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Amazon MWS audit – We did it )

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In this post, we break down Amazon MWS in a way that anyone can understand it in a clear way. We’ll explain why it is THAT important for Amazon app developers, sellers and shoppers alike and will proudly present to you what it took us to pass the Amazon MWS Audit successfully.

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Amazon MWS?.. What is it?..

You could read a dozen articles about it and still have no idea. That’s because Amazon Marketplace Web Services are a little complicated – they’re actually a broad assortment of APIs that sellers and third-party app makers can use to create software and enhance the Amazon seller experience… but knowing that really just raises more questions than it answers!

In this post, we break down Amazon MWS in a way that anyone can understand it in a clear way. We’ll explain why it is THAT important for Amazon app developers, sellers and shoppers alike and will proudly present to you what it took us to pass the Amazon MWS Audit successfully.

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What is Amazon MWS?

Technically speaking, Amazon’s Marketplace Web Service (MWS) is a helpful API that allows its registered users to create their own applications for managing inventory, order data, fulfillment and reporting on the Amazon marketplace.

It is a collection of APIs that allow you to extract data and perform operations within an Amazon seller account. This Amazon MWS API is, essentially, what makes managing your Amazon account from within SellerCloud possible.

Essentially, it’s a way for sellers and third-party software developers (like us) to design original software that works in the Amazon marketplace. Some sellers use it to create their own inventory management system or other such workarounds. Developers also use it to build and sell original software with special features for Amazon sellers.

What are APIs?

To really understand what Amazon MWS is, it helps to know what APIs are. We see these initials a lot in the tech world, but what exactly do they mean? Basically, APIs help one program interact with another.

Programs can’t just talk to one another like people can. For one thing, they each use very specific formatting, so it’d be like two people speaking different languages. But on top of that, each program has a limited range of what it can do, so it may not even be capable of accomplishing what’s being asked. APIs act as an intermediary to avoid those problems and smooth over any wrinkles in communication between programs.

Put it all together, and you see what Amazon MWS is: the link that lets sellers and other parties interact with and control the internal Amazon systems.

What Can You Do With the Amazon MWS API?

Amazon MWS doesn’t offer features or services per se, but it does enable developers to make their own features.

If you’re an Amazon seller and want to use a third-party app for something like automatic repricing or stock alerts, all you have to do is go to the Marketplace Appstore.

On the other hand, if you actually want to build your own program (like ours!), here’s a brief rundown on the kinds of things a developer can do with Amazon MWS:

  • Inventory management: batch uploads, check stock levels, review pricing, etc.
  • Order management: extract and download order data, obtain payment information, schedule reports, etc.
  • Reports management: request reports, query the status of reports, download reports
  • FBA management: create and check the status of inbound shipments, submit fulfillment orders, track and manage outbound shipping requests

Of course, there are a few steps for any app developer to take before diving in….

Amazon MWS Audit – What to Expect

All MWS/SP-API users are subject to an audit by Amazon. As the Data Protection Policy says in section 3:

“Amazon may, or may have an independent certified public accounting firm selected by Amazon, audit, assess and inspect the books, records, facilities, operations, and security of all systems that are involved with a Developer’s application in the retrieval, storage, or processing of Information.”

Sellbery is one of the companies who has been selected this year for this audit. So, here is a short summary of how the process went for us and is in general for every MWS audit applicant.

So, it starts with a 30-minute overview meeting where they explain the process. At the initial meeting, they schedule the audit meeting.

The audit meeting lasts 3 to 4 hours where the auditors ask many detailed questions that cover issues found in the Amazon Acceptable Use Policy, Amazon Data Protection Policy, and that cover areas of general IT security like you would find in ISO 27001. They are also interested to know about your company, what your application does, and how you support your customers.

If you have ISO 27001 IT security policy documents, you can provide those to the auditors in advance of the audit meeting. Some examples of these policy documents are Access Control Policy, Asset Management Policy, Change Management Policy, Data Classification Policy, and Network Security Policy. Some companies have these policies in mind, but they are not formally written down. It would be good to review ISO 27001 and create written IT security policies for your company.

After the auditors have received your policies and the answers to their questions, they will process your answers and return to you a list of issues that you did not pass, with a priority attached to each one. For the high priority issues, you have 30 days to fix, and the other areas you can take longer.

It is a time-consuming process, but it makes sure the Amazon data you download using the MWS/SP-API is protected. In addition, it helps companies take a serious look at their IT security in general. In these days of major cyber-attacks, we all need to do our part to protect the IT infrastructure.

Sellbery is Optimized for Amazon MWS Compliance!

Amazon MWS is a key component of Sellbery’s effectiveness as an e-commerce product info management platform for Amazon sellers. Similarly, our positive, long-term relationship with Amazon is something we have never taken for granted. As such, we take any change to the MWS data protection policy very seriously.

We have put in place numerous security safeguards that have been verified through audits by Amazon. This means you can be confident that our platform’s integrations with Amazon meet the strict security and PII (personally identifiable information) requirements set forth by Amazon’s terms of service.

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