Uploading items to Amazon can be quite a time consuming process, especially if you’re uploading items one-by-one. Thankfully, Amazon offers multiple speedier ways of bulk uploading products to your catalog in your marketplace account. One of these, is by adding items programmatically via an XML integration, the other, which is covered by this guide, is to use a Flat File template. The Amazon Flat File templates let you add individual items as rows in a spreadsheet - it’s especially useful if you already have items in a CMS that can be exported into the sheet. Furthermore, if you have similar items, you can use excel formulas to quickly generate content for your listings instead of typing each product attribute out manually.
If you’re unfamiliar of the term, Flat File can be used synonymously with a spreadsheet - meaning you can edit them your spreadsheet editor of choice.
This guide will cover basic information about Amazon Flat File templates and will go through one-by-one most columns (some are self explanatory) that are found within the template. Furthermore, this guide will give best practices about what should be entered in each so your items will rank higher on Amazon.
Types of Flat File Templates
Since sometimes you only need to make small changes to existing products like price, inventory or small text edits, Amazon offers different types of Flat File templates to speed up the updating process. Here are some of the important ones to keep in mind:
Inventory Loader: This template is used simply to update inventory quantities of your existing products in your seller account. The only required field is the product SKU, so it is very fast to fill out.
Price & Quantity: Like the name implies, this template lets you quickly modify the price and quantities for products already in your seller account.
Lite Templates: Each major product category has lite templates that may be used to create new products, however they strip away a lot of the extraneous columns that are found in the full product templates. This template is useful if your products are already existing ASINs on Amazon.
Full Templates: Full templates give you access to all of the possible customizations and meta-data that are available to edit for your given category. This is the template we will be working with for the rest of this article.
How to Download an Amazon Flat File Template
Amazon Flat File templates can be easily downloaded directly from Amazon. On this page, you’ll be able to download each of the different Flat File types and each of the full templates for each respective category.
The Browse Tree Guide (BTG)
The Amazon Browse Tree Guide is a massive guide containing each of the product categories found on Amazon. Finding the right category of your product will be important when it comes to completing the new product template. Being in the proper category can have a huge affect on the amount of search hits your item will receive.
Excel Tips for Completing the Template Faster
=concatenate(): While it is simple, this one can quickly let you create bullet points and other rich content out of existing columns from your CMS export.
=vlookup(): This is, hands-down, one of the most useful formulas you’ll be able to use while filling out the Flat File templates. Using this formula, you can get data from differently sorted tables that have similar data. For instance, if you have different product attributes of the same product in different tables or spreadsheets, you can use this formula to easily match them up without manually copy/pasting between sheets.
CTRL + SHIFT + ARROW: This isn’t a formula, but simply a very fast way to select entire columns or rows without scrolling. If you have thousands of items in a column and want to select all of them, use CTRL + SHIFT + ARROWDOWN and you will instantly select all the cells with data within a given column. Respectively, this will work for any of the other arrow key directions.
Amazon Flat File Template Item Attribute Guide
The next section of the guide will go through all of the columns found in the full Flat File item creation template. For this guide, we will use the home decor category. It is also important to note that, when entering information in this field, it is best to use full sentences and proper grammar. Doing so will improve your Amazon SEO and conversion rates.
SKU: This is your internal unique identifier for your item.
Product ID: This field is where you can enter the items UPC, EAN or GCID number, depending on the type of account you have, it may be a required field (it most likely will be for most sellers).
Product Id Type: In this field, you must enter the type of code you entered in the previous column (“UPC”, ”EAN” or “GCID”)
Item Name: Enter the product name here. Don’t enter any special characters or include any editorializations. However, you can use up to 200 characters (which is a lot) in this field, so be sure to include as many keywords as possible to make sure your item has a better chance of ranking well in search results.
Product Description: Enter the long description of the product here. Since you have 2000 characters to work with, it is important to be verbose and include all possible keywords that have to do with your product. This will help it rank better.
Product Type: Select the appropriate item for your product in the drop down. This will help categorize your product within Amazon so people can find it by browsing.
Brand Name: Enter the brand name of the product here.
Manufacturer: Enter the manufacturer of the product here.
Part Number: If it exists, you can enter the product number of the manufacturer here.
Item Type Keyword: This field is very important to the proper categorization of your item. Refer to the Browse Tree Guide to find the appropriate category keyword for your product and enter it here. A good strategy is to find several possible categories that would suit your item and select the category that has the least competition. This ensures that your product has the greatest amount of visibility.
Update Delete: This field can be ignored unless you are updating the product. If you are using this template to update an existing product, then enter Update here.
Model Number: This field is useful for customers who want to compare pricing if your item has a model number.
Standard Price: Price of the current product
Condition Type: This field is used to specify the item condition.
Condition Note: This field is useful if you’ve entered that the item is not new in the previous field.
Quantity: Self explanatory, enter the quantity available for this product.
List Price: This is the MSRP of the product. Depending on the amount that the list price is higher than the standard price, you can be included in the sidebar filter for discounted items. Therefore, it can help your product visibility to enter a number at least 30% higher than the standard product price in this field.
Minimum Advertised Price: If your manufacturer has imposed MAP on your product, enter that price here.
Launch Date: Enter the date that the product will be made like on Amazon. This field is optional.
Release Date: This is made for pre-orderable products, you can leave this empty
Restock Date: If a customer has ordered an item that has run out of stock, this date will let them know when it will be shipped.
Fulfillment Latency: This is the time it takes to ship the product after you have received the order. This field is important since it will display throughout the site when your product is present to show the consumer how much time it will take to receive their order.
Product Tax Code: A tax code given by Amazon, in most cases it will be: A_GEN_NOTAX
Sale Price: If you wish to make a sale on a given item, enter the sale price in this cell
Sale Start Date & Sale End Date: The dates for which the sale price will be valid.
Package Quantity: How many items are included in the final shipped order for the individual item.
Max Aggregate Ship Quantity: This field denotes how many times this item can be shipped to a customer in a single shipment.
Gift Messaging: This field tells the customer if they can include a gift message or not.
Shipping Template: Select a shipping template created in Seller Central or, if you do not have custom shipping templates, enter “Default Template”
Shipping Weight: Enter the shipping weight of the product without the unit of measurement. This number includes the weight of the package.
Shipping Unit of Measure: Enter the unit of measure you used for the weight in the previous field.
Item Display Length, Width, Height and Weight: Enter the dimensions of the actual product.
Bullet Points 1-5: This field is extremely important for product visibility and Amazon SEO. Enter each of them with relevant product keywords and make sure you used as much of the 250 character limit as possible. If your CMS exports product attributes, use the concatenate formula to quickly make these bullet points.
Target Audience: Enter the the kind of audience who will be actually using your products (i.e. if its for kids, teens, etc..)
Search Terms: This is another extremely important field to complete. Fill in as many keywords related to your product within 1000 characters. This has a great impact on how many searches your product will appear in. The concatenate formula will be useful here again to quickly fill this field with keywords. Note: Do not enter misspellings in this field as Amazon already keeps track of misspellings and doing so will waste precious characters available for this field.
Main Image URL: When using the Flat File, your images must be hosted on a server so they can be uploaded to Amazon. Enter the URLs of your product images here.
Fulfillment Center ID: If you are selling via FBA, enter the fulfillment center ID that you’ll be sending the current product to. If you are shipping the products yourself, then leave this field empty.
Package Height, Width, Length & Weight: Enter the dimensions of the final package of the product that it will be shipped in.
Parent: If the product you are selling has multiple variations and the current variation is the parent, then enter parent in this field. Else, enter child.
Parent SKU: If the item is a child, enter the SKU here. If it is the parent, don’t enter the SKU.
Relationship Type: Select the type of relationship the current child is to the parent product.
Variation Theme: Enter the type of variation that the product has. For instance, it could be something like Size or Color.
Other Flat File Fields
The rest of this guide will provide an overview of the remaining fields that are typically found within the Flat File templates.
This section is meant to enter product information relating to compliance with local laws and regulations. For instance, if your item contains electrical components, there will be certain compliance fields that will need to be entered. It is important to look through this section carefully and see if anything will need to be entered for your product.
Category Specific Sections
Certain Flat File templates will have extra columns for subcategories. Examples of this include, bed & bath, home, furniture, etc… It is important to fill out as much information as possible in these fields as many of them highly affect the searchability of your products. Like always, it is important to enter rich information that is properly written out and grammatically correct.
So that concludes this guide for now. I will be periodically including more fields as they are added to the template. Furthermore, I may create category specific guides in the future.