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Amazon Vendor Central: What you need to know

By Last updated on: December 7, 2020

What is Amazon Vendor Central?

There are only two ways to get your products on Amazon: a seller (third-party or 3P) or a vendor (first-party or 1P). Vendor Central sellers are known as first-party or 1P because when a sale is made to a consumer, it’s sold by Amazon themselves (Amazon Retail), not by a separate company using their marketplace platform.

What is the difference between Vendor and Seller Central?

Invitation only (first-party)Open for anyone to sell (third party)
You sell directly to AmazonYou control products, inventory, and pricing  
Amazon controls retail pricing, inventory, and logisticsCertain ad types and marketing features not available
Multiple advertising optionsDirect contact with the end customer
No contact with the end customerMore logistics responsibility (shipping, returns, messaging)
Responsibility of always meeting demandsHigher margins on sales
Lower margins on salesQuick payment terms

Amazon Vendor Central is the platform manufacturers and distributors utilize. Vendor Central is an invite-only program for businesses that sell their products to Amazon themselves. When you sell with a Vendor Central account, you act as a supplier, selling in bulk to Amazon. In other words, you sell directly to Amazon vs. selling to consumers. Similarly, items on Amazon for sale by Vendor Central partners usually include a description that reads: “Ships from and sold by Amazon.”

As a Vendor Central seller, you submit your product listings and wholesale prices to Amazon, and then they send you a purchase order of the products they want to sell. Amazon might purchase several units or even hundreds at a given time. With Vendor Central, you no longer have to worry about selling to consumers, fulfilling orders, or dealing with aftercare. Amazon is the retailer, so all that is down to them.

Can I have both a Vendor and Seller Central Account? Yes!

YES! However, we don’t recommend that you offer the same products through both programs. If you choose to be a part of both, use Seller Central for launching new products. Doing this will allow you to control pricing, request feedback, and market your products. If you have seasonal items, this is where Seller Central would do well again. In comparison, for items that sell year-round, Vendor Central is the best option for you. Vendor Central is great for higher-end and more pricey products. Why? Amazon asks for lower costs, making it hard to make a profit. So if you have cheaper/more affordable products, Seller Central is the program for you. 

How to be invited as a vendor. 

Again, Vendor Central is an invite-only platform so applying to sell on this platform is usually not an option. There always has to be an invitation from Amazon first.

Amazon Vendor

Millions of products are already available, so why would Amazon invite a business to sell on Vendor Central? Well, new products are being created and sold all the time. There are also existing brands with low availability on the site. For this reason, Amazon has vendor recruitment teams around the world whose job is to find new brands and products to sell.

Typically, Amazon will invite brands with registered high sales in Seller Central. You will receive an email from the Amazon retail team if they are interested in your brand. It is also possible to be approached at trade shows and exhibitions. 

Invited to Vendor Central? What’s next?

The process is quite simple: 

  1. Amazon sends you a purchase order listing of what exactly they want to buy. 
  2. You then send Amazon the inventory of what they ordered. 
  3. You get paid by Amazon.

From there, it is up to Amazon to sell your products to their customers. You will not be involved in that process. 

How often does Amazon place purchase orders?

As a vendor, you can set your wholesale prices on Amazon. If they find your wholesale prices appealing, they will place a purchase order, listing all the products they would like to purchase. The ordering process is automated. Amazon’s systems will look at sales history and the current demand before deciding whether they need to place in order. In most cases, Amazon will place an order once a week for you to fulfill. During seasonal months demands will be higher for specific items.

Who sets up the listings?

Vendors are responsible for providing product descriptions and setting up the listing. Listings in Vendor Central are more protected and take precedence over listings done in Seller Central. Vendors must include product attributes, description, bullet points, titles, and the wholesale price.

Amazon Vendor Central catalog
Amazon Vendor Central Catalog – Manage and Edit Details

Can Refund Retriever help with my Vendor Central Account? YES!

Refund Retriever now monitors Vendor Central accounts! Sign up today.

Brian Gibbs

Author Brian Gibbs

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Brian Gibbs | President of Refund Retriever

Brian Gibbs founded Refund Retriever in 2006 while running his first eBay based business and seeing the shortcomings of other shipment auditing companies. Refund Retriever's primary focus is FedEx and UPS parcel invoice auditing. After graduating from Texas A&M University in 2001, he then graduated from the University of Houston in 2004 with a JD and MBA. Gibbs has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur and other publications discussing parcel auditing, shipping, e-commerce and more. Learn more at www.refundretriever.com or call (800) 441-8085 for more information.

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