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Amazon Vendor Central vs. Seller Central: What to Consider

Selling products on Amazon is a no-brainer. With an estimated 300 million accounts, Amazon is many people’s go-to source for online shopping. This huge e-commerce platform, combined with powerful programs and tools, has made Amazon an attractive and essential market for online sellers. But sellers must consider how they want to sell their products — through Amazon Vendor Central or Amazon Seller Central. Both have advantages and disadvantages that many aren’t aware of, so SEO Inc has taken the time to lay them out for you to help you decide how to best sell your online merchandise.Amazon Vendor Central vs. Seller Central

What’s the Difference Between Amazon Vendor Central and Amazon Seller Central?

When you sell products on Amazon, you will either be an Amazon Seller or an Amazon Vendor. In simple terms, an Amazon seller is a third-party seller to consumers, while an Amazon vendor is a first-party seller to Amazon, which then sells to consumers.

Of course, it isn’t that simple. You can’t simply choose one or the other, even when you’re first launching your Amazon account. There are many more factors that contribute to the differences between vendors and sellers, as well as the reasons why you’d want to choose one over the other. For example, anyone can be an Amazon seller, but to become an Amazon vendor you have to be invited to the program by Amazon.

Read on to learn more distinctions between the two.

All About Amazon Seller Central

If you’re first starting out selling products on Amazon, you will be considered an Amazon seller. You will sell products in Seller Central, otherwise known as the Amazon marketplace. With that status, you gain a host of advantages that help you make the most of your platform and turn a profit.

  • Easy to sell. Similar to eBay, all you need to start selling your products is an Amazon account.
  • Get paid quickly. Because you are selling directly to consumers, you won’t have to wait as long as you would when waiting on standard payment terms.
  • Price and inventory control. You get to set the terms for your prices and storage.

You have the choice to sell on Amazon as an Individual or as a Professional. An Individual seller is recommended when you only have a few items to sell or you only occasionally sell items. A good example of when to use Amazon central seller is when you want to sell an item you no longer use that is in good condition.

There are additional factors to consider as well, such as fees and category limitations. As a Professional seller, you can sell a greater variety of items but you must pay a monthly fee, while as an Individual Amazon seller you pay a fee on each sale. This model is known as “pay as you go.”

Analytics also play a big role for Amazon Seller Central accounts. You gain powerful insights on the best times to sell your items, as well has how much and which of your items to sell. And the info is completely free.

All About Amazon Vendor Central

As stated before, Amazon Vendor Central is by invite only. Once you choose to sell as a vendor, you will face standard pricing terms, meaning each individual sale will be less profitable. The trade off for this, however, is significant — you will theoretically be able make back more than what you’ve lost able because you’re able to sell a large volume of items. With Amazon Vendor Central, you will be selling as a first party distributor and supplier for Amazon, granting you additional exposure and buyer trust.

With Amazon Vendor Central, you also gain access to several other Amazon features that customers take advantage of every day:

  • Amazon Vine.
  • Subscribe & Save.
  • Amazon Marketing Services. (PPC ads)

You’ll also be able to take advantage of more detailed product pages, which can provide more information about your products.

A word about Analytics with Amazon Vendor Central. Unlike when you were an Amazon Seller, you do not get free reports for your Analytics — instead, it is now a paid service that grants you valuable insights into your large volume of product sales.

Bottom line: Move enough product and develop your brand enough, and you could gain the attention of Amazon to declare yourself a vendor. You’ll have challenges to overcome, but chances are if you have the financial savvy to sell items and make a name for yourself, you could be a “prime” candidate to join the A-list of Amazon Vendor Central partners.

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

There’s one more important factor to consider as an Amazon Seller. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is offered as a means of convenience to allow Amazon to store, ship, and handle returns for your products. It also adds extra customer appeal to your store with an eye-catching “Fulfilled by Amazon” label on the product. Your products even become eligible for Amazon Prime and Prime Two-Day Shipping. All you have to do is sign up for it and send your items to one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers.

However, there are downsides. If your items do not sell, you could pay fees to keep them in storage.

Which Should I Choose?

Selling on Amazon isn’t as simple as you’d think. The choice between Amazon Vendor and Seller Central is enough to warrant some major nights spent number-crunching — but for good reason. Both have their advantages and disadvantages to turning a profit.

You can’t deny the flexibility of Amazon Seller Central. Being able to set your own prices and control the flow of items can be an invaluable source of easy cash flow. But the lack of support can be draining, as you’re forced to do everything else yourself.

Amazon Vendor Central is a clear boon to your business in that it takes a lot of the headaches (monitoring prices, staying competitive with competitors, shipping) off you and puts them on Amazon. Some of this is mitigated by Fulfillment by Amazon, but largely Vendor Central takes the brunt of the work. However, you have to then play by Amazon’s stricter set of rules.

No business is the same — only you can know if choosing to be an Amazon Central seller or Vendor distributor will be the right choice. At least now you’ll have a better idea of what to do the day Amazon comes knocking with their vendor invitation.

Not sure what to make of Amazon Seller Central or Amazon Vendor Central, or how it could help your business? We’d love to explain them in more detail. Just give us a call or you can learn about our advanced SEO services first, and we go over what you need for small business success online.

About Garry Grant

Garry Grant is a veteran expert in search engine optimization and the digital marketing industry. With nearly 20 years of experience, Garry has successfully built a multi-service operation at SEO, Inc., developing proprietary technologies through complex strategic solutions. He has extensive experience in key initiatives and operational responsibilities grounded in information technology and performance management.

Garry’s expertise and esteemed reputation, coupled with SEO Inc.’s impressive client success record has earned him such accolades as Entrepreneur Magazine's 2005 Hot List for the Hottest Internet Property, Inc. 500 2007 Honorary award for Fastest Growing Private Company in America, an Inc. 500 top 50 Company in San Diego, and interviews with The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, Entrepreneur and The Huffington Post.

Garry Grant began his online career in 1993 creating strategic Web and e-business solutions for Homepage.com, The Rush Limbaugh Show, Premiere Radio Networks, Clear Channel Communications, EarthLink and Artisan Motion Pictures. Today, Garry and SEO Inc.’s highly skilled digital strategists develop proprietary technology and strategic digital marketing direction for Fortune 500 companies including, SC Johnson, McAfee, Entrepreneur.com., Inc Magazine, IGN, Tacorri, LPL Financial, National Kidney Foundation, G4 TV, Fuel TV and Sony, just to name a few.