Is Amazon Vendor Express Right For You? (Answers)

— August 24, 2017

Amazon is the undisputed king of the online marketplace.

And it’s no surprise most sellers have taken notice.

But when making the decision to sell on Amazon, vendors must do their homework to find out which of Amazon’s selling options is right for them.

This guide focuses specifically on Vendor Express, and why it could work for your brand.

Traditional Amazon Selling

Typically, sellers choose on of the following options with Amazon:

  • Amazon Seller Central: The most common option for new sellers. Seller are charged a pay-as-you-go price, either per item or as a flat monthly fee. Sellers set their own prices and handle shipping and customer service (unless enrolled in Fulfillment by Amazon). Anyone can join, and It offers the most control but requires the most day-to-day involvement.
  • Amazon Vendor Central: Using Vendor Central, vendors sell their products directly to Amazon. It’s by invite only, and typically only those that sell at a high volume are invited to join. Amazon orders items wholesale from the seller and ships items from their warehouses and handles all aspects of customer service.

While each come with pro’s and con’s, many find themselves wavering between the two.

Until Amazon’s Vendor Express came along.

What is Vendor Express?

Vendor Express is a sort of stepping stone between Seller Central and Vendor Central.

It functions very closely to Vendor Central.

Like Vendor Central, Vendor Express offers sellers a way to wholesale their products to Amazon without requiring an invitation first.

Also similar to Central, you will not be in control of the pricing of your items.

But it also comes with its differences.

The first is that Vendor Central is by invite only, whereas anyone can sign up to use Vendor Express.

Also, Vendor Express users are eligible to sign up for direct fulfillment by Amazon, which gives them the option to ship directly to buyers rather than to the Amazon warehouse.

Those using Vendor Central do not have this option.

Vendors should also keep in mind that Amazon may require a sample first when signing up for Vendor Express.

Basically, Amazon will require a free shipment of your product, which they will sell. If it sells and Amazon is happy with it, they will continue to place bigger bulk orders with you.

However, Amazon will not pay vendors or return the product if it doesn’t sell.

Vendors are exempt from the trial period if they sign up for Central.

Also of note is that while Vendor Central offers access to personalized support services, Vender Express users are limited.

Vendor Express Advantages

Vendor Express offers many advantages, including the following:

  • It’s free to join; no invitation needed. It offers many of the same features of Vendor Central having to wait for an invitation.

  • Amazon handles the customer service. Amazon handles all shipping, customer complaints, returns and refunds. Not only does it spare you a headache, but it frees up your time to focus on production.

  • Association with Amazon. All products will come with the “Sold by Amazon” seal of approval.

  • Orders are made in bulk. Amazon will order directly from you in bulk, giving you guaranteed sales and a higher sales volume.
  • Access to Amazon Marketing Service (AMS). Access to better ads and “Sponsored Products” pages allows for increased exposure.

Vendor Express Disadvantages:

Now for the drawbacks.

  • Amazon sets the price. Amazon will buy from you at a wholesale price that is generally non-negotiable. And because Amazon likes to secure the lowest pricing on the web, the prices of your products are subject to change.

  • Amazon will require a free shipment of your product. As stated above, those that enroll in Vendor Express will be asked to send a free trial shipment of their product to test the market.

  • Payments may be delayed. While Vendor Central claims to pay vendors every 60-90 days, those using Vendor Express will typically have to wait the full 90 days.

  • Your products may be returned. Amazon withholds the right to “return products to you for any reason at your expense.” Vendors may dispute these returns, but there’s guarantee that it will be resolved.

  • Though sales volume may be higher, profit won’t necessarily match. While selling wholesale to Amazon allows most brands to move products at a higher volume, you may not see a profit spike since Amazon controls the pricing of those products.
  • Updating product listings can be difficult. Any updates to products must be submitted through Amazon, and may not appear live for some time.

Is Vendor Express Right For You?

The platform is ideal for major manufacturers who want the association to the Amazon brand and exposure to a large audience.

If you are comfortable relinquishing control of some aspects — including pricing control, product portrayal and customer interaction — in return for high volume sales and a hands-off approach, Vendor Express may be worth a try.

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Author: John Lincoln

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