Top 10 Amazon Flat File Errors & How to Fix Them

Top 10 Amazon Flat File Errors & How to Fix Them

Amazon is the ultimate platform for online sellers looking to grow their business quickly and efficiently. However, managing your product inventory and catalog on their platform can sometimes be a tricky process. One of the critical tools for managing a smooth product catalog on Amazon is the use of Flat Files.

As an e-commerce business owner new to Amazon catalog management, you might find yourself struggling to grasp this concept and facing potential errors when working with flat files. Not to worry, though! We at FlatFilePro have compiled a comprehensive guide to help you not only understand the top 10 Amazon Flat File errors, but also to fix them efficiently and effectively.

1. Missing or Incorrect Headers

Amazon’s flat files require specific headers to import your product data accurately. Your flat file’s headers must match Amazon’s predefined column names, or it will result in errors.

Fix: Double-check the required headers in Amazon’s data definitions and make sure your flat file’s headers are spelled correctly and placed in the proper order.

2. Wrong File Encoding or Format

Saving your file with the wrong encoding or format can lead to issues when uploading to Amazon.

Fix: Ensure that you save your flat file as a “Text (Tab delimited)” (.txt) format and use “UTF-8” for character encoding.

3. Invalid Values

Each field within your flat file must adhere to specific values and formats defined by Amazon. If a field has an invalid value, Amazon will reject the file, and you will encounter errors.

Fix: Review Amazon’s data definitions and guidelines to ensure your values meet their requirements. You can also use FlatFilePro’s catalog management software to validate your flat file’s values and receive real-time suggestions on how to fix any invalid entries.

4. Incomplete or Missing Required Fields

Some fields in your flat file are essential for your product listing to be uploaded successfully. Incomplete or missing fields can cause errors during the import process.

Fix: Ensure that you fill in all required fields for your products and verify that required data is complete and accurate. FlatFilePro’s catalog management software can help you easily identify missing fields, ensuring a seamless Amazon product listing experience.

5. Misaligned Columns

Misaligned columns occur when you accidentally remove or add a tab, causing the data to shift from their original position. This can lead to incorrect product information being submitted to Amazon, causing errors and listing issues.

Fix: Use an advanced text or flat-file editor to review your flat file, ensuring that columns are aligned correctly. FlatFilePro can provide valuable assistance in managing your flat files, ensuring they are correctly formatted for successful Amazon import.

6. Duplicate SKUs

Amazon requires each product to have a unique SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) identifier. If you have duplicate SKUs in your flat file, errors will occur during the import process.

Fix: Review your flat file, identify duplicated SKUs, and assign a unique SKU to each product. FlatFilePro can help you manage your SKUs efficiently while avoiding duplicates and errors.

7. Incorrect Product Category

Each product listed on Amazon must belong to a specific product category or “browse node.” Submitting a product with the wrong category can lead to errors and incorrect product listings.

Fix: Refer to the appropriate Amazon browse tree guide and choose the correct browse node ID for your product. You can further simplify this process with FlatFilePro’s catalog management software, making it easy to identify and assign the right categories to your products.

8. Invalid Product Image URLs

Amazon requires images to be hosted on a publicly accessible server and submitted with valid URLs. Invalid or broken URLs can lead to errors in the flat file.

Fix: Verify that your image URLs are functioning correctly and are accessible publicly. Ensure they meet Amazon’s image requirements and have a .jpg or .tif file format. FlatFilePro’s catalog management software can help you manage and validate your images, keeping you error-free.

9. Inconsistent Data

Amazon has strict data guidelines, and any inconsistencies can cause errors during the import process.

Fix: Review your flat file and look for any inconsistencies in data, such as mismatched units, different date formats, or varying capitalization styles. FlatFilePro can help you maintain consistency in your data, ensuring successful imports every time.

10. Exceeding Upload Limits

Amazon has established limits on the number of products and images you can upload per flat file. Exceeding these limits can cause errors.

Fix: Divide your product catalogs into smaller, manageable batches if you exceed the Amazon flat file limits. Using FlatFilePro’s catalog management software, you can efficiently organize your product listings without compromising your business’s growth.

In Conclusion

Understanding and rectifying flat file errors is crucial for smooth Amazon catalog management. Utilizing an advanced tool like FlatFilePro can significantly improve your catalog management experience and empower your e-commerce business to thrive on the world’s leading online marketplace.


Q1: What is an Amazon flat file?
A: An Amazon flat file is a tab-delimited text file used to upload or update product listings on Amazon’s platform.

Q2: How does FlatFilePro’s catalog management software help with Amazon flat files?
A: FlatFilePro simplifies the process of managing your Amazon product listings, ensuring correct formatting, preventing errors, and enabling real-time validation and suggestions for improvements.

Q3: Can I upload Excel files to Amazon directly instead of using flat files?
A: No, Amazon requires product listings in a “Text (Tab delimited)” (.txt) format. You can, however, use Excel to prepare your product listings and then export the file into the required format for Amazon.

Q4: What are Amazon’s image requirements?
A: Amazon requires product images to be in .jpg or .tif format, hosted on a publicly accessible server, and submitted with valid URLs.

Q5: Are Amazon’s flat file requirements the same for all products and categories?
A: No, Amazon’s flat file requirements vary based on the product category you are listing in. It is crucial to refer to the appropriate Amazon browse tree guide and data definitions to ensure your flat file meets their specific requirements.