Standalone listings and product variations

Standalone listings and product variations

Many of the products sold online come in different variations. Whether it is the type, size, color or model, shoppers prefer to have a wide variety to choose from. When it comes to listing products with such variations, there are two approaches: some sellers prefer to list all the variations under one single listing, while others choose to create a separate listing for every single variation. Each approach has its own pros and cons. Here we examine the pros and cons of standalone listings and product variations to help you decide which one is better for you.

Variation Listings

While each marketplace has its own rules regarding how many variations a single listing can contain, they most often run up to 10 attribute variations per listing (meaning different attributes, such as size and color), and a few dozens variations for each attribute (meaning the values of the attributes, such as color red, blue etc.). Thus, most marketplace allow sellers to post hundreds of variations in a single listing, with extra cost.    

Pros of Variation Listings

Sellers who sell multiple variations of the same product, like different colors or sizes, are advised to use the single listing with variations approach. Having all the options readily available and simply accessible can help increase conversion rates in cases of hesitant shoppers.

Moreover, displaying to the shoppers different variations of the product may encourage them to purchase more than one product, in other variations. This, of course, is not possible when each variation has its own listing, because shoppers will not even realize there are other options. 

Another big pro for the variation listings approach is that no matter which variation is sold, the sale record goes to the same listing, continually improving its sales history. A more robust sales history, in turn, helps listings move up in the search result page, increasing the listing’s exposure in the marketplace, which leads to more conversions.  

Cons of Variation Listings

Although it may include multiple variations, a single listing is limited to a single title and single product description. The product title and description should describe the product generally, without getting into specific attributes or values, if those are variable. 

Since we are dealing with a single listing, the listing’s metadata, such as eBay’s item specifics, should also be as general, and refrain from including specific details. Sellers need to keep all this in mind, especially when uploading listings in bulk. 

Pros of Single Product Listing

Creating separate listings for each product variation gives sellers the freedom to adjust the product title and description to accurately and specifically describe the product, and enables them to include more relevant keywords.

Cons of Single Product Listing

First, as mentioned above, when a single listing offers multiple variations, it may help shoppers find something they like, and proceed to purchase. A single product listing, however, is final. Either this product is the one for the shopper, or it is not relevant. This makes for a far less enjoyable shopping experience. 

Another pitfall of the single product listing approach is that it generates less traffic overall than the variation listing approach. As we discussed, in the latter approach, no matter what variation is sold, it all goes into the same sales history. However, in the single product listing approach, each listing stands on its own, and thus all the traffic, clicks and sales are divided among all the separate listings, which diminishes the overall traffic. 


When examining the pros and cons of standalone listings and product variations the bottom line is pretty simple. If you are selling products that have multiple variations, such as different sizes, colors or types, then you should really consider consolidating them into one listing that contains all the variations. This method will provide shoppers a better shopping experience, encourage conversion, and contribute to the overall performance and ranking of the listing in the marketplace. Only when you sell a singular product that has no variations would a single product listing be enough.  

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