In 2020, Amazon introduced the new Selling Partner API, replacing the Marketplace Web Service (MWS) and giving vendors and developers many new functions. If you’re a merchant or developer looking to learn more about the Amazon SP API and how it can help you, keep reading.

What is Amazon Selling Partner API?

The Amazon SP API is a modernized version of MWS. 

An important reason for the modernization was the privacy concerns arising from MWS sharing a lot of data with 3rd party applications, with no restrictions. The SP API takes care of that by only allowing developers access to the data they need for their tools. They can integrate their apps and apps of other vendors with SP API for sellers’ use after providing information about their data usage.

The SP API also allows developers and sellers to automate processes, like review requests, and import data elsewhere (e.g. personalized sales reports app) without having to download it from Seller Central. Each app is approved by Amazon through the SP API integration and can be found on Amazon Partner Network (APN).

Such automation is useful if a seller’s operations are complex, as apps reduce the hours spent on manual data entry. Apps are available for most eCommerce operations - inventory, advertising, shipping, etc.

Amazon SP API Design

Amazon SP API is REST-based with GET, POST, and PUT methods enabled. The authentication method is OAuth 2.0 with Login with Amazon (LWA).

Such JSON-based modernized design and security are compliant with the standards most developers expect today. They allow for simple and flexible automation of crucial operations. They also make it easy for third-party developers to integrate their APIs to access the vendor store’s data. 

It’s expected that the Amazon SP API, thanks to its significance in the e-commerce market and modern design, will serve as a benchmark for other e-commerce businesses and developers.

Benefits of Selling Partner API

  • Modern and flexible RESTful API design, favored by developers around the world.
  • A test sandbox mode for sellers & developers to test the APIs.
  • Automation of processes for vendors.
  • Improved privacy and transparency.
  • Advanced analytical insights into Amazon data (e.g., search term frequency reports, SKU availability).

Opportunities to create common data lakes from sales & ads info for comprehensive advertising strategies.

How to Start Using Selling Partner API 

To start using the Amazon SP API:

  1. You first have to create and secure a professional AWS account, which requires an email, business details, and a credit card. 
  2. For security, you need to enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). 
  3. It’s also recommended that you create separate users for specific roles and enable regions you intend to use. You can use this page as a guide for adding and securing the users, and enabling the regions.
  4. You then need to register as a developer if you’re planning on making your own apps. You can use this quick start reference to guide the deployment, best practices, and troubleshooting. It also features some useful links to the start guide and training.

Once you’re registered and signed in, you can deploy the SP API. This AWS page provides you with a deployment guide and helps you set up the AWS IAM role for secure interaction.

What is Amazon Selling Partner API
Image from AWS

To learn about what you can do with SP API and how to migrate from MWS, and to take a look at the Amazon SP API documentation, use this page for reference. If you’re a developer, you can also use the documentation at the GitHub repository and learn about the deployments and integrations here.

How to Connect to SP API

As described above, you’d need to create an account to connect to the SP API. Once you do, follow the directions specified here to configure and deploy the stack. Here’s a template to help you get started.

Getting Expert Help

Hiring an SP API developer can help you save time and concentrate on your business if that’s your priority. 

An expert developer can help with successful functionality, good UX, and app integration within the SP API suite, providing the vendors and developers with added value.

In addition, an expert can ensure you get all the updates to the suite of apps first-hand, given their industry experience. This ensures the apps you’re using are up-to-date and subject to constant improvements, are more secure and functioning properly.

APIs Within Amazon Selling Partner API Suite

Sellers and developers can use the Amazon SP API suite with different APIs, such as:

  • ​​Authorisation API
  • A+ Content API
  • Easy Ship API
  • Notifications API
  • Messaging API
  • Orders API
  • Product Pricing API
  • Reports API
  • Sales API

For instance, the Authorisation API allows migration from MWS to SP API. 

The SP API endpoints are listed in this documentation

Amazon SP API Sandbox

The SP API Sandbox mode, unavailable in MWS, allows you to test applications without any real impact on your Amazon data. It’s intended for testing functionality. The SP API has sandbox endpoints for North America, Europe, and the Far East regions.

How’s the Selling Partner API different from MWS API?

REST-based Amazon SP API replaced the XML-based MWS API, providing extra APIs for Amazon vendors, OAuth 2.0 authorization, and a test endpoint.

Why did Amazon retire MWS for SP API?

Privacy concerns, combined with the need for more automation of eCommerce operations and integrations with other apps, are the primary reasons for Amazon replacing MWS with SP API.

Roles in the Selling Partner API

The SP API roles are used to protect access to data (especially PII) and determine the developer’s permissions to get such access. Developers have to request it when creating applications. They can determine and request the role they need, based on descriptions. And if, for example, they need access to tax information to create an app to calculate the sales tax, they’d have to provide extra info for security controls.

Selling Partner API Endpoints

The SP API endpoints are connected to the AWS region - EU, North America, and the Far East. It’s important to make sure the right one is used because different credential scopes required for calculating a signature when calling the SP API are used for different regions.

Popular SDKs for Selling Partner API

Amazon SP API offers a few software development kits (SDKs) for its developers. Here are a few examples:

Final Thoughts

AWS SP API means new opportunities and added value derived from data and functions for developers and vendors alike. I’ve tried to highlight its main deviations from MWS, why SP API was created, the benefits vendors can get from it, and how to use it. 

I’ve also provided links to helpful resources. For the best experience and added value, it’s always ideal to hire an expert well-versed in AWS. ParticleByte builds the best custom eCommerce tools for Amazon merchants, and if you want to build something like that, we can help.