Third-party sellers sell on Amazon via Seller Central and sell their goods directly to their customers. Amazon merely plays the role of a marketplace. Promising Seller over time often receive an invitation to the Vendor program. Vendors no longer sell their goods to end customers, but to Amazon. With this step, the retailer takes on the role of a supplier, because after selling the goods to Amazon, Amazon is the owner and sells the products on the marketplace. But what advantages do vendors have over sellers? The following article highlights the advantages and disadvantages of both programs and provides an insight into which program may be worthwhile for whom.
What is Seller Central?
Seller Central is used by third-party sellers to sell products on the Amazon marketplace for sale. By placing their goods there, retailers largely control the sale of these themselves. They set the prices of their products, manage storage and shipping as well as customer service, returns and refunds. Using Seller Central currently costs 39 euros per month (as of January 2019: Professional tariff).
One option that is available to every seller is to use Amazon FBA (shipping by Amazon) for an additional fee. In this case, the goods can be stored in Amazon's warehouses. Amazon also takes care of shipping the goods when the order is received, customer service, the Returns management and other optional services where applicable. You can find more detailed information on this topic in the Article about Amazon FBA. It is important to note that even when using FBA, the goods always belong to the retailer until they are sold to the end customer and the retailer remains the seller of the goods.
What is Vendor Central?
Entry into the Vendor program only takes place by invitation from Amazon. Promising third-party sellers, often manufacturers of well-known brands, are invited to join the program and advance from third-party seller to first-time seller. By accepting the invitation, the retailer assumes the role of a supplier and regularly supplies Amazon with its own goods. Amazon buys these from the vendor and sells them on Amazon itself. Amazon becomes the owner of the goods through the purchase, and the vendor can no longer access the corresponding products. Amazon is listed as the seller and shipper of the goods. Similar to the FBA program, the entire sales process is also handled by Amazon. In addition Vendor Central users benefit from some advantages that are not available to sellers.
Advantages and disadvantages of the programs
Of course, both models have advantages and disadvantages. Especially the Vendor program, which may seem tempting at first glance, has a number of aspects that you should be aware of before rashly accepting the invitation. Especially as it is not easy to go back to Seller Central. The advantages and disadvantages of both programs are explained in detail below.
Advantages of Seller Central
- Simplicity: Anyone can register in Seller Central, list their own products and start selling for a monthly fee
- Control: The retailer has full control over its inventory, pricing, shipping and customer service
- Customer contact: The seller can establish contact with his customers and thus gain customer data and direct feedback on the products
- Prompt payment: The retailer receives payment for the products sold promptly (usually within 7 to 14 days)
- Shipping through Amazon: With FBA, a seller can also have Amazon carry out storage and shipping processing if desired
- Statistics: Sellers have free access to analyses of their sales and the demand for their products
- Service: Amazon offers comprehensive service and support for Seller Central users
Disadvantages of Seller Central
- Expenditure: If you decide not to use FBA, you will have to pay for storage, shipping and delivery, Returns managementinvoicing, etc. may involve a lot of work
- Pricing: On the one hand, setting your own prices is an advantage for sellers, but it can be very time-consuming, especially when it comes to a place in the Buy Box. In this case, additional re-pricing tools are often necessary to regularly adjust prices
- Amazon Prime: As a seller, your own products can only be Prime-qualified if FBA is used
- Limited marketing: As a seller, only limited marketing measures are possible on Amazon
Advantages of Vendor Central
- Customer confidence: Customers often trust Amazon more than unknown third-party sellers, which often increases the likelihood of purchase when products are sold and shipped by Amazon
- A+ Content: Vendors are the A+ Content which enables a significant expansion of the product description with additional texts, videos and zoomable images
- Expanded marketing: Additional marketing measures are available to vendors, such as participation in the Vine program
- Amazon Prime: If the provider participates in the vendor program, the products are automatically Prime-qualified
- Storage and shipping by Amazon: From storage to sale and delivery of the goods, Amazon takes care of the entire shipping process. The seller only has to send the goods to Amazon regularly
Disadvantages of Vendor Central
- Analyses cost money: Vendors have to pay extra to receive similar analyses and statistics on sales and demand that are available to sellers free of charge
- No customer contact: Customer contact is completely taken out of your hands. This means that no feedback can be obtained, no customer data can be collected and no customer relationship can be established
- Pricing by Amazon: Control over the price of its own products is also handed over to Amazon, which often leads to very competitive (and correspondingly low) pricing
- Frequent deliveries: Amazon usually has to be supplied with new goods twice a week to different warehouses
- Dependence: The vendor program requires a high level of discipline, as Amazon charges penalties for even minor violations of the delivery and packaging guidelines. It is not easy to withdraw from Seller Central
- Late payouts: It can take up to 90 days before the vendor is paid out by Amazon
- Hardly any service: Amazon does not offer vendors anywhere near the comprehensive service and help that is offered to sellers
Which program is worthwhile for whom?
According to the explanations of the both programs the question arises as to which is best suited for whom. First of all, it can be said that Seller Central is more suitable for retailers, while Vendor Central is aimed more at manufacturers. The Vendor program can certainly lead to a significant increase in sales for large manufacturers if there is no problem with the aspect that control is completely handed over to Amazon and the role of a supplier is assumed.
Seller Central, on the other hand, is suitable for small and medium-sized companies. Amazon FBA does not only offer advantages, but those who want Amazon to handle shipping and thus qualify for Prime can choose this as an alternative. If you sell your own brand on Amazon, you can also benefit from the option of EBC (Enhanced Brand Content) and a Brand Store as a seller. If you are not yet sure whether you should sell via Seller Central or Vendor Central, then you are welcome to arrange a consultation with us at Amazon Agency book.
Conclusion on Seller Central vs. Vendor Central
The comparison shows that the invitation to the Vendor program should not be rushed into. The fact that Amazon invites a merchant to join the program does not necessarily mean that Vendor Central is the best option for them. It is important to be aware of the advantages as well as the disadvantages and the commitment that comes with the decision. It can be said that Seller Central is a good option for anyone who wants to sell products on Amazon. Sellers do not have exclusive benefits such as A+ content or special marketing measures, but there are no serious disadvantages either. Those who use the Shipping through Amazon (FBA) can also benefit as a seller from storage and shipping processing by Amazon. However, large manufacturers who have no problem handing over control to Amazon can often further increase their sales and turnover on Amazon by taking the step towards Vendor Central.
What is Seller Central?
Seller Central is used by third-party sellers to sell products on the Amazon marketplace. By listing their goods there, sellers largely control the sale of these themselves.
What is Vendor Central?
Entry into the vendor program is by invitation only from Amazon. Promising third-party vendors, often manufacturers of well-known brands, are invited to join the program and advance from third-party vendor to first-time vendor.