Monday came as a stressful surprise for a lot of businesses on Amazon Vendor Central when the usual weekly purchase orders from the e-Commerce giant did not arrive as expected. As is typical, the response from Amazon has been lackluster and vague, with sellers receiving messages that either there are “technical issues on the ordering system” or that sellers should “not expect future purchase orders to be placed at all.”
This step seems to be the start of Amazon’s “One Vendor” platform where Amazon plans to merge Vendor Central and Seller Central. The idea was referenced from a 2018 report from Recode where it cited Amazon beginning work on a new internal system that will assert more control over brands when it comes to which of the two platforms they are allowed to sell. Jason de Rey, author of the report, mentioned that “the new initiative will essentially funnel big brands and independent sellers alike through the same back-end system in a supposed effort to improve the uniformity of the shopping experience across Amazon on the public-facing side.”
A Financial Squeeze on All Fronts
Brands on Vendor Central are paying more to maintain their retail relationship with Amazon. Rampant delisting, CRaP (Can’t Realize Any Profit) suppressions and the significant increase in pay-to-play marketing can cause a significant dent in a retailer’s margin.
As early as now, it’s apparent Amazon is already selecting which among the brands under its wing can be classified as a vendor, a seller, or both. This allows them to have a stronger hold over their control mechanism, further hampering vendors from achieving positive sales velocity.
Advertising Benefits Plus More
“Retail-only” programs such as Subscribe & Save and A+ pages are now open to sellers. For a while now, sellers have been bidding on sponsored ads and uploading enhanced brand content to their detail pages to support the buying experience.
These benefits, on top of the superior keyword bidding program, allow sellers to be creative and agile with their advertising spend without being at the mercy of Amazon’s pricing control policy.
Migrating to Seller Central will still enable vendors to use the same product details from Vendor Central. This will include enhanced brand content, images, videos, and text. However, platform, feature navigation, and product marketing will be different
To save vendors from the cashflow headache, we recommend quickly migrating your Vendor Central account to a Seller Central account. While some may argue that the current issue could be temporary, it’s always best to be safe and proactive when it comes to the future of your business.
Help is always available. Vendors can read Hacking Your Way Through Seller Central for a quick guide. They can also reach out to MarketplaceOps, for a free consultation. MarketplaceOps is one of Amazon’s leading Management and Strategy firms working with various international leading brands to help them grow their marketplace business. The consultation will cover the following to determine Seller Central opportunities:
Product Catalog Review
Inventory & Logistics
Product Listing Optimisation
So, while waiting for an issue resolution, Vendors can start taking action by setting up a Seller Central account and even talk to experts to guide them with the migration process.