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Difference between Vendor and Distributor

Difference between Vendor and Distributor

In simple terms, a vendor is someone who sells you products or services, while a distributor is someone who buys products or services from a vendor to sell to their customers. There are some key things to consider when deciding if partnering with a distributor makes sense for your business.

What is Vendor?

In business, the term “vendor” is used to refer to an individual or company that provides goods or services to another business. Vendors can be small businesses that sell products to retailers, or they can be large companies that provide services to corporate clients. Typically, vendors enter into contracts with their customers, specifying the terms of the agreement and the services or products that will be provided.

Vendor management is a process often used by businesses to ensure that their vendors are meeting their obligations and providing high-quality goods and services. This can involve setting performance standards, coordinating communication between different departments, and conducting regular reviews. By effectively managing their vendors, businesses can avoid disruptions and ensure that they are receiving good value for their investment.

What is Distributor?

A distributor is a type of business that distributes goods or services to retailers or other customers. They are usually located between the manufacturers or service providers and the final customers. Distributors typically buy products or services in large quantities from manufacturers and then resell them to retailers or other customers in smaller quantities. Some distributors specialize in a particular type of product, such as food, clothing, or electronics.

Others distribute a wide range of products from different manufacturers. Many distributors operate their own warehouses and fleets of trucks to store and transport goods. Some also operate their own stores or websites to sell products directly to consumers. Whether they specialize in a particular type of product or provide a wide range of products, distributors play an important role in getting goods from manufacturers to customers.

Difference between Vendor and Distributor

A vendor is a company or individual that sells products or services to another company. Vendors can be manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, or independent contractors. A distributor is a company that buys products or services from vendors and then sells them to customers.

  • Distributors can be wholesalers, retailers, or agents. The main difference between vendors and distributors is that vendors sell products or services to companies while distributors buy products or services from companies and then sell them to customers. In terms of the supply chain, vendors are upstream of distributors.
  • That is, manufacturers sell to wholesalers who in turn sell to retailers who finally sell to customers. By contrast, distributors are downstream of manufacturers since they buy products or services from suppliers and then resell them. Different types of businesses use different channels of distribution.
  • For example, some companies sells their products through Direct marketing whereas others sell their products through Indirect marketing. In Direct marketing, the vendor sells their products directly to the customer without going through any intermediary. On the other hand, in Indirect marketing, the vendor sells their products to an intermediary such as a distributor who then sells it to the customer.


In order to understand the different roles, it is important to first understand what each term means. A vendor typically refers to a company that manufactures or produces a product. A distributor, on the other hand, is responsible for getting the product from the vendor to the customer. This may include warehousing, shipping, and handling functions. There are several key differences between vendors and distributors. For one, vendors are typically responsible for manufacturing or producing products while distributors are responsible for getting those products to customers. Additionally, vendors often have more control over pricing than distributors do.

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