Amazon Vendor Central or Seller Central – As a business that sells products on Amazon, you have two options for selling through the platform, vendor central or seller central. Vendor central is where sites like Amazon act as the middleman between you and your customers.
You send products to Amazon, which then lists and sells them on your behalf.
Seller central sells products directly to customers through Amazon’s online marketplace. This option allows you to keep more control over your product listings, pricing, and shipping. Of course, you will want to keep a good relationship with your customers if you take this route, so as to avoid any negative reviews or disputes that could get your account suspended. If the worst does happen, you would need an amazon lawyer well versed in Amazon suspensions, that will work with you to ensure you get reinstated as quickly as possible.
Which option is right for you? Here are ten ways to decide if vendor central or seller central is the best for your organization.
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What Control Can You Have Over Your Product Listings?
With vendor central, Amazon controls all aspects of product listing, including pricing, images, and descriptions.
You can choose which images and text to use with seller central, but Amazon will still manage the product details.
How Much Inventory Do You Have?
With both vendor central and seller central, there’s a per unit storage fee for holding your inventory in an Amazon fulfillment center ($0.46/item/month with the Professional plan).
Hold more than 185 units of each item, and this fee scales up significantly ($3.15/item/month for over 3,000 items on the Enterprise plan).
If you’re starting or don’t have a lot of extra capital to spend on storage costs, seller central may be a better option as it requires less inventory before sending products to customers.
If you opt for vendor central, try to hold as little inventory and fulfill orders through your warehouse or a 3PL (third-party logistics) provider like ShipBob.
How Much Money Can You Invest in Shipping?
Sellers who work with vendor central must use Amazon Logistics for all shipment needs.
It adds an extra fee of $0.99 per unit, plus other fees for optional features like expedited shipping ($9.98/unit) and regional delivery ($4.99/unit).
Fulfilling orders by yourself with seller central means you can ship products directly from your warehouses or drop shippers.
However, specific fulfillment methods may require additional storage space, which has monthly fees attached.
Is Your Inventory Seasonal?
If your products are only in demand during a specific time of year, seller central may be the better option.
Amazon Prime Day is the perfect example: products in high demand (like televisions and home appliances) are usually only sold through seller central during this one-day event.
How Much Customer Service Do You Want to Handle?
When customers order from Amazon, they can reach out to Amazon customer service for any questions or issues with their order.
As a vendor, you’re not responsible for customer service issues unless they’re related to products you’ve sent to Amazon.
As a seller, you’re responsible for handling customer service inquiries yourself. It includes monitoring reviews, responding to customer questions and complaints, and dealing with product returns.
What Part of Your Sales Come from Amazon?
According to a popular magazine, around 89 percent of buyers get more products from Amazon than other e-commerce sites.
If a large percentage of your sales come from Amazon, it may be worth considering vendor central. Amazon takes care of all order fulfillment and customer service with this option.
It gives you maximum time to grow your business and generate new sales channels.
Are You Selling Products in Multiple Countries?
If you’re selling products in multiple countries, vendor central is likely the better option. Amazon will manage inventory and shipping for each country independently, challenging to do as a seller.
How Much Time Do You Have to Manage Your Amazon Account?
As a vendor, Amazon manages all aspects of your product listings and distribution, including:
- Responding to customer inquiries and reviews
- Handling all returns and refunds
- Managing the inventory, storage, shipment, and processing of sales tax for you
As a seller, you’re responsible for these tasks. It can be time-consuming if you’re doing it alone, especially as your business grows.
If managing accounts is taking up too much of your time, consider partnering with an Amazon agency like Ignite Visibility that can help improve results and free up more of your time.
Do You Want to Hire Employees?
If you want to hire employees (or independent contractors), vendor central may be the better option since Amazon will do most of the work for you.
Are You Selling a Physical or Digital Product?
Amazon handles physical products differently than they do digital products. If you’re selling a digital product, vendor central is not an option. As a seller of digital products, you’ll need to use Amazon’s seller central platform.
Each business is different and will have different needs for selling on Amazon. It’s crucial to weigh all the pros and cons of vendor and seller central before deciding which one is right for you.
Use a company that can help by providing an in-depth analysis of your business and recommending the best course of action based on your specific goals.