Extracting Your Amazon Seller Central Data
If you’re selling on Amazon, you already know that getting all the Amazon Seller Central data you need for a complete picture of your business is challenging (and may seem downright impossible), especially if you’re a large brand with international distribution. We’ve been there.
To make the seemingly impossible possible, we wanted to create a guide that shows how to get your Amazon seller data, as well as the various quirks that you need to be aware of within Amazon in order to develop a reliable data reporting system.
The Big Three Amazon Data Sources:
Data Source One: Your Amazon Seller Central Dashboard & Visualizations
When you use it: The Amazon Seller Central Dashboard gives you a high-level view of your store’s performance and inventory status. If you’re trying to get a quick idea of high-level figures, this is the place to start. Via the menu in the top left, you can access the UI to dive into other parts of your Amazon business. Amazon provides simple visualizations for sales, traffic, and orders:
How you use it: The Amazon Seller Central Dashboard is accessible simply by logging into your Seller Central account, and accessing reports can be done via the lefthand navigation bar.
Why you use it: This is where the non-data-analytics folks on the team will start their journey to get a snapshot of performance, manage the account, and potentially identify any high-level issues, such as unexpected drops in orders. But all the analytics pros out there know you’re barely scratching the surface here.
Data Source Two: Exported Data Reports
When you use them: You can download reports through Amazon Seller Central to get detailed data on Orders, Inventory, Traffic, and Returns.
How you use them: Export your brand’s data reports through Amazon Seller Central (see two data report examples below for navigation information).
Why you use them: When you want a granular view into all elements of your Amazon data, exported data reports are most sellers’ best bet. Not only can you view and analyze the major categories, but you can also get more specific data reports, such as Unshipped Orders, Sales, and Traffic by ASIN.
Data Report Ex. #1: New Orders Report
Navigation: Amazon Seller Central > Sidebar > Orders > Orders Reports
Data Report Ex. #2: All Orders Report:
Navigation: Amazon Seller Central > Sidebar/Top Menu > Reports > Fulfillment > Sales > All Orders
Data Quirk: Amazon Seller Central Reports Are Not Up-to-Date
Although the high-level data in your Amazon Seller Central Dashboard is up-to-date, all data in the reports that you download from Seller Central run on 48-hour delays.
So, if you download a data report from Amazon Seller Central on Wednesday morning, you’re looking at data that is updated through Sunday. This means that Wednesday is the first day that you can analyze last week’s data.
Data Source Three: The Amazon Selling Partner API (SP-API)
Amazon’s current API, the SP-API, is a REST API that replaced its previous API, Marketplace Web Services (MWS) in Q4 2021. Where MWS fell short in terms of incomplete data, the SP-API shines: you can extract an enormous amount of data from the SP-API.
Although there are still significant challenges (we emphasize: significant), the SP-API was a major leap forward for Amazon and has facilitated data extraction.
When you use it: The SP-API allows brands to extract data around their Amazon businesses. A caveat: the data is still fundamentally limited, as Amazon only provides product (including inventory), fulfillment, and orders data. You cannot get any customer data from any Amazon API or report.
You can make API calls daily in order to extract the data you need for reporting and analyses on your Amazon business.
How you use it: In order to get access to the SP-API, a developer on your team will have to submit a developer application through your Seller Central account. They will also need an AWS account and set up AWS IAM (Identity and Access Management).
- The end-to-end approval process can be time-consuming and may take weeks or months.
Why you use it: Leveraging the SP-API will be necessary for brands looking to get a complete Amazon data picture, for those with high data volumes, and/or for those looking to automate their data or programmatically their data (instead of downloading reports every day).
API Notes: SP-API Challenges
Rate Limit Headaches
Like other APIs, Amazon enforces rate limits (i.e., only allowing so much data to be pulled in a given time period) on the SP-API. However, because Amazon is Amazon, the rate limits can be particularly challenging for developers.
Amazon has implemented strict API limitations, which makes extracting data for some endpoints quite slow. For example, the Reports API createReport endpoint has a burst of 15 and is throttled to a rate (requests per second) of 0.0167, or about 1 request per minute. In other words, you can request 15 reports in the first second, then you’ll have to wait another minute before you can create 1 more report, and so on.
After an hour, you can do another burst.
This rate limit is okay for smaller merchants, but for larger merchants who sell in multiple countries, the number of reports that you need adds up quickly.
Unfortunately, the same limitations pose issues when you’re looking to extract historical data. For example, you may need a report per day, plus several different versions of that report per country that you sell in. So, consider a 5 year old company that sells in 5 countries. That’s 1825 days, 4x versions of a report in each country, times 5 countries, which means you’ll need to extract over 36,000 reports for the entire history.
If you’re not as concerned about historical data, you’ll have an easier time, but if your brand is looking for a complete data picture, that’s going to require significant development work.
A Rate Limit Quirk: Amazon uses a token bucket algorithm for the SP-API, but the token bucket is not the only limit that Amazon has. For instance, the Reports API has restrictions on specific reports in terms of how often they can be generated. Unfortunately, Amazon does not provide documentation on which reports fall into specific periods, so you have to learn by a lot of trial and error.
Bonus Section: A Couple Amazon Settlement Report Quirks
In our article about combining Amazon and Shopify data, we mentioned an extra-challenging Amazon data report, the settlement report, which is a massive document that contains the full breakdown of fees associated with your Amazon Seller Account (most importantly, what you are going to get paid). Like everything else with Amazon’s data reports, there are quirks to be aware of with the settlement report.
Quirk #1: You can’t schedule or request this fella. Amazon decides when you receive it. For some brands, this may happen weekly.
Quirk #2: The settlement report is broken down by region. This means that in addition to the fundamental analytical challenges the settlement report poses due to complexity, you don’t have the ability to zoom into individual marketplaces to get the granularity that you might hope for.
Going Headacheless and Quirkless: Let Daasity Handle Your Amazon Data
Not to put too fine a point on this, but...extracting your Amazon Seller Central data and creating a single source of truth around that data is a nightmare. It takes experienced analysts hours, every day, to correctly download and make sense of all the Amazon data reports (this doesn’t even include running daily and then as-needed queries on the reports).
As it happens, we (Daasity) have a robust Amazon Seller Central integration that allows you to automate and visualize all the Amazon data we’ve discussed in this piece…
...Including historical data, the Settlement Reports, and all your other Amazon reports.
Basically, we’re trying to lower your Advil budget and increase your Amazon revenue.