Amazon offers businesses wanting to sell through their site two options. Amazon Seller Central is the interface that allow amazon sellers to manage orders, the storefronts and other options. Amazon Vendor Central is different in that it is more suitable for larger businesses, and requires that a business is invited to join, rather than sign up. Amazon Seller Central is more for smaller businesses who want more control over their products and pricing while still having the status of a third party amazon seller. Consumers regard amazon as a brand that can be trusted, and being a third party amazon seller adds a level of customer trust. There are some huge advantages to using Amazon Seller Central, but there are some drawbacks too.
Your Business, Your way
One of the biggest advantages to Amazon Seller Central is the level of control that merchants have. Merchants can set their own prices, update their inventory, and provide their own customer service. This means that by being able to set their own pricing, business are setting their own profit margin as well. They are answering their customers questions directly and, working to resolve customer problems. They can also contact customers to request feedback on a verified purchase, and review demographic data for their stores. Amazon Seller Central means that the business is in control, and can make their own choices.
Anyone can join Amazon Seller Central. All that is required is a registration, which is open to anyone who wants to sell as a third party seller on Amazon. This is different from Amazon Vendor Central, which requires an invitation to join. Registering is a very simple process, and takes a matter of minutes. Once registered, the Amazon can be accessed through the mobile app, as well as via a laptop or tablet.
When a merchant uses Amazon Seller Central, they have complete control over what product descriptions and information they use. The merchant can update their listings and descriptions, and edit them for optimization. It is entirely up to the business to decide what information they want to include, and how they want it to look. However, there is a limit to what kind of content can be used. It has basic product pages, and basic marketing capabilities. Amazon A+ content can not be used with Amazon Seller Central, and is limited to Amazon Vendor Central only.
There is a monthly fee for a Professional Amazon Seller account of $39.99. After this there is also a 6-15% referral fee on items sold. The referral fee percentage depends on other factors, such as the product category. Merchants can also pay additional fees to use the FBA services. These fees are dependent on the category of the product, the weight of the product, warehouse space used, and shipping destinations. This can be that calculating the fees can be difficult, as it will be different for every product.
When a consumer purchases a product from a third party seller on Amazon, Amazon charges the customers payment method and collects the payment. Amazon release these payments to the third party seller on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Third party sellers will always know when they will receive payment. The payment process has been designed for ease and simplicity. However, the payment is held for twenty days after being garnished from the customer. The weekly or bi weekly payments to the seller are from product sold almost three weeks previously.
A to Z Guarantee
Amazon offer their A to Z Guarantee on every product available for purchase on their website. When the product has been purchased from a third party seller, the customer should attempt to resolve any issues with the seller directly. If this is not satisfactorily resolved, the customer can make a claim through the A to Z guarantee. This guarantee is one of the reasons why it has become a trusted, household brand. The A to Z guarantee is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It’s an advantage because customers trust Amazon, therefore they trust Amazon third party sellers. It’s a disadvantage because Amazon often agree with the customer, and the business then has to issue a refund.
Amazon third party sellers do have to put a huge amount of time into their storefronts and store management. Every aspect of the store has to be managed by the business themselves. In practical terms, this means that time has to be put into product pages, shipping information, customer service and any other informational pages. Customer service alone can be incredibly time consuming, and merchants may end up needing to hire an employee, or outsource, to manage this.
Amazon gives business access to literally millions of customers, some of these that they may not be able to access without Amazon and its services. According to statistics taken in 2015, there are 304 million active Amazon accounts, and 54 million of these are members of Amazon’s Prime service. In terms of sales, in 2014, over 2 billion products were sold on Amazon. Amazon third party sellers are able to communicate and interact with customers that they otherwise would have no dealings with.
The biggest drawback is the sheer amount of time that is involved, as mentioned above. The other problem is that many Amazon sellers feel that the customer is always agreed with, and that they themselves have no comeback. There are some other minor problems, but they are not insurmountable, but they do need to be considered. Once the storefront has been set up, the interface is very simple, and quite easy to navigate. However, setting up the storefront and product pages can be very complicated. Although, there is the option for Amazon to build the store for you. The option as well to have orders fulfilled by Amazon both brings advantages and disadvantages. It is more convenient, but there is a fee for the service.
Overall, Amazon seller central is more suitable for some merchants, when compared to Amazon Vendor. For many businesses, the biggest advantage is that they can retain more control of their business. The ability for Amazon seller Central businesses to set their own prices is not offered on other account options, or even on other sites. Improvements do need to be made before it could be considered a perfect platform, but given the reasonable monthly fee, and the small referral fees, many of the disadvantages can be overlooked.