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1. What is an ASIN manager?
ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number, the unique identifier each product is assigned by Amazon.com. While books use their own ISBN number, all other product categories require a new ASIN when each item is uploaded to the catalog. These numbers are important because Amazon has strict requirements for products added to their marketplaces. With billions of products available, it calls for a full-time team of employees to ensure the requirements are met. That’s where ASIN managers come in.
2. What does an ASIN manager do?
ASIN managers are part of the Amazon Localization Team. Their main role is to manage the onboarding of multiple launches and driving each new launch’s progress. It can take an average of eight months to complete a launch, and during that time, the ASIN manager serves as the point of contact for the launch requestor. The ASIN manager must:
- Create problem-solving tactical plans to overcome common roadblocks
- Manage implementation with the operations and technical teams
- Create and evolve SOPs to improve the launch
- Maintain the highest service levels for consistent launch delivery
- Assist in gathering data and preparing reports for analysis
ASIN managers must keep track of several different product codes, including:
- ISBN (International Standard Book Number): 10 digits or 13 digits
- UPC (Universal Product Code): 12 digits
- EAN (European Article Number): 13 digits
- GTIN-14 (Global Trade Item Number): 14 digits
The ASIN is important because they are used to reference catalog data. They also track product inventory and index catalog pages when customers conduct an Amazon search. The ASIN is the base of Amazon’s structure, enabling people to search by multiple categories or by ASIN. They also enable Amazon to deliver relevant, consistent, and accurate information for every search result.
3. What roadblocks do ASIN managers face?
As mentioned above, an ASIN manager is responsible for creating tactical plans to overcome common roadblocks. Some of the most common problems include:
Duplicate ASIN Numbers
Instead of creating duplicate ASINs, Amazon recommends matching to an existing product to benefit from existing buyer interest to help move that product. However, duplicates can occur when someone:
- Uses the UPC, EAN, ISBN, ASIN, or JAN that doesn’t belong to a product
- Introduces distinct UPCs, EANs, ISBNs, or JANs for identical products sold in other marketplaces
- Assigns a new UPC or EAN for compatible products that are compatible with several other products
- Uses an alternative key attribute to list Amazon Brand Registry seller products
- Receives a product identifier exemption for a product that has a product identifier
- Purposely uses the same ASIN to misrepresent similar products on a competitor site
Duplication of ASINs can result in ineligibility. By tracking duplicates, the manager can figure out what’s happening and ensure the vendor has a chance to fix the error before determining they are ineligible.
Amazon Standard Identification Numbers for the same products also change from location to location. This needs to be tracked by ASIN managers. If there are thousands of SKUs with several locations, this can be a real challenge for managers.
Amazon has rules about variations of the same product and how they are presented. The ASIN manager ensures vendors use the appropriate UPC, EAN, ISBN, ASIN, or JAN code when listing a product. Those codes can be used to match new products to existing products in their catalog.
4. What are the best practices to meeting Amazon’s requirements?
Amazon promotes the use of product information management software (PIM) for their sellers. Instead of dealing with the nightmare of spreadsheets, a PIM manages everything for you. You can add products or make changes to existing products seamlessly and easily upload, edit, and push your product listings to Amazon.
PIMs are very Amazon-friendly, enabling you to add category-specific attributes to product listings and create collections of product listings by product type, season, etc. You can also simplify the bulk editing process for price changes and data normalization and automatically verify proper formatting to avoid errors and reduce the risk of product rejections.
Whether you have a new-found respect for Amazon ASIN managers or have discovered the secret to Amazon product management best practices, a PIM is an ideal solution to ace your product cataloguing skills.