Vendor Central and Seller Central; What's The Difference?
As this is one of our most frequently asked questions, we have put this article together to give you the lowdown on each platform, outline the benefits of each and hopefully help you to decide which you should use.
What's The Difference?
The main difference between Amazon Seller and Vendor central is who is selling your products. When you use Seller central, you are selling your products directly to Amazon’s customers. However, when you are using Vendor central, you are selling your products to Amazon’s retail team who then resell those products to their consumers.
It is important to know the difference between the two platforms as they each provide different benefits and drawbacks for you as a brand.
Seller Central 101
Amazon Seller Central is the platform used by brands and merchants to market and sell their products directly to Amazon’s consumers. It is open for anybody to use and offers flexible logistical options, quick payment terms and control over your pricing. If you are using Seller Central, you are considered a third-party seller or a marketplace.
As a third-party seller, you have two options for fulfilling orders you receive from Amazon buyers:
You own the process: You have the option to take care of all the processing of orders, packing, shipping, customer service and returns for every order you receive. This puts you in full control of the whole process without any external interference.
FBA: If you are looking for a more hands-off process, you have the option to use the Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) service. Amazon will then handle all of the above for you, hassle-free.
Seller Central Pros
Seller Central allows you to collate a large amount of consumer data at no charge. This can be invaluable to understanding your consumer base better and improving your marketing strategies.
You have full control over the pricing you set for your products. You can also automatically match your competitors pricing.
It is common to find third-party sellers or unknown parties selling your products on Amazon with poor product pages and disappointing imagery and messaging. The only way to control your messaging is through a Seller Central account that has been enrolled in Amazon’s Brand Registry Program.
Seller Central Cons
Fulfilment costs can sometimes limit your options when selling lower-priced items on the Amazon site. You could end up paying over half of your product price in fees. These fees often change so get in touch if you are interested in finding out more.
You have fewer advertising options and limited branded content options when selling through Seller Central which could be disappointing if you have big marketing ambition.
Vendor Central 101
Amazon Vendor Central is the platform used by manufacturers and distributors of products. If you are using Vendor Central, you are considered a first-party seller. This means you are selling in bulk to Amazon and this option is only accessible via invitation only. Vendor Central allows brands more advertising options and more advanced branded content options being a more sophisticated process.
If you want to know if a certain product on Amazon is being sold through Vendor Central, you can look out for the “ship from and sold by Amazon” tag.
Vendor Central Pros
Vendor Central is known for having a simplified business model which can be beneficial if you are planning to sell a large range of products. Your main focus will be filling POs and billing.
More advanced advertising opportunities within AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) can help you boost your product visibility and get more eyeballs on your product pages, increasing sales.
You have the option to build enhanced branded content with the A+ content tools, enrol in the subscribe and save program and make use of the Amazon Vine program which sends your products to trusted Amazon reviewers.
Vendor Central Cons
You have less control over the pricing of your products. Amazon can and will adjust the retail price at any time based on their data and other third-party sellers as they always want to be competitive across the market.
The logistical requirements to run on Vendor Central are highly specific and taken very seriously within Amazon. If you are a seller who may struggle with stock maintenance or speed in fulfilling orders, you could open yourself up to additional penalty fees.
Your choice of platform will heavily depend on your product, how you work internally and your goals for selling on Amazon. Luckily, our experts at Toucan can help you figure out the best route to market for your brand and support you from initial set-up to running profitable advertising campaigns and beyond.
Get in touch with a member of our dedicated team today and watch your sales take flight.