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Guide to Managing Large Inventories
This page provides an overview of the best ways to manage a large amount of Amazon Marketplace inventory. Here you'll find insight into how Amazon seller tools systems work as well as techniques used by other successful sellers. For additional information on seller best practices, see our Inventory Management FAQs.
Ten Basic Tips
File Upload Options
Manage your inventory on a daily basis by using our inventory loading tools to make regular additions and deletions. Review the file formatting requirements prior to collecting your product information.
The following feed processes and file formats are available on Amazon.com. See Volume Listing Tools for detailed information about listing templates.
Using SKUs Effectively
Before creating files, decide on your strategy for assigning SKUs to your products. Maintain a system of unique SKUs that relate only to particular products. Don't reuse the SKU for one product with a different product.
The SKU is the most important field for managing your Amazon inventory. Always use unique SKUs that relate only to one particular product. When you assign a SKU, you uniquely identify your inventory and link it to a specific product in the Amazon catalog.
Don't reuse a SKU for one product with a different product. We recommend that you not reuse a particular SKU when attempting to list a different product, as this can create problems with your listings. For active listings, a duplicate SKU will cause a feed or listing error. If the SKU for a closed listing is reused for a new product, the data for the that listing will be deleted from your account records.
A SKU can be up to 40 characters long and can contain both letters and numbers. While SKUs can be any unique value you choose, a good practice is to use a combination of letters plus the product's ISBN or UPC. This method is an ideal way to manage multiple inventories or to list different conditions of the same product in a single account.
Important note: These are suggestions only, and you may find other ways to use SKUs that suit your business needs better. However, we strongly advise that you do not create SKUs by simply numbering your inventory in sequential order. Sequential ordering makes it easy to accidentally reassign an old SKU to a new product.
Inventory Best Practices
Add new inventory using the pre-built Inventory Loader and Book Loader templates, or a UIEE file.
If you have new inventory to add, create an upload file that contains only the new titles you wish to add. This type of upload also processes quickly. While these files can also be used to make more complex modifications to inventory, their best use is for adding new products to the website.
Use the Price & Quantity template to make quick changes.
If you need to change prices or quantities, or remove listings from sale on the website, use the Price & Quantity feed, which loads very quickly due to its small size. To remove a listing, simply set the quantity to zero. Using the Price & Quantity feed will help you maintain a more accurate real-time inventory, which means a better experience for your buyers. When your inventory is up-to-date, you will have fewer sales of out-of-stock items, which means fewer refunds and higher feedback ratings.
After your file finishes processing, review the error log.
Once your feed is processed, a Processing Report will be available in your Seller Account. If there were template-level or data-level errors and listings were not properly uploaded, it will be important to understand why by reviewing any error messages in the Processing Report and consulting the Seller Help pages. For more information about error messages, see our Help section on Reviewing Your Upload.
Use the strengths of each feed process. Alternate inventory feeds with Price & Quantity feeds to add, modify and delete listings efficiently.
If you limit yourself to a single feed process, it will take you more time to manage your inventory. When you have a large number of products to add, modify and delete, the best practice is to use the fastest feed for each task.
Reconcile your current Amazon inventory against your actual on-hand inventory using inventory reports and order reports. Avoid using Purge and Replace.
Here are two good ways to determine the difference between your current Amazon inventory and your actual on-hand inventory:
We recommend that sellers rarely use the Purge and Replace operation. We make this option available for sellers who need to start fresh with a new file to control their inventory levels due to unforeseen issues with their own inventory management systems. Since Purge and Replace will remove any listings that are not sent in the feed, sellers should have high confidence that their replacement file is accurate and complete. Purge and Replace also has a longer processing time than other feeds, which increases the risk of sales for an out-of-stock item.
How to Quickly Remove All Listings
If you need to quickly remove all of your listings, upload a Price & Quantity feed with all quantities set to zero.
Price & Quantity files process quickly. This is the easiest, most convenient way to close all your listings. This is also a useful technique if you ever mistakenly upload listings that are all incorrect; for instance, listings with the wrong quantities or with the decimal point misplaced in all the prices.
If you need to suspend all of your listings, you can use the Listings Status feature.
For more information, see the Modifying Inventory FAQ.
Please use the e-mail address associated with your Amazon.com Seller account.
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