Pros and Cons of Selling as a 1P Vendor on eCommerce


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Overview of the pros and cons of selling as a 1P first-party vendor on eCommerce platforms, offering insights into the dynamics that shape operations.


In the realm of modern retail, eCommerce platforms have emerged as transformative channels for businesses to connect with consumers worldwide. Among the strategies available to sellers on these platforms is the option to operate as a first-party (1P) vendor. This entails selling products directly to the platform, which then sells them to consumers. While this approach offers several benefits, it also presents challenges that sellers must carefully weigh. In this article, we will delve into the pros and cons of selling as a first-party vendor on eCommerce platforms, offering insights into the dynamics that shape this mode of operation.

Pros of Selling as a First-Party Vendor

  1. Access to Marketing Support: eCommerce platforms invest significantly in marketing efforts to drive traffic and sales. For instance, Amazon’s advertising revenue surged to $6.9 billion in the third quarter of 2021, reflecting the platform’s robust marketing capabilities [source: Statista]. As a first-party vendor, businesses can tap into these resources, benefiting from targeted advertising, promotion placement, and customer data analysis. This support enhances product visibility and extends reach to a broader audience.
  2. Greater Exposure: eCommerce platforms boast vast user bases, offering first-party vendors unparalleled exposure. As of 2021, Amazon reported over 300 million active customer accounts worldwide [source: Statista]. This expansive reach facilitates increased sales opportunities and heightened brand recognition. Moreover, platforms like Alibaba’s Tmall Global provide access to lucrative international markets, further amplifying exposure for vendors [source: Forbes].
  3. Logistical Support: First-party vendors benefit from streamlined logistics and automation in fulfillment. Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service, for instance, handles warehousing, order fulfillment, and shipping, relieving vendors of operational burdens. This efficiency not only reduces costs but also ensures seamless order processing, enhancing customer satisfaction and retention.
  4. Potential for Growth: Operating as a first-party vendor affords businesses avenues for expansion. eCommerce platforms continually innovate and diversify, offering vendors opportunities to ride the wave of platform growth. Additionally, participation in exclusive promotions and events organized by the platform augments visibility and sales potential.
  5. Access to Analytics: eCommerce platforms provide vendors with invaluable insights through comprehensive analytics tools. These tools offer data on market trends, customer preferences, and sales performance. Leveraging this data enables informed decision-making, empowering vendors to optimize marketing strategies and drive sales.

Cons of Selling as a First-Party Vendor

  1. Limited Control over Pricing: A significant drawback for first-party vendors is the limited control over pricing dictated by eCommerce platforms. Amazon, for instance, reserves the right to set prices and offer discounts on products sold through its platform. This lack of autonomy can erode profit margins and undermine competitiveness, particularly in markets characterized by price sensitivity.
  2. Dependency on Platform Policies: First-party vendors are subject to the policies anregulations set by eCommerce platforms, which can be stringent and subject to abrupt changes. For example, Amazon frequently updates its policies on product listings, advertising guidelines, and commission structures, impacting vendor operations [source: CNBC]. Such dependencies constraints flexibility and pose challenges for business continuity.
  3. Brand Dilution: Selling through eCommerce platforms can dilute brand identity as the platform acts as an intermediary between the vendor and the customer. This intermediary role limits direct engagement with consumers, potentially weakening brand loyalty and diminishing perceived brand value. Moreover, intense competition on platforms exacerbates brand dilution, making it challenging for vendors to differentiate their offerings [source: Forbes].
  4. Competition with Platform-Owned Brands: Many eCommerce platforms operate private-label brands that directly compete with third-party vendors. For instance, Amazon’s private-label sales reached $7.5 billion in the third quarter of 2021, reflecting fierce competition with third-party sellers [source: Forbes]. This competition creates conflicts of interest, as platforms may prioritize their own brands over third-party offerings, further intensifying competitive pressures for first-party vendors.
  5. Risk of Platform Dependency: Relying heavily on an eCommerce platform as a primary sales channel exposes vendors to significant risks. Any changes to platform algorithms, policies, or fee structures can profoundly impact vendor operations. Furthermore, platform outages or technical glitches can disrupt sales and compromise customer experiences, underscoring the vulnerability of vendors reliant on single-channel distribution strategies.
  6. Lack of first party data: It is unlikely that any access to detailed first party data will be available and even when there is, the information is at a high level that is insufficient to understand the consumer journey and points of friction on the platforms to improve conversion.


Selling as a first-party vendor on eCommerce platforms offers both opportunities and challenges for businesses. While access to marketing support, greater exposure, and logistical assistance can enhance competitiveness, vendors must navigate issues such as limited pricing control, brand dilution, and platform dependency.

Ultimately, success as a first-party vendor hinges on strategic decision-making and adaptability in the face of evolving market dynamics. By leveraging insights from analytics, diversifying sales channels, and fostering brand differentiation, vendors can mitigate risks and capitalize on the vast opportunities presented by eCommerce platforms. Through a balanced approach that integrates the pros and cons of first-party selling, businesses can position themselves for sustainable growth and resilience in the digital marketplace.

author avatar
Alan Yong CEO / Founder
Alan Yong is a distinguished eCommerce expert with an impressive career spanning over 30 years, primarily focusing on the consumer goods sector across multiple global markets, including the two largest consumer markets, China and the United States. With a deep expertise in multi-channel eCommerce, big data & analytics, performance marketing, and consumer-based supply chain and logistics, Alan has held pivotal roles as CEO and Global General Manager for multinational consumer packaged goods companies, driving significant digital transformations and eCommerce success.