Amazon Vendor Express platform shutting down

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Amazon are to shut down their baby brand programme – Vendor Express. This was a stepping stone between being a 3rd party marketplace merchant and a 1st party Amazon supplier but is now to be retired.

Amazon in the US have emailed brands using the Vendor Express model informing them that orders will cease to be placed through Vendor Express on the 21st of May and that the programme will finally shutter and become permanently unavailable on the 1st of January 2019. The extended shut down period is doubtless as Amazon will want to sell any stock on hand that belongs to vendors and will need to make any outstanding payments to suppliers who used the programme.

Vendor Express is only three years old and was designed as an easy entry into becoming an Amazon supplier for small private label brands and offered a quick way to become a direct Amazon supplier. Vendor Central has a much more rigorous vetting procedure but comes with human contacts rather than being a self serve model. Vendor Central also gives tools such as access to Amazon Brand Registry which wasn’t available to Vendor Express users.

Vendor Express sellers were caught in a trap between accessing the full marketing and branding offerings of Vendor Central and losing the price control for their own products that comes from selling as an Amazon Merchant. The big advantage was having the “Sold by Amazon” tag next to their name, but merchants can still benefit from the “Fulfilled by Amazon” tag and from a consumer perspective that’s almost indistinguishable when it comes down to service and benefits – delivery and returns will be handled by Amazon customer support so who sold the product loses some relevance.

Amazon are advising Vendor Express brands to consider selling as an Amazon Merchant on the marketplace, pointing out that over 50% of products sold on Amazon worldwide are from 3rd party merchants and not sold by Amazon.

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