This blog post is all about Amazon Vendor Central, how you can become an Amazon Vendor plus what are the key differences between Amazon Vendor Central and Amazon Seller Central.
Amazon Vendor Central is a platform you need to be invited to by Amazon directly. If you use the Vendor Central platform, you become one of Amazon’s suppliers, so Amazon basically send you a purchase order for what they want to buy from you, then you send the requested products to Amazon and Amazon pay you.
So, with Vendor, you are not selling to Amazon’s customers (the people who shop on Amazon) you are selling to Amazon directly, however, there are contract terms you need to meet and more often than not your margin is a lot smaller than if you were selling directly to Amazon’s customers using the Seller Central platform.
Using the Vendor Central platform, as a Vendor you can check purchase orders and manage further advertising campaigns.
I have to say though, both the Seller Platform and Vendor Platform are not as intuitive as you might think and in my experience training is vital, to get things right for you first time.
Amazon Vendor Central v Amazon Seller Central
With Vendor Central, Amazon sends you a purchase order. You don’t have to worry about the Fulfilment, as Amazon sorts this out for you.
(You may sometimes hear Vendor Central users referred to as First Party Sellers (1p))
If you use a Seller Central account, you are a third-party seller (3p) on Amazon’s marketplace. You are simply using the Seller Central platform to sell to Amazon’s customers, you are, however, in control of fulfilment customer service and increasing your sales. When using a Seller Central account you do have the option to use a service called FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) where Amazon store and distribute your products for you.
How do I become an Amazon Vendor?
Amazon has a ‘vendor recruitment team’ who contact brands to ask if they would like to become an Amazon Vendor. So, if you are an established brand or you are currently using a Seller Central account and you have a high level of sales there is a good chance Amazon may contact you to invite you to become an Amazon Vendor.
The invitation is usually by email or phone, so it’s important to keep an eye out from calls from Amazon if you are looking to go down this route.
Amazon basically creates a Vendor Central for you and invite you to register. You can then, however, start providing product and cost information to Amazon, however, your margins don’t always tend to be great through Vendor, so it is worth having a discussion with Amazon before going ahead to negotiate a good deal to start off with. This is the time to get it right.
What is available in a Vendor Central Account?
You have an Orders Section in Vendor to check your purchase orders from Amazon. You can upload products/items and provide product information. You also have an Advertising section which allows you to market your products through paid ad campaigns. You also have access to a Reports section, which is a bit like your analytics within Amazon to see how you’re performing.
How often will Amazon send me a purchase order?
Vendors tend to receive purchase orders on a weekly basis, however, this can vary on the type of products you sell and the demand for the products.
Amazon will not necessarily order from you straight away either. They will look at the sales history and the demand for the product before placing an order.
Amazon Vendor Central v Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA)?
With Vendor Central, Amazon sends you a purchase order and buys the products from you.. You don’t have to worry about the Fulfilment side as Amazon sorts this from their side.
Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) is available to sellers who use the Seller Central platform. You send your products directly to Amazon and Amazon stores the products for you and distribute the products when an order comes in. The key difference here is that Amazon are not purchasing the products from you, they are simply storing the products on your behalf and distributing the orders to the customers.
With FBA you only get paid once the product has been sold but you also have full control over your listing and pricing, with Vendor Central, Amazon sets the retail price and pay you the wholesale price.
How do I choose between Amazon Vendor Central or Seller Central?
Amazon Vendor Central is by invitation-only. If you have been invited to use the Vendor Central platform it can be quite flattering, however, it might not be the best option for you. You then need to agree terms with Amazon and there tends not to be a lot of room for negotiation!
With a Seller Central Account, you have full control over pricing and whether you want to ship the orders to the customers or whether you want to use FBA so that Amazon ship your products for you.
It will need some thinking through and a some of our clients want to have full control over their product so are quite happy to use the Seller Central platform.
How Do I get Started on Amazon?
Shelton Associates is an Amazon Consultancy based in the UK and we have helped many different brands in different categories to become successful Amazon Sellers. We run 1-2-1 training sessions on Amazon Selling either face to face or remotely via Zoom. So, if you need any help with selling on Amazon, just get in touch or Learn More about our Amazon Workshop here.