The Amazon Vendor Express program will be no longer. They’ve already stopped issuing purchase orders, and will be shut down entirely on 2 January, 2019. But what does that mean for Amazon merchants? RepricerExpress digs in to take a look at how to navigate this change.
What Is/Was Vendor Express?
Prior to now, Amazon had three ways of selling products on the marketplace: Seller Central, Vendor Central, and a hybrid of the two, Vendor Express.
Vendor Express allowed sellers to sell directly to Amazon, as opposed to buyers. Merchants didn’t need an invitation to take part in the program, was free to join, enjoyed Amazon taking care of fulfillment and customer support, and offered access to Amazon Market Service (AMS).
Why is Amazon Discontinuing Its Vendor Express Program?
In an email to Vendor Express participants, Amazon said:
We are constantly looking for ways to improve the selling experience on Amazon. After careful evaluation of our selling programs, we have decided to retire Vendor Express in an effort to refocus the business toward other selling tools.
But why is it being shut down? Right now, we can only speculate as to the possible reasons:
- Vendor Central was starting to become more popular than Vendor Express as a way for sellers to enjoy more independence and self-service.
- Vendor Express was starting to become used as a loophole for sellers to gain access to AMS so they could advertise in more efficient ways.
- Sellers started to list products without intending to sell them — the appeal of accessing Headline Search Ads, Product Display Ads, and brand pages was a better trade-off than selling through Vendor Express and going through delayed payments and no returns if the products didn’t sell.
- Enough sellers decided the mandatory trial period (donation of products for sampling to see if they were sellable) wasn’t worth it.
- Not being able to control pricing was a big turnoff.
- Not enough profit — because Amazon took orders in bulk, there were more sales, but at lower individual prices.
- Sellers couldn’t list as many products under the A+ content category as they could in Vendor Central.
What’s the Next Step For Sellers?
It’s not all bad news! There are several options sellers can look forward to now that Vendor Express won’t be around anymore.
1. Switch to either Seller Central or Vendor Central
With Seller Central, you can:
- Sell directly to customers.
- Get paid quickly.
- Join without an invitation.
- Control your pricing.
- Put out Enhanced Brand Content listings.
And with Vendor Central, you can:
- Know you’re a top seller by receiving an invitation.
- Sell directly to Amazon.
- Not worry about pricing details and rules.
- Advertise in many different ways.
- Put out A+ content listings.
2. Change Your AMS Ads
If you’re a Vendor Express seller, you’ll still be able to access AMS. And the features linked to the program, like Amazon stores, Headline Search Ads, and Product Display Ads, will still be usable. However, you won’t be able to create Sponsored Product Ads anymore.
If you decide to switch to Seller Central, you’ll need to set up Sponsored Product Ads from that account. You’ll also need to set up a registered trademark in the Brand Registry. But if you switch to Vendor Central, your Sponsored Product Ads will just keep running the way they are.
3. Tie Up Loose Payment Ends
You have until the end of June of this year and then Vendor Express won’t accept any new invoices. Along with new invoices, you have until 30 June to also make sure discrepancies and disputes are taken care of because then your access to it flips into read-only mode.
As with any other change, there’ll be a period of adjustment before you get used to a slightly different way of selling. But during the transition, make sure you keep repricing as one of your top priorities. After all, if you don’t have competitive prices, it doesn’t matter what kind of selling account you have. To help you with that, RepricerExpress has an easy, out-of-the-box way of setting up rules that can help you stand out from the crowd. Sign up now for your 15-day free trial and start winning right away.