Amazon.com is the leading e-commerce site in the world. This position makes sense since the retail giant offers some pretty customer-centric services, including cost-savings and multiple shipping options. Companies that want to sell their products via Amazon have two platforms under which they can operate:
If you are trying to determine which platform is right for your business, then you are in the right place. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, you will want to weight out the features available under both to determine the best fit for your online store when it comes to Vendor Central vs. Seller Central.
Approaching Amazon in the first place is a significant decision in and of itself. However, consumers of today have bought into the Amazon way of shopping online. Manufacturers and online retailers are remiss if they believe that it is not a marketing channel worth pursuing.
Not only does Amazon offer sellers the digital retail space, but they also actively market your products in the process. Whether it’s one or the other, both types of accounts carry a ton of clout.
In this post, we address each system in greater detail, including the pros and cons of each. Let’s begin by looking more closely at Amazon Seller Central:
What Is Amazon Seller Central?
Amazon’s Seller Central is the system that companies can use to sell their products direct-to-consumer. This designation earns you third-party seller or Amazon Marketplace status. Under this option, you have two options when it comes to order fulfillment.
You can either utilize Amazon’s shipping and logistics services, or you can handle this aspect of selling your products on your own. If you elect to have Amazon manage your order fulfillment process, you enroll your products under the Fulfilled by Amazon, or FBA program.
Some features that Amazon Seller Central offers to merchants and third-party retailers include:
Open enrollment to the public
Access to the Amazon sales network
Multiple order fulfillment options
Control over pricing and branding
Capable of handling a complicated sales process
There are various thoughts and considerations when it comes to using the Amazon Seller Central system. In the next section, we are going take a much closer look at how this platform may—or may not—work for your company.
Amazon Seller Central Pros
Some of the most significant advantages of electing to sell under the Amazon Seller Central option include a robust analytics package, flexible price control, and comprehensive messaging across the platform. Amazon Seller accounts give you access to some of the best customer data available. You can use it to adjust your pricing and branding message from your account.
Amazon Seller Central Cons
There are, however, drawbacks to using an Amazon Seller Central account. For starters, if you elect to use the FBA option, Amazon’s fulfillment costs are expensive, with a minimum price of $2.41 without factoring in Amazon’s commission rate.
You can also expect that your sales won’t be as plentiful as if operated under an Amazon Vendor Central account.
What Is Amazon Vendor Central?
An Amazon Vendor Central account is the significant brother upgrade from the standard Amazon Seller Central option. It’s a more comprehensive web interface that most major retailers, distributors, and manufacturers use to elevate their revenues.
Having an Amazon Vendor Central account earns you first-party seller status within their network. Essentially, you become a verified, trusted supplier and is available by invite only.
You can tell who an Amazon Vendor Central account holder is when you see their signature phrase, ‘Ships From and Sold By Amazon.com.’ There are several features available under this account including:
Advanced logistics and order fulfillment options
Traditional and digital payment terms
Expanded and customized marketing options
Access to high-quality content across the web
Amazon controls your product retail prices
As you can see, Amazon Vendor Central is similar, yet different, when compared to a basic Amazon Seller Central account. However, their our advantages and drawbacks of using this system as well. Let’s explore this aspect a little further in the next section.
Amazon Vendor Central Pros
There are several key advantages the sellers obtain as a result of utilizing an Amazon Vendor Central account, including increased consumer confidence, enhanced advertising options, and high-quality content marketing tools.
These primary areas are significantly critical to the success of any online retailer. When your customers see the ‘Sold by Amazon’ label, they see it as a guarantee that their order will go through as expected, and any deviations away from that standard will be intervened using the Amazon system. Trust is everything when it comes to consumers placing orders online.
Amazon Vendor Central Cons
Like anything, there are always apparent flaws in any system. When it comes to Amazon Vendor Central, the most significant downsides include a lack of pricing control and logistical requirements that don’t carry a reputation for being flexible.
These two terms can leave manufacturers and distributers wondering if Amazon is having too much say in their retail operations.
The Decision You Make Is Critical to Your Company’s Success
More than half of all online shoppers use Amazon when it comes to purchasing products online. That’s pretty significant when a company can occupy 50 percent of market share. And since they offer opportunities to partnering businesses, it makes sense to take advantage of the platform’s benefits and features. Even though it requires an invitation to join Amazon Vendor Central, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better fit if allowed to open an account. There are tradeoffs everywhere in business management. Make sure that you aren’t losing your fair share of revenue or control.
It is further worth noting, however, that if you are a significant manufacturer or distributor without a comprehensive logistics management and order fulfillment warehouse, you will definitely want to accept the opportunity to open an Amazon Vendor Central Account.
It’s important to remember that this account type is less flexible, so prepare for payment, customer support, and inventory management changes along the way.