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This article applies to selling in: United States

Build your inventory file

Individual sellers: This feature is only available to sellers with a Professional selling plan. Learn more by visiting Selling plan comparison.

You can use inventory file templates to list your products in the Amazon catalog and to offer them for sale on Amazon. Inventory file templates let you add or edit product listings in bulk. You can create a template to suit your specific requirements and list different types of products across multiple categories using one template. First, create your template using the Add a Product via Upload tool. For more information, see Create your inventory file template.

Tips for building an inventory file


We recommend that you keep a backup copy of your completed template on your computer hard drive.


The SKU is the key field in every inventory file and should not be altered or reused. Amazon uses the SKUs in your inventory file to associate your product listings (the product page ASIN and your offering) with your individual inventory level records in the Amazon catalog. This means the following:

  • Every product in your inventory file must have a unique SKU.
  • Every new SKU you upload to Amazon results in the creation of a new record in the Amazon catalog.
  • Because each record is unique, an existing SKU cannot be changed. It remains in the catalog until you delete it.
  • If you upload an inventory file with data for a SKU that already exists, the most recent data replaces data from previous feeds.

Standard product identifier

We recommend that you always provide the UPC, EAN, JAN, or ISBN when creating a new product page on Amazon. For more information, see Product identifiers. For the requirements for each category, including exceptions and exemptions where available, see Category and product code requirements.

Search terms

Customers primarily use search terms (keywords) to find products on Amazon. Good search terms go a long way toward increasing product visibility. Most products can support five keywords. Think like customers do and use search terms that are popular on your own website or for your product line. For more information about using search terms, see Use search & browse.

Note: Standard Book Loader files do not support search terms (keywords). Amazon assigns search and browse information for products listed in the Books category. However, you can use the Add a Product tool to increase the number of search keywords for your Books products.

Variation relationships

Some categories support variation relationships that include single parent product and multiple child products.

Parent products are non-sellable products that you list in your inventory file so you can create relationships between products.

Child products are unique, sellable products linked to a parent product. The child product is similar to other child products (or siblings) linked to the same parent product. However, the child varies from its siblings according to specific criteria. These criteria are described in the variation-theme section of the Data Definitions tab on the inventory file template. Acceptable variation themes differ by category but might include attributes such as size, color, and flavor.

Set up parent-child relationships in your inventory file whenever possible. This makes search and browse results much more manageable for customers because related child products are grouped together. When you set up parent-child relationships, distinguish each child product in the title. For example, if you sell shirts and some are red and some are blue, use "Shirt, Red" and "Shirt, Blue."

Note: You must set up a parent-child relationship if an appropriate variation theme exists for your products and category.

You can view the child ASINs for each parent ASIN in the Amazon catalog on the Add a Product page in your seller account.

For more information, see Variation relationships.

Save your inventory file

Before you upload your inventory file to Amazon, you need to save it as a text (tab-delimited) file. Perform this step after you add products to your product inventory file.

Here is how to save your updated inventory file:

  1. Save your work as an Excel workbook one final time. We recommend that you create a backup copy and add a date to the file name. This will help to keep a history of your work if you want to refer to prior versions or if there is an error in processing.
  2. Make sure the worksheet tab that contains your data is active.
  3. On the File menu, click Save As. The Save As dialog box appears.
  4. In the Save As Type select Text (Tab-delimited) (*.txt). Browse to where you would like to save the file, rename the file, and click Save.
    • Click Yes if you see a warning that the selected file format (the tab-delimited file type) does not support workbooks containing multiple worksheets.
    • Click Yes if you see a warning that your file contains features incompatible with the selected Text (Tab delimited) file format.

You are now ready to upload your inventory file. For more information, refer to Upload your inventory file.

Set the lead time to ship in an inventory file

The lead time to ship is the time it takes you to get a product to your shipment carrier. The total shipping time is then lead time + carrier time.

The following table identifies the fulfillment messaging that Amazon provides to customers based on the product-level availability you provide in your inventory data feed. Your product-level availability must be a number between 0 and 30.

Input Availability Message Min Days Max Days
NULL, 0 In stock 1 2
1 In stock 1 2
2 In stock 1 2
3 In stock. Processing takes an additional 2 to 3 days for orders from this seller. 2 3
4 In stock. Processing takes an additional 3 to 4 days for orders from this seller. 3 4
5 Usually ships in 4-5 business days 4 5
6-10 Usually ships in 1 to 2 weeks 6 10
11-15 Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks 11 15
16-20 Usually ships in 3 to 4 weeks 16 20
21-30 Usually ships in 1 to 2 months 21 30
Note: If you do not specify a lead-time-to-ship value, the value is set to 1 to 2 days. If you use an inventory file template to update your inventory amounts, be sure to specify your lead-time-to-ship value in the fulfillment_latency field.
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