A shadow product is a type of virtual product. It "shadows" a real product (a parent) - meaning, its inventory count is linked to an actual inventory SKU, but it can have its own alternative product profile.
For example, a parent SKU may have one profile while the shadow SKU will have different Product ID, description, images, and title.
This is an innovative and very useful method by which to list a product in alternative venues. For example, Amazon and eBay only allow a single SKU to be listed once, under one category. By creating a shadow SKU, or multiple shadows, the product can be listed in multiple categories.
Another use for a shadow is when you are selling the product in multiple companies. Because ProductID's must be unique and a product can only be associated with a single company, shadow SKUs can be used to link products from multiple companies.
Create a shadow product by opening product toolbox and clicking on Shadow Products. On this page you have several shadow creating options:
When viewing a shadow product, the parent SKU will be referenced with a link right below the Shadow's Product Name.
- Select another product as a parent product, which will turn the current product into a shadow.
- Add new product SKUs into the text box to create shadows.
- Select existing products as shadows.
- Click here to learn about importing Shadows in bulk.
When viewing a parent SKU, all shadows will be displayed in the Shadows panel. Click Manage Shadows to edit the shadow configuration.
Understanding Inventory with Shadows
- Inventory of Shadow Products are linked so inventory of the actual product is maintained. Available inventory for any product in the Parent/Shadow group is linked to all products in the group.
- Client setting Always deduct inventory from Shadow Parent controls whether orders for shadow product are deduct physical inventory for the parent product's inventory or from the shadow. However, the available inventory will always be synced. When this option is enabled, the order will always display the shadow parent.
- When setting physical inventory to a shadow product individually or in bulk through a Warehouse Inventory Import, you have an option to merge the inventory of the shadows into the Shadow Parent. This will update the physical inventory of the parent with the inventory of the shadow.
- On the Manage Inventory page action menu, there is an action to merge shadow inventory into the parent inventory.
- It is NOT necessary to create shadows in order to list on multiple channels within one company.
Shadow Persistent Fields
You can define which product attributes transfer from the parent to the shadow.
- Navigate Settings > Shadow Persistent Fields.
- Select a properties table.
- Locate the field within the table.
- Select to transfer the field when creating the shadow or when updating the parent. The last option mean that anytime that field is updated on the parent product, the field will update on the Shadow. Both field can be selected as well.
- Client setting Enable Images to be shadow persistent will control copying images on to shadows.
Kits and Shadows
A shadow kit can be created from a kit. However, an Amazon Fulfilled kit should typically not be shadowed from a Merchant Fulfilled kit. This is because the inventory dependency of an Amazon Fulfilled kit must be set to "Independent" while a Merchant fulfilled kit can have an "All Components" or "Main Components" dependency as well. If the Merchant Fulfilled is set to "Independent", an Amazon Fulfilled kit can be shadowed from the Merchant Fulfilled kit.