Back to blog

Learn with Threecolts

Small group workshops to help you learn, optimize, and grow.

Learn About Coaching

Seller Central or Vendor Central - which is the best for me?

OldStreetMedia
Kennedell Amoo-Gottfried
Published
June 9, 2022
Modified
September 16, 2022
Seller Central or Vendor Central

If you’re selling your products on Amazon, you’ll be using one of two interfaces - Amazon Seller Central or Amazon Vendor Central. 

The main difference between the two is who the end customer is actually buying the product from. 

On Seller Central, you will be selling your products directly to the user, through Amazon’s marketplace, making you a third-party seller or a marketplace seller. On the other hand, on Vendor Central you will be selling your products to Amazon, which then resells them on to customers.

But if you are looking to sell your wares through Amazon’s platform, which is the best for you? What do you need to take into account when picking which route you want to take?

Seller Central

Amazon offers accounts for both individual and professional sellers, both of which are considered third-party (3P) Amazon sellers. 

Sellers reach customers through the Amazon marketplace, and while Amazon does not directly buy it from them and sell it on, they can fulfill the orders through FBA, or alternatively Sellers can  handle it themselves through third-party logistics providers (FBM). 

Anyone can open a Seller account, though Professional Seller accounts do require a monthly subscription. Sellers tend to go for professional accounts, however, because of benefits that include preferential treatment for marketing purposes - including lower fees, using Enhanced Brand Content and A+ Content - as well as a range of analytics tools and other functions.  

As a Seller, you have a high degree of control over your operation. You can determine the retail prices of your products and have more flexible options on logistics, as you are able to pick through third party providers rather than rely solely on FBA. 

Pros

  • Pricing: Since you are the one selling to the customer as a Seller, you will be able to set the retail price as opposed to Amazon. This give you a lot more options in terms of your strategy.
  • Inventory: You control your inventory, not Amazon. This means you can adapt to your customers’ needs and move your stock around to optimize sales. Payments are also made much quicker to Sellers than Vendors.

Cons

  • More active management: The flip side of more control, of course is that it will take more time and financial resources to maintain your marketing presence on the platform, whether that is your product listings, storefronts or other content. 
  • Fulfillment cost: As the one actually handling the shipments to customers, you will be handling the fulfillment costs, which of course add up depending on the size and quantity of your products. It also complicates your operations as you will need to continually assess the merits of FBA versus 3PL providers. 

Vendor Central

As a Vendor, you are essentially a supplier for Amazon and sell to them in bulk and are considered a first-party seller, while Amazon is the one that customers actually buy from. You will often come across the phrase “ships from and sold by Amazon” on product listings - these are Vendors.

Unlike with Sellers, for whom there is an open door, participation as a Vendor is exclusively through invitation to register, as Amazon will be buying large quantities from them. For this reason, many businesses start as Sellers to build up traction for their products and then become Vendors to sell directly to Amazon in bulk. 

Pros

  • Simplicity: In contrast to Seller Central, you are essentially just a bulk supplier here. This is a much simpler business model since you only have one major buyer as opposed to hundreds or even thousands of individual customers. Rather than having to handle fulfillment, marketing or retail, you just need to worry about getting inventory to Amazon warehouses and billing Amazon. 
  • Marketing tools: Sellers are not the only ones with marketing options. Vendors, even as wholesalers, can take part in programs such as Amazon Vine - which sends products to top reviewers before they go on the storefronts - and Amazon’s Subscribe & Save promotions.
  • Seller Support: Vendors, particularly the larger ones, get the services of personal account managers to handle their needs. The smaller vendors might not get the same personal account managers - though they can pay for one if they want, which sellers can't do - but can access a large array of support resources and have well-prepares support staff at the ready.

Cons

  • Control of price and brand: Amazon will control final retail prices if you are a Vendor and does not necessarily stick to manufacturers’ Minimum Advertised Pricing. Likewise, you will not have a large degree of control over how your brand is presented on Amazon’s platform and are not able to customize things like packaging or have much say on customer experience. Amazon will also negotiate for the best price from their suppliers, meaning that they will seek the lowest possible price to buy from you and that may eat into your margins. 
  • Single buyer risk: There is a good chance that for many vendors, Amazon is the single largest buyer. This poses a risk in case Amazon suddenly decides to stop buying, as it has with many sellers in the past. 

Before you get an invitation, being a Seller is the only game available to you. Once you do get your invitation though, you will need to choose if you want to go with simplicity and bulk selling on Vendor Central, or stick with more control even if it means most costs on Seller Central, but these are all things you need to keep in mind when deciding how you want to exist on Amazon.


Need help?

 

Schedule a free 30-minute audit call with a specialist today. 

Our Solution Architects are trained to understand your business and present your best options to grow on Amazon. All advice is customized to your needs.

About us

 

Threecolts acquires, launches, and grows eCommerce software & services, and owns other stellar businesses including Old Street Media, HotShp, SellerBench, Tactical Arbitrage, Bindwise, RefundSniper, ChannelReply, and FeedbackWhiz.

Old Street Media supports businesses with their advertising, inventory management, and other eCommerce services. We collaborate with over 4000 brands and have generated $600M in sales in the past year.

Reach out to HotShp for help with product titles, descriptions, bullet points, social posts, and blog posts.

Reach out to SellerBench for help with shipment reconciliation and FBA fee reimbursements. 99% of FBA sellers are owed money. Get your free audit today.

If you are more interested in the #1 Amazon Arbitrage software, try TacticalArbitrage. With over 6,000 users, TacticalArbitrage will help you discover profitable products to resell on Amazon.

Bindwise will help you to identify costly issues with your Amazon seller accounts. Receive instant Bindwise Alerts about everything related to your store on Amazon. 

RefundSniper is an international Amazon reimbursement service that runs audits on both Vendor Central and Seller Central. Find out how much you are owed by Amazon today.

If you're looking for a way to streamline multi-platform ecommerce support, ChannelReply has you covered. Cut your customer response time in half by having all your customer information in one hub. 

FeedbackWhiz is an Amazon sellers management software that helps merchants scale their business by automating email campaigns, improving seller feedback, getting more product reviews, monitoring listings, and analyzing profit and accounting data.

Learn with Threecolts

Small group workshops to help you learn, optimize, and grow.