Three years after its launch, Amazon announced it is shutting down its Vendor Express program.
According to CNBC, Vendor Express was designed to make it easier for smaller merchants to get their inventory onto the site without going through Amazon’s invite-only Vendor Central portal.
But in an email to sellers, the company said it would stop taking orders on May 21, and that the program will completely shut down on January 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.”
While Vendor Central focuses on large brands and sellers that must complete a thorough vetting process, Vendor Express allowed smaller merchants to get their products listed under the tag “sold by Amazon” without going through the red tape.
And although Amazon didn’t say why it’s shutting down the program, sellers revealed there were issues with product authenticity from the start.
“It might be that Amazon realized that the quality of brands was not there and the return on this program was not good enough,” said Juozas “Joe” Kaziukėnas, CEO of Marketplace Pulse, an eCommerce research firm. “Amazon would rather have those sellers manage their own risk and sell as third-party sellers.”
Will Tjernlund, a managing partner at Goat Consulting, which helps Amazon sellers, pointed out that there really wasn’t much of a place for Vendor Express. While larger merchants utilize Vendor Central, smaller sellers typically flock to the marketplace. He added that the process of vetting less qualified sellers was also not worth the cost.
“It just took up too much support and time for something that generated very little revenue,” Tjernlund said.
Amazon encouraged those that use Vendor Express to sell their products on the site’s marketplace instead.