When you upload an inventory file, you can use the Purge and Replace option to remove your current inventory and replace it with the inventory in the file. The listings that are not in the file will be removed from the Amazon web site. If you upload an empty inventory file with Purge and Replace selected, all your listings will be deleted.
We recommend that you request and download an Active Listing Report before using the Purge and Replace option. The Active Listings Report provides a good basis for reviewing your existing inventory records and can also serve as a backup file in case there is an error in the file you send when you perform a Purge and Replace.
In general, it is not recommended to use the Purge and Replace option to routinely manage your inventory levels. Use the Purge and Replace option sparingly and for special cases where you need to start from scratch with new inventory counts or need to make changes to your SKU-naming conventions.
Specifically, we don't recommend using Purge and Replace to perform the following tasks:
Disabling out-of-stock offers
If you have a large inventory, you may feel tempted to make regular purge-and-replace uploads with inventory files containing only in-stock products. Using this method to disable out-of stock product listings is not recommended. If your file does not contain a complete list of the products you want to make available for sale, you may unintentionally remove listings and product data contributions for some of them. Also, the processing time of a file with the Purge and Replace option may take several hours and your available inventory levels may change during that time.
If you run out of stock on some products, use the Price and Quantity file to set the stock levels to 0. You can use this file to modify all of your listings, including those that were submitted manually through the Add a Product tool. It is also a more efficient process that saves you the additional effort of relisting your products later.
Synchronizing your product database with your Amazon product listings
Although it is not recommended, you may use the Purge and Replace option to keep the products you list on Amazon synchronized with your own product database. The risk with this practice is having an error in your inventory file or uploading the wrong file, which may potentially erase your entire inventory on Amazon. This could result in lost sales opportunities while you relist your products.
We recommend that you explicitly delete a product from your inventory only if you know that you are never going to sell that product again. If you are just temporarily out of stock, do not delete the product but do set the quantity to zero (0).
There are some good cases for using the Purge and Replace option:
Delete your entire Inventory to start from scratch
If you want to purge your entire inventory to start from scratch, you can upload an empty feed with just the headers and select the Purge and Replace option. This will remove all your listings with the exception of those you created manually using the Add a Product tool. The latter have to be manually deleted.
Use different SKUs to reference your products
If you decide to change the SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) naming convention you use to reference your products, you can use the Purge and Replace option to do this. However, you cannot use the Purge and Replace option to change your SKUs in the following case:
If there is overlap between your old and new set of SKUs, where any new SKU references a different product than the old one, don't use Purge and Replace.