I have described previously how I built a process to support Wholesaling on Amazon Vendor Central, please see https://www.southwestdataintegration.co.uk/post/amazon-wholesale-vendor-central
The focus of this article is how I developed a process to support selling on the Amazon Marketplace or Seller Central.
Why develop a direct connection I hear you ask as there are services out there that are already connected? In a lot of instances these services come at a cost which could be related to the value of sales that their service processes for you. Go direct and you can remove further service charges.
I know that Amazon were looking to move to a Rest API connection and JSON file format. When I developed the connection there was a SOAP API connection in place supporting an XML file format.
Undoubtedly if Amazon have moved to Rest and JSON the data will be the same as what is found in the documents I will share below.
Because I had a good deal with Transalis (www.transalis.com) there were no additional costs for putting this connection in place.
This was a “tricky” development as there was no sandbox/test functionality to prove the development so this was carried out in production. I know I can see you flinch at this statement, but it was all I had to work with 😊
The biggest challenge to note was file naming conventions due to the volume of data being processed, plus what appeared to be an unstable API connection which you have to “self service” if there are any issues.
The XML order file was straight forward in terms of extracting the data required.
What was interesting was the Amazon Order Item Code which changed on every order and was required in the Order Acknowledgement.
I captured the Amazon Order Item Code in a free format field so that I could replay this back in the Order Acknowledgement.
I have attached an example mapping document that supports the Amazon order below:
This is where the fun started. By passing out an order acknowledgement I was able to provide the ERP order number so that you could lock in the transaction for the finance department. The ERP order number was also visible in Seller Central so you could see orders being acknowledged circa 2 hours after the order was placed (this was due to the way that Amazon processed the order acknowledgement data, throttling).
To ensure the order acknowledgement worked the Amazon Order Item Code had to be sent back to Amazon.
I have attached an example mapping document that supports the Amazon order acknowledgement below:
The fulfilment message enabled the order to be updated automatically when the order had been fulfilled providing the carried details and any tracking number allocated.
There are Amazon Service Level rules in place here. By automating the solution orders could be fulfilled outside of office hours. In this development the warehouse was working more hours than the office.
I have attached an example mapping document that supports the Amazon fulfillment below:
This is a critical function within the development as this will impact on the Amazon Service Level Agreement that will be in place.
There are several aspects to consider, such as stock pools, allocation of orders etc. so there could be several issues you need to address.
Timings are key giving consideration to Amazon throttling so I worked on an hourly cycle to update the stock holding ensuring that articles were not sold where there was no stock.
I have attached an example mapping document that supports the Amazon inventory below:
Prior to development the supplier was downloading the orders in an Excel document then editing the data and uploading into the ERP. The orders were fulfilled by uploading an Excel document into Seller Central at the end of the working day (the office working day).
By automating the process orders flowed into the ERP system day and night. This allowed the warehouse to work on these Amazon orders outside of office hours.
As orders were processed stock was allocated to the order reducing the stock holding. This meant that there was a more accurate inventory file being processed throughout the night and at weekends.
Orders were automatically acknowledged on the Amazon system which was a much better consumer journey.
Orders were fulfilled outside of office hours allowing the warehouse to manage their time which was critical during the peak season in November (Black Friday/Cyber Monday) and December.
By updating the orders with the ERP order number, the finance department were able to easily reconcile the Amazon payments.
If you want to know more please feel free to contact me.