Back to all articles

Vendor vs. Seller: which one should I choose for my business?

vendor 1
Liv Odenthal
Liv Odenthal
Brand Marketing Lead
5 min read
1 April 2021

A key topic for many sellers when trading online via Amazon is understanding what the benefits of Amazon Vendor Central versus Amazon Seller Central are. Being able to navigate the Amazon environment is crucial to get the biggest bang for your buck.

The Amazon ecosystem

  • Information gathering
    Amazon obtains information about what customers want in a particu­lar department, primarily acting as a merchant or marketpla­ce operator and documenting its sales. This is how Amazon determi­nes a product’s demand…
  • Value added
    … and can offer the products or services for which there is a suffi­cient margin. Due to the fact that there are so many stages in the value chain at Amazon, from manu­facturing to product presentation and delivery to customer contact, it always has the possibility to inter­pose its own products.
  • Optimisation
    Amazon is convinced that proces­ses can always be optimised. In the warehouses, workers are al­ready being exchanged for robots because the latter work flawlessly and are more cost effective. Another emblematic example: Amazon is a leader in the field of grid computing, whereby the available computing capacity of all connected computers is made available worldwide.
  • Customer service
    Whether it is in a product’s searchability, availability, delivery, exch­ange or return, Amazon has created a  new standard in terms of customer service. These necessary investments have paid off, which is partly why Amazon requires that its competitors follow suit.
  • For the long haul
    Optimisation and customer service expenses do not have to bear fruit immediately. When compared to the speed of the modern corpo­rate world, Amazon operates at a rate comparable to biblical times. From the outside, Amazon appears to suffer from suicidal in­vestments and catastrophic quar­terly statements; masked behind those apparent tunnel vision disasters; however, is actually quite often Amazon‘s hidden, greater ten-year plan for marketplace do­minance.
  • No mercy
    Owing to its sheer size, unbea­table performance and expansi­on, Amazon is not dependent on others — and likes to remind them of that fact. It is thus an ecosystem, which is flourishing and constantly occupying more of the biosphere for itself.

Just as in nature, the “whatever for” question is a rather metaphysi­cal one, to which there is no satis­factory answer. It must be enough to understand the natural laws of the system without being distrac­ted from the original question. For only those who understand it can assert themselves within the sys­tem. In the face of this unprece­dented expansion, sellers need to think about how they will find and defend their niche in the Amazon system.

What is Seller Central?

Amazon Seller Central allows “third parties” (third-party seller) to use Amazon as a marketplace, to list products there and to sell them independently. They have full control over their product listing and price. In addition, retailers also have the option of using Amazon (FBA, Fulfillment by Amazon) for shipping. Amazon will simply deduct the costs related to storage, packaging and shipping. The goods, however, belong to the dealer at all times and are only available in Amazon’s warehouses until they are sold and processed.

What is Vendor Central?

A retailer that sells via Amazon Vendor Central is called a first-party retailer. Companies are like suppliers and products are sold on Amazon in large quantities. After the sale, Amazon becomes the owner of the goods and takes over the responsibility for marketing, sales and price. This means that the retailer becomes dependent on Amazon. Vendor Central is invitation-only and is primarily intended for major manufacturers and well-known brands.

The biggest advantages of Amazon Vendor Central

  • Customer satisfaction 
    Many customers trust a first-party seller more than a third-party retailer. “Sold by Amazon” gives you the trust that third-party suppliers lack and the certainty that the ordered goods will arrive.
  • Marketing opportunities
    When vendors sell through Vendor Central, they have the opportunity to participate in different marketing programs such as Subscribe & Save or Amazon Vine.
  • A+ Content
    Retailers who sell through Vendor Central have the possibility to create A+ content on their product page. A+ Content is an extension to the basic product description and offers the possibility to explain further features and advantages of the product and to supplement additional product photos.

The biggest pitfalls of Amazon Vendor Central

  • Customer service
    With the Vendor Central program, customers cannot be contacted. In this case, it is not possible to receive or control a customer’s feedback regarding the satisfaction of the delivery. In addition, it can not gather any demographic customer data. The service is completely in Amazon’s hands. If there are any issues with the shipping or quality control, the retailer doesn’t have the possibility of contacting the customer or taking care of the issue personally. Consumers who aren’t satisfied with Amazon’s service may gain a negative impression of the retailer.
  • Inflexible pricing 
    Vendor Central is inflexible regarding pricing. The sale of the goods to Amazon also entails the transfer of control over pricing. Amazon chooses the price that seems most reasonable. This does not always have to be in line with the retailer’s own price expectation.

Therefore, the crucial difference is how much control you have over your product supply chain. Amazon Vendor Central and Seller Central are geared towards different business models: the first allows you more control while the latter gives you more visibility. Knowing this will allow you to take your business to the next level.

More Insights?

View all Insights


Brand Marketing Lead

Liv Odenthal

Personalize your experience

We use functional cookies to make the website work properly, analytical cookies to measure your behavior and marketing cookies for ads- and content personalization. We collect data on how you use our website to make our website easier to use, but also to tailor or personalize communication in advertisements, on our website or apps. Data collected through marketing cookies is also shared with third parties. By clicking accept you agree to this. More information? Read our cookie policy.