What Is an Amazon Vendor Manager?
One usually speaks of a “Vendor” whenever manufacturers, brands, or suppliers sell products directly to Amazon and Amazon then resells the respective products. In the same context, the so-called “Vendor Manager” also appears on the game, i.e., Amazon’s internal employee who represents the company itself and pursues specific goals. The manager has various tasks and is required to deliver concrete results. For a Vendor Manager, the sales and profitability that Amazon can generate with branded products are of utmost importance. Also, a Vendor Manager controls marketing activity (e.g., lightning offers) and supports technical or process-related problems. A further aspect and task of the Amazon Vendor Manager are negotiations with the supplier, i.e., mostly the purchase of prices and volumes, as well as the assortment of products, which are offered on the marketplace for sale.
Why Do Some Vendors Do Not Have a Vendor Manager?
Regardless of the size or the awareness of a brand, Amazon, and thus the vendor manager, has two main goals: increasing the profitability of the products purchased from the brand (e.g., through more favourable purchase terms) and growing sales in the respective product category for which the vendor manager is responsible.
Nevertheless, it is a common problem that many vendors do not have a Vendor Manager at their disposal. The reason for this is that Amazon has too few of these managers. An Amazon Vendor Manager looks after an average of 100 brands and suppliers and sometimes even several hundred customers. Since the primary goals are profitability and sales growth, a vendor manager focuses primarily on those customers who are most likely to contribute to the achievement of their own goals.
Vendors who have low sales and unattractive profitability ratings for Amazon may not have a direct contact partner, or this is either seldom or not available at all. If, for example, you assume an average of 100 suppliers who are looked after by a Vendor Manager, a regular 8-hour day provides each of these suppliers with a theoretical support time window of just about 5 minutes per day. Since even the best specialist can hardly actually process a request in this short time, a Vendor Manager primarily takes care of the brands and suppliers that offer the highest revenue or the best sales potential. If some vendors are too “small” regarding these factors for Amazon, the direct support by the Vendor Manager is omitted entirely.
How Do I Get My Vendor Manager on Amazon?
If you are already a vendor, this question can be answered quickly and easily with four essential points:
- Generating more sales in a particular category
- Offering better purchasing conditions (e.g., more attractive purchase prices)
- Offering a broader and more attractive product portfolio
- If possible, always serve all purchase orders (short “PO”)
In other words: The more attractive and reliable a supplier becomes for Amazon, the more likely it is that a Vendor Manager will find this account by itself. The problem, however, is often that many of these employees rotate frequently, and thus, the experience of the customer relationship between Amazon and the brand or supplier suffers. Often aspects previously discussed have to be clarified again with a new Vendor Manager. Still, the same approach applies: the bigger the turnover, the better the profitability and the better known the brand, the more likely it is that Amazon will provide better direct support. Huge brands with high sales are often supported by highly remunerated Vendor Managers, who do not change as often as those managers with a lower performance level.
What Can a Vendor Manager Do for Me?
Amazon is increasingly using a machine-learning approach, and this also directly affects the job of the Vendor Manager, its authority and role in the company, this primarily applies to so-called “purchase orders,” i.e., orders that Amazon generates from a supplier. These orders are less triggered manually by the Vendor Manager, but rather are based mainly on decisions made by an algorithm – and in some cases fully automated.
This raises the question of what a Vendor Manager on Amazon can do for one’s account at all. Such an agent can still trigger manual orders. Primarily, however, he or she is a 1st-level contact person for vendors, for example, when it comes to marketing campaigns and technical problems. The problems are addressed to specific departments and solved. Also, strategic product decisions, such as the placement of new articles, can be discussed and negotiated with the Vendor Manager.
In any case, it is helpful and desirable for a vendor to have such a “direct connection” to Amazon, because a Vendor Manager can be helpful with all inquiries concerning Vendor-Central, the ordering process and partly also Amazon Advertising.
Can I Trust My Vendor Manager?
As an Amazon agency, our customers often ask us this question, but it’ s not easy to answer. One must look at the statements of all Amazon employees separately and logically; this also applies to the Vendor Manager. Of course, they follow Amazons vision and business goals. For Amazon, the first and most important goal is customer satisfaction. The “customer first” principle is lived in this company like in no other, so it is not a surprise that the Vendor Manager follows the same principles. In addition to sales and profitability, the Vendors Manager focuses on the question “What’s in it for the customer?
These Amazon employees don’t focus on the supplier’s interests – by the way, they don’t do that for any of the group’s employees, because it’s all about the consumer. Moreover, this is one of the reasons why Amazon is so successful. A vendor Manager is a kind of improved buyer, marketing consultant, and project manager. They coordinate, orchestrate, and drive the goals of Amazon. Although they can support vendors very well, they also have their own goals in mind assigned to them by Amazon. Therefore, you should never trust the statements of a Vendor Manager blindly and always seek a second (external) opinion in case of doubt.
To prepare for a possible partnership with Amazon, or to better understand the existing vendor contract and its possibilities, we have developed a comprehensive “Amazon Vendor Whitepaper,” which explains many aspects and opportunities for the vendors.