Amazon has multiple options for sellers when beginning to put their products online. The two traditional seller outlets include Amazon Seller Central and Amazon Vendor Central.
With Seller Central, sellers pay per product or a fixed fee at the end of the month. They manage shipping and customer service, unless enrolled in Fulfilment by Amazon, or FBA.
With Vendor Central, vendors sell their products directly to Amazon. Unlike Seller Central, which allows anyone to join, Vendor Central is by invite only and all aspects of customer service and shipping are handled by Amazon’s FBA program.
Amazon’s newest seller outlet, Vendor Express, offers a more flexible third option, by bridging the gap between Seller Central and Vendor Central. Amazon Vendor Express allows sellers to expose their products to hundreds of millions of customers worldwide.
Amazon buys products directly from the vendor and handles all shipping costs, merchandising, customer service, and customer returns. Amazon Vendor Express also includes features such as various marketing services and free two-day shipping.
A full list of Vendor Express features for merchants is shown below.
What’s included in the Amazon Vendor Express program?
Amazon Vendor Express offers:
- No cost to join the program
- Costs of shipping to Amazon or from your warehouse directly to Amazon customers
- Storage and order handling for your product
- A direct fulfillment (dropship) option so that you can ship directly to Amazon customers with prepaid shipping
- Automated product pricing using Amazon advanced algorithms
- Integration into the Amazon catalog and search
- Free two-day shipping of your products to Amazon Prime members
- Free shipping to customers for orders over $35
- 24-hour customer service and customer returns
- 24×7 mobile access to your products by Amazon customers (Kindle, smartphone, tablets)
- Amazon Marketing programs such as Recommendations, Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought, Best Sellers, and many others.
“Vendor Express is a great platform that allows 3P Sellers to create a Vendor relationship with Amazon without the need for an invitation,” David Cooley, Marketplace Channel Analyst at CPC Strategy stated the following about Vendor Express, “It gives sellers more options when establishing a presence on Amazon.”
Pro-Tip: Enroll in Amazon’s Brand Registry and utilize Sponsored Products. Amazon’s Brand Registry enhances the customer’s experience through powerful tools such as proprietary text and image search, predictive automation based on brand reports, and increased authority over product listings with your brand name. Sponsored Products is a PPC advertising solution that allows sellers to place products with keyword-targeted ads in highly visible placements on Amazon.com.
What is Amazon Direct Fulfillment?
Direct Fulfillment (drop shipping) is another way of distributing products to Amazon customers. Instead of sending products to an Amazon fulfillment center, sellers can send them directly to customers, right from their warehouse.
They can still sell their products through the Amazon website, but when customers order products, Amazon will notify the seller and provide a prepaid shipping label. Vendors can then pack their products and ship them to the customer from their location.
Pro-Tip: In case of a return, your product goes back to an Amazon fulfillment center. Amazon still provides 24-hour customer service and returns.
Vendors decide which products they want to sell and, based upon the selling price to Amazon of the item, Amazon will request a number of samples.
Pro-Tip: Sellers provide Amazon with both their suggested retail price to customers and the selling price of the product to Amazon. If the selling price of the item to Amazon meets their expected price, then they will accept your price. If it is higher than Amazon’s expected price, they will recommend a lower price that they can accept for the item.
Amazon will request a limited number of free units as an investment in the program. Amazon will use these free samples to build your Amazon.com product detail page and evaluate customer demand.
Amazon will not pay vendors for the free units of their product and they cannot return them to to the vendor if they do not sell.
Products Eligible for Amazon Vendor Express include:
Arts, Crafts & Sewing: Papercraft, Knitting & Crochet, Sewing Patterns & Templates, Beading & Jewelry-Making, Craft and Party Supplies, Painting Supplies, Sewing Boxes & Storage, Craft Kits and Sewing Accessories.
Appliance Accessories: Bread Machine Parts & Accessories, Coffee & Espresso machine Parts & Accessories, Deep Fryer Parts & Accessories, Food Processor Parts & Accessories, Microwave Oven Parts & Accessories, Mixer Parts & Accessories, Soda Maker Parts & Accessories.
Baby (excluding clothing and shoes): Strollers, High Chairs, Toyus, Furniture, Infant Bedding, Feeding, Changing, Monitors, safety, potty Training
Beauty: Fragrance, Skincare, Cosmetics, Nail Care, Hair Care, Bath & Shower, Sun Care & Tanning, Male Grooming
Bedding & Bath: Bedding, Bedding Accessories, Bath Linen, Carpets & Rugs, Curtain & Blind Accessories, Curtains & Blinds, Cushions & Accessories, Doormats, Electric Blankets & Mattress Toppers, Inflatable Beds, Pillows & Accessories, and Kitchen Linen.
Camera, Photo & Video: Digital Cameras, lenses, tripods, Camcorders, SLR Cameras, Camera bags, Studio equipment, Camera Accessories.
Car Electronics: In-Car Technology, Portable DVD Players.
Automotive Tools & Accessories: Car Accessories, parts, Tools & Equipment
Electronics: TVs, Phones, Electronic Accessories
Cooktop: Cooking Hobs, Bakeware, Cookware, Kitchen Storage & Organization, Kitchen Tools & Gadgets, Tableware, Water Coolers, Filters & Cartridges
Power & Hand Tools: Hand Tools, Hardware, Workwear, Site & safety Equipment, Power Tools, Power Tool Accessories, Garden & Landscaping Tools
Cell Phone & Accessories: Cell Phones, Home & Office Phones, Cases & Covers, Wearable Technology, Smartwatches, Activity Trackers, Phone Accessories, Chargers, Screen Protectors, Micro SD Cards, Bluetooth Headsets.
GPS Navigation: GPS Navigation & Accessories
Grocery: Beverages, Baby Food, Cookies & Snacks, Confectionery, Cereals, Cooking & Baking, Seasoning & Condiments, Tinned Food, Pasta & Rice, Spreads, Sauces, Hampers, Home-Care & Cleaning.
Health and Personal Care: Sports Nutrition, Diet & Nutrition, Healthcare, First Aid, Shaving & Hair Removal, Oral Care, Alternative Therapy, Foot Care, Diapers & Baby Wipes
Home Decor: Candles & Holders, Home Fragrance, Mirrors, Clocks, Decorative Accessories, Vases, Photo Frames, Wall Decor, Wall Paint, Artwork, Artificial Flowers & Plants, Fireplaces
Home Improvement: Fire Alarms & Security, Electrical, Decorating, Building Material, Parts.
Kitchen & Dining: Coffee Machines, Food Processors, Food Mixers, Blenders, Juicers, Microwaves, Slow Cookers, Fryers, Grills, Breadmakers, Ironing & Steamers.
Kitchen Plumbing & Bath Fixtures: Pipes, pipe Fittings & Accessories, Drain Cleaning Equipment, Valves, Tap Parts and Toilet parts, Garden Drainage, Water Heaters & Parts, Water Pumps & Accessories.
Lighting & Ceiling Fans: Lights and Fixtures, Light Bulbs, Lighting Accessories, Torches
Musical instruments: DJ Equipment and Musical Instruments
Office & School Supplies: Printer Ink, Office Supplies, Office Furniture
Patio, Lawn & Garden: Pest Control, Plant Care, Tools & Accessories, Leisure & Fitness, Garden Furniture, Structures & Ponds, Outdoor Living.
Pet Supplies: Pet Food Habitats, Apparel, Training, Grooming, Health care, Pet Toys, Leads, Aquatics
Portable Audio & Accessories: Portable Speakers, Wireless Speakers, headphones, MP3, CD & Record Players, Radios & DAB, Speaker & Radio Docks, Audio & Video Accessories.
Sporting Goods (excluding clothing and shoes): Sports Equipment, Bikes, Tents, Fan gear
Toys & Games: Games & Puzzles, Outdoor & Sports Toys, Arts, Crafts & School Supplies, Vehicles, Dolls, Plush, Building Sets, Learning & Exploration, Infants / Pre-School, Action Figures, Fancy Dress.
Pro-Tip: Ingestible products are reviewed and accepted at Amazon’s discretion.
For sales through the fulfillment centers, Amazon has excluded:
- Hazmat products
- Adult products
- Heavy products (over 150 pounds)
- Bulky products (a dimension greater than 108 inches, or a girth exceeding 165 inches)
- Liquids in non glass containers with a volume of over 5 gallons
- Any product that has a selling price to Amazon of more than $500
- Items that require controlled temperature (like chocolate, caramel)
- Pre Owned items
- Books, DVDs, and software
However, some products cannot be sold through Amazon Vendor Express, even though they are in a supported category. Amazon can request an additional review if needed. When this happens, Vendors will see an acknowledgment in Vendor Express before being able to create an express account.
Pro-Tip: For direct fulfillment sales, some of these exclusions might vary. For example, size and weight are only gated by carrier limitations. More information is available when you are adding products in Vendor Express.
Currently, Amazon is only accepting vendors in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany.
For more information on Amazon Vendor Express, email [email protected].