Amazon Seller Central vs Amazon Vendor Central

Choose between Amazon Seller Central and Vendor Central to meet your ecommerce goals. Learn the differences and find the right fit for your business.
Seller Central offers control and access to various products, ideal for startups and small businesses. Vendor Central, by invitation, lets Amazon handle sales, customer service, and provides advertising tools. The choice depends on your business goals and resources.

Selling on Amazon is now almost essential for all consumers brands, unless you want to miss out on a huge cohort of consumers. If you're looking to sell on Amazon, you have two  main ways to do it. Using Amazon Seller Central or Amazon Vendor Central. Each platform provides its advantages and disadvantages. 


This article will look at both platforms, their respective benefits for businesses looking to sell products through them, and how best to set up one of them.



What are Amazon Seller Central and Vendor Central?


Before delving deeper, let's understand the difference between Seller Central and Vendor Central.


Amazon Vendor Central

Vendor Central is an invite-only program where Amazon purchases products directly from manufacturers and authorized distributors, eliminating intermediaries. Vendors supply their product(s) directly to Amazon; then Amazon handles selling, pricing, and customer service responsibilities on your behalf - this arrangement is often referred to as first party (1P).


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Amazon's Vendor Central Recruitment team seeks out potential new vendors among established Seller Central sellers, marketplace sellers with popular products, and trade show exhibitors with unique offerings. If your products catch their attention, Amazon may extend an invitation for Vendor Central membership.


Imagine an established electronics manufacturer that produces cutting-edge gadgets and electronic devices and has garnered an excellent reputation within its industry due to its innovative products and quality assurance processes. One day, they receive an invitation from Amazon's Vendor Central program.


The manufacturer is a Vendor Central participant and sells its electronic products directly to Amazon, bypassing intermediaries and forging direct partnerships with one of the largest ecommerce platforms globally. This streamlines their distribution process while creating direct partnerships with one of the world's biggest ecommerce platforms.


One of the primary advantages of working in this way is that customer service responsibilities are being taken on by Amazon. This frees the company up to focus on designing and manufacturing top-tier electronic devices instead.



Amazon Seller Central 

Seller Central is Amazon's platform that enables individuals and businesses to list and sell products directly to its massive customer base, acting as a third-party seller on Amazon with control over inventory, pricing, and customer interactions - an attractive proposition for startups and established brands alike. Amazon's selling partner volume is around 2 million as of March 2023. 


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Imagine that "Crafty Creations", a small craft store offering handmade, unique, and artisanal products like handmade jewelry, personalized home decor items, and customized gifts, has decided to use Amazon Seller Central to expand its customer reach and tap into Amazon's vast customer base.


Crafty Creations uses Amazon Seller Central to list their products directly on Amazon's platform and gain control over inventory management, pricing strategies and customer interactions. The business can leverage Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) for efficient order fulfillment and customer service, though this approach can compromise brand control to some degree. "Crafty Creations" protect their profit margins by opting for direct sales, which enables them to set their price, rather than selling wholesale to Amazon. They can offer personalized shopping experiences while keeping their brand intact within the Amazon marketplace.


Advantages of Seller Central over Vendor Central

  • One of the primary advantages of Seller Central for sellers is its level of control. As an individual seller, you have full authority to set prices, manage inventory levels, and communicate directly with customers - which is particularly advantageous in maintaining your brand identity and customer relationships.
  • Access to an Expanded Selection: Seller Central allows you to list a comprehensive range of products, from unique or niche items through mainstream offerings. This feature makes Seller Central ideal for businesses that offer multiple product lines.
  • Seller Central provides access to businesses of all kinds, from individuals selling handmade crafts online to established companies with established presences. The relatively low entry barrier makes Seller Central an attractive option for startups and small businesses.
  • Sellers can select between Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) or Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). FBA provides sellers with convenient shipping, customer service, and returns management from one convenient source.


Advantages of Vendor Central over Seller Central

  • Amazon will handle order processing, customer service and returns so that your company can focus on manufacturing and distributing its products.
  • A suite of advertising tools and resources can help boost visibility and sales, allowing vendors to promote their products effectively.
  • By selling products through Vendor Central as a first-party seller, customers will likely feel assured when placing orders through Amazon rather than third-party sites with lesser name recognition.
  • Vendor Central offers businesses that can quickly fill large orders an opportunity to sell in bulk to Amazon, making Vendor Central an attractive platform.
  • Vendor Central on Amazon allows sellers to participate in promotional programs such as Subscribe & Save and Amazon Vine, sending products directly to top reviewers for user-generated reviews that build brand trust while increasing sales due to consumer input on product quality.



Start your Amazon Vendor Central and Seller Central account today

Now that you understand the advantages of each platform let's briefly cover how to get started with both.



Getting started on Amazon Seller Central

1.  If you don't already have one, sign up for an Amazon account.
2.  Choose an Individual or Professional Selling Plan: Depending on your business's scale and anticipated sales volume, determine an Individual or Professional selling plan to help guide sales efforts.
3.  List Your Products: List your products by providing details, pricing information, and images.
4.  Fulfillment Method: Determine whether you'd prefer fulfilling orders yourself (FBM) or using Amazon's fulfillment services (FBA).
5.  Once Your Listings Are Live: Once your listings are live, you can begin selling and managing orders with Seller Central.


Getting started on Amazon Vendor Central

1.  Invite or Apply: Vendor Central is invitation-only. Amazon will typically email you that they are interested in selling your products.
2.  There is not usually much scope for negotiating terms unless you are a large brand. Amazon will provide you with the terms.  
3.  Product Setup: Amazon will walk you through the steps to create product listings and provide essential details. Amazon's system considers sales history and current demand before determining if an order should be placed.
4.  Shipping and Billing: Amazon will communicate with you regarding order quantities, shipping details, and billing.
Amazon Marketing Services offers the tools necessary to promote and increase visibility for your products on Amazon Marketplace.


If you want to find out more about how you can start selling on Amazon, get in touch with one of ChannelEngine's marketplace experts! 


Final words

At its core, selecting between Amazon Seller Central and Vendor Central boils down to your business goals, resources, and desired level of control. Seller Central gives more direct management over certain aspects, while Vendor Central simplifies many aspects but comes with specific requirements based on invitation. Before making a final decision for your business, consider its needs and capabilities and future growth/change within it - remember you can adapt and refine your strategy over time!


Why not take the next step today? Schedule a call with one of our ecommerce experts!


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