Best Practices for Listing on Amazon – The Purge and Replace Option
When you upload a product feed you can use the ‘Purge and Replace’ flag to replace your current inventory with the inventory in the feed. This means that all your listings which are not in the feed will be removed from Amazon. If you upload an empty feed with the ‘Purge and Replace’ option, you will delete all your listings from your Seller Account.
Avoid using the Purge and Replace Option
In general, it is not recommended to use the Purge and Replace option to manage your inventory. You may currently be using it to perform the following tasks:
Disable out of stock offers
If you have a large inventory, you may feel tempted to upload regularly an inventory feed containing only the products in stock with the purge and replace option. This process to disable out of stock offers is not recommended, since it is error-prone and the processing time of a feed with the purge and replace option can take up to several hours. If you run out of stock on some items, please use the Price and Quantity update feed to set the stock levels to 0. This is a more efficient process which also saves you the additional effort of re-listing your products later.
Synchronize your Product Database with your Amazon Seller Account
You can use the purge and replace option to keep your products sold on Amazon synchronized with your own product database. However, this is not recommended. If you have an error in your feed or you upload the wrong feed, you may potentially erase your entire inventory on Amazon. This would entail a loss in sales until you have re-listed your products.
We recommend that you explicitly delete products from your Seller Account, and only if you know that you are never going to sell it again. If you are just temporarily out of stock, please do not delete the product but set the quantity to 0.
When to use the Purge and Replace option
There are some good cases in which you can use the purge and replace option.
Delete your entire Inventory to start from scratch
If for some reason you want to purge your entire inventory to start from scratch, you can upload an empty feed with just the headers using the purge and replace option. This will remove all your listings with the exception of those you created manually using the web interface. The latter have to be manually deleted.
Use different SKUs to reference your products
If you decide to change your SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) naming convention to reference your products, you can use the purge and replace option UNLESS
- There is overlap between your old and new set of SKUs, where any new SKU references a different product than the old one.
- You are using the ‘Fulfillment by Amazon’ (FBA) program. It is not possible to use a different SKU for a product fulfilled by Amazon. If you are in this case, you can create new SKUs for all your products not fulfilled by Amazon and then delete all old SKUs.