Amazon Vendor Central vs Seller Central; Which One is Better; How to Make the Switch?

In March 2020, some sellers on Amazon vendor central were thrown into a tizzy when they did not receive their weekly purchase orders.

Without warning, these sellers went from having a steady stream of income to scrambling to find a viable way to sell on Amazon.

To that we say: Seller central is the answer.

You've probably found this guide because you are one of these sellers who need to make the switch. And now there might be a million questions on how to go about it and how to handle the differences between Vendor Central and Seller Central.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! This guide covers a wide range of topics that will help you make a smooth transition despite the challenges seller central presents. Let’s dive right into learning about the pros and cons of each.

The Basics: Amazon Vendor Central vs Seller Central

Amazon Vendor Central vs Seller Central Infographics

The fundamental difference between the two platforms is who will sell the products to the end users. In Vendor Central, your products are bought by Amazon and resold to consumers. In Seller Central on the other hand, you sell your products directly to your consumers. So what does this mean for you?

selling on amazon fba

What is Amazon Vendor Central?

The main advantage of Vendor Central, as mentioned, is that Amazon sells your product. Meaning it does all the work for you—from marketing to the fulfillment process — you have guaranteed weekly purchase orders from Amazon.

You don’t have to worry about capturing customers because of its extensive marketing efforts such as the A+ Content which provides appealing product pages. Another marketing tool is Amazon Vine. This is a feature that sends your product early on to be used and judged by the best reviewers, which can cause significant sales boost.

On top of this, there is increased customer confidence because Amazon is a brand that customers already know and trust. And because Logistics is by Amazon, inventory management and customer service are also their burden.

To summarize, the relationship is essentially that of a supplier and a buyer, or you as a 1st Party Seller.

What did you have to give up in return? Autonomy. With Amazon doing all the work, you are burdened with the following:

  • No say on Product Branding and Messaging
  • No available Customer Data Analytics
  • No control over Pricing
  • Amazon’s rigid logistical requirements
  • Responsibility of always meeting the demand
  • Storage fees if products are on Amazon’s shelves for too long

What is Amazon Seller Central?

Amazon Seller Central is different. Greater control is its biggest advantage. Using its Enhanced Brand Content feature, you can control the branding and product messaging. And you can prioritize your marketing efforts in your Amazon business strategies based on the significant amount of consumer data available for you to work on.

Another plus is the flexibility on regulating your pricing to match that of the competitors’ or even lowering it down. Which is very attractive especially to the more budget-conscious consumers.

In terms of logistics, it’s better because you have options. You may opt to have your orders fulfilled by Amazon (FBA), or do it yourself. So the relationship with Amazon here is that of a 3rd Party Seller.

Unfortunately, autonomy comes at a price. With greater control means you’re also in charge of:

  • Managing Amazon Supply Chain and inventory
  • Customer service
  • Amazon account management
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Management

How to Switch from Amazon Vendor Central to Seller Central

Our goal is to make the transition from vendor to seller as easy for you as possible. So we will walk you through the first steps during the transition.

STEP 1: Notify your Amazon vendor manager first

Having a vendor manager is one of the perks of an Amazon vendor central account. These awesome people are responsible for sales, marketing, promotions, negotiations with vendors, and customer service. Their advice can help you make wise investment decisions to improve profitability and reduce losses.

However, their duties revolve around several accounts and span several departments within Amazon. It is a challenging job that leads to them being pulled in all directions. So you definitely don’t have their focused attention.

In fact, you may not have heard from your vendor manager in a while—even after the shock last March. Regardless, this does not mean you should go ahead with the switch without informing your vendor manager. This keeps you in good graces with Amazon and initiates the process for the approval of the change.

STEP 2: Prepare the essentials and Register Your Account

Once the switch has been approved, the next step is creating your seller central account. There are just some important bits to prepare before starting the registration process:

  • Name and contact information for your business
  • An internationally-chargeable credit card with a valid billing address
  • Your business’ tax information. You will need to complete a 1099-K Tax Document Interview
  • if you are setting up an seller account.
  • Your phone. Amazon may contact you via phone at some point during the process.

After preparing the requirements, proceed with the following:

amazon seller central vs vendor central

Type in your address bar. Note that there is a monthly $39.99 fee plus the additional charges mentioned in this guide.

amazon vendor central vs seller central
  • Click “Start selling.
  • The setup wizard will guide you through the steps to complete the process.
amazon seller central
  • Choose between professional seller or individual seller. Professional sellers sell more than a few products and plan to make selling on Amazon a career. Individual sellers, on the other hand, only sell a small amount of products on a one-off basis—with no interest in being long-term sellers. Chances are, you will want to be a professional seller.

The registration process can be completed in an hour. Don’t forget to guarantee that all your products meet Amazon seller central’s standards. You will find this page helpful for providing details about what is expected for your products.

STEP 3: Pick a fulfillment option

Now you have to decide on how your products will reach the hands of your buyers. Choose between two options:

  • Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA): Amazon deals with the logistics and inventory storage related to selling your product.
  • Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM): You are responsible for the logistics, inventory storage and customer service for your product.

We will be discussing later which option is the best fit for your business.

STEP 4: Product Pricing

As we have mentioned in the previous chapter, product pricing is now in your hands. This flexibility allows for your prices to be competitive with that of your counterparts. So find the balance in setting a price that gives good margins but is low enough for it to be appealing to consumers.

STEP 5: Set up all aspects of your account management

Because you’re selling through Amazon, you are now in charge of running your account from end to end. Below are some of the foundations you have to lay beforehand when it comes to managing your account:

  • Administrative tasks (Product listings, negative seller feedback removal, FBA fees, management, etc.)
  • Branding
  • Running Ads based on Customer Analytics
  • Customer Service
  • Returns and Exchanges

It’s important that as a 3rd Party Seller, you are equipped against the worst case scenarios.
Here, we’ve explored the advantages of Seller Central and how to start the process of switching your account to Vendor Central. Just make sure you have prepared all the important details to make it a seamless process.
For the next chapter we will help you understand some of the common issues in Seller Central and how you can address them.

In this article, we’ve explored the advantages of Seller Central and how to start the process of switching your account to Vendor Central.

If you find that we've failed to mention anything important, or need help with making this transition as smooth as possible, please don't hesitate to
contact us, as the SellerPlex team would be more than happy to help!


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