Difference Between Vendor and Distributor

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Vendor and Distributor

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The supply chain plays a crucial role in the market. It has a direct impact on the entire performance of an organization. For both producers and consumers, a good supply chain that is efficient should be built. Several steps must be included in a supply chain to make it worth it. By involving processes, people, and technology, supply chains being complex and extensive, can be made to run well. Vendors, suppliers, distributors, and retailers are the main participants, each with a distinct function to play in the market.

The key to avoiding shortage and navigating supply chain interruption is understanding where the supplies come from and enhancing the collaboration with those sources more often is critical in the manufacturing context.

The production and delivery of goods and services from the main to the final consumer are referred to as the supply chain where all the people, entities, resources, processes, and technologies are involved. The crucial elements in the supply chain are the vendors and the suppliers –the most common phrases in the business sector. A vendor is nothing but the seller who sells the products to the respective clients, and the last link in the chain is the customer.

On the other hand, A distributor may be a person or an institution that is in the business market of providing the goods and servicing to the person who wants them.

The most initial and most important link in the supply chain processes is the supplier who is assigned with the work of supplying the entities.

The market is a word that is intricately related and familiar to our day-to-day lives and understanding. The most important players in the market are the vendor and the distributor. Though the phrases are quite similar to each other, these words are not interchangeable, they are often used, but they have different meanings and they have different functions as well.

This article will indeed help you to understand the main and the basic differences between the two business words.

Vendor vs. Distributor

The major distinction between a vendor and a distributor is, that a vendor buys items and products in bulk and then sells them to customers according to their specifications, whereas, a distributor just connects the manufacturer and the vendor.

The raw material or the finished goods to the end-users are been sold by both vendors and distributors. A distributor is a kind of a company that holds goods in the warehouse and is then lately been transported to the clients. Suppliers are the middleman having direct contact with both the distributors and vendors. Distributors can be a company's major supplier of the items that are directly offered in the stores. And the vendors, usually have a physical store where they sell the products from their wares.

According to the customer's specifications, a vendor is someone who can purchase things from a manufacturer and then can sell them to the customers. The vendor is providing personalized services and is the link between the two- the distributors and the clients, also they collect the information about the demand in the market and then pass that information to the manufacturers to maintain a balance between demand and the supply.

The work of the distributor is to receive items from a manufacturer's location and then deliver it to the vendor, who then sells them to the customers. The distributor also functions as a middleman between a manufacturer and the vendor as its goal is to make all the commodities available to the suppliers so they can be eaten by the final customers.

A vendor receives items from the manufacturer's location which are provided to them by the distributors who distribute these products, and then the vendor distributes them to the customers.

A vendor is the one who buys items and things and services to resell, to the end-user. A distributor, on the other hand, acts as the link between the manufacturer and the vendor in the respective supply chain.

The goal of a vendor is just to provide products to the final consumer. And the goal of the distributor is to provide products to other resellers, who can ultimately sell the product to the final consumer.

The distributors are more concerned with other resellers. Whereas a vendor is more concerned with the end-user only. A relationship between the vendor and a customer is called a (B2C) business-to-customer relationship. Whereas, a distributor, has a (B2B) business-to-business relationship.

The distributor is in the middle of the supply chain, a vendor, on the other hand, is at the end.

There is a distant relationship between a vendor and manufacturers but the interaction is tight between the distributors and the manufacturers.

Differences Between Vendor and Distributor in Tabular Form

Specifications Vendor Distributor
Meaning A vendor is the one who buys items and things and services to resell, to the end-user. The work of the distributor is to receive items from a manufacturer location and then deliver it to the vendor, and not the end-user.
Individual goals Given to the consumers according to their specifications. Distributors first avail goods to the vendor so that the vendor can, resell them.
Market relationship Vendors do collect information about the demands and give it to the manufacturers. The distributor has production, advertisement, and transportation marketing.
Business relationship  The vendor has a B2C. Distributors have a B2B.
Relation with the manufacturers There is a distant relationship between a vendor and manufacturers. There is good interaction between a distributor and the manufacturers.

What is Vendor?

A vendor can be a person or organization, or any other legal entity that sells well to the consumer or the manufacturers, or some other businesses. The vendor doesn't make their products or items and they do not even have to do so. Instead, a vendor can resale and can charge a higher price for the products obtained from another merchant. Restaurants and stores can be considered vendors because they sell directly to the consumer, for example.

There are four basic sorts of vendors respectively in the supply chain and the companies and business owners play diverse responsibilities.

  • Manufacturers: A raw material when transformed into finished goods is with the help of the manufacturers. The big amounts of the goods are been sell off to the direct retail location, or the direct consumer. It is called the first phase in the supply chain.
  • Retailer: A retailer is a reseller who sells things in a store or online, such as apparel, office supplies, street vendors selling hot dogs, and so on. They primarily focus on purchasing things from another vendor (typically a wholesaler) and reselling them to consumers.
  • A service provider provides a service, such as maintenance or labor, to customers. Consulting and janitorial services and many other such are two examples.
  • There must be first a vendor relationship with a supplier if a small firm or a major organization wants to resell a product. Vendor registration entails several steps in the process, including completing a credit application, placing a company credit card on file for payments, giving them your company phone number, and establishing payment terms.

Before processing an order, certain vendors require purchase orders. Furthermore, some sellers require immediate payment, while others require payment over time. The vendor, for example, wants payment within 30 days undernet 30 terms; if you agree to these conditions, you've opened a net 30 account with the vendor. They may also set a credit limit on your account. Payment terms like these help vendors keep their cash flow in check.

Vendors are in business for themselves and must set up identical procedures for their suppliers. If they are a privately held company, they may need to find a lender or take out a loan on their credit to have their product in stock.

The purpose of sales made by the vendor is the consumption by the customers and not for production or for resell. The amount of products they deal with is relatively small than the distributors.

What is a Distributor?

A distributor is a company that buys large quantities of merchandise from a manufacturer and distributes it to consumers directly or to retailers who subsequently sell to consumers.

"Wholesalers" is another term for distributors at many times.

Because it allows a corporation to concentrate or focus operations on its major capabilities of either creating things or selling to consumers, a distributor is an important component of the Supply Chain Model used by both manufacturers and retailers.

A distributor serves as a link between a manufacturer and a customer. Typically, items are made in one location but are used all over the world. As a result, the distributor acts as a link between the point of manufacture and the market or point of consumption.

They offer a variety of services to manufacturers, including transportation, warehousing, storage, advertising, and product demonstrations, among others. Distributors will continue to play an important part in the manufacturing process and will be of tremendous assistance to manufacturers.

They have far more complicated responsibilities, such as conducting educational programs such as demos, presale training, and roadshows, as well as providing contract negotiation, warranty, and procurement services.

This streamlines the purchasing procedure for large businesses by allowing them to obtain their items from a single distributor. Certain products are frequently kept in stock by distributors so that these types of businesses may get them quickly. An online retailer that distributes orders from numerous product warehouses is a wonderful example of this. They don't create items or "add value" (i.e., they don't change the products they acquire), so their warehouses are simply storage facilities.

Distributors are distinguished by the fact that they do not add value or manufacture things; rather, they make products available to vendors.

Main Differences Between Vendor and Distributor in Points

  1. In comparison to the distributor, the vendor deals with a smaller amount of goods. And the distributor deals with a bulk of products.
  2. Because commodities are prone to damage during delivery, distributors have a higher risk than vendors.
  3. Vendors make sales for consumption, whereas distributors make sales for capital goods manufactured or for resale.
  4. Because both of them are in direct contact with each other, distributors have a closer relationship with manufacturers than vendors.
  5. Market conditions and desires are known by vendors, whereas product information and usage are known by distributors.
  6. The business relationship between a vendor and a distributor is what distinguishes them. B2C services are provided by the seller, while B2B services are provided by the distributor.


In a supply chain, the absence of vendors or distributors can have a significant influence on corporate operations. A distributor is an intermediary in the supply chain between the manufacturer and the vendor. A vendor purchases products and services to resell, usually to the final consumer. However, because they have a close touch with consumers, both are useful in communicating market dynamics information to manufacturers and other stakeholders. Distributors assist with educational programs such as demos, presale training, and roadshows, as well as contract negotiation, warranty management, and procurement processes.

On a daily level, markets play a critical part in everyday life with the lifestyle of every individual. When it comes to the market, knowing the terms distributors and vendors is crucial because they both play a significant role in the supply chain. Vendors and distributors are critical components of the supply chain as they are mutually dependent. As a result, their absence and negligence from the supply chain might harm market circumstances and people's lives.

Vendors, as business partners, do a lot for the company or the organization as they can play a critical role in an organization's success or failure. Organizations should seek to create vendor relationships in the same way they work to foster customer loyalty. Having a positive relationship with a supplier who is invested in your success can be useful in a variety of ways in terms of the supply chain market.

Both the vendor and the distributor are beneficial in analyzing all the market demand and supply, which is the main aspect of the supply chain. As well as ensuring that the economy is in balance. Distributors most of the time assist vendors in learning about the new characteristics and applications of products, while vendors assist customers with product consumption.

Hopefully, this clarifies some of the key differences between the various supply chain entities, vendors, and distributors. All of them have the same goal and that is to get products to the next stage of the supply chain.


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"Difference Between Vendor and Distributor." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sun. 09 Jun. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-vendor-and-distributor-66>.

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