What Is the Amazon Product Advertising API

Amazon.com lists millions of items for sale. Most of these items are warehoused and sold by Amazon or other large merchants. All of these items are part of the Amazon marketplace.

Product Advertising API operations only enable you to retrieve items that are stored by Amazon. Product Advertising API does not enable you to add items for sale to Amazon.

Amazon Product Advertising API

The Product Advertising API gives you much of the functionality that you see in action on Amazon's retail web site, Amazon.com. That functionality includes:

  • Find items to buy. These items are for sale by Amazon or other sellers.
  • Find information about those items. Item with an item, the author of a book, or the composer of an album. Please check attributes provided by Amazon Product Advertising API.
  • Get customer reviews of items. Show customers how others reviewed the items. So you can download Amazon reviews to Magento
  • Create a fully-functional shopping cart. Add items that are immediately available or ones that will become available, such as in a pre-sale of a book.
  • Add, remove, and modify the items in the shopping cart. Have full control over the contents of Magento shopping cart. Amazon products in Magento - checkout functionality
  • Get information about the company selling the item. Show customers what others think about the merchant selling the item.
  • Find similar items for sale. Generate additional sales by suggesting similar items that customers are buying.
  • Purchase the items in the shopping cart. When the customer buys an item, Amazon handles the shipping, payment, and order fulfillment, or notifies the seller.

Item Identifiers

All items for sale on Amazon.com have identifiers. There are two major kinds. The first identifies items regardless of whether or not they can be purchased:

  • ASIN — Amazon Standard Item Number
    An alphanumeric token that uniquely identifies items in the Amazon marketplace. All items in the marketplace have an ASIN. This is by far the most common identifier. ASINs are used by the majority of Product Advertising API operations. Product pages in the Amazon.com catalog provide buyers with an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) in the product details section and in the URL of the page itself. ASINs are used to reference catalog data, track inventory for products, and index catalog pages for search and browse.
  • OfferListingId
    An alphanumeric token that uniquely identifies items in the Amazon marketplace that can be purchased All items in the marketplace that can be purchased have an OfferListingId. This is by far the most common identifier for items that can be purchased. Every offer for ASIN has its unique OfferListingID, which makes it possible to address.

You can find the ASIN on the item's product information page at Amazon.com and in the URL for the page. The quickest way to find your product's ASIN is to look in your browser's address bar. Copy the number that appears after the item name and "dp" in the address:

You can find the ASIN on the item's product information page at Amazon in your browser's address bar

Other Item Identifiers

Amazon has other item identifiers but these are rarer and they can be used in fewer Product Advertising API operations. There are unique and universal identifiers used internationally to find product information across databases.

  • UPC — Universal Product Code
    An item identifier used in the US and CA locales. The UPC is the identifier used in bar codes. UPC (technically refers to UPC-A) consists of 12 numerical digits, that are uniquely assigned to each trade item.
  • EAN — European Article Number
    The International Article Number (EAN) (also kn own as European Article Number, which technically refers to EAN-13) is a 13-digit equivalent of the UPC that is used in Europe for products and bar codes.
  • JAN — Japanese Article Number
    EAN-13 barcode with number system 45 or 49. The equivalent of the EAN that is used in Japan for products and bar codes.
  • ISBN — International Standard Book Number
    It is a unique numeric commercial book identifier. To use ISBN-13, use the EAN IdType. For books with 10-digit International Standard Book Number (ISBN), the ASIN and the ISBN are the same. The Kindle edition of a book will not use its ISBN as the ASIN, although the electronic version of a book may have its own ISBN.
  • SKU — Stock Keeping Unit
    A merchant-specific identifier for a purchasable good, like a shirt or chair. A stock keeping unit (SKU) is a product and service identification code for a store or product, often portrayed as a machine-readable bar code that helps track the item for inventory. A stock keeping unit (SKU) does not need to be assigned to physical products in inventory.
    Amazon's version of the SKU is the ASIN. Amazon assigns items with SKUs an ASIN. If you had to search by SKU only, you would have to search each merchant's items independently because SKUs are not unique across all merchants. Several Product Advertising API operations enable you to search by SKU but the merchant must also be identified in the same request.
  • EISBN — Electronic International Standard Book Number
    A token that uniquely identifies a digital book.

All items in the Amazon marketplace have an ASIN even if they also have one of the preceding identifiers. Some Product Advertising API operations can use these identifiers. That functionality is presented as a convenience function. You would typically only use one of these identifiers if you knew it but did not know the item's ASIN.

The validity of these identifiers varies by search index, as shown in the following table.
Search Index UPC EAN SKU
Apparel Y Y Y
Automotive Y Y Y
Automotive Y Y Y
Baby Y Y Y
Beauty Y Y Y
Books Y Y Y
Classical Y Y Y
DigitalMusic Y N N
Electronics Y Y Y
HealthPersonalCare Y Y Y
HomeGarden Y Y Y
Industrial Y Y Y
Jewelry Y Y Y
Kitchen Y Y Y
Magazines N Y Y
Miscellaneous Y Y Y
Music Y Y Y
MusicalInstruments Y Y Y
MusicTracks N N N
OfficeProducts Y Y Y
OutdoorLiving Y Y Y
PCHardware Y Y Y
PetSupplies Y Y Y
Photo Y Y Y
Software Y Y Y
Tools Y Y Y
Toys Y Y Y
Video Y Y Y
Watches Y Y Y

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