If you’re a brand or manufacturer and just starting to sell your products on Amazon, chances are that one of your re-sellers has already started to do it and there are at least a few of your products already listed on the Amazon Marketplace. And if typical, its probable that at least a few of those listings contain inaccurate information or outdated photos.
We’ve written this article to take new Amazon Sellers through some practical steps towards getting your products listed, and listed correctly, so that you can begin to take control of your product listings in the Amazon marketplace. If at any point you need assistance with any of these steps, please feel free to contact us regarding our Amazon Seller Consulting services.
Step 1: Register for Amazon Brand Registry
This allows you to gain control of the content visible on the listing page (the page visible to Amazon customers). If you need assistance, you may refer to our previous article on Amazon Brand Registry. It is recommended that you choose UPC or EAN as your primary identifier of your products as it will come in handy later.
It is highly recommended that as a manufacturer you utilize Universal Product Code’s (UPC’s) or European/International Article Number’s (EAN’s). If you have a substantial number of original products you can obtain company specific product codes from GS1, the official distributor of UPC/EAN product codes. If you have only a few products it is possible to purchase these cheaper through a reseller.
Step 2: Prepare your Template for Upload
Also called a “Flat File” these macro-enabled Excel templates are specific to each of the primary Amazon categories where products can be listed. The files are a bit complicated but you can complete most of it by referring to the instructions on the first few tabs of the file and running the validation tool included. Note that many of the fields have a drop down with multiple options you can select. If they do, make sure that you use the pre-formatted options instead of typing in your own. This applies to everything but the Product ID Type as we will examine in Step 4 of this article.
Step 3: Obtain MWS Credentials
Amazon offers a great service where you can upload your products directly from Excel by using a built-in plugin that creates an interface between your Excel template and Amazon. Instead of saving the file and then uploading it to your seller central account, you can validate and upload it directly from your template. This direct option tends to reduce the possibility of error and requires fewer steps once setup. You can get specific steps on how to acquire MWS Credentials here.
Be sure to store your information in a safe place and keep your password handy for future uploads. If you forget it, you can always request new credentials later.
Step 4. Perform Initial Upload
Once you have validated your file you can upload it using your stored MWS credentials password. For the initial upload you will want to use your UPC or EAN numbers as the Product ID Type if you have them.
Note that for parent products you will often get a validation warning that you are missing an image, product ID, color or size, but since the parent doesn’t need these attributes you can upload your file accurately without them.
Step 5. Download your Processing Report
Log into your Seller Central account and go to Inventory – Add Products Via Upload – View Processing Report. This will download a small text file that will contain any information regarding your upload including successfully added products as well as upload warnings and errors. If you need a good text editor to read and edit these files we highly recommend downloading TextPad.
As is most often the case, you will get several errors if some of your products are already listed on Amazon by other sellers. If any of the product information including product name, size or color do not match the pre-existing listings, you will receive the following error message:
The product_id provided with [SKU] corresponds to ASIN [BOO123ABC7], but some of the information submitted contradicts information in the Amazon catalog. If your product is the same as this ASIN, please modify your product data to reflect the following Amazon catalog values and resubmit.
Since you are the manufacturer your goal is not to conform your product information to the current listing, but rather to update the product listing with the correct information. Note that there are two steps to updating information on Amazon. The first step is correctly listing the product in your seller account and the second step is to push those changes through to the product listing page.
Unless you are the only seller and no one else has ever listed your product before, updating the product information in your account may not automatically update the product listing page. This is because Amazon uses a complex algorithm to pull data from all of the various sellers of a product to create the listing page including the product title, product features or bullet points, images and product description. Amazon Brand Registry comes in handy and is helpful to have active at this point in the process.
Step 6: Add ASIN’s to your Flat File and Re-Upload
Go through your file and note any corresponding ASINs listed that prevented you from uploading your product(s) successfully. Copy and paste the corresponding ASIN into the Product ID column next to the correlating SKU. Then, in Product ID Type, enter “ASIN” without the quotation marks (you have to do this manually as the option is not available in the dropdown).
ASIN: Amazon Standard Identification Number, a unique 10-character alphanumeric identifier assigned by Amazon.com and its affiliated partners for identifying products sold on Amazon.com.
Be sure to fix any other errors or warnings listed in the processing report for products that failed to upload. Note that it takes at least 10-15 minutes for product information, description and images to fully populate the product listing page. Adding the ASIN to your upload file allows you to successfully list your product without changing any of your product information to match the existing ASIN’s. Once you perform this upload, you may notice that the product name in your seller central is not the same as the one you used in your upload even though the product name is listed correctly when you edit the listing in the inventory manager. If you have Brand Registry, the following step will resolve this issue.
Step 7: Re-Upload using UPC’s to activate Amazon Brand Registry
If you have already obtained Amazon Brand Registry, this next step is a must. Re-uploading your file using UPC codes allows Amazon to verify that they are in fact your products and that as the manufacturer the information you provide will take precedence over other sellers. While uploading with an ASIN allows you to tap into existing products already listed while using the correct information, re-uploading with the UPC allows the existing information to be updated using the information you provide. Make sure to select “PartialUpdate” when uploading the UPC’s for a second time.
Step 8: Merge Duplicate ASIN’s
The final step is to find and merge any duplicate ASIN’s that may be active in the Amazon Marketplace. You can do this by simply performing a search for your brand or product name in Amazon’s search bar and noting the ASIN’s of duplicate items. While Amazon typically requires a UPC code to upload or add a new product, less notable sellers may skip this step or simply make up their own. The key is to find the additional ASIN’s and make a list, correlating them to the products listed correctly in your inventory.
To search for your product by UPC code go to your seller central account and select Inventory – Add a Product. Enter the UPC of a product you wish to check and products listed using that UPC will appear in the results section to the right.
For single items it is easy to find the ASIN in the product URL. To find the ASIN of a child product listed under a variation requires a few additional steps as only the parent ASIN will appear in the URL. To start, open Amazon in a new browser where you are not logged into your amazon account (you can not add a product to your cart if you are logged on as the seller). Go to the product page and add the specific variation to your cart. Amazon takes you to your cart page where you can see the product you just added. Click the product name which will take you back to the listing page only now it will list the child ASIN in the URL. Do this for any remaining hold products you require ASINs for.
There are a few ways to merge duplicate ASIN’s, but the simplest and most effective method is by contacting Amazon’s Catalog Team to do the merge for you via Seller Support. Amazon will only merge products when it is clear that they are one and the same and have the same identifying attributes, image and UPC (if the product to be merged has no UPC or the UPC is incorrect you can still do this by providing a product image that correctly identifies the product and UPC.)
To submit an ASIN merge request scroll to the bottom of your Amazon Seller Central account and select “Contact Seller Support“. On the left select Selling on Amazon – Products and Inventory – Product Page Issue and select “Merge duplicate or split product pages.”
Sample wording for this request is provided below and while not required, it has proven effective for many ASIN merges for various sellers. It is also important to include a link to your website showing the product allowing Amazon’s Catalog Team to verify that the products are the same and also to help establish that you are in fact the manufacturer. Replace product information in parenthesis. Information in [brackets] is for your information only and need not be included.
Note that Amazon truly appreciates the request to Merge duplicate products as their goal is to have the most efficient and organized buyer platform, and merging duplicate listings helps to accomplish this. The other additional benefit to merging is that if the product has any reviews on any of the existing ASINs these reviews will also be merged once the merge is complete.