Parent Item and Child Item are terms you will hear frequently from Retention Science. These terms relate to our method of organizing items for browse, purchase, and recommendation data. In a general sense, parent items are a type of product, and child items are a specific and purchasable product.
What is a Parent Item?
Parent items are the generic items that your specific child items are tied to. For example, a parent item might be "Men's Cotton Crew Neck T-Shirt". The child items would then be defined by size and color.
In Shopify, Parent Items are your "Products"; in Magento, they are your "Configurable Items".
How are Parent Items used?
Parent items are very important to ReSci's data science models. By grouping together nearly identical items, we can improve the accuracy of our models and remove duplicate recommendations easily. The more generic Parent Item usually looks better and is equally effective when used for product recommendations.
By default, your Cortex account is set to recommend Parent Items in all emails. When limiting recommendations by quantity, we sum the child item inventory by parent item ID.
What is a Child Item?
Child items represent specific and purchasable items in your store. They must be tied to a parent item and must have a unique SKU (or item record ID). An example child item might be "Men's Cotton Crew Neck T-Shirt, Navy, Small".
In Shopify, Child Items are your "Variants"; in Magento, they are your "Simple Items".
How are Child Items used?
Child Items are used when the exact details of an item or purchase are required. For some brands, recommending child items may be the only way to show specific product colors or prices, so child item recommendations are preferred. (note: this may lead to "duplicate" recs overwhelming the user, as every color of a single item is now recommendable!)