Enthusiasts, shade tree mechanics, and shop owners who want to find the biggest selection of aftermarket products often turn to eCommerce giants like Amazon to find the perfect part for their project.
In order for automotive aftermarket manufacturers and resellers to connect with enthusiast buyers on Amazon, they must upload fitment data for each and every part that they intend to sell, in addition to a running stock count that ensures buyers can find in-stock parts for their exact year, make and model of vehicle. To accomplish this level of connectivity, Amazon created Amazon MWS (Amazon Marketplace Web Service), a set of APIs (application programming interface) that work with an aftermarket company’s existing sales and inventory systems.
Despite the success of MWS, Amazon decided to sunset MWS on August 31, 2023, in favor of a platform that is not only more powerful but more user-friendly as well. Amazon will no longer be providing support for its legacy Amazon MWS platform and will switch over to a REST-based API selling partner API, also referred to as SP-API instead. Keep in mind that MWS will no longer be available for use by any developer starting April 1, 2024.
Let’s break down the ins and outs of the transition and why it matters to companies in the automotive aftermarket industry.
Why is Amazon replacing MWS with SP-API?
SP-API represents a significant advancement for developers, offering numerous enhancements compared to Amazon MWS.
These improvements encompass modernized, JSON-based REST API design standards, streamlined OAuth2.0 authorization for selling partners via the convenient “Login with Amazon” feature, and the introduction of a highly sought-after testing endpoint—a feature often requested in MWS.
Beyond maintaining all the legacy functionalities previously available in Amazon MWS, SP-API introduces a host of new API capabilities tailored for sellers. Notably, SP-API extends its support to Amazon vendors, marking a significant milestone by providing APIs for this specific user group, including companies in the automotive space.
This transition toward SP-API integration is designed to optimize the experience for both Selling Partners and developers, ensuring a seamless and efficient ecosystem for all involved parties.
Why Should Automotive Aftermarket Companies Care About the Transition To SP-API?
Automotive aftermarket companies utilize a standardized data format known as ACES (Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard) to ensure that specific parts fit on specific vehicles.
Thanks to the migration to SP-API, Amazon is able to offer an easy-to-use ACES utility for getting product information uploaded onto their site. This utility, known as the Amazon Automotive Fitment Manager tool, must be used by all aftermarket companies who wish to sell on Amazon.
Amazon uses ACES information to populate their Amazon Confirmed Fit tool, so customers ensure they get the exact part they’re looking for to complete their project. Prior to July 1st, 2023, this fitment data was funneled through Amazon’s AMTU tool and required aftermarket vendors to install/configure the AMTU tool on their system and send ACES data to Amazon on a regular basis. Setting up AMTU for ACES data was complicated and time-consuming, especially for product managers looking to handle Amazon selling tools directly.
ACES data serves as a fundamental component for all vehicle-specific automotive products available on Amazon.com, irrespective of the merchant involved (a merchant being any entity that offers products through the Amazon platform). Each product listed on Amazon is assigned a unique identifier known as the Amazon Standard Item Number (ASIN).
To seamlessly connect ACES records with ASINs, a specialized build process is employed. This process relies on two key attributes: the brand name and the normalized part number. It is of utmost importance that when crafting ACES data files, the brand label indicated within the four-digit AAIA brand code in the header must precisely match the values found on the ASIN’s product detail page. Additionally, the part number declared in each application record must also align precisely with the corresponding ASIN’s product details. This meticulous matching procedure ensures accurate and consistent product information, enhancing the overall shopping experience for Amazon customers seeking automotive products.
Product managers can either upload ACES data directly to the Automotive Fitment Manager tool, or they can use a number of third-party providers to handle the transition of data to Amazon.
This easy-to-use utility automatically takes ACES 3.2 XML files and processes the data directly into the fitment database. To make things even easier, Amazon gives vendors exact instructions on how to prepare the data for import in order to minimize any chance of error during this process.
Compared to the laborious process of setting up and maintaining an AMTU feed, the Automotive Fitment Manager utility is markedly easier and puts control back into the hands of manufacturers in the automotive aftermarket space.
How PDM Can Help
PDM’s data management platform enables manufacturers, distributors, and resellers to manage and disseminate product content across every sales channel, including Amazon Marketplace, from a single source of truth. Interested in learning how we can help you sell more on Amazon? Get in touch with our team today.