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Boosting sales with Amazon retail APIs

17 Jan 2022

Boosting sales on Seller Central and Vendor Central with Amazon’s retail API

Over the past couple of decades, Amazon has become synonymous with online shopping. It has 300 million users worldwide and netted over $21 billion in 2020 alone, making it an attractive proposition for so many retailers today. 

If you’re looking to automate the process of selling your products via Amazon using the new shared Selling Partner API (SP-API), you’re likely considering, or already using, one of Amazon’s retail platforms – Seller Central or Vendor Central. 

In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of each platform and explain how to get connected to the relevant retail API.

Benefits of Seller Central

Targeted predominantly at retailers, Seller Central offers you the ability to sell your products directly to customers as a third-party seller through the Amazon Marketplace. 

The key benefits of Seller Central:

Selling plans

Amazon Seller Central offers both Professional and Individual selling plans, depending on what you need from the service. However, you must be signed up for a professional selling plan in order to access the SP-API.

The Professional selling plan includes a fixed monthly fee of £25 regardless of how many products you sell. It also gives you access to an assortment of extra tools to help you manage your inventory and promote your products. The Individual selling plan has no monthly fee, but incurs a fee of £0.75 per item sold (making it the more expensive option if you sell more than 33 items per month), and has limited functionality for inventory management and marketing. 

Fulfilment

There are two fulfilment types available on Seller Central: Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM), where you handle the last-mile shipping, customer service and returns, or Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA), where Amazon handles the process. 

Although FBM can prove a cost-effective option depending on the provider you use, storage and fulfilment options with FBA tend to be quite competitive, so it’s definitely worth considering. Also, if you’re used to supplying goods by the palette-load rather than individual units, you might find it beneficial to take advantage of Amazon’s economy scale when it comes to fulfilment, as the company will already be delivering multiple individual items to the customer’s door. 

Another core benefit of FBA is that your products are eligible for Prime shipping by default, as well as being displayed in the ‘Buy Box’. In contrast, FBM retailers need to be approved by the Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) programme in order to achieve a Prime badge.

Benefits of Vendor Central

Targeted more towards established brands, in particular manufacturers and distributors, Vendor Central allows companies to sell in bulk to Amazon as a first-party supplier. Vendor Central is invite-only, meaning that historically, larger brands sold via Amazon Vendor and smaller retailers sold via Seller Central. However, more recently we have seen a lot of Vendor Central users either migrating to Seller Central, or adding it into the retail mix, in order to gain more control over their inventory and pricing.

The benefits of Vendor Central are:

With Vendor Central, Amazon also takes care of  last-mile delivery and customer services, which is an ideal solution if your business is centred around selling in large quantities. 

Connecting to Amazon retail APIs 

Amazon’s recent migration from its Market Web Service API (MWS) to its unified retail API (SP-API) allows retailers to streamline their Seller Central channel more easily than ever before. Meanwhile, the Vendor Central API (in beta) promises to support channel automation and retail performance in the near future. 

However, whether you’re using Seller Central or Vendor Central, you need to be a registered developer to access the relevant API. Therefore, most brands choose to work with a third-party specialist ecommerce partner who can get them connected to each API with ease.

If you’re not sure which route is best for you, or how to connect to an API, we can help. Apart from providing tailored support and advice on the two retail platforms, we’re also a registered developer experienced in building integrated Amazon solutions, meaning we can get you connected and selling in no time. We’ll also be on hand to guide you through your retail journey on aspects such as SEO, cataloguing, advertising, analytics and much more.

 

To discuss which platform would best suit your needs, or how to get connected, chat to our ecommerce team today. 

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