Amazon rookies and veterans alike find it difficult to clearly distinguish Seller Central from Vendor Central. Unfortunately, many retailers end up with the wrong type of account, hindering their sales. Not only can the wrong account prevent a retailer from being able to sell the way they need to, or at least make it much more difficult, but it’s also nearly impossible to switch.
Before getting locked into Seller or Vendor, retailers should carefully determine which account will grant them the biggest capacity to cash in on the opportunities Amazon provides.
The fundamental difference between Seller and Vendor Central is who sells the products to the end user. Sellers act as a third party using the Amazon platform to sell their products to Amazon shoppers. Vendors, on the other hand, wholesale products to Amazon who then sells to the consumer.
The implications of the previous distinction are huge. As the consumer interface, Sellers are able to control their prices, promotion, content, pictures, discounts, and more. They have the ability and burden to upload content and manage their own accounts.
Amazon handles the selling of Vendor products. This option works great for merchants who sell high volumes of a large variety of SKU’s in several different channels. Big merchants hand over the time-consuming management to Amazon.
However, the convenience comes at a cost. In the literal sense, Vendors see lower margins and have to pay extra for A+, promotions, and coupons. Additionally, Vendors have to go through Amazon with any changes, which Amazon can then reject or take weeks to implement. Amazon has even been known to disregard Vendor MAP.
Relationship with Amazon
Since Vendors surrender control to Amazon, they have access to more Amazon perks. First, Vendors sell higher volumes by using Amazon’s powerful brand recognition. Vendor products are labeled as “Shipped and sold by Amazon,” increasing consumer trust in the sale.
Secondly, Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) is only available through Vendor Central. AMS includes both Sponsored Products and Headline Search ads like Seller Central. Vendors also get the additional option for Product Display ads which show up on competitors’ display pages. Plus, AMS campaigns have lower ACoS and AMS Sponsored Products are given a natural ranking boosting.
Other Amazon perks for Vendors include the Vine review program, an easier brand registry process, and the avoidance of Seller Performance.
Seller Central tends to appeal to the masses for a variety of reasons. Most obvious, Vendor Central accounts are by invite only. Aside from the exclusivity, most sellers want the ability to control the variables of their listings. They are willing to put in the work and in turn, see higher margins. As an added bonus, there’s much less frustration from having to wait on Amazon to get something done. Finally, Seller Central is more accessible because it’s more budget friendly. Sellers determine inventory volumes and PPC investments.
Whichever account a retailer chooses, they should be able to adequately leverage the benefits and minimize the restraints to prosper the brand.