So you want to sell on Amazon?

Amazon is well known in North America (and several other parts beyond our shores). Everybody understands that Amazon is one of the online places you go to buy things. Amazon also means a very different thing to computer geeks: AWS - Amazon Web Services. AWS is known for being a cloud computing service. Very different from the original online store, not shopping related at all. I mention this now because it will come up later. It should not, but it does. Sigh...

The concepts of online selling are well known and there is vast amounts of information available on the web. So why should I create yet some more blog posts you ask? Because I (my clients) want to sell on Amazon. In a modern automated manner. Selling is very different from buying. And information about selling via Amazon is scant and hard to find.

Buying is normally a personal low volume manual process. You get the urge to spend, you find an online store, you browse, you add some nifty stuff to your cart, you checkout & pay and then you wait for the postman. Itch satisfied. There is little need or opportunity to automate the buying process (automating the product search is a different and very interesting discussion).

The selling experience is much different from the buying experience. Well, sustained selling is. A one-off sell of a closet trinket is boring, I am ignoring that world. As a modern high volume retailer you need to be able to leverage automation to maintain your storefront. And if you have selected Amazon as (1 of) your storefront(s) then you need to be able to integrate Amazon into your other eCommerce systems. Some nice clean automation APIs would help.

This is where life should get easy. I want to sell. Amazon is well known. So I want to sell on Amazon. As a vendor I want to integrate my Procurement and Inventory system(s) with my Amazon storefront. Common sense indicates this should be easy.

Nope. Well maybe. Depending upon your Google-fu. Amazon does provide the appropriate seller centric APIs. They exist and are well documented. They (mostly) work great. But they get confusingly mushed into the the world of AWS (see hint above) and are difficult to identify for the uneducated.

I have been unable to find a "so you want to sell on Amazon" primer for a system architect. Hence I thought I would provide some insight into my journey of integrating an external system to Amazon's marketplace. My following posts will cover the topic from a Drupal architect perspective but hopefully should also provide enough commentary to be of interest to non Drupal architects.

Teaser: This series of posts is centered around utilizing the Amazon Product Advertising API and the Amazon Marketplace Web Service from Drupal.