Back in August, eCommerceBytes reported on the announcement of Amazon’s new Subscriptions API and the role that Monsoon Commerce played in its development. As with any significant change to Amazon services, the announcement generated a lot of buzz along with questions about how sellers and repricing tools were positioned to take advantage of the new API features.
As a key member of the Subscriptions API beta team, we had a ground-floor view into the new functionality. We also had the unique position of providing input to ensure that the API optimally serves third-party marketplace sellers. Participating in the beta program gave our product development and engineering teams an advantage in making sure we adopted and leveraged the API’s new functionality to its fullest.
So, what does the Subscriptions API mean to sellers? And what do sellers need do to prepare?
Before we get into the specifics of the Subscriptions API, here’s a quick bit of history about the Amazon API changes we’ve seen over the past few years:
In 2012, Amazon deprecated a number of long-standing APIs and introduced the Marketplace Web Service (MWS) in their stead. The decade-old Product Advertising API (PA-API) went away, along with a couple of Amazon’s original APIs, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Amazon Inventory Management (AIM). With the roll out of MWS, Amazon aimed to provide pricing data specifically to sellers—rather than affiliate partners—and to manage the data stream more efficiently. Building on MWS, Amazon developed the Subscriptions API to provide sellers with improved pricing delivery mechanisms and a more robust set of competitive offer data.
What exactly is the Subscriptions API?
In a nutshell, the Subscriptions API allows you to compete more effectively against the top 20 listings for items that you sell.
After an item is subscribed, a notification is pushed, by condition (new or used), any time there’s a price or offer listing change to one of the top 20 offers for that item. When your item is new, information about new offer changes is pushed. When your item is used, information about used offer changes is pushed.
How is this different than previous Amazon APIs?
Amazon has essentially moved from a request model to a push model, automating the delivery of information to sellers in a way it’s never done before.
What are the benefits of Subscriptions API?
- Supports immediate and responsive repricing due to more rapid data delivery.
- Adds new ways to filter competitors in pricing strategies.
- Provides more immediate feedback on the efficacy of pricing strategies so sellers can respond to market shifts more quickly.
- Restores some pricing and market data that is unavailable through other pricing API calls to MWS.
For Monsoon Pro customers, the adoption of the Subscriptions API into Monsoon Commerce Web Services (MCWS)—our roster of pricing services—means faster repricing coupled with the most robust pricing data of any marketplace listing and pricing solution on the market. Sellers can create customized pricing strategies based on a great depth of criteria, including competitor data, repricing patterns, the value of individual items, and the likelihood of sales. Faster repricing plus targeted pricing strategies also means better positioning to win the Amazon Buy Box.
Monsoon Pro has a powerful set of existing features that will leverage the data coming from the Subscriptions API. Using Monsoon Pro, you can continue to:
- Target your price directly against the current Buy Box winner
- Exclude particular competitors from repricing competition
- Compete against listings based on condition, fulfillment type (FBA or merchant fulfilled), or Featured Merchant status
Is there any downside to using the Subscriptions API?
The velocity and volume of listing and price change information could be overwhelming for some sellers. It’s imperative that the data is managed effectively, preferably through a third-party tool that can leverage the data in an automated way.
What do sellers need to do?
As with any new API from Amazon, it’s critical that sellers be prepared to take advantage of the new information that’s provided. If you’re a Monsoon Pro customer, there’s no need for you to do anything – we take care of everything for you. When sellers update to the most recent version of Monsoon Pro, they automatically receive all of the benefits offered by the Subscriptions API.
If you rely on other marketplace selling tools and repricers to list and price on Amazon, touch base with your provider to be sure they’re prepared.
If you sell independently, check out Amazon’s documentation for more information. To take full advantage of the new features offered by Subscriptions API, consider investing in a marketplace selling tool.