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This article applies to selling in: United States

Use the purge and replace option

If you decide to change the SKU naming convention you use to reference your products, you can use the purge and replace option to do this. In general, it is not recommended to use the purge and replace option to routinely manage your inventory levels. Use the purge and replace option sparingly and for special cases where you need to start from scratch with new inventory counts or need to make changes to your SKU-naming conventions.

Important: We recommend that you request and download an Active Listing report before using the purge and replace option. The Active Listings report provides a good basis for reviewing your existing inventory records and can also serve as a backup file in case there is an error in the file you send when you perform a purge and replace.
Note: When using the purge and replace option, if you have a North America Unified Account and use global SKUs to share inventory, deleting the listing in one Amazon site will also remove the listing from other Amazon sites.

How to use the purge and replace option

Purge and replace deletes your entire inventory and replaces it with the contents of the file you are uploading. To upload a purge and replace feed, follow the steps below.

  1. In Seller Central, click the Inventory tab.
  2. Go to Add products via upload and click Upload your inventory file.
  3. Choose the file type as Inventory loader under Purge and replace your inventory section.
  4. Click the Browse button to search for the text file you want to upload. You need to select the document in tab-delimited text format (ending in ".txt").
  5. Click the Purge and Replace button to upload your file.

When to avoid the purge and replace option

You should not use the purge and replace option to change your SKUs in the following two cases:

  • If there is overlap between your old and new set of SKUs, where any new SKU references a different product than the old one, don't use purge and replace.
  • If you are using the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service, don't use purge and replace. It is not possible to use a different SKU for a product fulfilled by Amazon. In this case, you can create new SKUs for all your products not fulfilled by Amazon and then delete all old SKUs.

Specifically, we don't recommend using purge and replace to perform the following tasks:

Disabling out-of-stock offers

If you have a large inventory, it is not recommended to make regular purge-and-replace uploads with inventory files containing only in-stock products. If your file does not contain a complete list of the products you want to make available for sale, you may unintentionally remove listings and product data contributions for some of them. Also, the processing time of a file with the purge and replace option may take several hours and your available inventory levels may change during that time.

If you run out of stock on some products, use the Price and Quantity file to set the stock levels to 0. You can use this file to modify all of your listings, including those that were submitted manually through the Add a Product tool. It is also a more efficient process that saves you the additional effort of re-listing your products later.

Synchronizing your product database with your Amazon product listings

Although it is not recommended, you may use the purge and replace option to keep the products you list on Amazon synchronized with your own product database. The risk with this practice is having an error in your inventory file or uploading the wrong file, which may potentially erase your entire inventory on Amazon. This could result in lost sales opportunities while you re-list your products.

Important: We recommend that you explicitly delete a product from your inventory only if you know that you are never going to sell that product again. If you are just temporarily out of stock, do not delete the product but do set the quantity to zero (0).

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