Amazon Vendor Central

What is Amazon Vendor Central?

Manufacturers and distributors can sell their products directly to Amazon through the Amazon Vendor Central platform. In short, your company will act as a wholesaler for Amazon, with Amazon taking on the role of the retailer.

Think of Amazon Vendor Central as an exclusive club – you can only join if you are invited by Amazon. Typically, only big players such as well-known brands or large companies are invited. Once you’re in this club, you no longer sell your products individually to customers; instead, you sell them in bulk directly to Amazon. You can imagine it as a wholesaler selling their goods to a supermarket.

Once Amazon has the products, it takes care of the rest – pricing, selling, and shipping the products to end customers. You no longer have to worry about these things as Amazon handles them. Once you’ve sold your products to Amazon, you no longer have control over the further sales process – Amazon takes the reins.

Practical Example:

Let’s say you’re the manufacturer of a brand with innovative kitchen appliances. Amazon invites you to become part of the Vendor program. You sell a large quantity of your products to Amazon, and Amazon takes care of the selling and shipping to customers. Through the Vendor Central portal, you can manage your orders, track your sales, and access reports.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Amazon Vendor Central?

Higher sales due to customer trust in “Sold by AmazonLess control and say in the process
Amazon handles logisticsAmazon sets the selling prices
Amazon takes care of sales and customer supportAmazon determines product availability and inventory levels
Amazon handles returns and shippingNo direct customer contact
Content control over the listing (design of the product detail page)Negotiations with Amazon can be difficult and time-consuming  

For products sold by Amazon, Prime shipping is always available if the customer is a Prime member. Fast and (free) shipping is an important aspect that influences purchase decisions and often impacts the conversion rate. From a customer’s perspective, it’s pleasant when Amazon is the seller because they trust Amazon and enjoy shopping there. For suppliers or “vendors” selling their products through Vendor Central, this means their products are easier to find and they will likely sell more.

As a vendor, you have “content control” over your listings, meaning you can determine how they are presented. This is important because many products on Amazon are also sold by other merchants, known as “resellers.” These resellers can often list your products on Amazon before you do, and sometimes these listings are flawed, poorly translated, or contain unprofessional images, which can negatively impact your brand image. To override the content of resellers, you need to correctly create the items in your Vendor Central and merge the newly created product detail page with that of the reseller (merge ASINs).

It should be clear that as a seller, you have less decision-making freedom since you essentially hand over full control to Amazon. You act more as a supplier and are dependent on Amazon: Amazon has full control over product availability, pricing, and inventory. You can only make suggestions but cannot make decisions. Flexibility is lost, and negotiations with Amazon can be complicated and time-consuming. You also no longer have direct customer contact as Amazon handles customer inquiries and support.

What is the difference between Vendor Central and Seller Central?

Seller Central and Vendor Central are two selling platforms provided by Amazon for merchants to sell their products on Amazon.

 Amazon Seller CentralAmazon Vendor Central
Who can use it?Any merchantInvited merchants only
Who is the seller?The seller sells directly to customersAmazon sells the products
ControlControl Full control over pricing and sales processAmazon controls pricing and sales process
LogisticsCan be managed by the merchant or via “Fulfillment by AmazonCompletely handled by Amazon  
Customer serviceTypically provided by the merchantProvided by Amazon
Fees FixedFees Fixed selling fee and possible FBA feesVaries based on negotiations with Amazon
PaymentPayment The merchant is paid directly after the saleThe merchant is paid at specified intervals

How can I become an Amazon Vendor?

How do you get invited by Amazon to become a vendor? Amazon typically sends invitations to:

  • Sellers who already successfully sell their own branded items on Amazon
  • Established brands with high customer demand
  • Exhibitors who stand out with their products at trade shows

If you want to catch Amazon’s attention, consider the following points:

  1. Ensure you have an excellent sales and customer satisfaction record.
  2. Establish a strong brand with a positive image.
  3. Offer top-quality products that demonstrate high sales numbers and positive customer ratings and reviews. Meet Amazon’s standards for product quality and customer service.
  4. Always have enough products in stock to meet customer demand.
  5. Utilize opportunities like trade shows and other events to make connections and expand your network.
  6. Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the policies and requirements of the Amazon program and read them carefully.