:

  • Helps against losing sales to competition: By having a readily viewable assortment of item variations on the product page, customers are likely to browse the options available on a brand’s page instead of moving on to search for a similar item from a competing brand
  • Helps revive low-performing items by bundling them with high performing items: Say a coffee maker is available in colors black and red, with the black coffee maker being a more popular item with higher sales rank and reviews. By being bundled together with its better performing counterpart through variation, the red coffee maker shares the same sales rank and reviews therefore providing it higher visibility than it could’ve had by being a lone item with its own product page.


Should I variate?

If you have an assortment of similar items that can be variated uniformly across these items i.e. the same factor of variation (color, size etc.) can be applied to the items in a category, then yes you should variate. 


Things to Keep in Mind:

Variating on the same factors is crucial to its effectiveness and items being variated shouldn’t be drastically different from each other. For example: while you can variate a dog food item on size and flavour, you shouldn’t include a cat food item on the same product page as it must have its own distinct page.

Further, variations should clearly define their purpose to the customer and multiple variations should be stated so with clear headings.


As the leaders in Amazon analytics, we have the processes, technology and resources to quickly respond to any changes on Amazon, giving our clients the edge over their competitors. 

Please take a moment to ask your provider: are they properly capturing variations in your market share estimates? Do you think items sold by your brand were affected by Amazon’s recent change? What questions can Edge help answer, find out by simply filling out the form below and we’ll be in touch with you!


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