Amazon Marketplace API Discovery

Now that we have established a bit of an eCommerce Amazon marketplace background in the preceding posts, it is time to roll up our sleeves and try to dive into Amazon's automation APIs. I say try, because I originally found it very difficult to discover where to dive. My Google-Fu failed me.

Unfortunately my initial searches using terms like "Amazon and Drupal" revealed a whole pile of Drupal self help books available for purchase on Amazon. Buy from Amazon to learn about basic Drupal? Not what I needed. I (my clients) wanted to sell, not buy. Maybe I was casting my net too wide? I needed to discover the API(s?) that could be used to support an Amazon marketplace storefront. Including the term Drupal in my searches had Google heading in the wrong direction. I did not want to buy Drupal on Amazon. I wanted to use Drupal to sell on Amazon. I needed to improve my Google-Fu. Drupal needed to go.

Removing Drupal from my search terms still resulted in a big bag of frustration. So I added "web services" (oops) to my search and got slammed with results for Amazon Web Services.  AWS is commonly known for Cloud Computing stuff. But they also provide lots of other interesting things. Check them out, you may find something useful. But not if you want to sell on Amazon.

I did not record the exact details of my search efforts that spanned multiple sessions over several days. But I eventually stumbled upon Amazon's Product Advertising API. Jackpot! Maybe? It seemed to provide Amazon Marketplace functions. Wikipedia even advised that "It is a product of Amazon Services, not to be confused with Amazon Web Services"! This warning only added to my confusion...

A quick dive into the Product Advertising API resulted in increased confusion. The Wikipedia entry claimed features that the Amazon documentation did not backup. I am not sure of the reason for the confusion, but my guess is that the Product Advertising API features have morphed (been reduced) over the years? Anyway, it was a start. The Product Advertising API was related to selling on Amazon. Somewhat.

Regardless I pressed on. The Product Advertising API did not appear to provide the features that a full service Amazon vendor required. It seemed lacking as there was no obvious way to list a product for sale. So more hours and lots of Google-Fu revealed the existence of the Amazon Marketplace Web Service. Nirvana! Maybe? I was working on behalf of a multi channel vendor that wanted to utilize Amazon as one of their sales channels. Maybe this was all there was?

Continued searching only revealed additional AWS APIs. It was time to dive deeper into my 2 candidates...