If you have been around the worlds of retail and e-commerce, you are likely familiar with stock keeping units and their valuable function in terms of inventory management. Depending on your retail management style, you may use your own SKU numbering system, although many business owners recommend using existing Universal Product Codes for this purpose.
Sellers who use UPCs as their SKU codes can check if their products are already listed on the Amazon Marketplace through various methods; for example, you can search for Google Sheets add-ons that connect to the Amazon application programming interface (API) so that you can look up if your UPCs have been previously converted to the Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) format. Custom SKU numbers that do not conform to the UPC format are very unlikely to have ASINs assigned.
There are various e-commerce platforms that will let you upload SKU and UPC lists to check for existing ASINs. If you are an inventor, manufacturer or private label distributor, you will have to create new ASINs, and this is something that you can accomplish manually from your Seller Central account; otherwise, you can also use an e-commerce platform that connects to the Amazon API to streamline the process.
Here are the steps you should follow when converting your SKU codes to new ASINs:
- Gather Your UPCs
You will not be able to generate new ASINs for your products unless they have UPCs or some other type of Global Trade Item Number such as European and Japanese Article Numbers.
- Check for Existing ASINs
Unless you are introducing new products that you manufacture or distribute under your very own brand, there is a very good chance that ASINs have been previously created by Amazon or by third-party sellers like you. To look up existing ASINs with your UPCs, use the Seller Central tool or an e-commerce platform.
- Adding Your Products to Amazon
From your Seller Central account, click on the inventory tab at the top of the page and select the “Add a Product” selection. If you have a list of UPCs in a digital file that is compatible with Amazon formats, you will find the option to upload it in the same pull-down menu; either way, the system will alert you of existing ASINs. If there are no alerts, the system will give the option to create new products as long as you provide their UPCs. From this point on, you will be able to upload photos, add product descriptions and format the product pages to optimize sales.
Protect Your Products and Your Brand
This is a very important step of the process. If you intend to retain control of your brand, you will want to lock down your ASINs so that unauthorized sellers, counterfeiters and dropshippers do not interfere with your Amazon business. Sellers who have more than 10 ASINs can lock down their ASINs through a third-party service such as Brandlox, which monitors all ASIN activity in real-time while alerting you of suspicious activity.
Amazon can also help you lock down your ASINs through the Brand Registry program; however, this is a process that presents a considerable amount of red tape for small business owners who are not yet known as established brands. You will be better off protecting your brand and products with Brandlox until your Brand Registry application is approved. To learn more, contact a Brandlox e-commerce specialist at 866-848-6072.