Getting started as a vendor on Amazon can be the best decision you have ever made for your eCommerce business. Amazon has the reach and support to take your business to the next level. Most business owners long for the day when they can stop dreaming and actually take the next steps to finally get there. Amazon can be the partner that you need to give you this chance. Below, we go through the basic steps for establishing a direct relationship with Amazon as a qualified vendor.
Before you sign anything, don’t forget to check our post on Understanding Amazon Vendor Agreements. There, you can read through the benefits of entering into a partnership with Amazon, and how to negotiate these agreements to achieve the most mutually profitable balance.
1. Signifying Interest in a Direct Relationship
The first step in your Amazon Vendor journey begins when you express interest in establishing a direct relationship with them. You will send Amazon your wholesale pricing sheet, complete with cost price, list price, part number, and any applicable UPCs. Amazon will take some time to review your products and pricing. During this stage, Amazon buyers are going to be paying the most careful attention to the quality of your products and how your prices compare against what they already have on the platform. Based on their analysis, they will choose the accrual package that best suits your account.
2. Receiving Your Product Pricing and Terms
When you receive Amazon’s proposal, take this as an indication of their interest in forming a direct relationship with you. You are in no way obligated to accept the first set of terms that they present you with. These terms are most likely skewed in their favor, and you will need to take some time yourself to carefully review each section. At this time, you can informally accept the terms to proceed to the next stage, where you will set up your account. Before formally accepting the terms via your Vendor Central account, you can contact your Vendor Manager to open negotiations.
3. Accessing Your Vendor Profile
Amazon will send you a set of New Vendor Profile Questions. If you want to go ahead and establish your direct relationship, you can proceed to answer these questions. These questions are basic information about your company that Amazon needs to create your Vendor Central account. Note that this is considered an informal acceptance of Amazon’s proposed terms. You will however, have a chance to present your counter-proposal you make formal acceptance on the platform.
4. Your Invitation to Vendor Central
After you submit the profile questions, you will receive an invitation to Vendor Central. You will have a new account waiting for you there. Vendor Central is a self-service tool that you will be using to manage invoicing, billing, and scheduling shipments. You can take some time to browse the platform and familiarize yourself with its features. It is very easy to use, and you should be able to get the hang of it quite quickly. You might also want to add in your contact information, bank account information, shipping address, and other business profile essentials.
5. Carefully Review the Proposed Terms
You will see on your Vendor account the link to review and formally accept the terms of your direct relationship with Amazon. You will probably feel pressured to click it so that you can get started, but please consider looking more deeply into these terms before you agree. Some of the terms may seem attractive enough for a new Vendor, but they may not be very beneficial to you over the long run. Take some time to review your business plan and factor these terms into your long term goals. Will you be able to keep up with all the fees and still be able to grow at an acceptable rate? Is the value that you have to offer to Amazon being properly considered?
7. Open Negotiations with Your Vendor Manager
Prepare and send to your Vendor Manager a well-written counter-proposal that highlights your product strengths and suggests adjustments in the fees. If you can effectively communicate your value to Amazon, they are likely to give a little on the terms. Make sure, however, that you do not ask for too much, since Amazon also needs to see the profit in a direct relationship with you. Some aspects can be negotiated while others cannot, so make sure to consider what the flexible points are before you propose alternative terms.
8. Upload Your Products
So negotiations are finally over and you have accepted the new terms for your Vendor account. Now you can upload your products to the Amazon catalog via Vendor Central. Take a look at the Bulk Item Setup Template that is available on your account. Download it and prepare the details for your products such as titles, descriptions, prices, dimensions, and UPCs in this format. The sheet allows you to upload thousands of items at once so that you can save time with bulk item creation. Amazon will take up to a few days to review your upload and create the detail pages for each product.
9. Check Your Purchase Orders
Amazon will usually place a purchase order for your products in less than a month after you upload your items to their catalog. Check for the notification email and review the order in Vendor Central within 48 hours to see all the details. If everything looks good, confirm the order. If something is wrong, decline the order and contact Amazon to explain why. If it is an availability issue, update the future ship date on the order.
10. Follow Up Product Delivery
Whether you have chosen to send your products to the Amazon fulfillment centers or have Amazon pick them up, you need to make sure that your products get there. Shoppers are not going to be able to see your new product pages until the items are physically available. Schedule your product shipment on Vendor Central immediately after you confirm the purchase order. This will help you avoid delays. If you are shipping to Amazon, send an Advanced Shipment Notification and a Routing Request. Check your account regularly to monitor the status of your shipments.
Make sure that you have reviewed all the packaging and labeling guidelines so that Amazon can receive your product correctly and efficiently. Amazon may request for certain shipping methods such as Small Parcel, Less-Than-Full Truckload, or Full Truckload. This will be determined depending on the size of the order they placed. Amazon may also ask you to send individual case packs that can already be shipped to customers as soon as they arrive in their warehouse.
Enjoy Watching Sales Come In
Once you have correctly competed these steps, Amazon shoppers will be able to see and buy our products. All you need to do now is make sure that you submit an invoice for Amazon’s order, and wait for payment to come through.