5 min read

Amazon Sellers Vs. Vendors: What's The Difference?

Written by
Vanessa Hung
January 25, 2024

Are you considering selling your products on Amazon but not sure whether to become a seller or a vendor? Look no further! In this guide, we'll break down the differences between the two and help you make an informed decision. Whether you're just starting out or have an established business, understanding the pros and cons of each option is crucial for success in the world's largest online marketplace.

Get ready to dive into the exciting world of Amazon sellers vs. vendors and discover which path is right for you.

Defining Amazon Sellers and Vendors

Amazon sellers and vendors represent two different ways businesses can sell products on this vast online marketplace. An Amazon seller, typically a third-party partner, uses the Seller Central platform to list their products for sale directly to customers. This model is often called "Sold by Merchant".

On the other hand, an Amazon vendor operates as a first-party partner who sells their items in bulk to Amazon. Using Vendor Central portal, these goods are then sold by Amazon itself—this process mirrors traditional retailing where established companies supply retailers with products.

Both roles offer unique benefits and tackle distinct challenges within the e-commerce ecosystem.

Pros and Cons of Being an Amazon Seller

Being an Amazon Seller has its pros and cons, including a low barrier to entry and flexibility in managing your business, but also increased competition and challenges with customer service.

PRO: Low barrier to entry

Becoming an Amazon Seller provides a unique advantage as it presents quite a low barrier to entry. This means you don't need truckloads of money or product inventory to start selling on this online retail giant.

Simply create your profile, list products that adhere to Amazon's policies, and launch your online shop in no time. It offers room for both small scale businesses who wish to test new avenues and large established companies looking for additional sales channels.

The intrinsic motivation behind the lower entry barriers is to encourage more third-party partners. Utilizing Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon), sellers can store their goods in Amazon warehouses, relieving them from handling tricky tasks such as packing, shipping or customer service concerns.

So essentially, you get access to a vast international audience without investing big bucks upfront or worrying about logistics and supply chain management.

PRO: Flexibility

Amazon sellers have the advantage of flexibility. This extends from managing inventory to choosing pricing and sales strategies. They can easily tweak product listings based on market trends, customer feedback, or competitive analysis.

Amazon Seller Central provides tools for adjusting prices in real-time and uploading new products at will. Plus, they aren't tied to Amazon's rigid shipping and fulfillment methods but can choose their own or opt for Amazon FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon).

This freedom allows third-party sellers to explore new avenues while maintaining control over unique aspects of their online retail business.

PRO: Marketing tools and analytics

Amazon provides an extensive array of marketing tools and analytics for sellers. These tools help you understand your customers, track sales trends, and optimize your product listings.

With features like Sponsored Products advertisements, deals and promotions, and reporting metrics such as gross sales reports or page view stats, getting to grips with these tools can offer valuable insights into how to grow your Amazon business.

Analytics give you a clear overview of how well you're doing by measuring key performance indicators such as conversion rates and units sold per customer visit. This invaluable data allows sellers to make informed decisions about pricing strategies, product selection, inventory management, and more.

CON: competition

Increased competition can be a significant challenge for Amazon sellers. With more and more people joining the platform to sell their products, it can be harder to stand out from the crowd and attract customers.

Sellers have to constantly find ways to differentiate themselves through pricing strategies, product quality, customer service, and marketing techniques. It requires staying on top of trends and continuously refining their selling strategies in order to stay competitive in this ever-evolving online marketplace.

CON: Customer service challenges

Managing customer service on Amazon can be challenging for both sellers and vendors. With the increase in competition, it's essential to provide excellent customer support to stand out from the crowd.

From handling inquiries and resolving complaints to managing returns and refunds, ensuring prompt and satisfactory customer service is crucial for maintaining a positive reputation on the platform.

Additionally, sellers and vendors need to stay up-to-date with Amazon's policies and guidelines regarding customer interactions to avoid any potential issues or negative feedback that could affect their sales performance.

Pros and Cons of Being an Amazon Vendor

Being an Amazon Vendor has the advantage of facing less competition and having Amazon handle everything, but it also means less control and rigid logistics requirements.

PRO: Less competition

Amazon Vendor Central offers a significant advantage to sellers by providing less competition compared to Amazon Seller Central. As an Amazon vendor, you have the opportunity to sell your products directly to Amazon, allowing them to handle everything from listing and shipping to customer service.

This eliminates the need for you to compete with other sellers on the platform and gives you exclusive access to certain benefits offered only to vendors. With less competition, it becomes easier for established companies or those looking for new avenues of growth in online retailing to thrive on Amazon's marketplace.

PRO: Amazon handles everything

Amazon takes care of all the heavy lifting when it comes to being an Amazon vendor. They handle tasks such as inventory management, order fulfillment, and customer service. This can be a huge advantage for vendors who want to focus on other aspects of their business.

With Amazon handling these responsibilities, vendors can save time and effort that would otherwise be spent on logistics and operations. It allows them to streamline their operations and concentrate on growing their sales and expanding their market presence without worrying about the day-to-day operational details.

PRO: Access to marketing tools

Amazon Vendor Central provides sellers with access to a range of marketing tools that can help them promote their products effectively. These tools include sponsored products, where sellers can bid on keywords to increase visibility in search results.

In addition, vendors have access to A+ Content and Enhanced Brand Content features, which allow them to create more visually appealing product listings. With these marketing tools at their disposal, sellers can enhance their brand presence on Amazon and reach a wider audience of potential customers.

CON: Less control

Amazon vendors may have less control over certain aspects of their business compared to sellers. While vendors benefit from Amazon handling everything from logistics to customer service, they may find themselves facing rigid requirements and a longer sales cycle.

Unlike sellers who have the flexibility to make decisions regarding pricing, inventory management, and marketing strategies, vendors relinquish more control in these areas. This lack of control can be a disadvantage for businesses that prefer a hands-on approach or want more autonomy in shaping their brand's presence on the platform.

CON: Rigid logistics requirements

Amazon Vendor Central comes with rigid logistics requirements that sellers must adhere to. This means that when you become a vendor, you will need to meet specific guidelines for packaging, shipping, and delivery.

Amazon has strict standards in place to ensure efficient handling of inventory and smooth order fulfillment. As a vendor, you will be responsible for meeting these requirements consistently to maintain a good relationship with Amazon and avoid any penalties or delays in the selling process.

CON: Longer sales cycle

The longer sales cycle is a significant consideration for those choosing to become an Amazon vendor. Unlike Amazon sellers who can list products and sell them immediately, vendors experience a lengthier process before their products are available on the online marketplace.

This delay occurs because vendors must go through a series of steps including negotiating terms, setting up logistics requirements, and navigating Amazon's internal processes. While this longer sales cycle may seem like a drawback, it allows vendors to establish strong relationships with Amazon and benefit from the retail giant's extensive reach and resources.

Differences Between Seller Central and Vendor Central

Seller Central and Vendor Central have several key differences including eligibility, control, fees, reporting, logistics, returns, and communications. Find out which option is best for your business! Read more to learn about the pros and cons of each platform.


To become an Amazon seller, anyone can create an account and start selling products. There are no specific eligibility requirements for becoming a seller on Amazon. Whether you are an individual or a business, as long as you can provide the necessary information and meet the platform's guidelines, you can list your products and sell them through Amazon Seller Central.

On the other hand, becoming an Amazon vendor requires a different level of eligibility. Vendors on Vendor Central are typically larger companies that have been invited by Amazon itself to sell their products directly to the platform.

Relationship with Amazon

Establishing a relationship with Amazon is crucial for both sellers and vendors. Sellers have a more direct relationship, as they list their products on Amazon's marketplace and handle customer service themselves.

Vendors, on the other hand, have a closer relationship with Amazon as they sell directly to the company wholesale and Amazon handles everything else, from inventory management to customer support.

This means that vendors have less control over pricing and product visibility compared to sellers. However, being an official vendor can also provide exclusive benefits such as access to marketing tools and exposure to a wider customer base.


As an Amazon Seller, you have more control over your business compared to being an Amazon Vendor. You can choose which products to list, set your own prices, and manage inventory and shipping. Sellers also have the freedom to use their own branding and marketing strategies.

On the other hand, as a Vendor, Amazon takes control of many aspects like pricing, promotions, and even product placement. While this may mean less control for Vendors, it also means less hassle as Amazon handles most of the logistics. Ultimately, the level of control you desire over your business will play a crucial role in deciding whether to be a Seller or a Vendor on Amazon.


Selling on Amazon comes with its fair share of fees. As a seller, you need to be aware of these costs in order to accurately plan your budget and pricing strategy. One of the main fees is the referral fee, which is a percentage of each sale that goes to Amazon. This fee varies depending on the category of your product. Additionally, there are also fulfillment fees if you choose to use Amazon's FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) service, which covers storage, shipping, and customer service for your products.

It's important to carefully consider these expenses when deciding whether or not selling on Amazon is right for you.


Reporting is an important aspect of selling on Amazon, whether you are a seller or a vendor. Both Seller Central and Vendor Central provide reporting tools to help you track your sales, monitor inventory levels, and analyze customer behavior.

With these reports, you can gain valuable insights into the performance of your products and make informed decisions about pricing, marketing, and inventory management. You can also use the reporting data to identify trends and opportunities for growth.

By regularly reviewing your reports and adjusting your strategies accordingly, you can maximize your success on Amazon's platform.


Logistics is a crucial aspect to consider when deciding between being an Amazon seller or vendor. Sellers are responsible for managing their own logistics, including inventory storage, order fulfillment, and shipping.

This gives them flexibility but also requires more effort and resources. Vendors, on the other hand, have Amazon handle all aspects of logistics. While this can save time and effort, there are rigid requirements that vendors must adhere to, such as using Amazon's preferred carriers and meeting specific packaging standards.

Ultimately, understanding the logistics involved in each option is key to making an informed decision about which route to take on the Amazon platform.

Returns and communications

Returns and communications are two important aspects for both Amazon sellers and vendors. Sellers are responsible for handling customer returns and resolving any communication issues directly with the customers. This allows sellers to have more control over customer service, but it also means they have to invest time and effort into managing these processes.

On the other hand, vendors have a different system in place. When customers return a product sold by a vendor, they usually communicate directly with Amazon instead of the vendor themselves. This can be beneficial for vendors as it takes some of the burden off their shoulders, but it also means they may not have as much control over the return process or direct communication with customers.

Which is the Best Option?

Choosing between Seller Central and Vendor Central ultimately depends on your specific business needs and goals. Consider factors such as your level of control, desired marketing tools, logistics capabilities, and customer service capacity.

It's also worth considering a hybrid approach or transitioning from one to the other as your business evolves. Ultimately, the best option is the one that aligns with your unique circumstances and allows you to maximize your success on Amazon's platform.

Hybrid approach: Why not Both?

Some sellers on Amazon choose to adopt a hybrid approach by using both Seller Central and Vendor Central. This strategy allows them to have more control over their products while taking advantage of the benefits provided by Amazon as a vendor.

By utilizing both platforms, sellers can list certain products under Vendor Central, where Amazon handles all aspects of the sale, including inventory management and customer service.

At the same time, they can also use Seller Central for other products to maintain control over pricing and branding. The hybrid approach offers flexibility and potential for growth, allowing sellers to reach a wider audience while still having some autonomy in their business operations.

Changing from one to the other

Switching between Amazon Seller Central and Vendor Central can be a strategic move for businesses looking to adapt to changing circumstances. Here are some key considerations when changing from one platform to the other:

  1. Evaluate your business needs: Assess your current situation, including sales volume, product inventory, customer base, and growth potential. Understand which platform aligns better with your goals.
  2. Review the pros and cons: Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of both Seller Central and Vendor Central based on factors like control over pricing, fulfillment methods, marketing tools, competition, and logistics requirements.
  3. Plan for transition: Develop a detailed strategy outlining how you will migrate from one platform to the other seamlessly. This may involve transferring inventory, reevaluating pricing strategies, adjusting marketing approaches, or refining supply chain management.
  4. Communicate with customers: Keep your customers informed about any changes that may affect their buying experience. Provide clear instructions on where they can find your products or how they can continue to purchase from you during the transition period.
  5. Optimize listing content: Take this opportunity to optimize your product listings by updating keywords, improving product descriptions, adding high-quality images, and soliciting customer reviews to enhance visibility and conversion rates.
  6. Monitor performance: Continuously track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as sales volume, customer feedback, return rates, and profitability after making the switch. This will help you identify any necessary adjustments or improvements post-transition.
  7. Stay updated with Amazon policies: Familiarize yourself with any policy changes or updates that may impact your business on either platform. Stay compliant with regulations related to pricing structures, seller fees, advertising guidelines, and intellectual property rights.
  8. Seek professional assistance if needed: If you are uncertain about managing the transition independently or need expert guidance on optimizing your Amazon presence across platforms, consider consulting with professionals who specialize in e-commerce strategies and marketplace optimization.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, choosing between Seller Central and Vendor Central on Amazon depends on a variety of factors. It's important to carefully consider your business goals, resources, and level of control you want over your products.

For smaller sellers looking for low barriers to entry and flexibility, Seller Central may be the best option. On the other hand, if you're an established company with established products and are willing to give up some control in exchange for exclusive benefits and access to marketing tools, Vendor Central could be more suitable.

In some cases, a hybrid approach or transitioning from one to the other can also be considered as your business grows or changes. Ultimately, it's about finding the right fit for your specific needs in order to succeed on Amazon's platform.

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