For those just starting in the world of Amazon selling the simplest way to add new product listings to Amazon is to simply use the “Add a product” button on the Manage Inventory page provided through Seller Central. However, as you progress in building your Amazon product empire you’ll realize the limitations with creating products via the web interface.
In this series we’ll be stepping you through how to use the Add Products via upload functionality in Amazon Seller Central. By using this feature you’ll be able to create and edit products faster and more precisely than you can than simply using the Add a product web feature.
Today we’re starting from the basics and how to create a brand new Amazon listing using the product upload feature available in Seller Central. We won’t be looking at creating parent / child listings today, but will explore that topic in a later post.
Why You Should Use Inventory Files to Add Products
The biggest advantages to creating products via the Inventory File upload method is how quick it is to create new products. No need to navigate all the product page tabs to figure out what needs to be filled out. Plus, once you’ve filled out an Inventory Template File once you can always reuse it which saves even more time.
Of course the first time you do it it’s probably going to take some time, but once you get the hang of it it’s not sad bad. Plus in the future when we cover Parent/Child and Creating Variations for listings you’ll realize just how indispensable creating products via this method can be.
Creating New Listings Using Product Upload
There are many ways to use the Inventory File (you’ll also sometimes hear it called the Inventory Template File or simply the Flat File) to create listings on Amazon. There is not one perfect way to do it. What’s worked for me is to split the listing creation into 2 parts when creating the new listing:
- Use the Amazon Product Upload File to create the basic listing (the minimum needed to create a listing)
- Use the Edit Product details functionality to fill out all the other details (like price, images, description, etc…)
In order to create the basic listing via the Inventory File upload you can follow these 4 steps:
- Locate and Download the Correct Inventory File
- Edit the Inventory File with the Required Information
- Upload the Inventory File
- Check to Make Sure Everything Was Created Correctly
Locate the Correct Inventory File to Use
Depending on the category of product you are adding the Inventory File you need to download can vary. You need to make sure that you download the correct category Inventory File otherwise you’ll get all kinds of errors when you try to create your product.
The simplest way to find the correct Inventory File Template is to go to the “Add Products via Upload” page and select the “Download an Inventory File” tab (page is here).
Once there you’ll find the browse tree. You can use this browse tree to navigate all the way down to your specific product. Once you find your product click the “Select” button.
After you do this a new section will show up below the browse tree which will show additional information for the product you selected. The important information you want to jot down and save for later is the “Valid Value” for the “Field Name” for the selected product. In our garlic press example the Valid Value is “garlic-presses”. We’ll be using this value later after we’ve download the template file.
Now, under Inventory Template Name you’ll see 2 links (or up 2 links depending on your category). One link for “Lite” and one link for “Standard”. Click the “Standard” link to download the Standard Inventory File for your product’s category. It’s about a 2 mb .xlsm file.
Congrats! If you’ve made it this far that means you’ve successfully downloaded the correct (hopefully) Inventory File!
Edit the Inventory File with the Required Information
Now that you have the correct file downloaded you need to fill out all the required information. Go ahead and open the xlsm file you just downloaded using Excel.
(Depending on your computer, operating system, and version of Excel you make get some pop ups about Macros… I normally disable macros and when prompted choose to open the file as Read Only… if you don’t see those pop ups then you can ignore this part)
Once you’ve opened it the file you’ll see a bunch of worksheets in the Excel file: Instructions, Images, Data Definitions, Template, Example, & Valid Values. It’s a lot of info there so try not to be overwhelmed. The only one you need to focus and click on is the “Template” worksheet. Click that worksheet to get started.
This Template worksheet has all the possible fields that you could fill out to create your product. This means there are A LOT of fields that could be filled out. Rather than worrying about filling everything out here (which if you really want to do you could) I like to focus on just filling out the bare minimum to get a product listed so it shows up in the “Manage Inventory” page on Seller Central.
Since this is a new product listing these are the fields you need to have filled out:
- Seller SKU (item_sku) – You choose the the SKU you want to use (I just follow Amazon’s format XX-XXXX-XXXX)
- Product ID (external_product_id) – The specific ID number like UPC or EAN that you want to use for this product
- Product ID Type (external_product_id_type) – The type of ID number you used above (for example UPC other valid values include EAN, GCID, or GTIN)
- Product Name (item_name) – Name of your product (you can always edit this later so don’t worry about coming up with the perfect name)
- Product Type (feed_product_type) – This is the Amazon category you’ll be using (depending on the Inventory File you downloaded this can change but examples of Valid Values could be Art, BedAndBath, Home, Kitchen, etc…)
- Item Type Keyword (item_type) – This is the keyword you saved from earlier when you first located your product
So for our Garlic Press example this is how we would fill out the fields:
- Seller SKU (item_sku) – MY-FAVE-PRESS
- Product ID (external_product_id) – 1245678901 (made up UPC Number)
- Product ID Type (external_product_id_type) – UPC
- Product Name (item_name) – The Best Garlic Press in the World
- Product Type (feed_product_type) – Kitchen
- Item Type Keyword (item_type) – garlic-presses
If you ever get stuck or have questions on what values you can put in what field a good resource is to look at the “Valid Values” worksheet in the same Excel file that’s already open. If you click there it will give you a good reference. The other thing is it doesn’t matter if you use lowercase or uppercase.
Once you’ve done all of that now you can save your file. I would do a “Save As…” and save it under a new file name of your choosing.
Upload the Inventory File
Now that you have your filled out Inventory File you could upload it right away, but I’ve found it better to upload a .txt (text) file rather than the whole excel file. The main reason being that if you save it as a txt file it’s going to be a lot faster to upload.
So to do this go back again into Excel and open your file (if it isn’t already opened). Make sure you have the “Template” worksheet selected. Once you’ve verified it’s selected go to the File “Save As…” menu option again.
Once there you can leave the file name the same, but under the “Format” option select the “Tab Delimited Text (.txt)” option. Then click save. This might show you a warning how the “Workbook” cannot be saved. That is fine, jus be sure to select “Save Active Sheet” which will save the sheet you are currently on.
Now that this file is saved you can go back to the “Add Products via Upload” page (page here).
Here you’ll notice you have 2 options: “Check Your File” and “Upload File.” If you aren’t confident you did everything right you can upload your file first in the “Check Your File” section by selecting the “Choose File” button and browsing to the .txt file you just saved and clicking the “Check my file” button. Once you do this you’ll be taken to the “Monitor Upload Status” page where you can see the progress of your upload.
If you feel more bold you can just go to the “Upload File” section and upload your file there. In both cases if there are any errors you’ll get a report you can download to show you what’s wrong.
Once it’s done uploading and processing (which for 1 product shouldn’t take much longer than 5 minutes) in the Monitor Upload Status section you’ll see that it says “Upload Status Done” and below it will show the number of records, how many were successful, how many with warnings, and how many with errors. You’ll probably get some Warnings since you didn’t add any images, but warnings are OK. What’s more annoying are errors.
If you do get error or warnings you can click the link next to the Upload Status and “Download Your Processing Report.” Opening it up in Excel will give you more info on what’s going on.
Check to Make Sure Everything Was Created Correctly
Assuming everything went well and you didn’t get any errors then when you now go to the Manage Inventory page / section you should now see your new product listing there. From there you can still edit the listing an enter in any additional details, add photos, keywords, etc…