The Ultimate Guide to
Amazon Vendor Central
Are you looking to take your business to new heights by becoming an Amazon Vendor?
In this ultimate guide, we will cover everything you need to know about Amazon Vendor Central – from getting started with the platform to leveraging Amazon Marketing Services and scaling your business.
We’ll also compare Vendor Central with Amazon Seller Central, navigate common challenges and consider how to build successful partnerships with Amazon.
What is Amazon Vendor Central?
Simply put, Amazon Vendor Central is a streamlined platform that enables businesses to sell directly to Amazon.
With numerous benefits such as access to Amazon’s loyal customer base and simplified logistics through the firm’s fulfilment centers, it provides an opportunity for Vendors to sell their products in large quantities, with Amazon purchasing the products to sell on Amazon.com.
How to register for an Amazon Vendor Central account
Becoming an Amazon Vendor is not as simple as applying for an account, as the platform is invite-only.
Amazon’s global team of vendor recruiters will issue you an invite to join if they assess your business as a good match for their criteria. This will include things such as a strong product offering and a clear ability to consistently generate sales – they’ll look at particularly successful Sellers on Amazon Seller Central for example, as well as meet businesses through more traditional routes such as trade shows.
Once you’ve been invited and if you agree to Amazon’s terms, an Amazon account manager will grant you access to an Amazon Vendor Central account and you can start selling into Amazon directly.
Amazon Vendor Central Vs. Amazon Seller Central
Amazon Vendor Central and Amazon Seller Central are two distinct platforms offered by Amazon. While both platforms involve selling products on Amazon, there are key differences between them.
- Amazon Vendor Central is designed for retailers, manufacturers and distributors who sell directly to Amazon – often in bulk
- Amazon Seller Central is meant for individual sellers and businesses that want to sell their products on Amazon’s marketplace.
You can read more about the differences between the two here.
Understanding the benefits of using Amazon Vendor Central
Large and loyal audience
When you become an Amazon Vendor, you naturally gain access to a larger customer base and increased brand exposure, but your business also benefits from the wholesale nature of selling into Amazon, enabling you to guarantee income at scale and negotiate sales terms.
Simplified logistic processes
Moreover, selling into Amazon can help simplify your logistics and customer service – while you’ll still need to fulfil Amazon’s wholesale order, they will deal with individual customers’ processing and delivery. This is particularly beneficial to retailers or manufacturers that don’t have these capabilities in-house.
Strength of an established e-commerce partner
Finally, Amazon Vendors can leverage tools such as Amazon Marketing Services and Amazon Vine to further enhance the visibility of their brand and build credibility.
What are the cons of the Amazon Vendor Program?
While selling into Amazon has many benefits, it can have its down sides too. For example, Amazon Vendors usually have limited control over pricing and promotions, as these details are part of the initial sales agreement that the Vendor makes with Amazon.
Vendors might also experience delays in payment processing, which can have a significant impact on cash flow if they are awaiting payment for a large order from Amazon.
There can also be broader challenges associated with the Amazon Vendor business model. For example, if you are heavily reliant on Amazon as your single largest customer, this comes with its own risks and can make it difficult to secure external finance to further grow your business, due to many lenders’ concentration restrictions. In these instances you will need to find a specialist lender, such as Growth Lending, that is experienced at supporting Amazon Vendors.
Optimize inventory management with Amazon Vendor Central
Good inventory management is crucial for any efficient sales operation, but an additional benefit of becoming an Amazon Vendor is that a lot of the responsibility for inventory management is assumed by Amazon.
While the Amazon Vendor must deliver goods to Amazon at the quantity and timeline agreed, Amazon then takes care of the rest, including re-ordering stock from the Vendor if inventory is running low. This alleviates considerable stress for retailers and manufacturers, particularly those that are fast-growing and do not necessarily have logistics and supply chain functions in house.
Amazon Vendors do still retain access to all the sales data though – and in much greater detail than is available to Amazon Sellers. This information can then be used to inform their Amazon operations, but potentially can be leveraged for operations in other markets too.
Leverage Amazon Marketing Services for Vendor Central
Another benefit of becoming an Amazon Vendor is access to Amazon Marketing Services, which offers a variety of advertising options to help vendors increase product visibility, drive sales and target specific audiences.
Understanding the various advertising options available on Amazon Vendor Central
Amazon Vendor Central offers a range of advertising options to help vendors promote their products.
- Sponsored products – enables pay-per-click advertising that places products in prominent positions on search results pages
- Sponsored brands – display ads that showcase the brand and products at the top of search results
- Sponsored display– targets shoppers that have viewed or purchased similar products
- Amazon stores – customizable storefronts to showcase the brand and its products
- Amazon Demand-Side Platform (DSP) – offers advanced advertising options to target audiences across the web
Building a successful partnership with Amazon as a Vendor
Building a collaborative partnership with the Amazon team is crucial for maximizing the benefits of being an Amazon Vendor.
Establish regular communication
Regularly communicate any changes across your business that might impact the relationship with Amazon – this could be good news, like additional products in your catalog, but also any challenges that arise, such as issues with your supply chain. Being honest and upfront about these issues means that they can be mitigated sooner.
Utilize Amazon’s expertise
Seek the guidance and expertise of your Amazon representative in navigating the platform, the processes involved with being a Vendor, as well as any changes that could impact you. They know best and will be able to signpost you to tools that will further enhance the partnership.
Be positive and professional
A good relationship with a large retailer such as Amazon can be transformative to your business. By maintaining a positive and professional partnership, even when challenges arise, builds trust and loyalty, which helps both sides of the partnership succeed.
Scaling your business on Amazon as a Vendor
Securing wholesale scale customers such as Amazon might mean a significant growth in your sales volume, so the partnership in itself can be a large stepping stone on your scale-up journey. But becoming an Amazon Vendor offers additional opportunities for your business to grow.
Access to the Amazon Vendor platform means your products are being seen by a much wider audience, enhancing brand awareness and positive brand affinity.
Becoming an Amazon Vendor can also streamline your supply chain, alleviating the pressures of stock management, distribution and customer service. This means additional time and resource can be used elsewhere, such as diversifying your product suite, conducting market research or investing in marketing campaigns.
Selling into Amazon also opens the door to opportunities to sell into other large retailers such as Walmart and Target, further expanding your brand reach and access to customers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Amazon Vendor?
An Amazon vendor is a business that sells products directly to Amazon. Vendors communicate with Amazon through the Vendor Central platform and are responsible for shipping their products to Amazon’s fulfilment centers. Being an Amazon vendor offers benefits like increased visibility and potential for higher sales volumes.
How do I become an approved vendor on Amazon?
The Amazon Vendor Central platform is invite-only, which means you will need to be recruited to join the platform by Amazon’s global vendor recruitment team.
This team uses a variety of metrics to find and assess businesses to become Amazon Vendors, but they will often look at particularly successful businesses on Amazon Seller Central, so if you are interested in selling directly to Amazon, selling via marketplace first could be a good place to start.
What are the benefits of becoming an Amazon Vendor?
Becoming an Amazon vendor offers several benefits. You gain access to a larger customer base, increasing your sales potential. Amazon’s shipping and fulfillment services streamline your operations. Being an Amazon vendor also enhances brand visibility and credibility.
What is the difference between an Amazon Vendor and Seller?
Amazon vendors and sellers have different selling models. Vendors sell products directly to Amazon, which then sells them to customers. On the other hand, Sellers sell products directly to customers on the Amazon platform. Sellers have more control over pricing and product listings, while Vendors benefit from the wholesale nature of selling to Amazon directly.
You can read more about the difference between Vendors and Sellers here.