As Amazon continues to grow, its policies and operations keep on changing too—and the Vendor Central platform is no exception. Vendors still have a variety of options within Amazon Vendor Central through Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), but many are unaware of the benefits using Amazon Vendor Central Promotions.
Nowadays, the pressure of competition has led the world’s most renowned eCommerce titan to make some determining decisions that directly affect its users.
Read on to get an overview of what Vendor Central has to offer, and to find out what is causing Vendors to consider switching back to Seller Central instead.
What Is The Difference Between Vendors and Sellers?
First-party (1P) Vendors are distributors that use the Vendor Central portal to sell their products in bulk to Amazon, and then, Amazon sells the products to end-clients (Amazon customers).
This account is available to anyone. Third- party (3P) Seller sells products directly to customers through the Amazon marketplace through the Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) program – so that the company takes care of all things related to your shipping and customer service – or you can handle everything by yourself.
Comparing and Contrasting VC and SC
It is important to underline that having a Vendor Central account represents significant challenges, such as:
- Invite Only. Not everybody is eligible to have a Vendor Central account. Registration for Vendor Central happens via an invitation process initiated by Amazon. Amazon decides whether an active Seller Central user is eligible to be a part of the Vendor Central program, or not, based on his market traction. If Amazon considers he sells well in volume, most likely the seller will get an invitation to join Vendor Central either as a Distributor or a as a Manufacturer.
- Retail Pricing Control. Vendors don’t have control over the minimum pricing that is set for their products. Amazon determines the price of the products by matching them with any other seller’s price. Although Vendors can sumbit a minimum advertised pricing (MAP) request, it is common to hear that Amazon rarely takes action.
- Rigid Purchase Order Guidelines. Vendors that fail to comply with Amazon guidelines for quickly filling purchase orders or that struggle with maintaining stock, face major chargebacks. This is kind of ironic because Amazon Vendor Central happens to run out of products without any “low inventory” notice for its users, so, be careful.
These are just some of the advantages of being an active Seller Central user:
- Pricing Control. You have total control over your retail pricing. You have access to complimentary reports that allow you to understand your target’s shopping behavior while improving your marketing campaigns and overal operations
- Unauthorized Listing Control. The only way to control unauthorized listings is through Amazon’s Brand Registry program on Seller Central. This way you can monitor if any retail partner is listing or selling older versions of your products without your consent.
- Control Over Inventory. It is know that Vendor Central tends to let users out of stock without notice. That won’t happen at Seller Central since you have more control over your inventory.
Amazon Vendor Central Promotions
One of the challenges of growing on the Amazon Vendor Central platform is generating demand for your product. Since Amazon looks for ways to push prices down. It is more than likely that you will never be able to increase it again in the future.
Promotions allow you to temporarily drop your product’s retail price without having to adjust your cost. While both sellers and vendors have access to Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), Vendors get to manage their ad campaigns with a more comprehensive package of marketing features.
There are three types of promotions that vendors can offer through Amazon Vendor Central. Each promotion can be used to impact your products sales.
The Amazon Vendor Central Promotions boost your products’ visibility on Amazon, and can improve your product ranking through lower pricing:
- Effective Pricing. Provides the benefit of increased conversions, page views, and ordered items.
- Lightning Deals. Available in both the Vendor Central and Seller Central platforms. These promotions have the most visibility on the “Today’s Deals” page and run for up to 6 hours. They can provide quick sales boosts for your product, but this may not be enough to provide a long-term benefit.
- You can limit the amount of inventory you want sold.
- After all the promotional units have been added to a cart, your offer appears with a button that says “Join Waitlist” in case a customer who has currently claimed the promotion removes it from their cart.
These Amazon Vendor Central Promotions are our least preferred deals to run for our clients. The lack of clarity around any long-term benefits and needing to provide a substantial discount to maximize visibility makes it difficult to justify the value of these promotions.
- Best Deal Promotions. These promotions add much more value for the discount provided. The product still appears on the “Today’s Deals” pages and can be run for up to 2 weeks. This is how it works:
- You can add multiple products within a single Best deal promotion.
- Allows you to feature your entire catalog or complimentary products as discounts.
- One listing will show up as the discount and when a customer clicks on the offering it will bring them to a page that features all your offered discounts within the Best Deal.
We prefer these types of promotions for our clients. The product gets additional visibility by being on the “Today’s deals” page and you can employ an Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) campaign to maximize visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Vendor Powered Coupons. A Vendor Powered Coupon (VPC) is a self-service promotion available to both Amazon vendors and sellers. They allow vendors to offer customers discounts on their products and they appear as digital coupons within ad units. These are the type of coupos you can offer:
- Percentage off
- Dollars off
- Buy one get one
- Free shipping for a limited time
- Giveaway Sweepstakes
- Social media promo code
The coupon charges small fees every time the coupon is clipped and redeemed, in addition to the discount that is provided. Coupon promotions are featured on the “Coupons” page within the “Today’s Deal” page.
What is the CLP?
One unique feature of coupons is the Coupon Landing Page (CLP). CLPs are created when a coupon promotion is submitted within Vendor Central. These landing pages are great for off-site marketing campaigns. You can utilize a CLP within an email marketing campaign or social media marketing campaign. The CLPs are within social media sites like Facebook’s advertising Terms of Service and can be used to drive more traffic to your page. We typically employ ad campaigns leading directly to the CLP for sites such as Facebook. The additional traffic and sales can improve your products’ ranking within Amazon and provide long-term sales benefits as well.
How Do I create a Vendor Powered Coupon?
Vendor Powered Coupons (VPCs) are created and billed separately from Amazon Advertising. To create a Vendor Powered Coupon (VPC):
- Sign in to Vendor Central
- On the Vendor Central navigation bar select Merchandising > Coupons.
- Click on the “Create new coupon” link.
- Download the coupon spreadsheet template, and populate the spreadsheet with the relevant coupon information (products, discount, duration, etc.).
- Upload the coupon spreadsheet.
- After uploading, sign the e-agreement.
- The coupon will go live on the designated start date.
More information on Vendor Powered Coupons (VPCs) and on how to get started can be found in the VPC Quick Start Guide
Other Strategies to Boost Your Sales
It seems likely that doing business through Vendor Central is a lot simpler than through Seller Central because Vendors sell their products to Amazon supposing that they will “avoid” building the consumer confidence that Seller Central users strive to gain day by day. Yet, Amazon will not have your back when things get rough unless your brand has become a household name. At the very least, Seller Central has a sound Seller Support service that responds to any problems that may arise along the way.
If you are a Vendor Central user, longing for the support you were receiving at Seller Central, why don’t you explore the possibility of a Hybrid Vendor Central and Seller Central strategy before making a final decision?
Contact AMZ Advisers to learn how we can help create your Amazon marketing strategy.