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.
There are several ways to create a shadow relationship. If you are trying to shadow two existing SKUs, you can do it in an import
or from the Shadow properties page of a product in SellerCloud. To manually create a shadow relationship between existing SKUs, open the product toolbox of one of the items and click on Shadow Products
. On this page you have several shadow creating options:
- 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.
You can create a shadow SKU if one does not yet exist in bulk from the Manage Inventory page.
- Search your desired shadow parent(s) in the Inventory tab.
- Select all products from the grid.
- Go to the Action Menu and choose Create Shadows.
- From the next page, add either a prefix or suffix. This will be added to the selected item's SKUs to generate the shadow's SKU.
- Select a company to create the shadows into.
- This will generate a queued job. Once the job is complete, the shadow SKUs will be created along with the shadow relationships.
When viewing a parent SKU, all shadows will be displayed in the Shadows panel. Click Manage Shadows to edit the shadow configuration.
When viewing a shadow product, the parent SKU will be referenced with a link right below the Shadow's Product Name.
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 products deduct physical inventory from 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.
: You can enable fields on a shadow to be automatically populated based on the value in that field on the parent. This can be controlled under Shadow Persist Fields, more info here
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.