Behind the Screens: Alex and Amazon

You’ve heard about the Amazon features we launched last month. But, we wanted to give you an insider look into the process of why and how we created the new publishing and ASIN search. So, let’s meet Alex, who is the engineer who will take us on this Amazon journey.

Alex, for the fans, tell me a little about yourself, the man, the myth, the scotch legend.

Well, I’m originally from Denver, Colorado and I went to school in Boulder. Outside - and sometimes inside the walls - of Stitch, I enjoy music and whisk(e)y. In a former life, I used to DJ at some of the larger clubs around the country, and then decided to pursue my passion of tech.

Do you have a ‘holy grail’ whisky?
I had to opportunity to taste a 1953 GlenFarclis Family Cask recently, which would be my choice.

Why did we create Publishing Listings?

Publishing listings is something that a lot of customers wanted and is at the heart of what Stitch does – making it easier to manage a multichannel retail business. The more places you can list and sell your products, the more potential customers can find it and BUY it!  However, often setting up new channels can be prohibitive to retailers because of the time it takes. And retailers are busy enough as it is. With Amazon publishing listings, we remove that barrier and make it almost instantaneous to list products in Stitch onto Amazon.

(Author’s Note: Stitch now even has a program with Amazon to give customers the VIP treatment when first creating an Amazon seller account.)

How much easier did we make it?

Let’s do a side-by-side comparison of Amazon’s process and then how you would go about the same process within Stitch.

Step one in Amazon is going one-by-one and copy and paste to find the product you want to list. Then you would find the variation, copy and paste the SKU and price. Next step once it’s published would be to sync the listing back into Stitch and link it to the product. This is a very manual process, and very time consuming, especially if you’re doing this for many products and variants.

Now in Stitch, we use the existing information for each product already in your Stitch account to search through Amazon’s ASINs and automatically attach to that listing and update with your condition, SKU, price and stock quantity. There’s no copying and pasting or linking required.

Besides saving time, what is another benefit of publishing listings?

Linking your products through the workflow we created is one of the best benefits. There’s much less potential for error. A lot of this was just researching for the endpoints in Amazon’s APIs work, and how we can expedite this process for retailers.

What was challenging about building publishing?

One of the most challenging aspects was working with the complexities and nuances of Amazon’s API. Unlike most APIs we work with, like Shopify, which have only one end point, Amazon has six total. Additionally, the way it worked required a lot of back and forth communication to check as to whether certain actions had occurred. Now this required quite a bit of coordination because if you do too many checks you can get throttled and limited. This is something we are always aware of when building anything. We are incredibly conscious of the limits of our APIs and using them in the most efficient way since we are already working at such scale across these APIs. With Amazon we wanted to always toe that line of being both as efficient, but also as fast as possible. And I think we nailed it!

So, I’d say we’re becoming API experts, yes?

I think that is fair to say! We work closely with the APIs of all our sales channels, shipping and accounting solutions all day long. As the glue that keeps all these systems communicating, Stitch engineers have built a lot of expertise working with APIs. So we had that going in our favor when tackling Amazon publishing.

Now that we’ve done this, what’s next for the customer?

The end goal with almost everything we work on is to automate as much as possible for the retailer. This starts with automating parts of the process such as updating inventory quantities across channels, automatically populating purchase orders with low stock quantities, and now publishing listings on Amazon. But in the future we can automate end to end processes, helping the retailer make money while barely lifting a finger!

For example, imagine that from within Stitch you could order products from a drop shipper’s catalogue, which would then automatically create the products in Stitch and the listings across your different Amazon or Shopify sites. Then as orders came in they would automatically be sent to the drop shipper to fulfill the order! With just a few clicks in Stitch, the retailer has just expanded her product line across her channels and increased her revenue without ever having to hold inventory or ship a product! The future vision is pretty cool, right? And it’s getting closer every day!

The future does look very bright! For those of us who just can’t wait...what’s immediately on the horizon?

It opens up the availability for even more publishing automation, including *spoiler* eBay publishing.

 

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