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Automate your Vendor Central Direct Fulfillment purchase orders workflow

This blog post describes how to automate your business processes using the Direct Fulfillment APIs.

By Supriya P., Solutions Architect, Selling Partner Developer Services | November 17, 2023

Amazon provides vendors with a range of APIs for the Direct Fulfillment business program. This blog post shows how integrating with these APIs simplifies vendor integration, fosters success, benefits the customer experience, and facilitates smooth business operations on Amazon's platform.

Vendor Direct Fulfillment business automation overview

Vendors can automate all order processing related business processes with Amazon Vendor APIs. This covers receiving new orders, submitting order acknowledgments, shipping confirmations (ASN), automating shipping labels requests, generating packing slips, inventory updates, and creating invoices. This boosts efficiency compared to Vendor Central manual procedures. If you are using your own carrier, you can also integrate with the API to send shipment updates to Amazon, while keeping the end customers informed about their order delivery.

We offer Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Application Programming Interface (API) as automation options for supply chain optimization and vendor trading relationships for Direct Fulfillment businesses. EDI is the electronic exchange of information between businesses in a standardized format. API enables web service integration.

Several of our most successful Direct Fulfillment (DF) business partners are using automation. This has allowed them to improve and maintain their performance at scale and grow their business with Amazon, as well as save time and cost from reducing manual error-prone processes. Automation allows seamless inventory updates multiple times per day, resulting in an item catalog that is always up-to-date and preventing order cancellations, low performance and bad customer experiences.

Vendors are free to choose the EDI or API option that suits them best. Both can be simultaneously used for different business processes. The API is a flexible JSON-based REST API with extra options for Vendor Central automation. This includes tasks like creating and managing Amazon listings, cutting down on catalog management time, minimizing listing errors, optimizing sales channels, and swiftly accessing multiple report types.

As a Direct Fulfillment vendor, you can automate your business process interaction with Amazon to:

  • Optimize supply chain operations.
  • Reduce manual operations cost.
  • Reduce errors and improve performance.
  • Scale for future growth.

Direct Fulfillment SP API offerings

To qualify as a Direct Fulfillment vendor, a vendor ships orders to customers on Amazon's behalf. After a customer makes a purchase from Amazon on Amazon's retail website, the Direct Fulfillment vendor ships the order directly to the customer. In this case, the items are owned by Amazon but stored in the vendor’s warehouse. In this complete workflow for end to end ordering automation, Amazon offers a set of APIs collectively called the Vendor Direct Fulfillment APIs.

Order fulfillment cycle workflow using the Direct Fulfillment APIs

Order fulfillment cycle workflow using the Direct Fulfillment API’s

Order Fulfillment manual process from Vendor Central without APIs for a Direct Fulfillment businessOrder Fulfillment automated process with API offerings for a Direct Fulfillment business
The vendor receives an order notification email and checks Vendor Central to review the order.The API server stores POs to serve to API client requests.
The vendor checks their internal systems for what is in stock, what might be in stock, etc.The List/Get Customer invoices API is available in the IN region only. IN vendors can download these along with orders.
The vendor goes to Vendor Central and confirms the order.The vendor uses the Orders API to get PO data using the getOrders or getOrder operations.
The vendor downloads the shipping label from Vendor Central or creates their own label.The vendor system processes those orders in their order system.
The vendor goes offline and handles shipping.The vendor sends us the order acknowledgement to confirm or reject order items based on their inventory using the submitAcknowledgement operation.
The vendor goes to Shipments in Vendor Central and submits shipment data.[Optional for Own label vendors] The vendor can request and download a ship label with the getShippingLabels operation.
The vendor downloads the packing slip for the customer order.The vendor uses the submitShipmentConfirmations operation to send and notify us of the shipment details. The vendor then uses the getPackingSlips operation to retrieve the packing slips.
The vendor inputs the invoice into Vendor Central.The Vendor sends us the invoice to get payment released for the shipped items using the submitInvoice operation.

These are the Vendor Direct Fulfillment APIs for your business functions:

  • Orders : The Vendor Direct Fulfillment Orders API will enable vendors to get purchase orders from Amazon and Acknowledge orders.

  • Shipping: The Vendor Direct Fulfillment Shipping API will enable vendors to send shipment confirmations, request and download shipping labels, and download packing slips.

  • Payments: The Vendor Direct Fulfillment Payments API will enable vendors to submit invoices.

  • Inventory: The Vendor Direct Fulfillment Inventory API will let vendors submit changes to their inventory levels of existing items.

  • Transactions: The Vendor Direct Fulfillment Transactions API will provide vendor the processing status of their order acknowledgements, shipment confirmations, shipping label requests, shipping statuses, inventory feeds, and invoices.

Use CaseBusiness ProcessEDIAPI OperationDescription
Submit inventory updatesInventory ManagementYessubmitInventoryUpdateHelps vendors to submit inventory updates for the specified warehouse for either a partial or full feed of inventory items.
Get new purchase orderPurchase Order ManagementYesgetOrdersHelps vendors to fetch new Purchase Orders (POs) from Amazon's system and process the POs on their side.
Check purchase order statusPurchase Order ManagementNogetOrder and getOrdersHelps vendors to check the current status of a purchase order in Amazon's system.
Submit purchase order acknowledgementPurchase Order ManagementYessubmitAcknowledgementHelps vendors submit a PO confirmation/acknowledgement once they retrieve and process the PO from their side. The vendor can accept or reject a purchase order for fulfillment.
Check purchase order acknowledgment statusPurchase Order ManagementNogetOrder and getOrdersHelps the vendor check the current order status and review if it is confirmed.
Provide shipment info to generate shipping labelShipping ManagementYessubmitShippingLabelRequestHelps vendors submit shipment information to Amazon to generate shipping labels for purchase orders.
Get shipping labelsShipping ManagementYesgetShippingLabelsHelps vendors retrieve the shipping labels which generated using the data posted using the submitShippingLabelRequest operation.
Create shipping labels synchronouslyShipping ManagementYescreateShippingLabelsHelps vendors create shipping labels for a purchase order and returns the labels.
Create or submit advance shipment notification (ASN)/shipment confirmationsShipping ManagementYessubmitShipmentConfirmationsHelps vendors submit shipment notification/confirmations to Amazon for the items in the PO they processed in their system.
Update ASN/shipment confirmationsShipping ManagementYessubmitShipmentConfirmationsHelps vendors send any updates for the shipment confirmation they posted earlier for a PO.
Submit a shipment status for Vendor Own Carrier (VOC) shipmentsShipping ManagementYessubmitShipmentStatusUpdatesHelps vendors submit a shipment status update for the package that a vendor has shipped.
Get packing slipsShipping ManagementYesgetPackingSlipsHelps vendors get a list of packing slips for the purchase orders which match the criteria specified.
Get customer invoicesInvoicinggetCustomerInvoicesHelps vendors get customer invoices for all purchase orders or a specific purchase order.
Submit vendor invoicesInvoicingsubmitInvoiceHelps vendors post vendor invoices to request payment from Amazon for items shipped.
Get the status of DF API processingTransaction StatusNogetTransactionStatusHelps vendors get status transactions indicated by the specified transactionIds for orders, shipping, inventory and invoices processing.

To get personally identifiable information (PII) data from the APIs, it will require a Restricted Data Token (RDT) for authorization. For more information, refer to the Tokens API Use Case Guide.

We also have Dynamic Testing available for Direct Fulfillment APIs which allows vendors to test end to end with Amazon's systems, including real time scenarios which help in achieving a better integration experience. Refer to the Vendor Direct Fulfillment Dynamic Sandbox Guide and Demo video for more details.

Getting started

Now that you have learned about the Direct Fulfillment APIs available, the next step for you is to start the integration process. You do the initial setup just once and make calls to different API endpoints as per your requirements.

The high level steps for integration include:

With the SDK’s we provide (Java and C#) you can make requests to the Selling Partner API with the code already set up for you. Amazon also provides Login with Amazon token exchange (exchange a refresh token for an access token), authentication, and Swagger models for developers to create software to call Selling Partner APIs. For details on utilizing our SDK’s, refer to Automate your SP-API calls using Java SDK or Automate your SP-API calls using C# SDK.

Conclusion

In this blog post, you have learned the benefits of automating your Direct Fulfillment business with SP APIs and the SP Vendor API offerings provided by Amazon for your Direct Fulfillment Business use-cases. For more details on different Selling Partner Vendor APIs available for different business use-cases, refer to Getting started with Selling Partner API for vendors. For questions on the available APIs or issues with implementation contact Vendor Central Support. You can interact with other Amazon API developers on the Amazon GitHub issue page.

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