On Amazon, selling can be done in two ways- as a third-party seller or a first-party seller. The latter is known as a Vendor. Amazon’s Vendor program allows merchants to sell products to Amazon in wholesale, which in turn is sold to consumers with the labels “Ship from Amazon.com” and “Sold by Amazon.com”.
This invite-only platform is open to almost every business (size no bar) as long as they qualify Amazon’s parameters. Its benefits fall along the lines of improved conversions and increased revenue channels. But, there is quite a bit to know about Amazon Vendor Central and its intricacies before you can take advantage of all it has to offer.
Here’s a brief guide on why and how to sell to Amazon directly through Amazon Vendor Central.
What Is Amazon Vendor Central?
Amazon vendor central is designed for suppliers who want to sell directly to Amazon rather than on Amazon. In other words, it is a platform where vendors sell their products to Amazon, and Amazon further sells to customers.
It follows a simple process where:
- Amazon places an order,
- you share the inventory and the invoice, and
- Amazon will pay you.
Your role ends once you have received the payment, and Amazon’s role starts. Meanwhile, you have the option to manage your purchase orders, inventory, shipping, and other critical parameters to keep your account up-to-date.
How To Become A Vendor On Amazon Central?
Amazon vendor central is an invite-only platform. Therefore, you cannot sign up or apply for it. You can only become a vendor when Amazon invites you. But why would Amazon invite you? Well, Amazon wants to make maximum profits by providing customers with unique products and services. So, it is always on the hunt for brands that have something new or innovative to offer.
Amazon, generally, sends Vendor Central invites to:
- Existing brands with high sales volume, positive reviews, or favorable customer engagement on Seller Central
- Brands with an extraordinary product exhibited at fairs or trade shows (Amazon brand managers are usually present at exhibitions in search of such brands)
If you fall into any of these categories, you might receive an invite from Amazon via email. On accepting the offer, the Amazon team will brief you on the process, rules, and regulations. Once you agree to the terms, you get access to the Vendor Central account and are officially declared as the vendor.
Before we explore Vendor Central, let’s take a quick look at how Amazon Vendor Central is different from Amazon Seller Central.
|What’s the Difference between Amazon Seller Central and Amazon Vendor Central?|
Amazon offers businesses two distinct ways of working with them. First as a seller and second as a vendor.Seller CentralAmazon Seller Central is for merchants who want to market and sell their products directly to customers. Anyone selling through Seller Central is called the third-party seller and has complete control over their account.
Sellers can handle the delivery, shipping, customer service, refunds, and returns for each individual or can allow Amazon to handle these processes by enrolling in the Fulfilled by Amazon or “FBA” program.
Vendor CentralAmazon Vendor Central is meant for direct manufacturers and distributors. If you sell through Vendor Central, you are considered a first-party seller as you sell to Amazon, and Amazon further sells to end customers.
Amazon will purchase your products and sell them when the customers place an order. If a business sells through Vendor Central, customers will see “sold by Amazon” on the order page.
Point to note: The only way to start selling on Amazon is by signing up for a Seller Central account. You cannot directly become a vendor as it requires an invite (as mentioned above).
Now let’s get back to where we started, i.e., Amazon Vendor Central.
Amazon Vendor Management: What You Can Do
As a part of the Vendor Central account, you get the following options and features in the dashboard:
Under the orders tab, you will receive purchase orders and provide shipment information to Amazon.
This is the place where you handle and manage product marketing. You can leverage significant features such as Amazon Vine and A+ Content for optimal results.
Include and update relevant product information under this tab to help Amazon know about your product in detail. You can also upload high-quality images for a better overview.
Here, you can access the invoices, remittances, and information about product returns.
This is the place to analyze your business performance and gain insight into the profits and losses. You can also leverage Amazon Retail Analytics (ARA) for more details.
Promote your products and enhance their visibility via PPC (pay-per-click) ad campaigns. You can take assistance from a reputed Amazon vendor central expert for effective outcomes.
Amazon Vendor Central: The Benefits
Along with multiple functionalities, vendors can gain certain benefits, including the following.
Gain Customer Trust
When you sell your products via Vendor Central, shoppers see “Sold by Amazon.com” on the product listing. This serves as an approval token and boosts customers’ confidence and trust. Thus, they can buy the item without worrying about its quality. Remember, this isn’t the case with Amazon Seller Central.
Attract Traffic Through Ads
Vendors can drive traffic to their product pages via keyword-targeted ad campaigns. Explore unique ways and means to create ads for your products and bring traffic to your product pages. Smartly insert keywords (with high search volume) in your ad copies for maximum gain. However, ensure you adhere to Amazon’s marketing policies to avoid complications.
Since you don’t have to deal with the end customers, you can be free from the worries of logistics, sales reconciliation, tax liabilities, and other costs. The process is simple, wherein you have to primarily focus on order fulfilment, billing, and avoiding chargebacks while Amazon handles the rest. After all, managing a single buyer (i.e., Amazon) is far simpler than managing hundreds or thousands of buyers.
A+ Content And Marketing Tools
Vendors can actively leverage sales-enhancing programs such as “Subscribe & Save” or Amazon Vine to highlight your product. In addition to this, laying emphasis on A+ content and user-generated content can facilitate brand reputation, trust, and ultimately greater revenue.
As seen, the Amazon Vendor Central dashboard offers multiple functionalities to help vendors make the most of their business. However, vendors often struggle with a few critical questions, some of which have been answered below:
Who Sets up the Listings?
When it comes to setting up listings, the process is quite similar to Seller Central.
Like sellers, vendors must set up listings and add relevant product details, including description, title, images, price, and other attributes. However, there’s one difference. While sellers can immediately upload listings in Seller Central, vendors must submit them to Amazon for a final review.
The experts at Amazon check whether the guidelines are met and might remove or change the elements that don’t abide by the regulations. Since Amazon reviews the listings, vendors can be free from the worries of seizing or copying by other sellers. You can also enroll in Amazon Brand Registry to ensure your listings’ utmost privacy and protection.
What Are the Advertising Options on Amazon Vendor Central?
As mentioned earlier, vendors can use Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) to run ad campaigns. According to Amazon, vendors can leverage the following ad types:
- Sponsored Product Ads
- Sponsored Brands
- Product Display Ads
You can choose the ad according to your requirements and budget. However running an ad is optional, but it’s wiser to do so since it can greatly benefit your business. In terms of sales, you will also reach more conversions, profits, visibility, and credibility. Consider hiring an Amazon PPC management expert to get better insights into AMS.
Is There Any Fee Associated with Vendor Central?
Fees or allowances are yet another area that confuses most vendors. Before you start working with Amazon, it is essential to read the terms and conditions and review the allowances. To give you an idea, here are the three main allowances that Amazon charges:
- Market Development Funds (MDF)
- Damage Allowance
- Freight Allowance
In addition to this, Amazon will also charge a 4 to 10 percent cash payout for co-op costs. Before signing the deal, try negotiating with Amazon for maximum cost savings.
Are You Ready to Become a Vendor?
Now that you are aware of Amazon Vendor Central and how it differs from Amazon Seller Central, it’s time to prep up your store. Though there are no shortcuts to getting Amazon to send you the invite, you can build a strong brand presence as a seller on and off Amazon to grab their attention.
You can also opt for Amazon vendor central consulting to discover advanced optimization techniques and strategies to amend your Amazon store.
Author Bio – Sophie Hayes is an eCommerce consultant and a keen blogger. She holds eleven years of experience in SEO, eCommerce PPC, online website, marketplace & store optimization, and performance management. She is currently engaged with Team4eCom in the USA. She has written articles and contributed posts to several websites. Her most-written niche includes eCommerce store setup, SEO, social media marketing, listing optimization, marketplace-specific content like Amazon Product Listing Services and marketing, eBay account management and Walmart marketing.