What Happened to Amazon Vendor Express?

What Happened to Amazon Vendor Express?

Amazon Vendor Express: Three years ago, Amazon launched a program called Vendor Express to make it easier for wholesalers to get inventory onto the e-commerce site and avoid having to go through the company’s invite-only Vendor Central portal.

Amazon said Monday that it’s closing Vendor Express. The company told sellers in an email, which was obtained by CNBC, that it will stop taking orders as of May 21, and that the program will become “permanently unavailable” starting Jan. 1, 2019.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to improve the selling experience on Amazon,” the email said. “After careful evaluation, we’ve decided to retire Vendor Express and refocus the business on other selling programs.” Amazon confirmed to CNBC that it’s ending Vendor Express and said the program’s vendors will be “transitioned to alternative ways to sell on Amazon.”

What Happened to Amazon Vendor Express?

Vendor Express was launched in 2015 as a new channel for small businesses to sell products in bulk to Amazon, whether it was their own private label brand or other items that they wanted to unload. Unlike Vendor Central, which is targeted at large brands and sellers and requires a thorough vetting process for approval, Vendor Express offered a quick onramp for smaller merchants to have products listed under the tag, “sold by Amazon.”

Amazon Vendor Express Login

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.

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.

In the announcement to close the program Amazon stated that “After careful evaluation, we’ve decided to retire Vendor Express and refocus the business on other selling programs.” … The increased cost for vendors to be on Vendor Central makes the platform unsustainable for many businesses.
Amazon is closing all its U.S. pop-up stores, with the retailing giant confirming plans to close 87 kiosks in malls and Whole Food and Kohl’s stores around the country. “After much review, we came to the decision to discontinue our pop-up kiosk program,” an Amazon spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch by email.

What Is Amazon Vendor Express

Amazon has multiple options for sellers when beginning to put their products online.

The two traditional seller outlets include:

  • Amazon Seller Central
  • Amazon Vendor Central

But as of 2015, Amazon offered a more flexible third option, bridging the gap between Seller Central and Vendor Central called Amazon Vendor Express.

Vendor Express allowed sellers to transition to vendor accounts, sell their products to Amazon, rather than directly to consumers, without the need of an invitation.

Amazon Vendor Express

Amazon Vendor Express Reviews

As mentioned, Seller Central is the default platform; it is easy to join and offers users a large amount of control over their sales operations. Still, there are notable limitations to the offerings of the Seller Central platform:

Standing out in the crowd: With it being so easy to register for Seller Central, there is stark competition for numerous product categories. Without A+ content and limited advertising options, it can be difficult to establish brand discoverability and distinguish yourself from the competition.

Competing for the buy-box: Ultimately everyone, regardless of whether you sell on Amazon as a 3P seller or vendor, will face competition for ownership of the buy-box, but generally speaking, ownership favors listings sold by Amazon.

Time and resource consumption: Being successful on Seller Central requires constant maintenance of your Seller Central account. Handling pricing strategy, fulfillment options, and advertising and brand development can quickly become overwhelming and expensive.

For sellers looking to expand their Amazon sales without increasing time and resource commitments for account management, some sellers will look to Amazon Vendor as an opportunity to supplement their current sales strategy.

Amazon Vendor Express Vs Fba

There is no shortage of programs and opportunities for brands on Amazon. While we won’t be able to review every potential opportunity in this guide, we will summarize several of the key areas that you may be able to utilize to grow your brand.

Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA)

FBA is a service provided by Amazon where you can leverage Amazon’s fulfillment and customer service capabilities for your products. FBA allows brands to send the product to Amazon Fulfillment Centers to be stored and fulfilled to customers.

Amazon also handles customer service and returns for FBA products, and the products become Prime Eligible as a result of the FBA program (this makes your products eligible for Free Two-Day Shipping for Prime customers or Free Standard Shipping for Non-Prime customers).

The reason this is so important is that Prime customers spend considerably more than non-Prime customers, and many customers use the ‘Prime-only’ filter when searching for products. A study from Piper Jaffray estimates that nearly 1 of every 2 households in the US have a Prime Membership, and several estimates from other firms claim that Prime Members spend at least 2-3 times more than non-Prime members.

In summary. if you do not use FBA, then you are responsible for storage, fulfillment, customer service, and returns for your product. Follow these instructions to connect Shopify with Fulfillment by Amazon.

Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)

Many brands are unaware of the SFP program and that they could potentially qualify for making their products Prime Eligible through their own direct fulfillment to customers. To qualify for SFP, you need to meet a high-performance bar and meet several metrics during a trial period required to enroll in the program. For example, you must be able to ship 99% of orders the same day you receive them (if orders come in after 2 PM local time, orders can go out the next business day). Additionally, you can make your products Prime Eligible in certain regions if it is too costly to be Prime Nationwide. Keep in mind, if you’re in an eligible city, you can use Shopify’s integration with Postmates and Uber to provide same-day delivery to your local customers.

Amazon estimates that SFP listings that became Prime Eligible for the first time saw an average sales lift of more than 50%. Also worth noting that there is no additional cost to brands to enroll in SFP outside of the shipping cost.