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Amazon Seller Central vs Amazon Vendor Central

May 6, 2024
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Are you a business looking to tap into the vast potential of the Amazon marketplace? At AIA Assets, we help sellers connect with and purchase the best Amazon Seller Account that will fulfill their needs. But did you know that Amazon offers an additional option, an “invitation only” marketplace – called VENDOR CENTRAL? Vastly different that Seller Central Amazon Seller Accounts, Vendor Central accounts caters to different selling needs and comes with its own set of advantages and limitations. Understanding the key differences will equip you to make an informed decision for your brand. 

The Core Difference: Who Takes the Wheel?

The fundamental difference between Amazon Seller Central vs Amazon Vendor Central boils down to control. In Seller Central, you, the seller, are in the driver’s seat. You manage your product listings, pricing, inventory, fulfillment (unless using Fulfillment by Amazon – FBA), and customer service. You’re essentially setting up a virtual storefront within the Amazon marketplace. With competition being over 200 million sellers, it’s challenging to differentiate. 

Vendor Central, on the other hand, is a wholesale model. Amazon acts as your buyer, purchasing your products in bulk at a pre-negotiated price. Amazon takes care of listing, pricing, storage, fulfillment, and customer service. In essence, you’re Amazon’s “supplier”. You provide them with inventory, and they handle the rest. Vendor Central is an “INVITATION ONLY” program, so while we’re going to discuss some pros and cons, remember that a very select few will be invited to participate in vendor central. 

Amazon Seller Central vs Amazon Vendor Central

Seller Central: Independence with Effort

Pros Cons
Logistics & Customer Service: You shoulder the responsibility for order fulfillment (unless using FBA) and customer service.
Control: You have complete autonomy over your brand representation. You craft your product listings, set competitive prices, and manage marketing campaigns (through Amazon PPC ads) to optimize sales.
Profit Potential: With exclusive control over the price of items in your catalogue, you have the flexibility to maximize your profit margins.
Competition: Seller Central landscape is fiercely competitive. Over 5 million additional sellers have been added since marketplace since 2018, there are over 800 million sellers worldwide. Standing out requires strategic marketing efforts.
Data & Insights: Seller Central offers a wealth of seller tools and reports. You gain valuable customer data and product performance metrics to refine your strategies.
Limited Marketing Tools: While Seller Central offers advertising options, the marketing tools available are less robust compared to Vendor Central.

Vendor Central: Hands-Off Approach with Trade-Offs

Reduced workload, also means reduced control. You can focus on production and inventory management, while Amazon takes care of logistics and fulfillment. On the flip side, you relinquish control over pricing and product listings.

Enhanced Marketing Tools: Amazon offers a wider range of marketing opportunities through Vendor Central, including participation in programs like Amazon Vine for early product reviews. At the same time, Amazon limits your ability to analyze data and insights for your products making it challenging to optimize your product’s performance.

Prime Visibility: Vendor Central products are often eligible for Amazon Prime benefits, boosting product discoverability, conversion rates and increased sales.

Generally, with both Vendor and Seller Central, you’re limited to the Payment terms assigned to your account. Premium and exclusive seller central accounts, may have excellent favorable terms such as 2-week payouts with no reserve. Even standard seller central accounts have a 14-day window (even with a reserve. Payment terms in Vendor Central can be longer, with payouts taking up to 90 days.

Amazon Seller Central vs Amazon Vendor Central: Is there an Ideal Selling Model?

Certainly, the real answer is not binary.  It depends upon your business’s specific needs and resources. We would like to suggest some factors to consider:

  • Business Size & Resources: If you’re a small business with limited resources, Seller Central’s lower fees and control over operations might be more suitable.

  • Product Profitability: For high-margin products, Seller Central allows for greater profit potential through independent pricing.

  • Marketing Expertise: If you have a strong marketing team and strategy, Seller Central empowers you to take control of brand messaging.

  • Inventory Management: If managing inventory and fulfillment poses a challenge, Vendor Central’s offloading of these tasks can be beneficial.

  • Growth Goals: If you aim for significant sales volume and wider brand exposure, Vendor Central’s Prime eligibility and marketing tools can be valuable assets.

Although Seller Central and Vendor Central seem to be distinct paths, as there’s a potential middle ground. At AIA Assets, some of our clients use a hybrid approach, leveraging both models. Through Vendor Central, they sell high-volume items, often with a direct line to the distributor (or they are the distributor) to increase profit margins. For their niche and seasonal products, they opt to use the tools and resources of Seller Central.

Looking to learn more about Vendor Central Accounts? Speak with our sales team! 

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