The first thing consumers and vendors think of when the conversation turns to ecommerce – is Amazon. Selling a few items on the platform is fairly straightforward, but when the number of products ramps up into the dozens, hundreds or even thousands, it can be very time consuming. Particularly if all data regarding orders, shipments, returns, products, etc. is extracted manually through the Amazon Seller Central Portal. Or if you’re a first-party seller wanting to send your products to an Amazon warehouse or fulfilment center using Amazon Vendor Central.
Furthermore, the old Amazon MWS (Marketplace Web Services) has become outdated and will be discontinued in 2023. Anyone still using Amazon MWS will have to replace their current systems with the new Amazon SP (Seller Portal) API, which – although marketed as an improved, modernised alternative – still doesn’t feel very intuitive. So, what other options do you have as a vendor wanting to get the most out of Amazon to market your products? Let’s take a look!
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH AMAZON SP-API?
Anyone wanting to sell products on Amazon will use the Amazon SP-API to interact with the platform. Amazon offers all manner of great, useable data to sellers. Data that can help keep track of things like inventory management, cost of goods sold (COGS) or even value-added tax (VAT) reports.
Product data is managed and updated manually directly in the Amazon Seller Central or Amazon Vendor Portal. The downside here is that this data is offered through an Excel-interface, where the necessary files can be downloaded (or uploaded), filled with extensive product category sets and tables provided by Amazon.
While this is still a viable option for small companies with few products, it quickly becomes too overwhelming for bigger organisations. The process requires significant manual effort, it’s repetitive, error prone, and employees need the necessary know-how to get the job done. This is where some outside help could come in handy. If only there were a data converter, a middleware or even an all-in-one solution that could streamline and automate the entire process…
THE AMAZON SP CONNECTOR. A HELPING HAND.
Here at Lobster, we have just the thing: our new Amazon SP-API Connector for Lobster_data. A connector that allows you to transfer data from Amazon SP-API, automatically and in real-time. To any platform you like. Whereas before, somebody from IT would have to do most of the work, now the connector essentially takes care of the entire process. For example, if you want to retrieve or update data for an ERP system, simply use SQL statements and the connector will do the rest.
The connector works with a JDBC driver and the parsing and creation of the necessary JSON file structure to exchange the data is processed automatically. Connection pooling means you also need less connections, while the Module’s highly optimised read/write performance and robust connectivity ensure live data is always available. When it comes to product maintenance or reporting, having real-time, bi-directional access to your data is also great time-saver.
There are many more benefits to utilising a connector like the Amazon SP-API Connector from Lobster. For example, you can also use SQL stored procedures to send product images or update inventories. All these benefits promise to make sellers’ lives easier across multiple departments. IT departments can tame their software zoos, Sales teams can optimise their customers interactions with real-time data, and it’s easier for Marketing campaigns to strike gold if everything always looks good in the online shop.
Lastly, a connector compactly encapsulates the complex process of authentication, authorisation, signing and encryption. While it establishes or reconnects the connections in the background. The latest cryptography, TLS 1.2 and SHA-256, guarantees secure connectivity and Amazon’s Identity and Access Management (IAM) allows you to decide who has which roles and what rights to access the data.
A GRIN FROM EAR TO EAR. IN EVERY DEPARTMENT.
As highlighted above, automating communications between Amazon and sellers is clearly beneficial to most areas of a business. But there’s one final department that hasn’t been mentioned yet: finance. Ensuring compliance with financial legislation can be a gruelling task. But with real-time data from a tool like Lobster’s Amazon SP-API Connector, things just got a whole lot easier.
Because up-to date information lowers the risk of human errors, reduces workloads, improves inventory management, ensures compliant and semi-automated VAT-reporting and ultimately streamlines the monthly closing process. So access to real-time data is a win-win for everybody – from bookkeeping and IT, to Sales and Marketing.
THE END OF AN ERA. FAREWELL, AMAZON MWS.
But there is one last thing to consider: what if you’re currently working with Amazon MWS? The API will be partly discontinued on the 31st of July 2023 and fully discontinued at the end of 2023, so choosing a solution now that works with both the old and the new Amazon API is not only smart, it’s also flexible. You can get to grips with the Connector first, and then transition to the new API in your own time.
And don’t worry if you find you need a hand moving from Amazon MWS to Amazon SP. After all –migrating from one API to the other can be quite challenging. If you choose the Amazon SP-API Connector from Lobster, we can help you with the transfer. The complexity of the required changes means this process may take several months – all the more reason to free up your time and capacity to focus on what really matters: your core business.
THE TIME IS NOW. SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
The Amazon SP-API is all well and good, but in combination with the right connector – it can be so much more. With central data maintenance, the quality and transparency of your data will greatly improve. Gone are the days of manual maintenance and tedious updating of Excel files. Saving your workforce a considerable amount of time and greatly lowering costs. You’ll also increase compliancy. And cut response times for queries about product information, order management and shipping orders. Now that’s a true game changer!
And if you feel you need a little assistance to replace Amazon MWS or implement the Amazon SP-API, the professionals at Lobster are happy to help. Finding a solution that fits your needs. Get in contact with one of our experts to learn more about Lobster_data and the Amazon SP-API connector or book a demo directly to see it in action.