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Vendor vs. Seller — What's the Difference?

By Fiza Rafique & Maham Liaqat — Updated on April 18, 2024
A vendor supplies goods or services, often in a specific or public location, while a seller is broadly any party that sells something, regardless of location.
Vendor vs. Seller — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Vendor and Seller


Key Differences

Vendors are often associated with specific locations or contexts, such as food vendors at a market or technology vendors at a trade show. They may set up booths, stalls, or have a small business setup in a designated area. On the other hand, sellers are defined more broadly as any individual or entity that sells goods or services, which can include vendors but also encompasses online retailers, large corporations, and individuals in casual sales.
Vendors typically engage in direct transactions with their customers, providing goods or services in a face-to-face setting. This direct engagement allows for immediate feedback and personal interaction. Whereas sellers might not always interact directly with customers, especially in cases like online sales, where the transaction is mediated through digital platforms.
In terms of inventory, vendors usually have a limited stock available on-site, tailored to what they can sell in a day or at a specific event. In contrast, sellers, particularly those operating large online or retail stores, may have access to a much broader inventory stored in warehouses or available through drop-shipping agreements.
The term "vendor" is also used in corporate and IT contexts to refer to companies that supply goods and services to other businesses. For example, a software vendor might provide enterprise solutions to various businesses. Sellers, however, can operate on both business-to-business and business-to-consumer levels, and the term does not specify the nature of the buyer.
The legal and regulatory requirements for vendors can be more specific, often involving permits for selling in public or private spaces, adherence to local business regulations, and specific tax obligations. Sellers face a broader range of regulations, depending on the nature of the goods or services, the scale of the operation, and the sales medium used.

Comparison Chart


Supplies goods/services in specific places
Broadly any party that sells goods or services


Direct, often face-to-face
Can be direct or indirect, including online


Limited, on-site stock
Often extensive, varied sources

Context Usage

Specific locations, corporate supplies
Any selling context, includes all vendors

Legal Concerns

Local permits, specific regulations
Broad range of selling regulations

Compare with Definitions


A supplier of products or services to businesses.
The company is a leading vendor of cloud computing services.


Any individual or entity that sells something.
The seller of the house accepted our offer yesterday.


One who operates a vending machine.
The vendor refilled the machine with snacks and drinks.


An online merchant.
The seller on the ecommerce platform ships orders within 24 hours.


A person offering something for sale in an informal setup.
Street vendors in the city sell everything from hot dogs to handcrafted jewelry.


A party in a legal transaction of assets.
The seller must disclose any issues with the property before the sale.


A party that sells goods or services in a specific place.
The vendor at the farmers' market sells fresh organic vegetables.


A retailer or distributor in commerce.
The store is a well-known seller of electronics and appliances.


A concessionaire in a public or entertainment venue.
Food vendors are common sights at baseball games.


A marketer or promoter in sales.
He is a top seller in the insurance industry.


In a supply chain, a vendor, or a seller, is an enterprise that contributes goods or services. Generally, a supply chain vendor manufactures inventory/stock items and sells them to the next link in the chain.


A person who sells something
Street sellers of newspapers, flowers, etc.


A person or company offering something for sale, especially a trader in the street
An Italian ice-cream vendor


A product that sells in some specified way
The book became the biggest seller in the history of royal publishing


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


One that sells; a vendor.


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


An item that sells in a certain way
This washing machine has been an excellent seller.


A vending machine.


Someone who sells; a vendor; a clerk.
Alisha was a seller of fine books.


A person or a company that vends or sells.


Something which sells.
Two of the books Alisha authored had become big sellers.


A vending machine.


Obsolete spelling of cellar


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.


One who sells.


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.


Someone who promotes or exchanges goods or services for money


A vender; a seller; the correlative of vendee.


Someone who promotes or exchanges goods or services for money

Common Curiosities

Can a vendor also be a seller?

Yes, all vendors are sellers, but not all sellers are vendors, as sellers include a broader category of individuals or businesses that sell goods or services.

What is a vendor?

A vendor is an individual or business selling goods or services in specific, often public, locations.

What are typical examples of vendors?

Examples include food vendors at festivals, software vendors in tech, and vendors in farmers' markets.

What inventory challenges do vendors face?

Vendors often have limited space and must carefully select what to stock to maximize their sales per event or day.

What strategies do sellers use that vendors might not?

Sellers, especially online, use various digital marketing and sales strategies, such as SEO and online advertising, which are less relevant for most vendors.

How has e-commerce affected traditional sellers?

E-commerce has expanded the reach of traditional sellers, allowing them to access wider markets but also increasing competition.

How does a vendor differ from a seller?

A vendor specifically refers to sales in designated areas or to particular markets, while a seller is a more general term for any party that sells.

What types of sellers are there?

Sellers include online merchants, retail store owners, and individual sellers in various marketplaces.

Why might someone choose to be a vendor rather than a general seller?

Being a vendor can provide a focused customer base and direct customer interaction, which can be beneficial for certain types of sales.

Can a vendor sell services as well as goods?

Yes, vendors can also be service providers, such as those offering personal grooming services at markets or festivals.

What is the impact of location on a vendor's business?

Location is crucial for vendors as it directly affects foot traffic, customer demographics, and sales opportunities.

What considerations should someone have before becoming a vendor?

Potential vendors should consider location, product selection, local competition, and the specific regulatory environment of where they wish to operate.

How do legal requirements differ for vendors and sellers?

Vendors may require specific local permits and follow regulations for public selling, whereas sellers face a variety of laws based on their selling method and scale.

How do online sellers operate compared to vendors?

Online sellers operate digitally, often without direct customer interaction, unlike vendors who typically sell face-to-face.

What role do vendors play in local economies?

Vendors contribute significantly to local economies by providing accessible shopping options and supporting local producers.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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