How To List Products for Sale on Amazon

When you’re ready to start selling a product, the time has come to list the product for sale on Amazon. In this article, we guide you through the process of creating a product listing by matching to an existing listing, creating a new listing, listing multiple products in bulk, and offering bundles and subscriptions.

Before you create a product listing, we encourage you to read through all the following sections, so you’re better prepared to select the method that’s best for each product you’re selling.

Matching to an existing product listing

If a product you want to list is already being sold on Amazon, don’t waste your time doing what’s already been done. You can save a lot of time by matching your product to the existing listing.

To match to an existing listing, first find the product’s Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) or universal product code (UPC). To find the product’s ASIN, locate its product details page on Amazon and scroll down to the Product Information section of that page. The ASIN is typically displayed below the manufacturer.

Knowing the product’s ASIN or UPC, you’re ready to create a product listing based on the existing listing. Take the following steps to list your product:

1). After logging into Seller Central, open the Inventory menu and click Add a Product to display the Add a Product submenu.

2). Type or paste the ASIN or UPC from the existing product listing into the search box just below the “List a New Product” header and press Enter. Amazon displays the details of the product matching the ASIN you entered. If the product is in a category that requires Amazon’s approval to sell in that category, you see a Request Approval button. Otherwise, you see a Sell Yours button.

3). If the product is in a category that requires Amazon’s approval to sell in that category, click the Request Approval button and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process. After you obtain approval, you’ll be able to list your product for sale.

4). If you’re approved to sell in the specified category, click the Sell Yours button. The product listing page appears, prompting you to enter details specific to your product listing.

5). Type the requested details into the appropriate fields. The information requested pertains only to details specific to your listing, such as the following:

  1. Price
  2. Seller SKU
  3. Quantity
  4. Fulfillment channel — whether you want to have the order FBA or fulfill it yourself (Fulfilled by Merchant).

Because the product already has a listing, you’re not allowed to change most of the product details such as title, images, description, and bullet points, and you cannot update these details unless you own the brand.

6). Click the Save and Finish button.

Piggybacking on successful listings

Piggybacking involves finding hot selling products, getting their ASINs, and listing the same product for a lower price. Using this tactic, you take advantage of the popularity of the well-established product without going through the entire process of creating your own listing and trying to win the buy box.

Assuming you follow Amazon’s rules, piggybacking is ethical and legitimate. However, the practice has become controversial due to the misuse of the option by some sellers offering counterfeit products of popular brands, thus undermining the integrity of the Amazon marketplace.

To piggyback on existing products without crossing the line, be sure to offer the same exact product in original condition sourced from manufacturers and authorized distributors only.

When practiced ethically, piggybacking can be a great way to generate sales fast and build a good standing on Amazon when you haven’t yet had a chance to establish yourself.

Creating a new product listing

To create a new product listing (for a product that’s not already for sale on Amazon), first gather the following details:

  • SKU: This is your internal product identifier that helps you keep track of different products in inventory. Think of an identifier that clearly describes your product, such as iPhoneXS-max-6.5-64gb or iPhoneXS-max-6.5-256GB.
  • Product ID: Obtain the universal product code (UPC), European article number (EAN), or international standard book number (ISBN) from the manufacturer, if possible. If you want to sell an item that has no such product ID, such as a handmade product, you can request an exemption from Amazon, but you can’t list the product until your request is approved. See the later section “Requesting a GTIN exemption” for details.
  • Offer details: Offer details include the product’s condition (new or used), price, quantity, and shipping options. You can change these details at any time.
  • Product details: Product details include the product name (in the title), brand, category, description, and product photos or other relevant images. The product details describe the product so shoppers can make a well-informed purchase decision.
  • Keywords and search terms: These are words or phrases you think shoppers will use to find this product. Choosing these keywords and terms wisely can make your products easier to find, hence resulting in more sales.

When you have all the information required to list a product, take the following steps to create your product listing:

  1. After logging into Seller Central, open the Inventory menu and click Add a Product to display the Add a Product submenu.
  2. Search or browse for the category that best matches the product type, choose the category, and click the Select Category button.
  3. Enter the information requested, ensuring that you fill in all required fields.
  4. Click Save Changes to save the new listing and post it on Amazon.

In the following sections, we explain the key information required to list a product on Amazon in greater detail. We also explain how to request a global trade item number (GTIN) exemption to sell a product that has no UPC, EAN, or ISBN.

1. Requesting a GTIN exemption

A global trade item number (GTIN) is a UPC, EAN, or ISBN. You may not need a GTIN if the product you want to sell matches a product already being sold on Amazon. In such a case, you can sell through the existing product listing (see the earlier section “Matching to an existing product listing” for details). If that’s not an option, you can request a GTIN exemption. GTIN exemptions are commonly approved for selling the following items:

  • Private label or handmade products for which the manufacturer or publisher doesn’t provide a GTIN or a bar code
  • Parts or accessories, such as auto parts or cellphone accessories that don’t have a GTIN
  • Bundles of two or more products

Prior to requesting a GTIN exemption, gather the following information:

1). Product name

2). Two to nine images showing all sides of the product and its packaging

3). Support letter from the brand owner, manufacturer, or publisher in Word, PDF, or an image format containing the following details:

  • Name and contact info of the brand owner or other person authorized to write the letter
  • A statement that the brand doesn’t issue a GTIN and the reason for not doing so
  • The physical address of your business and your phone number, email address, and website address

With the required items and information in hand, take the following steps to request a GTIN exemption:

  1. After logging into Seller Central, go to the GTIN Exemption Page at https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gtinx.
  2. Type the brand or publisher name in the Brand/Publisher field or type Generic (case sensitive) for unbranded items or bundles. You can request up to ten exemptions at once. To do so, click + Add More Brands/Publishers to add requests for exemptions in the same category or + Add More Categories to add requests for products in different categories.
  3. Click the Check for Eligibility button. An Eligibility Summary appears with a checkmark in the Status column if the product is eligible and no checkmark if the product is ineligible (in which case, you won’t be able to proceed).
  4. If your product is eligible for exemption, click the Continue to Submit Proof button.
  5. After the Provide Proof page appears, follow the on-screen cues to upload your support letter and product images.
  6. Click Submit Request.

2. Adding a title

Every product listing must have a title of the product being listed. Titles for all non-media products must meet the following criteria:

  • No longer than 200 characters, including spaces
  • Must include product identifying information, such as “hiking boots” or “vacuum cleaner”
  • No promotional phrases, such as “free shipping” or “satisfaction guaranteed”
  • No decorative characters such as ~ ! * $ ? _ ~ { } # < > | * ; ^ ¬ ¦

Amazon doesn’t specify the same criteria for media products because certain characters and symbols might legitimately be part of the media product titles such as books and movies.

Failure to comply with these requirements may cause a product to be suppressed from Amazon search results. See our Amazon SEO guide for tips on using keywords strategically in the product title.

3. Composing a product description

Every product listing on Amazon must have a detailed and accurate product description (up to 2,000 characters, including spaces) that enables shoppers to make a well-informed purchase decision. Amazon encourages sellers to go beyond the manufacturer’s description to include the following details:

  • A description of the product in your own words
  • A concise, honest, and friendly overview of the product’s uses and where it fits in the category in which it’s listed
  • Features and benefits of the product, especially those that highlight its unique properties
  • Best applications for the product — for example, a vacuum cleaner that’s especially suited for vacuuming a car

When composing your product description, be careful not to mention competitors. Also, check spelling and grammar before submitting it.

See our Amazon SEO guide for tips on using keywords strategically in the product description.

4. Adding bullet points

Bullet points provide an opportunity to highlight key features and benefits of a product, so be sure to take full advantage of them. Some shoppers may not even read the product description; they may merely skim the bullet points and base their purchase decision solely on that content. Make your bullet points as brief but descriptive as possible, and include your most important keywords.

Technically, you can list a product on Amazon without bullet points, but we can’t imagine any seller doing so. Bullet points provide a golden opportunity to highlight the best your product offers and to increase your search ranking and sales.

5. Including product photos and related images

Amazon allows you to include up to eight images in your product listing, and we recommend that you fill all eight slots. Make sure your photos and other images are high quality and relevant to the product. Images may include the following:

  • Product-only photos: Amazon requires only one photo — a main product photo, which must be cover art or a quality photo of the product. Consider including additional product photos to show the product from different angles.
  • In-context photos: Photos of the product in use, such as a lawnmower being pushed across a lawn. Keep these to a minimum — only one or two.
  • Illustrations: Drawings that may be helpful in describing the product, illustrating its use, or highlighting a feature or benefit.
  • Printed content: For example, a label showing the ingredients of a supplement.

Increasing product visibility with search optimization

As you create product listings, one of your primary goals is for your listing to appear at or near the top of the list whenever a shopper searches for your product or similar products. You accomplish this goal via search optimization sometimes also referred as listing optimization. 

When creating a product listing, identify keywords and phrases that shoppers are likely to type to find the product and then use these keywords and phrases in your listing, specifically in:

  • Keywords
  • Listing title
  • Product description
  • Bullet items
  • Any text included with product photos

See our Amazon SEO guide for additional guidance on how to boost your product search ranking on Amazon.

Experiment with different product listings

If your existing product listing isn’t resulting in satisfactory sale performance, experiment with the listing to see whether certain changes can improve results. Revisit the listing title, product description, bullet items, price, product images, and all other facets of your listing, and reconsider your choice of keywords.

Listing multiple products in bulk

If you have a large number of products to list, creating product listings individually can be extremely time-consuming. To streamline the process, Amazon enables Professional Sellers to post product listings in bulk — listing hundreds or even thousands of product listings simply by uploading a spreadsheet that contains the details for every product you want to list. Amazon even provides bulk listing templates (inventory files) to simplify the process. The key to success is choosing the right inventory file template for the appropriate product category.

In the following sections, we lead you through the process of listing products in bulk.

Be careful when using Amazon inventory files. Uploading a completed inventory file that contains errors or omissions may introduce errors in existing product listings or eliminate one or more listings altogether.

1. Lay the groundwork

Before you can list products in bulk, attend to the following preliminaries:

  • Purchase and install Microsoft Excel, which is required to open and edit Amazon’s inventory files. (Another option is to use a free spreadsheet program that is Excel compatible, such as Apache OpenOffice Calc or LibreOffice Calc, which you can find and download online.)
  • If you’re using Excel, enable macros. Click the File tab, Options, Trust Center, Trust Center Settings, Macro Settings, Enable All Macros, OK, OK. Macros will appear on the Excel Add-Ins menu in the toolbar above the Amazon template. Macros include Validate, Upload File, Import File, and Update Template.
  • Request approval, if necessary, to sell in the desired product category. See the next section for details.
  • Match as many of your products as possible to existing product listings on Amazon, and then record the ASIN number for each. See the earlier section “Matching to an existing product listing” for details.

2. Request approval to sell in specific product categories

Amazon may require that sellers meet additional qualifications to sell certain brands or list products in certain categories. To determine whether approval is needed and to apply for approval if required, take the following steps:

  1. After logging into Seller Central, open the Inventory menu and click Add a Product.
  2. Search for the product you want to sell.
  3. In the search results, check to see whether a Listing Limitations Apply link is next to the product you want to sell.
  4. If no link appears, you’re free to list the product. Otherwise, click the Listing Limitations Apply link.
  5. Click the Request Approval button and follow the on-screen instructions to submit your request.
  6. Sometimes you get lucky, and the resulting screen simply indicates “Congratulations, you’re approved to list.”

3. Downloading an inventory file

To create and download an Amazon inventory file (a bulk listing template), take the following steps:

1). After logging into Seller Central, open the Inventory menu and click Add Products via Upload. The Products via Upload page appears.

2). Click the Download an Inventory File tab. The first section on this page contains Amazon’s product classifier.

3). Take one of the following steps:

  • Click in the Search Tool box, type one or more words to describe the category you think would be best, click Search or press Enter, and in the search results list click the Select button next to the category that’s the most appropriate.
  • Click a category in the Product Classifier list, continue to click down the tree of subcategories until you see the best match, and then click the Select button next to that subcategory. Clicking a category’s Select button adds it to the Summary of Your Selected Products list just below the product classifier. (You can remove one or more categories from this list by clicking the X to the left of the category you want removed.)

4). Repeat Step 3 to classify all products you want included in your inventory file.

5). Scroll down to Step 3: Select the Type of Template, and click one of the following:

  • Lite: To create a simple file that contains only the minimum information required to list products.
  • Advanced: To include all the attribute fields you can populate for each product.
  • Custom: If you want to add your own attributes.

6). Click Generate Template. Amazon creates the inventory file according to your specifications, and your web browser downloads the file to your computer.

Move your downloaded inventory file to a folder on your computer exclusively for inventory files. Whenever you edit the file in your spreadsheet program, use the File, Save As command to save the new version under another name, such as “Inv_020221_v2.” That way you have a history of changes for your records.

4. Completing the inventory file

After downloading your inventory file, open it in your spreadsheet program and check out the different sheets that comprise the inventory file. You can click the desired tab near the bottom of the screen to switch to the sheet you want:

  • Instructions includes instructions for entering product details into the template.
  • Images specifies Amazon’s image requirements.
  • Example provides an example of a completed template.
  • Data definitions define each attribute within the inventory template. For each attribute, this sheet presents its name, definition, use, acceptable values, an example, and whether it’s a required field. Turn to this sheet if you’re having trouble figuring out what to enter in each field on the Template sheet.
  • Template is the sheet on which you’ll enter your product information. Don’t edit any of the top three rows of the Template sheet. If you change any of the labels in the top three rows, your inventory file won’t be processed correctly when you upload it to Amazon.
  • Valid values provides a list of fields that require specific entries along with a list of valid entries for each field.

To complete the inventory file, click the Template tab, and enter the attributes for one of your products in the first row below the existing labels. Continue in subsequent rows, so you have the attributes for each product in a separate row. You don’t need to type an entry in every field for each product, but certain fields are required. After you enter (choose) the product’s type in the leftmost field in the row, required fields are outlined in red. You can also consult the Data Definitions sheet to determine which fields are and aren’t required.

Note that fields requiring a valid value are drop-down lists. You simply click the field and select one of the values from the list. By choosing an item from a list, you avoid the possibility of mistyping an entry.

When you’re done entering attributes for all the products you want to list, save the inventory file.

5. Uploading the completed inventory file

After you’ve completed your inventory file, you can check it and upload it to Amazon to list your products. Take the following steps to check and upload your inventory file:

  1. After logging in to Seller Central, open the Inventory menu and click Add Products via Upload.
  2. The Add Products via Upload page appears.
  3. Click the Check and Upload Your Inventory File tab. Under Step 1 – Check Your File, click Choose File and choose your inventory file, which is stored on your computer.
  4. Enter your email address in the Email Alert box, to receive an email notification when the upload is complete. Depending on the file size, uploads can take minutes to hours.
  5. Click the Check My File button. Amazon uploads the file and checks it for errors. You can click the Monitor Upload Status tab to check progress. When the file check is complete, the upload status notifies you of any errors. You can click the Download Your Processing Report link for details about any errors.
  6. Click the Check and Upload Your Inventory File tab.
  7. Scroll down to the Step 2 – Upload File section.
  8. Click the File Type button and choose the inventory file type.
  9. Click Choose File and choose your inventory file, which is stored on your computer.
  10. Enter your email address in the Email Alert box, to receive an email notification when the upload is complete.
  11. Click the Upload button.
  12. Click the Monitor Upload Status tab to keep track of the upload progress and check to make sure the file you uploaded has no errors. If the upload status indicates any errors, click the Download Your Processing Report link for details about them, correct the errors, and upload the file again.

One of the benefits of uploading listings in bulk is that you can edit your inventory file at any time and upload it again to update any attributes in your product listings. For example, if you change a product’s price, simply make the change in your inventory file and upload it to Amazon.

Listing variations and bundles

Product listings become a little more complicated when you’re offering variations or bundles. A variation is a product option, such as a T-shirt available in different colors or a smartphone with different storage capacity, such as 64GB or 128GB. A bundle is a group of products that are typically related, such as a mobile phone charger, a mobile phone cover, and a screen protector that would probably cost more if bought separately.

In the following sections, we explain how to create listings for variations and bundles.

1. Listing variations

Before you can create a variation, the following conditions must be met:

  • The product must have a parent listing: A main non-buyable product to which the variations relate, such as a T-shirt that can’t be purchased until the size and color are specified.
  • The product must have child listings: Specific products related to the parent listing, such as multiple listings for T-shirts in a variety of sizes and colors.
  • A variation theme must be specified: A variation theme defines how variations differ, such as by size or color.

You can create a variation by matching to an existing variation listing, by combining existing product listings in your account, or by creating a new variation listing. To match to an existing variation listing, take the following steps:

  1. In Seller Central, open the Inventory menu, select Manage Inventory, and select Add a Variation.
  2. Seller Central displays the Variation Wizard. Select Add to or Update an Existing Variation Family.
  3. Seller Central prompts you to search for the ASIN of the variation you want to list. Search for the variation ASIN or parent ASIN you want to list. Seller Central presents a list of all the variations of the selected product family currently in the Amazon catalog. In the Actions column, you have the option to edit a variation if it’s already in your account or “Sell Yours” if the listing isn’t yet in your account.
  4. Select Sell Yours, because you’re choosing to list an existing variation. The Variation Wizard prompts you to enter details about your product.
  5. Enter requested details about your product into any blank fields, including Condition, Quantity, and Price. If the variation you’re trying to add doesn’t exist in the variation family, you can add your own variation by selecting “Add Variation,” just under the variation list, and supplying all the requested details.
  6. Press the Save and Finish button.

If you have standalone listings in your account that qualify for being variations, you can combine them to create a variation family. Take the following steps:

  1. In Seller Central, Open the Inventory menu, select Manage Inventory, and select Add a Variation.
  2. After the Add a Variation Wizard appears, select Create a Variation Family by Combining Existing Stand-Alone Listings within Your Catalog. The Wizard prompts you to search for a variation or product parent ASIN.
  3. Search for the variation ASIN or parent ASIN you want to list. Amazon presents a list of all the variations of the selected product family currently in the Amazon catalogue.
  4. Follow the Wizard’s guidance to create a new variation family using category-specific templates.

Creating a variation listing for a product that’s not already listed on Amazon is a more involved process. Take the following steps to create a new variation listing:

1). In Seller Central, open the Inventory menu and click Add a Product.

2). Click I’m Adding a Product Not Sold on Amazon.

3). Search for or browse the category that matches the product you want to list and click the Select Category button.

4). On the Vital Info tab, fill in all the required fields (those marked with an asterisk) and click Continue.

5). Click on the Variation tab, open the Variation Theme drop-down list, and select the appropriate theme. After you list a product with the selected variation theme, you can’t change it. Amazon prompts you to enter values for the chosen theme.

6). Enter values for the selected theme. For example, if you chose color as the theme, you can enter “blue,” “red,” “green,” “yellow,” and so forth.

7). Click Generate Variations. A Variations Matrix appears, allowing you to add details for each variation, such as the following:

  • A product identifier such as a UPC (required)
  • A seller SKU, which is automatically generated if you don’t specify one
  • Offer details, such as condition, price, and quantity

You can delete variations at this point. To delete a variation, click the box next to it and click Delete Selection.

8). Click Continue.

9). Use the remaining tabs to add images, a product description, keywords, and other product attributes that you want to include for all variations. You can edit this information at any time via the Manage Inventory page.

10). Click Save.

You can use a category-specific inventory file to create variations when listing multiple products at once. Refer to the previous section “Listing multiple products in bulk,” and follow the instructions on the first sheet in the file to complete the fields for the variations you want to create.

2. Listing bundles

The process for creating a bundle is nearly the same as that for creating a listing for a product that’s not already listed on Amazon. (See the earlier section “Creating a new product listing” for details.) However, a listing for a bundle includes product images of all the bundled items, and the product’s title must include the title of the main item followed by “Bundles With” and the titles of the other items.

3. Creating product subscriptions

The Amazon Subscribe & Save program lets customers sign up for scheduled deliveries of certain products to earn a discount of 5 to 20 percent along with free shipping. Subscribe & Save offers are also available to registered Amazon Business customers for a discount of 5 percent regardless of product category or number of subscriptions.

Any coupons and promotional discounts you offer are added to Subscribe & Save discounts. For example, if you run a Lightning Deal on a product in the Subscribe & Save program, you must offer the deal price and award the buyer the Subscribe & Save discount. Be sure to account for these discounts when setting your product price.

To be eligible to offer Subscribe & Save, you must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Be registered with an FBA account and selling in FBA for at least three months
  • Be in good standing with Amazon
  • Have a customer feedback rating of at least 4.7

To activate Subscribe & Save for your account, take the following steps:

  1. Click Settings (upper-right corner of Amazon Seller Central), click Fulfillment by Amazon, and scroll down to Subscription Settings.
  2. Click the Edit button (upper-right corner of the Subscription Settings box).
  3. Click Enable and then Update.
  4. Read the FBA Subscribe & Save program agreement, and if you consent to the terms, click Agree.

Amazon uses the following criteria to determine product eligibility for Subscribe & Save:

  • Fulfillment history and in-stock rate
  • Sales performance
  • Product category
  • Average selling price

All eligible products are automatically enrolled in the program. To opt out of automatic enrollment, or to enroll a new product that hasn’t been automatically enrolled in Subscribe & Save, email your request to [email protected]

To access the Subscribe & Save dashboard for managing enrolled products, take the following steps:

  1. From the Seller Central main menu, select Programs and then Fulfillment Programs.
  2. Under My Programs, click Subscribe & Save. The Subscribe & Save dashboard appears.

Enrollment of new products in Subscribe & Save is limited to brand owners. Any products enrolled before December 18, 2019, remain eligible for Subscribe & Save regardless of whether you’re a brand owner.

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