As one of the largest businesses in the whole world, it’s easy to see how Amazon would have several ways for people to buy and sell products through their platform. In the past, Amazon had a program referred to as Vendor Express where manufacturers could sell their products directly to Amazon, though this program was canceled during the summer of 2018 only to be replaced by Vendor Central, which is unfortunately only accessible to businesses that have received an invitation to join the program from Amazon themselves.
With that being said, being enrolled in the Vendor Central program isn’t the only way that you can sell your products on Amazon’s website since there is another excellent option open to manufacturers.
Differences Between Amazon Vendors and Sellers
At first glance, you might assume that being a seller and a vendor through Amazon is the same thing when in reality, they are radically different. The main difference is where your products will be going and who you will be selling your products to.
As an Amazon seller, you will be responsible for selling items to customers who are using Amazon. For example, if you have an inventory of camera lenses, you will be selling directly to photographers searching for lenses. Whereas, as a vendor, your products will be purchased and resold by Amazon’s retail team, giving you no contact with customers directly.
As an Amazon seller, you can use the Fulfillment by Amazon program that enables the company to store your inventory, pick, pack, and ship all of the items to customers on your behalf. They will also handle all of the customer service inquiries on your behalf, so your only responsibility is to make sure that you have enough inventory for prospective sales. On the other end of the spectrum, as an Amazon Vendor, you’ll be selling in bulk directly to Amazon, and under your products, it will read, “Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.”
Being a Vendor is an Invitation-Only Program
The most significant downfall of learning how to become a vendor on Amazon is that the Amazon Vendor program is only available to you through an invitation. In fact, there is a specific code that you will receive from Amazon that needs to be used when you first sign up for your account; otherwise, you will be prompted to visit a page that explains “The other ways to sell on Amazon.” Even though waiting for an invitation can be a long process, if you are a manufacturer who is ready to establish a healthy business relationship with Amazon, there are steps that you can take to start selling without an invitation code.
Step 1: Sign up to Sell on Amazon’s Marketplace
Selling on Amazon’s Marketplace is the only other option open to manufacturers until they hear from Amazon directly. However, it is a very streamlined process that can give you just as many benefits as selling as a vendor. There are two plans that you can choose from, either Professional or Individual, though we recommend opting for a Professional account as there are over 30 different categories that you can sell your products in. Once you have created your Professional account, it’s time to get started on listing your products so that they can be purchased directly from consumers.
Step 2: List Your Products
Next, you’re going to need to figure out what items you want to have listed on the Amazon Marketplace. The good thing is that you have complete control over the number of items you want to have listed. Another advantage to using the Professional account is that you can add items in bulk or in large batches with the help of the special bulk tools, whereas Individual accounts do not have access to these features.
When listing, there are two options to take into consideration, you can either list something that is already being sold on Amazon, or you can list a brand-new item that isn’t on the website. If you intend on selling an existing product, all you have to do is input your available shipping options, the condition of the items you’re selling, and how many units you have to sell.
In terms of selling a new product that is not listed anywhere on Amazon.com, you will need to identify and input the UPC/EAN and the SKU, as well as listing all of the attributes of the product including a description of the item, its title, and photos.
Step 3: Let Your Products Sell
Deciding to sell items through Amazon is specifically designed to be as simple as possible, and once you have gone through the task of listing the products, your customers do the rest of the work for you. As soon as your listing goes through, over millions of users will be able to see what you have listed and will begin making their purchases through the platform. You may also want to consider looking into the marketing tools available to Professional account holders, as they’re some of the most interesting resources for learning how to become a vendor on Amazon.
Step 4: Ship the Products
At this point, it’s recommended that you rely on the Fulfillment by Amazon program, as it’s the easiest way to make sure that your customers get the products that they need within a reasonable amount of time. Also, you won’t have to worry about handling the picking, packing, and shipping process, as all you will have to do is send your products to Amazon’s warehouses.
Step 5: Receive Your Payment and Continue Building Inventory
When purchases are made and shipped, all of the money from your products will be directly deposited into your bank account at certain intervals, as described in your seller account. The only other thing you will have to worry about is making sure that Amazon has enough inventory of your product as it begins to sell.
In the past, knowing how to become a vendor on Amazon was simpler, especially since their vendor accounts were open to absolutely any manufacturer. Today, you might find that simply selling through Amazon’s Marketplace is your best option, especially if you don’t want to wait for Amazon to send you an invitation to join the program. It’s also recommended that you reach out to their customer service team to see if they can assist you with letting the company know that you are interested in potentially being invited to Vendor Central, as this can help to speed up the process.
With plenty of great benefits, starting to sell your products on Amazon as soon as possible is your best bet and is an incredibly streamlined and straightforward process that anyone can use to their advantage.