Digital Marketing

EDI Integration: The game changer for Amazon sellers

By Steven, on June 2, 2023, updated on July 10, 2023 - 9 min read

Unlock the secret to seamless Amazon Vendor account management, decreased paperwork, and streamlined e-commerce operations.

The key is staring right at you: Amazon EDI Integration!

Let’s dive deep into the world of Amazon EDI integration and explore how this amazing tool can propel your e-commerce business to soaring success.

Understanding Amazon EDI: A cornerstone of modern e-commerce

What is Amazon EDI?

Amazon EDI, or Electronic Data Interchange, is a system that allows for the exchange of essential business documents and information in a standardized electronic format between trading partners.

Amazon Vendor has long used EDI for sending and receiving information about:

  • Purchase orders
  • Shipments
  • And invoices

With the launch of Amazon Vendor API in 2020, both EDI and API provide similar functionalities, but the choice between them mainly depends on your systems and preferences.

Also read : EDI: The Game-Changer for E-commerce Businesses

amazon seller central

How does Amazon EDI work?

This system functions through a computer-to-computer exchange of data between trading partners, eliminating the need for manual data entry and streamlining the entire process.

Think of it as two servers sending emails with attachments to each other, where the attachments are electronic messages containing essential business information.

When a system receives an EDI message, it decodes and processes the information seamlessly, mapping it onto the corresponding fields in the recipient’s system. This ensures a high level of trust between trading partners and faster transmission of critical business data.

By implementing Amazon EDI, you can greatly enhance your experience as an Amazon vendor or seller. The tool helps eliminate laborious manual work when accepting and fulfilling orders on the platform.

For suppliers dealing with high order volumes, manual data entry can take up at least 15 hours per week, adding to costs and increasing the chances of errors.

Integrating Amazon EDI into your e-commerce operations can significantly speed up and automate various business processes on Amazon.

By doing so, you not only reduce operational costs but also improve overall efficiency, making this tool a game-changer for online sellers.

If you know anything about the API, you’ll see that it has a few things in common with EDI. So you’re probably wondering what the differences are between EDI and API. Let’s take a look at these 2 solutions to clarify it.

Decoding the Amazon EDI vs. API debate

We are going to present the benefits and limitations of APIs and EDI to determine which is best suited for your business needs.

The pros and cons of APIs

APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, facilitate communication between different software systems by acting as intermediaries that allow them to share information via pre-defined protocols.

Some advantages of using APIs include:

  1. Real-time communication: APIs enable faster exchange of information between systems.
  2. Flexibility: APIs offer better customization options for integrating different applications.
  3. Easier setup: API integrations often have shorter setup times compared to EDI.

However, there are some drawbacks to consider too:

  1. Security concerns: Since APIs transmit data across the internet, there may be greater security risks compared to using dedicated EDI networks.
  2. Dependency on third-party providers: API users rely on external providers for support and updates.

The advantages of EDI over API

EDI has its own set of benefits over API, making it a viable alternative for many businesses:

  1. Standardized format: EDI messages follow universally accepted standards, ensuring data consistency and reducing the likelihood of errors.
  2. Enhanced security: Due to their dedicated networks, EDI systems offer more secure data transmission than APIs.
  3. Scalability: EDI can effectively cater to growing business demands, handling an increasing number of transactions as your company expands.
  4. Long-standing reputation: With years of proven success in various industries, EDI is a trusted and reliable choice for many businesses.

While API might seem like an easier and faster option for automation, EDI still holds its ground by offering standardized communication and better security. The choice between the two majorly depends on your requirements, preferences, and existing systems.

As you can see, EDI has a lot to offer. In particular, it can be very useful to use it with your Amazon Vendor Central.

A closer look at Amazon Vendor Central

Amazon Vendor Central is an exclusive, invitation-only platform designed for manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers to sell their products on Amazon.

This unique interface allows them to partner with Amazon, who purchases their products at wholesale prices and resells them to customers with the “ships from and sold by” tag.

How does Amazon Vendor Central work?

In contrast to Amazon Seller Central, which enables businesses to sell directly to Amazon customers, Amazon Vendor Central allows vendors to sell their products directly to Amazon itself.

By doing so, they eliminate the need to deal with customers directly, including managing product SEO, reviews, and ratings.

Amazon takes care of all aspects of:

  • inventory,
  • pricing,
  • shipping,
  • customer service,
  • and returns for certified vendors.

Moreover, the platform offers Vendor Central Direct Fulfillment, allowing vendors to operate as Amazon while shipping items directly to customers.

amazon fba

Benefits of using Amazon Vendor Central

There are several advantages of using Amazon Vendor Central for your online business:

  1. Order management: Receive orders effortlessly through the platform.
  2. Shipment data: Easily send shipment information for your products.
  3. Listing information: Update and manage product listings efficiently.
  4. Invoices and reimbursements: Handle invoicing and receive reimbursements with ease.
  5. Tailored ad campaigns: Create customized Amazon ad campaigns that target your specific audience.
  6. Visual reports: Access comprehensive visual reports that provide valuable insights into your business profits.

Through the Vendor Central portal, businesses can manage their entire operation while enjoying access to Amazon’s vast customer base, increased sales volume, and the use of the giant’s fulfillment network.

However, to join this program, vendors must receive an invitation from Amazon and be approved by the company.

Once accepted into the Vendor Central program, they can take full advantage of everything it has to offer in running a highly efficient and profitable e-commerce enterprise.

Amazon EDI: a boon for E-commerce sellers

Now that we’ve established a solid understanding of Amazon EDI and Vendor Central, let’s explore how integrating EDI can positively impact your online business.

Key features of Amazon EDI and how they benefit your business

Amazon EDI presents numerous features that can significantly enhance your business operations and contribute to a smoother, more efficient workflow.

Some of these key features include:

  1. Reduced paperwork: By automating the transmission of crucial business documents such as purchase orders, invoices, and shipping notices, Amazon EDI substantially cuts down the paperwork burden within your organization.
  2. Faster order processing: Amazon EDI speeds up the process of receiving, confirming, and fulfilling orders, helping you keep pace with growing order volumes.
  3. Improved accuracy: The automated exchange of information through Amazon EDI minimizes human error in data entry and processing, ensuring higher accuracy and reliability in your transactions.
  4. Streamlined communication: The standardized communication protocols used by Amazon EDI simplify the exchange of information between trading partners, fostering better collaboration and coordination.
  5. Increased scalability: As your business grows, Amazon EDI enables you to seamlessly handle larger order volumes without creating administrative, warehouse, or financial bottlenecks.

Is Amazon EDI the right tool for you?

If you are considering integrating Amazon EDI into your e-commerce operations, it’s essential to evaluate whether it is the right fit for your specific needs. Here are a few factors to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Volume of transactions: If your business regularly handles a large number of transactions, Amazon EDI can greatly reduce the time and effort spent on manual data entry while boosting efficiency.
  2. Current portal usage: If you’re already an Amazon supplier using the Seller Central or Vendor Central portal, Amazon EDI integration can simplify and automate your processes.
  3. Efficiency goals: If you’re seeking a streamlined solution for managing your Amazon orders, shipments, and invoicing, Amazon EDI presents an excellent tool to achieve that goal.
  4. Order processing capacity: Limited order processing capability may be holding back your business from scaling up its presence on Amazon. Implementing Amazon EDI could help you overcome this challenge and sell a larger number of products on the platform.
  5. Volume constraints: If your current web-based solution restricts the volume of orders you can handle, Amazon EDI can provide the scalability you need to grow your e-commerce business.
  6. Investment in EDI technology: You may be interested in adopting Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) but lack the necessary infrastructure and technical expertise for its implementation.

In this case, considering expert assistance for integrating Amazon EDI into your systems might be an optimal solution.

After reading all this, are you convinced that Amazon EDI is right for you? Then let’s get started right away.

Getting started with Amazon EDI: essential requirements

Before you embark on the Amazon EDI integration process, it’s crucial to carefully assess your business operations and consider the following steps:

1. Identify issues and evaluate needs

Discuss with your administration and finance teams to pinpoint the main problems that Amazon EDI could help resolve.

Determine the intensity of your need for EDI integration, along with the budget and timeframe for the project.

2. Research and select providers

Conduct thorough research to decide between off-the-shelf or customized integration providers. Watch demos from different service providers to analyze their solutions and make an informed decision.

3. Request access to EDI self-service startup

Once you have a Vendor Central account, request access to the EDI Self-Service Startup from the Amazon Administrator.

4. Complete Vendor Central’s self-service survey

Fill out the self-service survey on Vendor Central to connect your systems with Amazon.

The survey will require the following information:

  1. Product IDs and measurement codes:
  • Amazon ASIN,
  • UPC,
  • Vendor SKU,
  • EAN/ESBN-13,
  • ISBN-10,
  • GTIN.
  1. Measurement units:
  • EA (Each),
  • CA (Case),
  • UN (Unit),
  • PE (Pounds Equivalent).
  1. Sender/receiver IDs:
  • Qualifier and ID number (e.g., Qualifier: ZZ ID: LB867541).
  • Specify the qualifier based on the type of number (e.g., 01 for DUNS number, 30 for Federal Tax Identification Number)..
  • ZZ can be selected as a qualifier for IDs that don’t require a specific type.
  1. Item information:
  • In-stock item.
  • Discontinued item.
  • Invalid item.
  • Backorder item.
  • Cost.
  • Item Price.
  • Case Quantity.
  1. Connection method: Choose between AS2, Amazon-Hosted SFTP, or a Value-Added Network (VAN) for the connection between your back-end systems and Amazon Vendor Central. AS2 is recommended.

5. Ensure required EDI documents are in place

Certain EDI documents are essential for smooth Amazon EDI integration:

  1. Invoice EDI 810: Includes product prices, payment terms, remit to address, and other necessary data for payment.
  2. Inventory EDI 846: Contains prices and inventory storage units to be sold to Amazon.
  3. Purchase Order EDI 850: Provides order details such as order type, items ordered, shipping location, and shipping methods.
  4. PO Acknowledgement EDI 855: Shows the status of products shipped, including acceptance, rejection, changes, and real-time delivery and shipping timings.
  5. Shipment EDI 856: Lists all products being shipped, package IDs, tracking data, bill of lading, and shipping information.

Additionally, you may consider incorporating the following EDI documents for further automation:

  1. X12 EDI 753 Request for Routing Instructions.
  2. X12 EDI 846 Inventory Inquiry/Advice.
  3. X12 EDI 852 Product Activity Report.
  4. X12 EDI 860 Purchase Order Change Request.
  5. X12 EDI 865 Purchase Order Change Request Acknowledgement

Complete survey and test documents

After providing the required information and setting up the necessary connections, complete the survey within the Vendor Central portal and test each document to ensure seamless Amazon EDI integration.

Remember that registration for Amazon Vendor Central is by invitation only, so you’ll need to secure an invitation before implementing Amazon EDI integration in your e-commerce operations.

Integrating Amazon EDI: the DIY approach vs. expert assistance

Now that we’ve outlined the requirements for integrating Amazon EDI into your business, let’s explore the pros and cons of taking a do-it-yourself approach versus seeking expert help.

The challenges of self-Integration

Integrating Amazon EDI on your own can be a challenging task, especially given the strict guidelines that Amazon imposes on order fulfillment.

It is essential to have an efficient integration system between your EDI, ERP, e-commerce, and logistics systems to prevent costly charges due to delayed or inaccurate data.

Some of the penalties you might face include:

  • 1% of the cost for delayed Purchase Order (PO) acknowledgments or PO modifications.
  • $5 to $150 for delayed Advance Shipment Notice (ASN) documents.
  • 2% to 6% of the cost as a penalty for non-compliant ASNs.

These extra costs could significantly impact your bottom line, consuming anywhere from 25% to 200% of your net profit.

To address these challenges, you might consider implementing a connector capable of:

  • Providing accurate item and catalog information to Amazon via EDI.
  • Ensuring credible and compliant AS2/EDI interactions with Amazon.
  • Removing Service Level Agreement (SLA) violations and preventing expensive charges due to non-compliant EDI or inaccurate data.
  • Automating ASNs, PO acknowledgments, and other operations.

Although it is technically possible to set up Amazon Vendor integration independently – thanks to the technical documentation provided by Amazon – doing so requires substantial knowledge in handling EDI or API messages within your internal systems.

Moreover, accurately capturing and exporting the necessary data from your ERP system may prove difficult.

Considering the complexity of the integration process and the need for compliance with Amazon’s requirements, many vendors opt to work with third-party EDI service providers or systems integrators like EDI2XML.

Ultimately, the decision between DIY and expert assistance depends on your technical capabilities, the complexity of the integration, and your business needs.

The benefits of delegating Amazon EDI Integration

By outsourcing Amazon EDI integration to expert service providers or systems integrators, you can reap several benefits that help streamline your e-commerce operations and focus on growing your business.

Some of these advantages include:

  1. Hassle-free setup: An experienced EDI service provider can handle the complex integration process on your behalf, ensuring a smooth and seamless setup without any roadblocks.
  2. Compliance assurance: Experts will ensure that your integration complies with all of Amazon’s requirements, eliminating the risk of costly penalties due to delayed or inaccurate data.
  3. Time and resource savings: Delegating the integration process frees up your internal IT team, allowing them to focus on other mission-critical tasks while the experts handle Amazon EDI integration.
  4. Ongoing support and maintenance: Partnering with a third-party service provider ensures continued support and maintenance for your Amazon EDI integration, keeping your system up-to-date and running smoothly in the long run.
  5. Customizable solutions: Expert providers can tailor their integration services to meet the unique needs of your business, ensuring optimal efficiency and effectiveness for your e-commerce operations.

Amazon EDI integration in a nutshell

In a nutshell, Amazon EDI integration is a game-changer for online sellers, simplifying their e-commerce operations and streamlining communication with Amazon.

By automating the exchange of essential business documents, EDI can significantly improve efficiency, reduce errors, and save time and resources.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Amazon EDI allows for seamless data exchange between vendors and Amazon’s platform.
  • Saves time by reducing manual data entry and paperwork.
  • Improves accuracy and security of transactions.
  • Streamlines communication and scales with growing business demands.
  • Choosing between EDI and API depends on your systems and preferences.
  • Amazon Vendor Central offers various benefits for selling products directly to Amazon.
  • DIY integration can be challenging;
  • outsourcing to expert service providers like SEObrand is recommended.