No Vendor Central Invite? There’s a Better Amazon Option!  

October 22, 2021 Chuck Kessler

No Vendor Central Invite? There’s a Better Amazon Option!  

Amazon's (very competitive) marketplace has become increasingly sophisticated. Here's a great way for e-commerce sellers to keep up.

Amazon just released an announcement that expanded the number of tools that they offer to brands selling on their platform. While that’s good news in some ways, in others, it continues Amazon’s gradual move towards an increasingly sophisticated marketplace. 

In this post I’m going to detail the additions that Amazon has rolled out. I’m also going to tell you about a clever way that e-commerce sellers can take advantage of all of the benefits of Amazon’s (time consuming) new additions without having to quit your day job to do it. 

But first, I want to take a closer look at Amazon’s selling platforms. 

What’s the Difference Between Amazon’s Seller Central and Vendor Central?

I’m pretty certain that Amazon customers don’t know (or care) what type of seller account was behind their recent purchase. They’re shopping for a product and simply want it delivered as soon as possible. 

The main difference between Vendor Central and Seller Central is who is selling those products. With Seller Central, (probably using the Fulfillment by Amazon or FBA method), you are selling directly to Amazon shoppers. With Vendor Central, you are selling to Amazon directly, and they are reselling your goods.

Amazon’s Seller Central offers tremendous flexibility in managing the selling of the product yourself, including everything from the inventory levels, to the retail price.

Alternatively, though sellers give up a lot of control over their business when they sell through Vendor Central, their product shows up as being “sold by Amazon.” Having that “social proof” (prospective customers looking to others for clues), goes a long way towards making customers comfortable about pressing the buy button. 

But, there’s an important part that I left out. 

Amazon Vendor Central – Get Your Invite Yet?

Yep, you need an invitation to sell through Amazon’s Vendor Central 

Amazon Vendor Central is an invite-only portal created to allow manufacturers and customers to connect. In this platform, Amazon is functioning as the distributor or middleman. Referred to as 1P (or first party), this means that you sell your products directly to Amazon. Amazon then turns around and sells those products to customers. Your primary responsibility is fulfilling purchase orders (PO) sent by Amazon and shipping them the products. 

When you use Amazon Vendor Central:

  • It is by invitation only
  • You gain the “social proof” of the “Sold by Amazon” Prime badge on your product
  • Sales are direct to Amazon (not end users) 
  • You don’t control your product prices
  • Once your bulk items are shipped to Amazon, your job is done
  • Amazon can change your product descriptions and visual listing elements without your approval
  • You’re responsible for advertising (design and cost)
  • Amazon makes the decisions regarding what they think will sell
  • Amazon controls the inventory management

Amazon Seller Central – You Know This!

More than half of everything sold on Amazon originates from independent sellers using Seller Central. A 3P (third-party) relationship with Amazon gives you considerably more control selling your products.  

Using Seller Central’s portal, you sell your products directly to consumers on the Amazon marketplace and have control over every aspect of your Amazon business from the advertising and marketing, to inventory and the shipping of your products. 

When you use Amazon Seller Central:

  • It is open to anyone
  • You will need to build your own social proof through good reviews 
  • You are selling directly to Amazon’s customers
  • Control of your pricing structure is all yours (This allows you to change it accordingly to remain competitive on Amazon)
  • Shipping is your responsibility (Most use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA))
  • You’re responsible for all of the advertising (both the design and cost)
  • You are 100% responsible for what you sell
  • Inventory management is managed by you

The main negative of assuming all this responsibility is that to do this correctly, it requires that you have the time and experience to handle the marketing yourself. Selling on Amazon is a competition. You need to be skilled enough at the optimization of your listings AND the management of your advertising campaigns to be able to compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Over 100,000 Brands Have Joined Amazon’s U.S. Store in 2021

This week at the Accelerate 2021 conference, Amazon released four new additions to its suite of tools that help e-commerce sellers build, scale, and promote their brands on the Amazon marketplace. 

Below are the new ways that Amazon intends to help customers find your brand on their platform. These are in addition to Amazon’s existing collection of brand benefits

  • The Amazon Brand Referral Bonus, which helps brands make their marketing dollars go further. When brands direct non-Amazon marketing traffic from their own website or other websites to Amazon, they earn a bonus of, on average, 10% of the purchase price of the promoted product and any of the brand’s other products that the customer purchases over the following two weeks. Thousands of brands are already taking advantage of this benefit, with some earning thousands of dollars in bonuses in a single month.
  • The Amazon Customer Engagement tool, which enables brands to easily launch email marketing campaigns to raise awareness of new products. Since launching the beta version of the tool in May, Amazon has already sent more than 6 million emails to customers on behalf of brands.
  • A+ Story Cards on the product page enable brands to showcase their brand story through rich visual imagery and more seamlessly connect shoppers with their other products. In the last month, brands have enabled A+ Story Cards on more than 1 million products.
  • The Customer Review Resolution tool, which enables brands to provide enhanced customer service when they identify a frustrated customer who leaves a negative product review. The tool enables brands to proactively offer additional support and a courtesy refund if a customer is unhappy with the product and leaves a negative review; this helps them build a stronger connection to their customers. Since the tool’s launch in June, brands have already offered enhanced support on more than 200,000 orders per month.

Amazon Brand Management Offers the Best of Both Worlds

Don’t get me wrong, the four new tools that Amazon just added (to an already feature-packed brand launchpad) are going to help you sell. Amazon has now given you the privilege of pulling on a great number of (sometimes complicated) levers in order to move your brand forward. 

The problem is that with great freedom comes great responsibility. In Amazon’s early “wild west” days, it’s rumored that all that was necessary to make a lot of money was putting up a listing, and employing what now would be called black hat marketing practices.  

Now, it’s a different selling landscape. As Amazon expands their outreach to brands selling on their marketplace, the process of building, growing and monitoring your business requires increased levels of sophistication to compete at the highest level. 

And there’s one more little thing I almost forgot to mention that’s important to keep in mind. There’s a big difference between Amazon’s goal and that of Amazon sellers. 

Your E-Commerce Goal is Different Than Amazon’s

Amazon is happy if everyone is a little bit successful. After all, they are going to get paid one way or the other. But, you are uniquely focused on the success of your own product and are in COMPETITION with the rest of the sellers in your niche. 

That’s where CANOPY Management comes in. 

CANOPY Management wants to be your e-commerce partner. They leverage their experience from across all corners of the Amazon industry to help you scale your business, and gain market share. This partnership allows you to maintain control of your Amazon business, while at the same time benefitting from the wealth of experience and expertise of the CANOPY Management team. 

CANOPY Management refers to itself as a “full service” Amazon Marketing Agency. When you take a look at the list of the ways in which CANOPY Management is able to help you grow your Amazon business, you’ll know why.  

  • Strategic Growth Planning
  • Amazon Listing Copywriting Optimization
  • Amazon Listing Photography
  • Amazon Product Videography
  • Amazon Advertising Management
  • Amazon Customer Service
  • Amazon Demand Side Platform (DSP)
  • Amazon Posts
  • Amazon Review Aggregation
  • Full Service Amazon Management

CANOPY Management will do the work behind the scenes to help you become the hero of your own story! 

 

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Chuck Kessler

I'm a surfer, climber, trail runner, and adventurer who loves to write. My focus is on e-commerce and technology as the Content Manager for CANOPY Management.