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Vendor vs. Supplier: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on January 9, 2024
A vendor is a person or company offering something for sale, often at the retail level, while a supplier provides resources or inputs to a business, usually at the wholesale level.
Vendor vs. Supplier

Key Differences

Vendors are typically associated with selling goods or services directly to the final consumer or end-user. They operate at the retail level, often in smaller quantities. Suppliers, in contrast, are usually involved in the supply chain at an earlier stage, providing raw materials or products in bulk to businesses or vendors.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024
Vendors often have a direct interaction with the customers, playing a key role in the retail experience. They can be seen in various forms like shop owners, market stalls, or online retailers. Suppliers, however, generally deal with businesses rather than direct consumers, providing essential goods or raw materials that these businesses need to produce their final products or services.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024
The focus of vendors is often on the point-of-sale activities, emphasizing customer service, marketing, and final transaction. They are the final link in the supply chain. Suppliers are more concerned with manufacturing, wholesaling, or distribution aspects, focusing on producing or sourcing goods in large volumes for other businesses or vendors.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024
In many cases, vendors can choose from different suppliers for their products, based on factors like cost, quality, and delivery times. They are the customers of the suppliers. In contrast, suppliers aim to establish long-term relationships with businesses, including vendors, by providing reliable and consistent supplies of goods or materials.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024
The role of a vendor is often more visible to the general public, as they are the face of the retail transaction. Suppliers, on the other hand, operate behind the scenes, playing a crucial role in the production and supply chain processes but are less visible to the end consumer.
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Jan 09, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Level of Operation

Retail level, direct to consumers
Wholesale level, to businesses
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Interaction

Direct with end consumers
With businesses, not usually consumers
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Focus

Point-of-sale activities, customer service
Production, wholesaling, distribution
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Relationships

Chooses among different suppliers
Establishes long-term business relationships
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Visibility

More visible to public
Less visible, operates behind the scenes
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Vendor and Supplier Definitions

Vendor

A business that sells products directly to consumers.
The coffee vendor on the corner is very popular in the mornings.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 17, 2023

Supplier

A company that provides goods or raw materials to other companies.
The supplier delivered the raw materials for manufacturing.
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Dec 17, 2023

Vendor

A person or company offering goods or services for sale.
The vendor at the street market was selling handmade crafts.
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Dec 17, 2023

Supplier

A business that provides products for retail sale by vendors.
The clothing supplier works with multiple boutique owners.
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Dec 17, 2023

Vendor

An individual or company involved in retail trade.
She became a vendor selling organic produce online.
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Supplier

An entity that offers products in bulk, usually to businesses.
The restaurant's food supplier is known for its quality products.
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Vendor

A supplier in a business environment, specifically in IT.
The company selected a new software vendor for its IT upgrade.
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Supplier

To make available for use; provide
Does the hotel supply towels?.
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Dec 13, 2023

Vendor

An entity that provides goods or services in a specific location.
Food vendors set up their stalls at the festival.
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Dec 17, 2023

Supplier

To provide something necessary or desired to; furnish or equip
Supplied the players with uniforms.
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Dec 13, 2023

Vendor

One that sells or vends something
A street vendor.
A vendor of software products on the Web.
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Supplier

To have as a necessary or desirable feature
A crime scene that supplied valuable evidence.
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Vendor

One that provides products or services to a business for a fee.
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Supplier

To fill sufficiently; satisfy
Supply a need.
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Vendor

A vending machine.
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Supplier

To make up for (a deficiency, for example); compensate for.
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Vendor

A person or a company that vends or sells.
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Supplier

The act of supplying
Funds for the supply of the expedition.
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Vendor

A vending machine.
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Supplier

An amount available or sufficient for a given use; stock
Our supply of milk is low.
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Vendor

To bundle third-party dependencies with the source code for one's own program.
I distributed my application with a vendored copy of Perl so that it wouldn't use the system copies of Perl where it is installed.
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Supplier

Often supplies Materials or provisions stored and dispensed when needed.
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Vendor

As the software vendor, to bundle one's own, possibly modified version of dependencies with a standard program.
Strawberry Perl contains vendored copies of some CPAN modules, designed to allow them to run on Windows.
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Supplier

(Economics) The amount of a commodity available for meeting a demand or for purchase at a given price.
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Vendor

A vender; a seller; the correlative of vendee.
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Dec 13, 2023

Supplier

One who supplies; a provider.
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Dec 13, 2023

Vendor

Someone who promotes or exchanges goods or services for money
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Supplier

(soccer) Someone who assists (sets up) a goal.
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Dec 13, 2023

Supplier

One who supplies.
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Dec 13, 2023

Supplier

Someone whose business is to supply a particular service or commodity
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Dec 13, 2023

Supplier

A source of goods or services for companies or vendors.
The automotive manufacturer relies heavily on its parts suppliers.
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Dec 17, 2023

Supplier

An organization that provides resources for business operations.
The supplier's timely delivery is crucial for the factory's production schedule.
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Dec 17, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What does a supplier typically provide?

Raw materials, products, or services to businesses.
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Jan 09, 2024

Can a vendor also be a supplier?

Yes, if they provide goods to other businesses as well as consumers.
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Jan 09, 2024

How do vendors acquire their products?

They purchase them from suppliers or manufacturers.
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Jan 09, 2024

Can suppliers have direct interaction with consumers?

It's uncommon, as their primary clients are businesses.
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Jan 09, 2024

Is it easier to start as a vendor or a supplier?

Starting as a vendor is often easier due to lower initial investment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 09, 2024

Do suppliers generally have larger operations than vendors?

Yes, as they deal in bulk and supply to multiple businesses.
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Jan 09, 2024

Can a business be both a vendor and a supplier?

Yes, if it sells directly to consumers and supplies goods to other businesses.
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Jan 09, 2024

Do vendors need to maintain a variety of suppliers?

Yes, to ensure diversity in products and competitive pricing.
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Jan 09, 2024

What is the main difference between a vendor and a supplier?

Vendors sell to end consumers, while suppliers provide to businesses.
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Jan 09, 2024

Are suppliers involved in direct sales to the public?

Usually not, they deal primarily with businesses.
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Jan 09, 2024

Do vendors focus on bulk sales?

No, they typically sell in smaller quantities to individual customers.
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Jan 09, 2024

What is the primary role of a vendor?

To sell goods or services directly to consumers.
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Jan 09, 2024

How does e-commerce affect vendors and suppliers?

It expands their reach and changes how they operate and interact with clients.
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Jan 09, 2024

Who plays a bigger role in the supply chain, vendors or suppliers?

Both are crucial at different stages of the supply chain.
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Jan 09, 2024

How important is location for vendors compared to suppliers?

Location is often more critical for vendors due to consumer access.
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Jan 09, 2024

Are supplier relationships more long-term than vendor relationships?

Generally, suppliers seek long-term relationships for stability.
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Jan 09, 2024

Is customer service more important for vendors or suppliers?

It's crucial for both, but vendors have more direct contact with consumers.
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Jan 09, 2024

Are there legal differences in operating as a vendor vs. a supplier?

The legal requirements can differ, especially regarding consumer laws for vendors.
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Jan 09, 2024

How does technology impact vendors and suppliers?

It offers new opportunities for efficiency and reach for both.
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Jan 09, 2024

Do vendors play a role in product selection and customization?

Yes, they often select and sometimes customize products for their market.
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Jan 09, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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