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Variations are used for the purposes of generating a listing that contains a set of related items that are distinguished within the group by one or more properties. A typical example of a variation would be a T-Shirt that is available in a range of sizes and colours. Whilst it is possible to list the items individually grouping them together under a single listing increases exposure and therefore generates higher potential sales.

Variation Groups

A Variation Group is controlled by a Variation Parent SKU and contains Variation Child SKU's. A Variation Child SKU can be linked to multiple Variation Groups

  • To access Variation Groups select Inventory Control > Variation Groups (Fig 1.1)
  • The Variation Groups tab will be displayed (Fig 1.2)
Fig 1.1    Fig 1.2 


  • Set search type from the drop down as Item SKU, Variation Name or Variation SKU (Fig 1.3)
  • Enter the search criteria and click the search icon
Fig 1.3 


  • The Variation Name can be edited by clicking directly on the Variation Name in the relevant row (Fig 1.4)
  • Variation Child Items can be added / removed by clicking on the edit button (Fig 1.5)
  • Variation Groups can be removed by clicking on the delete button (Fig 1.6)
Fig 1.4   Fig 1.5   Fig 1.6 

Edit Items in Variation Group

  • After clicking on the Edit button (Fig 1.5) the following Variation Group dialog will be displayed (Fig 1.7)
  • Add new Child items to the group by clicking the Add Item button to search the Linnworks inventory (Fig 1.8)
  • Remove Child items by clicking the Delete icon for relevant item (Fig 1.9)
Fig 1.7  Fig 1.8  Fig 1.9 

Add New Variation Group

  • Click Add Variation group (Fig 1.10)
  • The Add Variation Group dialog will be displayed (Fig 1.11)
  • Enter Name/SKU and select the child items to be included
  • Click Add to create the new Variation Group
Fig 1.10  Fig 1.11 

My Inventory

This guide only details features that are directly related to Variations, for full details on Inventory Management please refer to My Inventory

Variation Parent SKU

  • A Variation Parent SKU can be quickly identified by the following (Fig 2.1)
    • All text is displayed in Green
    • The Variation Groups column will contain Variation Parent
    • There are no levels or bin rack data
Fig 2.1 
  • Editing a Parent SKU only allows for selection of the following tabs (Fig 2.2)
    • Description
    • Listing Description
    • Extended Properties
    • Item stats
Fig 2.2 

Variation Child SKU

  • A Variation Child SKU can be identified by the icon displayed in the Variation Groups column
    • The Variation Groups column will contain this icon (Fig 3.1) for a Variation Child SKU
    • The Variation Groups column will contain this icon (Fig 3.2) for a SKU that is not a Variation Child SKU
Fig 3.1   Fig 3.2 

  • Editing a child SKU only allows for selection of all the standard tabs along with a new Variations Groups button  (Fig 3.3)
  • The Variations Group button is used to select which Variation Group(s) the item resides in as a Variation Child SKU
Fig 3.3 

Data Import

It is possible to set up both Parent and Child Variation SKU's via the Data Import facility, more detail on the required import types to be used can be found below and by using the following links and overview of the process is shown in the video

  • Use Basic Product Import to create Child SKU inventory items
    • The use of the column VariationGroup is no longer available here due to the new parent SKU functionality
    • Do not import the Variation Parent SKU as part of the Basic Product Import, this only needs to be done as part of the Variation Group Import
  • Create the parent variation SKU using Variation Group
    • This will generate the new Linnworks inventory item
    • The new Variation Groups are called Variation SKU’s, this is a virtual item rather than a physical one which is used to group together a collection of inventory items for listing purposes, much in the same way when working with a variation listing on Amazon – in Amazon you will see a Parent SKU (The virtual items) and the Child SKU’s (the physical items)
    • To do this a separate CSV file is required with the Variation SKU Name (The column is called the VariationGroupName – this is a virtual item) and a SKU number for this virtual item
    • This file must not contain any duplicates and the Variation SKU must not be already defined as a Variation Parent SKU in Linnworks
VariationSKU VariationGroupName
RGG001-Master Pearl Style Dice
RGG002-Master Opaque Style Dice
RGG003-Master Gem Style Dice
RGCD6-Master Six Sided Dice
  • Add Child SKU's to the Parent Variation SKU using Stock Item Variation
    • Once the Variation SKU (Virtual Parent) is created, the real SKU's (Child Items) need be linked by added them to the new groups
    • This file requires 2 columns SKU and VariationSKU
      • SKU ~ the Linnworks inventory item number for the child item to be added to a group
      • VariationSKU ~ the Linnworks item number for the virtual parent item to which the child item will be added
    • You will see in the sample list below that the SKU colum contains duplicates; this is so that the same phsyical child item is added to multiple parent SKU's for listing purposes
SKU VariationSKU
RGG001-Blue RGG001-Master
RGG001-Red RGG001-Master
RGG002-Green RGG002-Master
RGG002-Red RGG002-Master
RGG003-Yellow RGG003-Master


RGG001-Blue RGCD6-Master
RGG001-Red RGCD6-Master
RGG002-Green RGCD6-Master
RGG002-Red RGCD6-Master
RGG003-Yellow RGCD6-Master
RGG003-Orange RGCD6-Master
  • Add Listing Titles/Prices/Descriptions/Attributes using Product Description Import
    • Global specifics such as Brand are only required for the Variation Parent SKU
    • Variation Item specifics such as Colour are only required for the Variation Child SKU's
  • View the completed Variation Group from Inventory Control > Variation Groups

Changes implemented to how Variations are defined

Linnworks has changed the way Variations are defined to enable enhanced functionality, which was implemented as a phased release which was completed in October 2014

Pre Phased Variation Patch

For the purposes of listing creation Linnworks supports a Single Variation Group for an Inventory item. Guide on listing variations

  • What this means is that a Variation Inventory Item SKU can only be listed via Linnlive to a single Variation listing
  • Each Linnworks Variation Item SKU must have the same Variation Item Name
  • Each Linnworks Variation Item SKU should have Variation Specific Properties. All other properties are taken from variation main item (You were able to select main item in LinnLive Variation screen. If none was selected then first item in list is considered to be the main item)

Post Phased Variation Patch

With this release we have introduced the concept of a Parent Variation SKU. New guide on listing variations

  • A Variation Item SKU can exist as a child of multiple Parent Variation SKU's
  • The Variation Item SKU only needs the Variation Specific Properties for listing purposes
  • The Variation Parent SKU can contain shared properties for listing purposes, all properties that were taken from main item, are now taken from variation Item


As part of the phased release existing Variation items will be migrated to the new structure with Variation Parent SKU's automatically created

  • Create Variation Parent SKU
    • Item Title is set from previous Variation Group Name
    • Populate Channel Title/Descriptions/Prices and Extended Properties tabs from previously defined main Variation item
    • Use an auto generated unique SKU, which can be modified
  • Link Variation Child SKU's to Parent SKU
  • Listing Templates
    • As part of the migration there is a possibility that previously associated templates assigned to a configurator may be lost.
      This happens when the Inventory Item that was associated with the listing template is deleted from My Inventory.
      There is no direct link between the Stock Item table and the listing template in terms of referential integrity which is why it is possible to delete the stock item without it affecting the Listing Template.
      During migration direct links are made where possible and only in these cases can the listing template be maintained after migration
Database Architecture
As part of the migration the following changes have been made to the database architecture

Changes to StockItem Table

  • Columns Depracted
    • VariationsGroupName changed to Obsolete_VariationsGroupName
    • IsMainVariation changed to Obsolete_IsMainVariation

Changes to LinnLive Template Tables (Amazon_Templates2 / BigCommerce_Templates2 / eBay_Templates2 / Magento_Templates2)

  • Columns Depracted
    • fkStockItemId changed to Obsolete_fkStockItemId
    • VariationGroup changed to Obsolete_VariationGroup (depracated)
  • New columns added 
    • fkInventoryItemId
    • IsVariation

New Table for Variation Group ~ [VariationItem]

-- retrieve Variation Parent SKU's
	si.ItemNumber, vi.VariationGroupName
	[VariationItem] vi
	INNER JOIN StockItem si ON si.pkStockItemID = vi.pkVariationItemId 

New Table for Variation Child SKU's ~ [StockItem_Variations]

-- retrieve child Variation Items from Parent Variation SKU
Declare @variationGroupName nvarchar(1000) = 'Generic Polo T-Shirts'
	vi.VariationGroupName , si.ItemNumber , si.ItemTitle
	[VariationItem] vi
	INNER JOIN StockItem_Variations siv ON vi.pkVariationItemId = siv.fkVariationItemId 
	INNER JOIN StockItem si ON si.pkStockItemID = siv.fkStockItemId 
	[VariationGroupName] = @variationGroupName