Application Programming Interface, or API, is a software that allows two applications to speak to one another. API framework is extremely valuable to the Amazon space, and as many of you already know, our founder Scott Needham began his journey in Amazon developing API tools for BuyBoxer.
As the Amazon space continues to grow and evolve, so do the various API offers for the platform. We wanted to put together a resource guide that can help other developers in the Amazon API space.
Below we’ve compiled a breakdown of what is currently available along with a short comparative analysis of their benefits and shortcomings.
This is the main API. This software actually connects to a seller account, and if you’ve ever used Amazon, you’ve likely had to hand over your MWS token. MWS has also been documented to do many of the same things that you can do in Seller Central. The main drawback of this API is that Amazon intentionally does not give you access to all their data. Amazon developers have pretty much confirmed that as well. In particular, you cannot access the report detailing page views and buy box percentage from this API. In fact, you can get throttled for requesting too much. As well, the API limits the offers page by only showing portions of the data.
That being said, there are some really nice benefits to the MWS API. Their reporting is actually quite solid. You have access to approximately 30 downloadable reports that can help you better understand every moving part of your FBA inventory. Another benefit is the SQS, which is how repricers can learn about the competitive offers out there. When one seller changes a price, you can immediately be notified. And finally, the orders are great with this API. The more you can understand about your orders, the more you can automate, forecast, or model your sales.
One lingering question, though, is how to submit prices?! It is possible to offer prices to Amazon using the Feeds section, but at this time, we are unsure if there is any other way to do this. Feeds are limited to only being able to send one every two minutes. SmartScout looks for efficiency and finding ways to do things faster!
This API is used by Amazon Affiliates. It provides a vast amount of useful data through reviews and content, and even allows the user to put products in a shopping cart. However, one shortcoming here is that Amazon is quite strict about limiting this API to do only what it was designed for, their affiliate program. In other words, any developed cannot just get in. If you are noticed to be downloading data in a suspicious way, you’ll automatically end up banned. If you’re not getting sales through your affiliate code, you’ll end up throttled.
This Amazon API has all things PPC, but not DSP. DSP is a demand-side platform that enables advertisers to buy display, video, and audio ads both on and off Amazon.
It is actually the same API for both vendor and seller central and its actually evolving quite quickly as Amazon enjoys the margins of advertising. The API has pretty much all the same information you can see on the Amazon Advertising dashboard. Most bid optimizers are building technology that they don’t get from Amazon. In fact, Amazon could probably provide more information on suggested keywords and bids as many developers are quite interested in any window into the ad auction that Amazon can provide.
It’s got pretty much everything you can see on the Amazon Advertising dashboard, as Amazon loves the tantalizing margins of advertising. Most bid optimizers are building technology that they don’t get from Amazon. Amazon could certainly provide more info about keywords, suggested keywords, and bids. Any window into the ad auction that Amazon can provide us with would be beneficial for all APIs out there.
This API is plagued by one issue. Sales data takes up to 48 hours to fully settle (sometimes longer). This means that you don’t know what your ACOS is at the end of the day. It’s incredibly frustrating, and it can hamper automation on many levels.
Many services you’re familiar with are reliant on their ability to extract large amounts of data from a website, this is known as scraping, and it’s essential to the performances of API’s. Amazon often tries to stop and limit access, making it challenging to get the real raw data that is needed. No surprise there!
To learn more about the various APIs, the benefits, drawbacks, and potential of our latest API in SmartSocut, head to the Smartest Amazon Seller Podcast! SmartScout is about providing great products, but we also believe in providing valuable information and conversation to sellers alike!