What is Amazon SP-API?
Customers of software platforms expect the platform’s vendor to deliver programmatic access or APIs to interact with the software platform. APIs such as Amazon API allows programmatic access to create and access the data in these applications. The demand for APIs arises primarily due to three reasons.
- To quickly create or update data in the software application. For example, Facebook Advertising APIs help start a campaign at a specific time or change its target, among other features.
- To extract data from these applications for reporting and analysis purposes. In the case of Facebook Advertising, to retrieve campaign, targeting, impressions, clicks, revenue data to calculate ROAS and other metrics that help to shine a light on the campaign’s performance.
- Trigger an activity in one system based on changes in another system. For example – send a replenishment request to a supplier based on the inventory available for that product in my warehouse.
A popular platform like Amazon Marketplace cannot get away without providing an API for their customer, i.e., a Seller or their representative selling their products in the marketplace. The Amazon APIs not only allow sellers to add products quickly, change prices, change images, but they also enable sellers to integrate the APIs with other 3rd party services essential to the smooth functioning of the entire channel.
The focus of this article, however, is not to talk about the usage of APIs are a means to effect changes to a system, but rather to discuss the use of APIs to extract data for reporting, analysis, and insights – especially the APIs for Amazon Marketplace and Seller Central.
What is Amazon MWS?
Amazon MWS is the acronym for Amazon Marketplace Web Services. Amazon Marketplace Web Services API is a collection of APIs that offer sellers the possibility to extract data programmatically and perform most of the operations that users do from the Amazon Seller Central web interface. These APIs can handle requests like:
- Automatically replicate data from various MWS reports.
- Automatically copy data from multiple MWS endpoints to retrieve data related to orders, shipments, payments, fulfilment, and many others.
- Report inventory and push inventory quantities back to Amazon.
- Retrieving order data and uploading order to Amazon.
- Updating products, prices, availability, handling times or stock quantities. Report campaign performance and manage advertising campaigns
The Challenges with Amazon MWS
Amazon introduced an early version of MWS back in 2002. The fact that it has been around for nearly twenty years is a testament to the fact that it was such a powerful ally for sellers. However, all good things should come to an end to make room for something better. MWS architecture relies on SOAP APIs, and flat-file downloads can be considered archaic based on standards expected in 2021. Amazon has relied on patching and updates to the MWS APIs to keep up with the sellers’ demands on Amazon, but it is time for a new approach. MWS APIs rely on exchanging XML documents and flat-file downloads of critical reports in the Amazon Seller Marketplace. The current architecture poses issues in many areas, some of which are listed below –
- Authentication - The current model of generating MWS Developer token is not scalable when a seller has 100s of seller accounts across multiple marketplaces.
- Rate Limiting - Rate limiting is essential to ensure the systems is not brought down by bad actors. However, a rate-limiting that is not well-engineered or documented poses many problems to consumers of the APIs. Ask anyone who has worked on MWS APIs, and they will tell you.
- Vendor Central data - the current APIs only provide data for the Sellers. There was no recourse other than using the user interface to get their reports for vendors who sell their inventory to Amazon to sell and fulfil.
What is Amazon Selling Partner API?
SP-API is the next-generation API functionality suite for sellers and their agents to sell their products on the Amazon marketplace efficiently. Amazon Marketplace Web Services (Amazon MWS) APIs preceded SP-APIs and have been utilized extensively for over ten years. Amazon states in their documentation that the SP-API is the future and that SP APIs will receive any new updates and enhancements. However, one can expect a transition period from MWS to SP-API while the new system is stabilized and offers parity with the existing MWS APIs.
How is Amazon SP-API better than Amazon MWS?
The Selling Partner API AKA SP-API offers sellers and their partners’ many improvements over the current MWS APIs.
- Adoption of JSON-based REST API design standards
- OAuth2.0 selling partner authorization using Login with Amazon
- A test endpoint – the most requested feature in MWS.
- Support for Amazon Vendors
Amazon expects All current MWS users to migrate to the SP-API at a future date without any specific guidance on the cut-off date. As of 7-Mar-2021, it is safe to assume that if you have already authorized a developer to use the MWS APIs for your account, you can continue using the APIs while keeping an eye out for the announcements around the SP-API and development in that domain. You can read more about the SP-API by clicking here.
What does Amazon SP-API include?
If you are interested in comparing what is available in the MWS APIs to SP-APIs, you can read our detailed blog on the MWS APIs here.
The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about Amazon and APIs is marketplace coverage. The SP-API is a global API supporting North America (Canada, US, Mexico, and Brazil marketplaces), Europe (Spain, UK, France, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Turkey, UAE, and India marketplaces), and Far East (Singapore, Australia, and Japan marketplaces).
How to get started with the Amazon Seller Partner API?
Amazon has published clear documentation around adding support for the SP-API that you can find here. Adding support would involve hiring a developer or repurposing an existing developer to focus on researching and developing support around the SP-API. Fortunately, we have made it simple for you. Our pre-built, no-code, battle-tested connectors give you all the data you need with just a few easy-to-use configuration steps using the cloud data pipeline: Daton. You can rely on us for this data as we are the team that has built the most advanced and reliable connector for MWS data in the market today. You can easily switch between the two APIs making the transition from MWS to SP-API seamless while not losing critical functionality.