Over the past two years, Amazon has increased its use of APIs for sharing data with its vendors. It introduced its selling partner API (SP-API) in 2020 as a replacement for its older marketplace web services (MWS) APIs. Now Amazon has also announced that MWS APIs will be taken offline at the end of 2023.
However, many vendors still receive sales and inventory data using legacy EDI feeds managed by Amazon. It appears that these EDI feeds may also be affected by the rise of SP-API as Amazon’s preferred means of data exchange.
Some vendors have already been informed by Amazon that their EDI feeds will be retired, leaving them no choice but to migrate to SP-API – sometimes in as little as 2 months. If they fail to make the switch in time, they will no longer be able to receive their Amazon vendor data they way they used to.
What is Amazon SP-API?
SP-API is a REST API developed by Amazon. With SP-API, software developers (whether they work for Amazon, a vendor, or a third party) can give their own applications the ability to request Amazon vendor information for its own use. Instead of passively waiting for Amazon to push a scheduled batch of data to them using an API feed, vendors can request specific reports or details on demand. This is a much more powerful option than using a point-and-click web portal.
Whereas web portals like Amazon Vendor Central do allow vendors to view reports or export spreadsheets, SP-API makes it possible to automate business processes that require vendor data. One common example is the integration of this data into a vendor’s own digital systems of record (e.g. ERP and CRM). This is a great way to minimize manual data entry, improve worker productivity, reduce data lag, and keep data management costs low.
Why is Amazon expanding API capabilities?
Some MWS APIs have been available since 2009, but were limited in the range of information they provided. SP-API significantly expands the types of information that vendors can request, including forecasts and other analytics. It also provides enhanced security and data privacy standards. EDI feeds and the Vendor Central portal provide only some of these capabilities.
But why are EDI feeds falling out of favor at Amazon? There are several reasons. First, EDI vendor onboarding is more complex than APIs, which are entirely self-serve. Vendors are free to use APIs as they choose, and Amazon doesn’t need to provide any assistance.
Second, EDI feeds require Amazon employees to manage scheduled transfers, resolve issues, and resend failed transfers. In contrast, Amazon’s SP-API service automatically responds to vendor requests. Offering and continuing to enhance SP-API is clearly the more economical option, and it’s also less prone to human error.
Third, EDI was invented in the 1960s, so its technology standards aren’t a good fit for modern IT operations. Commercial models for data transfer have also evolved since the 60s. EDI service providers used to provide cost savings when digital communication was in its adolescence. Today, there are very few financial reasons, if any, for a particular business to remain a part of the EDI ecosystem.
Finally, the on-demand access that SP-API provides can be used to receive real-time updates. Offering this kind of live feed is a powerful way for Amazon to strengthen vendor relations. However, scheduled EDI transfers refresh far too slowly to make this possible. Furthermore, they usually contain data that’s one or more days old.
As you can see, SP-API gives Amazon several clear advantages over EDI. It is therefore highly likely that Amazon will incentivize or mandate all vendors to switch from EDI feeds to SP-API in the near future.
Why switch from EDI to SP-API?
If you’re an Amazon vendor that receives data via EDI, you must be prepared to switch to SP-API. As mentioned earlier, Amazon has turned EDI feeds off for several vendors, with more shutdowns imminent.
In light of the advantages to Amazon discussed in the previous section, this trend will almost certainly continue. The uncertainty surrounding your organization’s Amazon EDI feed poses real business risk, and adopting SP-API for data integration is the clearest path to risk mitigation.
Even if you’re not convinced that your EDI feed’s days are numbered, there are other reasons to consider switching to SP-API. Arguably the most important: it offers your business a great early step in its broader digital transformation journey.
Directly integrating Amazon data with your business software is a powerful enabler for real-time business intelligence and advanced analytics. Not only will you be able to request vendor data at any time; the data will also be fresher than the days-old values you receive via EDI. Lastly, your team will no longer have to wait for scheduled EDI transfers or coordinate with Amazon to resolve EDI transfer issues.
Algo has accelerated SP-API adoption for some of the largest global enterprises that sell on Amazon. Here are four reasons why they chose us as their trusted SP-API adoption partner.
With some of our clients’ EDI feeds scheduled to be retired in less than 2 months, Algo has completed enterprise-level SP-API adoption projects in as little as 5 weeks. Algo’s proven methods for accelerated SP-API adoption remove risk and ensure success, helping your business achieve fully compliant integration in a matter of weeks.
We integrate with both Azure and AWS.
Algo seamlessly integrates SP-API data with data lakes, data warehouses, and other business systems on both Microsoft Azure and AWS. We understand the nuances of data ingestion and storage for both cloud platforms, which minimizes unexpected challenges and gives our clients more SP-API integration opportunities.
We include data management services.
To sustain your success as an Amazon vendor, you must do more than just automate your data feeds. Algo validates vendors’ SP-API data to ensure completeness and accuracy. During validation, we have helped our clients discover millions of dollars’ worth of missing sales data that had gone unreported.
We can integrate all types of SP-API data.
SP-API makes it possible for businesses to connect to a much wider range of Amazon data than EDI did. Enterprises can access commerce data, order information, inventory feeds, customer insights, forecasts, and more. Algo has helped large Amazon vendors integrate all types of SP-API data with their organization’s information systems.
Don’t get left behind. Upgrade to Amazon SP-API today.
Your organization may already have been notified that your Amazon EDI feed will be switched off soon, or maybe you’re preparing to take the next step on your digital transformation journey. Algo is here to support you in both scenarios. Our services for accelerating SP-API adoption can help you transition your EDI feeds within tight timelines to ensure business continuity. Contact us today for a personalized discovery call.
About the author
Combining human centered AI with deep domain expertise, Algo’s analytics enriched supply chain intelligence platform helps suppliers and retailers plan, collaborate, simulate and execute a more efficient supply chain.