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Amazon Bulk Services: Creating a package hierarchy

With the Amazon Bulk Services (ABS) program, you can link units, case packs, and pallets of a product into a Package hierarchy. Package hierarchy is at the core of the Amazon Bulk Services (ABS) program. Once multiple package configurations of a product are linked using package hierarchy, you will receive enhanced seller and customer experience features. The hierarchy can consist of units, cases, and pallets, defined as follows:

  • Unit (also Each, Item): Smallest saleable package of a product, for example a “box” of 10 pens.
  • Case (also Case pack): Package containing multiple units, for example a “case” of 10 “boxes”.
  • Pallet: Stacked units or cases on a wooden or plastic frame to facilitate shipping and storage. For example, a “pallet” of 100 “cases”.

Different package configurations - unit, case, pallet - of a product can be represented in a package hierarchy with multiple levels of parent-child relationships. The following are the most common types of package hierarchies:

Parent Child
Case containing multiple Units Case Unit
Case contains Unit
Pallet containing multiple Units Pallet Unit
Pallet contains Unit

Pallet containing multiple Cases and each Case containing multiple Units

Pallet

Case

Case

Unit

Pallet contains Case contains Unit

Many other hierarchies are possible, such as:

  • Case 1 containing Case 2 containing Unit
  • Pallet containing Case 1 containing Case 2 containing Unit
  • Case 1 containing 10 Units and Case 2 containing 20 Units

Package hierarchy versus Variation

Package hierarchy is different from variation relationships. Variations are sets of products that are related to one another in terms of size, color, flavor, and so on. With package hierarchy, different package configurations (unit, case, pallet) are linked to each other through an established hierarchy. Features for better seller and customer experience, including the referral fee discount launched as part of the ABS program, are applicable for products linked using package hierarchy but do not apply to variations. Package hierarchy and variation relationships can co-exist, that is a product can be part of a variation relationship and also a package hierarchy at the same time.

Variation Package hierarchy

Parent

Green color product Blue color product Yellow color product

Pallet contains Case contains Unit

Create or change a package hierarchy

Package hierarchy can be created:

  • for products already listed on Amazon, or
  • while creating new listings

Currently, you can create a package hierarchy using templates on Seller Central. Support for a web-based interface and API integration will be introduced later down the line.

Program eligibility

  • Only seller-fulfilled offers are currently eligible to participate in the program. We are working on extending support for Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA).
  • You must be brand authorized to be able to create a package hierarchy.
  • Every package configuration (unit, case, pallet) of a product must have a distinct external product ID (such as GTIN or UPC).
  • The program is applicable for hardline and consumables product types.

Using Seller Central templates

Templates are used to create listings in bulk and are not specific to package hierarchies. We have introduced three new attributes in already available templates to enable package hierarchy creation.

New attributes to create a package hierarchy

The three new attributes used to enable package hierarchy, which have been implemented into existing Seller Central templates, are:

  • Package level: Indicates whether a product is a unit, case or pallet
  • Package contains identifier: Indicates the SKU of the product contained in the package. This field is left blank if the package level is “unit”.
  • Package contains quantity: Indicates the number of SKUs contained in the package. This field is left blank if the package level is “unit”.

For example:

Case containing 10 units

case seller SKU: Case_SKU

unit seller SKU: Unit_SKU

For Case:

  • Package level = case
  • Package contains identifier = Unit_SKU
  • Package contains quantity = 10

For Unit:

  • Package level = unit
  • Package contains identifier = blank
  • Package contains quantity = blank

Pallet containing 5 cases and each case containing 20 units

pallet seller SKU: Pallet_SKU

case seller SKU: Case_SKU

unit seller SKU: Unit_SKU

For Pallet:

  • Package level = pallet
  • Package contains identifier = Case_SKU
  • Package contains quantity = 5

For Case:

  • Package level = case
  • Package contains identifier = Unit_SKU
  • Package contains quantity = 20

For Unit:

  • Package level = unit
  • Package contains identifier = blank
  • Package contains quantity = blank

Create a package hierarchy

There are five steps to creating package hierarchy.

Step 1: Identify the right products

Identify products for which you sell or want to sell in 2 or more package configurations: unit, case pack, or pallet. For example, let’s say you sell a box of 10 pens (unit) and a case of 10 boxes (case pack) or you sell a box of 10 pens (unit) and want to sell a pallet with 100 boxes.

Step 2: Download the template


  1. In Seller Central go to Inventory > Add Products via Upload > Download an Inventory file.
  2. Download the template:
    1. Select the right product type. You can select multiple product types.
    2. Select the store.
    3. When selecting the type of template, select either Advanced or Custom mode. If you select the Custom mode, make sure to include “Variation attribute group” that includes the package hierarchy attributes.
    4. Click Generate Template.

The template will have multiple tabs: “Instructions”, “Images”, “Example”, “Data Definitions”, “Valid Values” to help you to fill out the template. The “Template” tab is where you have to input information.

Step 3: Fill Template

There are two possible scenarios as you fill the template:

  • Product is already listed on Amazon: For example, unit and case of pens are already listed on Amazon. In this case, you only need to fill the template with information to create a package hierarchy:
    1. Fill item_sku and external_product_id. Each configuration (unit, case, pallet) of a product should have distinct external product IDs (such as GTIN or UPC).
    2. Fill the package hierarchy attributes as illustrated below in the Filling package hierarchy attributes section.
    3. Set the update_delete attribute to PartialUpdate.
  • Product is not listed on Amazon: For example, a unit of pens is already listed on Amazon but a pallet isn’t. In this case, in addition to providing information to create a package hierarchy, you also need to provide information to create a listing for the pallet:
    1. Fill at least all the mandatory fields, including item_sku and external_product_id. Each configuration (unit, case, pallet) of a product should have distinct external product IDs (such as GTIN or UPC).
    2. Fill the package hierarchy attributes as illustrated below in the Filling package hierarchy attributes section.
    3. Set the update_delete attribute to Update.

Alternatively, you can first create a listing, and then submit the package hierarchy information.

Filling package hierarchy attributes

The following table outlines how to fill out the package hierarchy attributes in Seller Central templates for a unit, case, and pallet:

Relationship Type package_level package_contains_quantity package_contains_identifier

relationship_type package_level package_contains_quantity package_contains_identifier
For a Unit

unit

For a Case package_contains case Quantity of the seller SKU contained in the case Seller SKU contained in the case
For a Pallet package_contains pallet Quantity of the seller SKU contained in the pallet Seller SKU contained in the pallet

Examples:

Relationship Type package_level package_contains_quantity package_contains_identifier

relationship_type package_level package_contains_quantity package_contains_identifier
Case_SKU containing 5 Unit_SKU package_contains case 5 Unit_SKU
Case1_SKU containing 10 Case2_SKU package_contains case 10 Case2_SKU
Pallet_SKU containing fifteen Unit_SKU package_contains pallet 15 Unit_SKU
Pallet_SKU containing ten Case_SKU package_contains pallet 10 Case_SKU

Step 4: Upload the template

  • In Seller Central, go to Inventory > Add Products via Upload > Upload your Inventory File.
  • Upload the filled-out template from Step 3.

Step 5: Confirm in the processing report

Once you have uploaded the template, download the processing report by going to Inventory > Add Products via Upload > Monitor Upload Status. Check and correct any errors in the processing report. Error messages related to package hierarchy are provided in the Error Messages section. If there are no errors, the package hierarchy was successfully created.

Changing package hierarchy attributes

If you have already created a package hierarchy and want to change any of the package hierarchy attributes, fill the template as follows:

  1. Fill all mandatory fields including item_sku and external_product_id.
  2. Fill all package hierarchy attributes to reflect the desired change.
  3. Set update_delete attribute to Update.

Deleting ASINs in a package hierarchy

Deleting an ASIN in a package hierarchy will remove the ASIN and the corresponding package hierarchy relationships. For example, if there is a hierarchy pallet–case–unit and you delete the case ASIN, case ASIN will be removed. Additionally, the package hierarchy relationship with the pallet and the unit will also be removed.

To delete, fill the template as follows:

  1. Fill the item_sku and external_product_id.
  2. Set update_delete attribute to Delete.

Error messages

The following table lists the errors you may encounter while creating package hierarchy:

Error code and message Reason for error
99010: A value is missing from one or more required columns from this group: [Relationship Type], [package_level], [package_contains_identifier], [package_contains_quantity]. When Relationship type is set as “package_contains” and package_level is set as "case" or "pallet", then package_contains_identifier and package_contains_quantity are required fields.
99008: The value in the "Relationship Type" (Variation) field conflicts with the value in the "package_contains_identifier" field. The package_contains_identifier attribute can have a value only when Relationship type is package_contains.
99008: The value in the "Relationship Type" (package_contains) field conflicts with the value in the "package_level" (unit) field. For package_level "unit", package_contains_identifier should be blank.
99008: The value in the "Relationship Type" (Variation) field conflicts with the value in the "package_level" (case/unit) field. The package_contains_identifier attribute can have a value only when Relationship type is package_contains.
990101: The ${relationship_type} relationship from parent SKU ${sku} to child SKU ${child_id} was refused because one or more GTIN values on the parent (${duplicate_gtins}) are duplicated on a descendent (SKU: ${duplicate_gtin_child_id}). Each SKU in the hierarchy must have a unique external product ID (such as GTIN or UPC).
990100: We have detected a potential error with “package_contains_identifier” attribute. If you see other errors or warnings related to “package_contains_identifier”, please correct and resubmit. Otherwise your request may still be processing and this error will resolve itself. If there are no other error or warning messages related to package_contains_identifier, then this error will resolve itself. Otherwise, the error or warning needs to be fixed.

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