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You are here: Sell APIs > Selling Integration Guide > Managing inventory and offers > Creating and managing inventory item groups

Creating and Managing Inventory Item Groups

An Inventory Item Group is a group of related products, that will usually only differ by one or two aspects, such as color and size, for an item such as shirt. So, the seller will place each variation of a product into an Inventory Item Group. Once all members of an Inventory Item Group are published as offers, the end result is a multiple-variation eBay listing. Note that an Inventory Item record must exist for a product in order for that product to belong to an Inventory Item Group. The rest of this section will go into more details about putting together an Inventory Item Group and then converting this Inventory Item Group into a multiple-variation eBay listing.

An Inventory Item Group is initially created and updated with the Create or Replace Inventory Item Group call. The seller must name the Inventory Item Group through the inventoryItemGroupKey field. Once the inventoryItemGroupKey value is set, it cannot be changed. If the seller is using the Create or Replace Inventory Item Group call to update an existing Inventory Item Group, they must make sure that the inventoryItemGroupKey value is accurate, otherwise, they'll either be updating the wrong Inventory Item Group or creating a new Inventory Item Group. When using the Create or Replace Inventory Item Group call to update an existing Inventory Item Group, all fields must be passed in, even if the values of those fields did not change. This includes all SKU values for Inventory Items in the group. For any SKU values that are omitted, the Inventory Items associated with those missing SKUs will be removed from the Inventory Item Group.

The following information is required when creating or updating an Inventory Item Group:

  • A seller-defined inventoryItemGroupKey value for the Inventory Item Group. This value must be unique within that seller's inventory;
  • The Inventory Items (defined by their SKU value) that will become members of the Inventory Item Group. These SKU values are passed in under the variantSKUs container;
  • Title and description of the Inventory Item Group. Note that the title and description values will become the listing title and listing desription of the live, multiple-variation eBay listing, and the product.title and product.description values that are given for the Inventory Items that are part of that Inventory Item Group must have the same values. Those values must be the same, as those Inventory Items will ultimately be listed in the same multiple-variation listing;
  • Links to product images. At least one link to product image must be included under the imageUrls container;
  • Variation aspects. The variesBy container is used to specify the aspects where each variation of the product varies. A variesBy.specifications node is required for each product aspect where the variations differ. The product aspect is identified through the specifications.name field, and each variation of that particular aspect is identified through multiple specifications.values fields. In the variesBy.aspectsImageVariesBy container, at least one of the defined product aspects must be identified to indicate how the image(s) of each product variation varies.

The following information is optional when creating an Inventory Item Group:

  • Product aspects that each item within the group share. For example, common product aspects of shirts in a multiple-variation listing might be Pattern (e.g. Solid) and Sleeve Length (e.g. Short). Any values specified here will become Item Specifics in the eBay listing;
  • Subtitle of the Inventory Item Group. Note that the subtitle value will become the listing subtitle of the live, multiple-variation eBay listing, and the product.subtitle value that is given for the Inventory Items that are part of that Inventory Item Group must have the same value. Those values must be the same, as those Inventory Items will ultimately be listed in the same multiple-variation listing.

The Inventory API does not have an operation to convert an entire Inventory Item Group into a live, multiple-variation listing. Instead, the seller must use the Create Offer and Publish Offer calls for each Inventory Item in the Inventory Item Group. When the first Inventory Item of the group is published, the eBay listing is created. And with the publishing of each additional Inventory Item, that existing eBay listing becomes a multiple-variation listing and those added Inventory Items become product variations within that multiple-variation listing.

The Get Inventory Item Group call should be used to retrieve all of the details of a specific Inventory Item Group. The inventoryItemGroupKey value is passed in at the end of Get Inventory Item Group call URI.

The Delete Inventory Item Group call is used to delete a specific Inventory Item Group. The inventoryItemGroupKey value is passed in at the end of Delete Inventory Item Group call URI.