As you’ve grown DTC on BigCommerce and started your Amazon Seller Central journey, you’ve probably noticed that Amazon data is a different beast from BigCommerce.
Or, that data might seem like it’s from a different (and frustrating) planet altogether.
And, really, that’s not wrong. As a 30-year-old company founded in the days of the early Internet, Amazon has its own data and reporting systems that are pretty alien compared to most digital commerce systems today.
That said, we can help. To catapult you to where you can effectively report on both BigCommerce and Amazon together and deal with Amazon’s… we’ll call them “quirks,” we're going to cover:
- What you need to know about Amazon data compared to BigCommerce data
- The technical difficulties you’re likely to encounter when you’re trying to combine your Amazon and BigCommerce data
Amazon Data Reporting vs. BigCommerce Data + Reporting
Reviewing your Amazon data
Fundamentally, there are three ways to track your Amazon data:
- Using dashboards in the Amazon Seller Central UI
- Exporting reports (via the Amazon Seller Central UI)
- Extracting Seller Central reports programmatically, via Amazon’s SP-API
You will most likely want to focus on some standard data categories to track your brand’s performance on Amazon. These probably include Orders and Sales, Inventory, Product Performance, Fulfillment, and Returns.
Dashboards in the Amazon Seller Central UI provide high-level performance views. For instance:
These dashboards provide simple visualizations (the user cannot drill into the data, only highlight each date dimension: "Today so far," "Yesterday," and "Same day last week"), as Amazon reserves more detailed data for spreadsheets and via the API.
Downloading Amazon Data Reports
Via each Amazon dashboard, you can download each report as a CSV. The spreadsheets provide a ton more data, though can be quite large and require a fair amount of manipulation in order to normalize the data—and much more manipulation to analyze the data.
Programmatically Extracting Data through the SP-API
In order to get access to Amazon’s 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). Beginning to end, this process can be quite time-consuming and take weeks to months to set up, depending on corrections or changes requested by Amazon.
Reviewing Your BigCommerce data
As with Amazon, you can access and review BigCommerce data in the same three ways:
- Using your BigCommerce dashboards
- Exporting data from each data category in the UI
- Via the BigCommerce API
Via the menu in the BigCommerce UI, you can get a high-level look at some of your store performance (note that the screenshot is from is a test store without data, but feel free to imagine millions of dollars for this particular sales day):
Downloading Spreadsheets from BigCommerce
In each data category, e.g., Orders, Marketing, Merchandising, you can download spreadsheets from chosen date ranges:
Programmatically Extracting Data through the BigCommerce API
BigCommerce has multiple APIs, though from an analytics point of view, the GraphQL API will be most useful. The GraphQL API enables you to query product, customer, and store data (as well as store settings) remotely or from a store’s front end. For detailed information, consult BigCommerce’s documentation.
Why Amazon Data + BigCommerce Data + eCommerce Data Analytics Is a Major Challenge
The eCommerce Data Model and How Amazon Changes It
In eCommerce, there are four fundamental data components: Customers, Products, Orders, and Fulfillments. The majority of your eCommerce data and analytics efforts fall under these categories.
When using BigCommerce, your data is fairly complete, and you have instant access to all four components of the data model. You have customer data (email, phone number, address, etc.), product data (SKUs, Units, Costs), order data (who is buying what and how much), and fulfillment data (operations data galore: suppliers, shipping, delivery).
However, Amazon makes Products and Orders data available to you (and third party reporting tools). Internally, of course, Amazon has immense amounts of data Customer and Fulfillment data, but they restrict what merchants have access to.
A big reason for the lack of customer data is that customers who purchase your products on Amazon are not your customers. They are Amazon’s customers.
For example, you have probably noticed that Amazon hashes (anonymizes) customer emails. Or, that Amazon makes you delete customer PII (Personally Identifiable Information) after 30 days. By taking steps like these, Amazon eliminates the idea of a customer (from an analytics perspective) so that merchants can’t whisk people away and sell to them directly.
Essentially, Amazon gives you exactly enough data to maintain its business model and nothing more.
Amazon Data Reports, Part 1: ASINs, Seller SKUs, and FN SKUs
The bulk of Amazon data that you can get your hands on comes from the reports that we discussed earlier. You can download about 30 different Amazon data reports that provide you with a lot of information about Products and Orders. You’ll be able to dive into information about how long inventory has been stored, associated inventory fees, fast-selling SKUs, and much more.
Unfortunately, these data reports get quite complicated. Here’s why.
A key piece of Amazon’s ecosystem is that it has invented its own organizational information (because, you know, Amazon). These are the big three:
- ASIN (Amazon Seller ID Number): A unique code for every item in the Amazon space that Amazon gives you.
- Seller SKU: You request SKUs from Amazon. Sometimes, they give you the SKUs that you request, sometimes they don’t.
- FN SKU (Fulfillment Network SKU): A separate SKU that the Amazon Fulfillment Network gives to a product (yes, each product has two SKUs and an ASIN!)
If you want to make sense of these data reports on your own, you’ll have to develop your own mapping system to track all of the Amazon-added variables.
Amazon data reports, part 2: the settlement report
In addition to the Product and Order reports, Amazon has a special (and incredibly detailed) report called the settlement report. The settlement report is designed to give the full breakdown of the fees (ranging from customer service to inventory) associated with your account.
In principle, the settlement report allows you to calculate the profitability of different products and get an understanding about where your greatest costs are.
In practice, you may be able to learn more about your CS and inventory costs through Amazon, but you’re likely going to have a tremendously difficult time trying to understand your products’ profitability.
Some brands use BI and visualization tools built specifically for making the Amazon data reporting headaches less headache-y, but if you’re selling on BigCommerce and Amazon, a third-party tool built specifically for Amazon will only help you so much. More on that now.
The hard(er) part: combining Amazon data and BigCommerce data
You have probably realized at this point that not only do Amazon data and data reporting have more elements than BigCommerce data, but that the data is quite different. BigCommerce data and data reporting is understandable for anyone in eCommerce, but working with Amazon is another ballgame.
In order for brands to combine Amazon data and BigCommerce data on their own, they face two options:
- Simplify BigCommerce data
- Massage Amazon data to fit BigCommerce data
Although neither option sounds great, option 2 is a better choice because nobody wants to simplify their BigCommerce data and lose the granularity and actionability it brings. That said, you’re now left with some heavy data lifting to do.
Even if you do pay for an Amazon-specialized BI/visualization tool, you might have nice-looking Amazon data, but you’re still left with two data silos that don’t overlap. The fundamental problem of Amazon data + BigCommerce data remains.
In order to combine the two data sources, you have to create the two parts of the eCommerce data model that Amazon is missing (Customer and Fulfillment) out of your order data.
Then, you need to map out the constructed Amazon data onto the BigCommerce data using a number of the Amazon data reports using logic you create (which gets even more complicated, because not every report has all of the information you need, so you have to combine the data from different reports, which you have to download every time you want refreshed information) and combine those with your BigCommerce data in separate spreadsheets.
We haven’t even touched on trying to build consistent and reliable metrics and eCommerce data analytics for your brand based on the hacked-together data situation.
But, what if I don’t want to do all this myself?
We’ll toot our own horn a bit here: if you don’t want to face this long and laborious process of dealing with Amazon data reporting, BigCommerce data reporting, and combining the two (plus the manual data analytics nightmare on top of it), Daasity can help you out.
We’ve spent years building the right extraction and transformation process to get the data a fast-growing consumer brand needs from Amazon and combine it with BigCommerce data so a brand can have a holistic view of their business.
We do all of this for you, automatically, in easy-to-read dashboards that allow you to look at all your Amazon data and BigCommerce data in the same charts.
Having a single source of truth with your data is the key to making sound decisions in a fast-growing business, and it is challenging to create a single source of truth when you have to do all of it by yourself. So, don't do it by yourself.
Learn more here.