Sellerscast: When to Use and NOT to Use Variations on Amazon


On April 16th, 2019 our own Andrew Maff, Director of Marketing, sat down with our own Gina Milazzo, Head of Accounts, to talk about the good times to use variations on Amazon and when NOT to use them.



Andrew Maff:  Hello. It's another episode of SELLERSCAST, Episode Number 23. My name is Andrew Maffettone.

Gina Milazzo:  I'm Gina Milazzo, and 23 is my lucky number.

Speaker 3:  Ooh, 23.

Andrew Maff:  Yes it is. You won't let me forget it, and today we're talking about when to use and not to use variations on Amazon. Watch. Gina's hit this one off.

Gina Milazzo:  Yeah. I get this question a lot, and it has a lot of nuances so spoiler alert, we will not give you a definitive answer in these videos. You still have to think a little bit. Use your noggin. In general, how can I put this nicely? Use your brain. No I'm kidding. If it's a color variation, great idea. If it's a style variation, usually an okay idea. If it's a totally different version of the same product, that's when you have to stop and think.

Gina Milazzo:  Essentially the things that you should be making really, really obvious on your listings as you differentiate between you different variations is why would someone buy A over B? So if A is maybe a version that plugs into a certain device or it only does a certain thing, or it isn't waterproof, you want to make that stupid obvious in that listing if you're going to group them as variations.

Gina Milazzo:  If you think that they're different enough that the keywords are totally different, you should be advertising for them differently, that you should not have them grouped because it'd make them too confusing, or because your target market is super difficult. For both of them, I would probably recommend having them separate.

Gina Milazzo:  So those are the kind of things that you as a seller probably know really well just from the different questions you've been getting on your listings, the reviews you've been getting, that's pretty much your wealth of knowledge in a situation like this. What are people confused about? What are they asking? How do people choose between them?

Andrew Maff:  Let's do use cases, so gummy bears with different flavors.

Gina Milazzo:  Ooh fine, variation.

Andrew Maff:  Okay, ties with different designs-

Gina Milazzo:  Variation.

Andrew Maff:  ... and different sizes.

Gina Milazzo:  Double variation. We call those twister listings. You do size and style.

Andrew Maff:  Is that really what they're called?

Gina Milazzo:  Twister listings. Yeah.

Andrew Maff:  Or is that your return on things?

Gina Milazzo:  No. I didn't make it up. I'm really creative. It's a thing. Really, it's a thing.

Andrew Maff:  Okay you win. Let's do energy drinks, sugar free and not sugar free with different flavors.

Gina Milazzo:  Ooh. Variations of sugar free and not sugar free? Separate.

Andrew Maff:  Okay. So wait. Two para listings, one ...

Gina Milazzo:  Two para listings so all of your sugar free and then all of your regular ones. A cool way to group them without actually grouping them, have a comparison tour at the bottom of your EBC to link. So it's going to be, ends up on your sugar free by mistake, and they're like, "No, no, no. I want the full sugar version. I'm feeling myself. I need some energy." They're going to click through to the regular sugar, full sugar version.

Andrew Maff:  That's neat.

Gina Milazzo:  That's neat.

Andrew Maff:  T-shirts or colleges, different colleges.

Gina Milazzo:  I wonder who you're talking about. So you have two choices with something like this. People search for college merch by their school obviously, school mascot, school nickname, whatever. So you can either choose to put all your variations for a school in one place so people are shopping between all of their options for that school. Or you can put all of your options for that specific garment in one variation. Either way. You can't go wrong with either. The reason that people might do by garment instead is because maybe you don't know what schools that particular company sells. Maybe I'm a TCNJ and Andrew went to ... I don't know ... Conn College so I'm looking for Conn College as I'm shopping for a TCNJ shirt because I want to get us matching T-shirts. Cute.

Andrew Maff:  So the trick is to not-

Gina Milazzo:  Where did you go to college?

Andrew Maff:  I went to UCF.

Gina Milazzo:  Oh, I forgot. All right. He actually went to school sorry.

Andrew Maff:  It was a real school.

Gina Milazzo:  I'll buy you a UCF T-shirt.

Andrew Maff:  So the trick is to not think about the product and whether you should vary it or not. Think about the keywords and how someone is searching it. That will tell you whether you should vary it or not, variate it.

Gina Milazzo:  Variate, veeriate it.

Andrew Maff:  Variate it.

Gina Milazzo:  Cool.

Andrew Maff:  Basically, if you're thinking, "Is someone going to search this like this? Or is someone going to search this like this?" And if it's a mix, then you want to variate it. If it's not, then you want to definitely not variate it.

Andrew Maff:  So this is one of those words ... We always know when we should variate it-

Gina Milazzo:  It's like a weird instinctive thing.

Andrew Maff:  ... but it's so hard to explain.

Gina Milazzo:  Absolute instincts. [crosstalk 00:04:33] on it.

Andrew Maff:  To make this easier, comment below and give us your product line, and we will tell you whether to vary it or not.

Gina Milazzo:  Yeah, I will.

Andrew Maff:  Or just use our advice that we just gave you, whatever you need.

Gina Milazzo:  Whatever. My point.

Andrew Maff:  But keep this in mind. If you can variate it and you think it's a good idea, you probably should. A lot of people think Amazon is a real estate game, and it's not. That's a loaded of crap. So the reason is because ... It's my favorite argument. So look on ... I just want to have 500 [inaudible 00:05:14], and it's all just different colors of the same crap. No.

Gina Milazzo:  No one's going to buy it.

Andrew Maff:  Listen to me now. The reason is that A. When someone gives you a listing and then says, "Oh, I don't like this color, and now I have to leave and to find it again," they know you from the rest of them going to a competitor. Think of it similar to this, "If I walk into a retail store and you have one shirt and I didn't like that shirt, I can't just walk over to another table. I have to leave the store-

Gina Milazzo:  Let's [inaudible 00:05:40] it.

Andrew Maff:  ... and then cross the street to get another shirt. And then at that point I've walked by six other stores, and I might go there instead because they have options.

Andrew Maff:  So you want to use it as an option to basically show the consumer like, "These are all of your options. Pick one." The consumer then feels like these are all my options and this is all Amazon has which sounds ridiculous-

Gina Milazzo:  It sounds so stupid, but it's true.

Andrew Maff:  It's true. So you want to give them options. You also can think of if you can kit or bundle or anything along those lines, it usually works out like an upsell. A lot of times if it's like, "Oh, I have a one pack and a two pack and a three pack with all different parent listings." You totally screwed up if someone landed on a one pack and was like, "Oh I'll save 5% and get two of them if I'm going to buy more than one." So you have to think about the other opportunities that you could get in variating it.

Andrew Maff:  Now the merging of the reviews is not a thing anymore so you don't benefit from that, but you still benefit from the approved conversion rate of the overall parent listing and from possibly upselling as well.

Gina Milazzo:  And we get this question a lot, you can merge ASINs without ... Oh I'm sorry, you can group variations without merging the ASINs. You don't have to make a new listing. You make a new pairing and then group the variations underneath. It's technically complicated, but not that hard.

Andrew Maff:  Yeah. Yeah. Cool. So let's count, 23. Comment below. Let us know what you want us to talk about or if you have questions about variations since that was kind of a [inaudible 00:07:07], or please subscribe. We'll see you next week.

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