What is a seller?

A supplier is a part of the supply chain that makes goods and services available to businesses or consumers. The term “supplier” is generally used to describe the entity that is paid for the goods supplied rather than the manufacturer of the goods themselves. However, a seller can function both as a supplier (or seller) of goods and as a manufacturer.

Key points to remember

  • A salesperson is a general term for anyone who buys and sells goods or services.
  • A supplier purchases products and services and then resells them to another business or individual.
  • Large retailers, like Target, rely on many different suppliers to supply products, which they buy at wholesale prices and resell at higher retail prices.
  • A manufacturer who transforms raw materials into finished products is a seller for retailers or wholesalers.

How Sellers Work

A vendor, also known as a supplier, is a person or business entity that sells Something. A seller usually finds a place to buy their goods and services. After acquiring the necessary items, the seller markets and sells his goods in whatever method suits him best. For example, if it’s a food truck, the salesperson makes sure there are enough supplies to prepare menu items and feed the expected number of customers, then goes to a target area and starts selling food.


Some large retail chains, such as Target and Walmart, typically have a list of vendors from which they purchase merchandise at wholesale prices. In turn, they then sell the goods at retail price to their customers. A supplier supplying one of these department stores would require a much larger operation to plan, acquire and supply the goods and services for which it has contracted.


Many sellers act like business to business (B2B) sales organizations that supply parts of a product to another company to manufacture an end product. For example, if your small business makes widgets from gadgets, you’ll need to find suppliers that offer all the gadgets you need. You may find one vendor that has them all, or you may need to find multiple vendors to put your widgets together.

In turn, you could sell your widgets on an online retail platform, becoming a seller yourself.


Some providers offer services to entities of all sizes and levels. For example, a Human resources department of a large company can organize a party for its employees. Many hire outside vendors to provide goods and services for the event. Sometimes the event is too large to be held in company-owned buildings, so the department must choose a location, in which case the owner of the event space becomes a vendor when the area is reserved and the contract signed.

States require most providers to be licensed. If you are considering becoming a provider or using one, be sure to check with your state licensing office for requirements.

Then, the human resources department calls on the decorators, who become salespeople when they are hired to transform the event space into a themed party. Once the theme is implemented, a catering company is hired to provide food and drink for the party. When the company provides its service, it becomes a supplier to the company hosting the party.

Types of sellers

There are several types of providers, but in general, they all fall into one or two of the four categories:

  • Maker: Manufacturers transform raw materials into finished productss and sell them to wholesalers and retailers.
  • Retailer: Retailers are companies that purchase products from other suppliers and resell them to consumers. For example, Target is a vendor that sells appliances and other home products.
  • Wholesaler: Wholesalers generally buy products in bulk and resell them to retailers. Some wholesalers sell directly to consumers, usually referred to as wholesaler-retailers.
  • Service provider: Service providers offer services to businesses and consumers.

Special Considerations

Vendors are found throughout the Supply Chain, which is the sum of all the people, organizations, resources, activities and technologies used to make and sell a product or service. The supply chain begins with the production and delivery of raw materials. It ends with the sale and final delivery of the product.

Manufacturers and retailers try to eliminate the supply chain as much as possible because they know that the final cost of a product increases with each link in the supply chain. Typically, the supply chain consists of three parts: a manufacturer, a seller, and a dealer or, as they are more commonly called, a retailer. Suppliers can be cheaper than a traditional supply chain because some links in the chain are bypassed.

What is a seller?

A seller is an entity that sells something. It can sell services, products or a combination of both to businesses and consumers.

What is an example provider?

Amazon, although primarily known as an online retailer, is also a web service provider. It provides web hosting, database storage, and many other services businesses need that are too expensive to buy and maintain for many small businesses.

What is a supplier versus a supplier?

Suppliers are usually the first entity in the supply chain from which products and services originate. A supplier purchases products and services and resells them to its customers.

The essential

Sellers are entities that purchase goods and services and resell them to business customers and consumers. You find suppliers in many business models because sometimes paying a supplier is cheaper than buying directly from a supplier.

Vendors can be businesses of any size, from a one-person hot dog stand on the sidewalk to a large vendor that stocks warehouse retailers.

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