Are you frustrated by the restricted categories on Amazon that limit your selling opportunities? You’re not alone. Many sellers face the challenge of being gated and struggle to expand their product offerings or tap into lucrative markets. Amazon gates certain categories to maintain quality, protect consumer interests, and promote fair competition.
To ungate categories, you need to comply with certain requirements but they vary by category. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide actionable tips on how to break free from Amazon’s gated categories and unleash your full selling potential.
What are Amazon’s restricted or gated categories?
Amazon’s restricted or gated categories refer to specific product categories on the Amazon marketplace. These categories require sellers to obtain approval before selling products within those categories. Amazon’s gated categories regulate the quality and authenticity of products sold on their platform.
Why does Amazon gate its categories?
Organizations must adhere to a specific code of conduct in business. Any business that contravenes such regulations will likely face huge fines and license cancellations.
As a responsible company, Amazon gates various products and product categories to ensure regulations are followed. These restrictions also help safeguard its interests. Other significant reasons for Amazon product restrictions include:
1. Maintaining the brand
By restricting certain categories, Amazon can ensure that products sold on its platform are authentic and genuine. This helps protect brands from counterfeit products and unauthorized sellers, maintaining marketplace reputation and trustworthiness.
2. Product safety
Gating certain categories allows them to enforce strict product safety standards and regulations. By controlling who can sell products in these categories, Amazon can ensure that items meet the necessary safety requirements and are not hazardous to consumers.
3. Promoting fair pricing
Gating certain categories prevents price manipulation and unfair competition. By regulating access to these categories, Amazon can prevent sellers from undercutting prices or price-gouging. This will foster a level playing field for sellers.
4. Consumer confidence
By imposing restrictions, Amazon aims to protect customers from fraudulent or low-quality products. When customers see that certain categories are gated, it instills a sense of trust that the products available have met Amazon’s standards. These products are more likely to be genuine, safe, and reliable.
Exploring categories and products that require approval
As highlighted above, Amazon has been stringent in gating products in various categories. However, Amazon sellers can get quick and easy approval to sell such products.
Nevertheless, some products require additional permissions before you start selling them on Amazon.
Some of these products include:
- Wine/alcohol category: To comply with regulations and fulfill shipping requirements for selling alcohol products on Amazon.
- Animal-related products category: To ensure responsible selling practices and protect animal welfare when selling live animals or animal-related products.
- Collectible coins category: To meet membership requirements, maintain anti-money laundering measures, and establish credibility for selling genuine collectible coins.
- Automotive and power sports category: To provide accurate product information, and warranties, and comply with product review processes for selling automotive and power sports products.
- Accessories, clothes, and luggage category: To expand selling opportunities and showcase retail or e-commerce store offerings in the accessories, clothes, and luggage sector.
- Sexual wellness category: To gain approval for selling sexual wellness products by following Amazon’s straightforward ungating process.
- Beauty category: To sell sealed beauty products with original packaging, maintain good performance metrics, and acquire pro-merchant status for approvals.
- Kindle accessories category: To comply with fair use and compatibility guidelines for selling Kindle accessories and handling the associated referral fee.
- Toys category: To provide proof of purchase, and brand authorization, and ensure compliance with safety regulations when selling toys.
- Collectible Books category: To list collectible books with an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) for increased exposure and sales potential.
- Major appliance product category: To establish the source of appliances and gain approval for selling major appliance products.
- Entertainment collectibles category: To meet performance targets and listing requirements for selling entertainment collectibles by following Amazon’s instructions.
- Watches category: To ensure accuracy testing, have UPC manufacturer’s code, and meet performance targets set by Amazon when selling watches.
- Fine jewelry category: To meet stringent requirements, maintain quality assurance standards, and pay an entry fee for selling high-end fine jewelry on Amazon.
- Sports Collectibles category: To meet authentication requirements, pay an entry fee, and maintain good performance metrics for selling sports collectibles.
- Grocery category: To provide invoices from reputable suppliers, avoid false dietary claims, and prioritize safety when selling groceries on Amazon.
General guidelines to get ungated on Amazon
Knowing why Amazon restricts various products you can handle the guidelines and get ungated with a lot more clarity.
Importantly, each product category has a defined process for approval. Follow the general guidelines if you need licenses in multiple areas.
1. Get a professional Amazon seller account
Amazon is a leading eCommerce marketplace that requires sellers to follow an ethical approach on the platform. Therefore, you need a professional seller account if you don’t have one already. As a professional seller, you can sell restricted and unrestricted products. Amazon’s professional selling account is available for $39.99 a month.
2. Analyze your Amazon account health
Amazon will approve your request to sell restricted products if you have a healthy selling account. Having strong performance metrics is essential for obtaining approval to sell restricted products on Amazon. It is recommended to maintain a low Order Defect Rate (ODR) of less than 1%, a pre-fulfillment cancellation rate below 2.5%, and a late shipment rate of less than 4%.
Therefore, you need to keep track of your performance. You can quickly get a clear picture of your selling account in customer satisfaction and product quality in the ‘seller central account.’
3. Follow the category instructions
As discussed above, each category has specific instructions for approval. For example, the fine arts category requires sellers to have three years of experience and a functional site.
4. Choose a wholesaler
As you grow your Amazon business, you’ll need to meet consumer demands. This is only possible if you have a reliable supplier who consistently provides the products required. Therefore, you must choose a reputable supplier to produce the restricted products.
5. Submit invoices
Amazon is not a corner shop where you can submit scanned invoices from suppliers and get away with it. Instead, a strict eCommerce system incorporates all the necessary measures before approving seller accounts. Therefore, if you want approval, you must submit invoices in their original state.
6. Request for approval
Lastly, you can request approval if you are certain that everything is in order. However, there are some steps to follow when requesting approval.
- Click on “Inventory”.
- Click on “Add a product”
- Search for the products you intend to sell
- Go to “listing limitations apply”
- Apply by clicking the “Request approval” button
In addition, you must apply during US business hours. Make an effort to respond to Amazon’s support team immediately. Also, submit additional information as requested.
Category-specific guidelines to become ungated on Amazon
While the above are general guidelines, here are some category-specific guidelines to get started on updating each category. Please note some categories might have sub-categories that are gated.
1. Ungating the wine/alcohol category
For sellers interested in selling wine/alcohol on Amazon, there are specific requirements to get ungated in this category. Sellers must comply with all the regulations associated with selling alcohol, be registered as a winery or importer, and fulfill shipping requirements.
2. Ungating the animal-related products category
Gather the necessary documentation, ensure product compliance, demonstrate expertise, create detailed listings, apply through Seller Central, submit required information, await approval, and maintain compliance with applicable laws and Amazon’s selling policies. It is crucial to prioritize animal welfare and responsible selling practices when seeking approval to sell live animals or animal-related products on Amazon.
3. Ungating the collectible coins category
The coin collectible category is complex and requires sellers to fulfill several requirements. Sellers interested in selling collectible coins must have a well-maintained membership in organizations like PNG, PCGS, ICTA, and NGC/PMG. Additionally, they need to meet the criteria such as having a specific percentage of genuine coins, maintaining an anti-money laundering schedule, and having a well-established company website. Sellers should be prepared to provide copies of these documents upon request.
4. Ungating the automotive and power sports category
For sellers interested in selling automotive and power sports products, getting ungated is relatively easy. Sellers need to have a website, compliant product images, UPCs, and warranties, and undergo a product review process.
5. Ungating the accessories, clothes, and luggage category
The accessories, clothes, and luggage category is considered relatively easy to ungate, especially for new sellers. Sellers need to fill out an application form and provide details about their retail or e-commerce store.
6. Ungating the sexual wellness category
Getting ungated in the sexual wellness category is relatively easy and straightforward. Sellers simply need to fill out a form and wait for Amazon’s ungating services to contact them.
7. Ungating the beauty category
To get ungated in the beauty category on Amazon, you must follow sell sealed beauty products with the original manufacturer’s packaging and ensure they are unused. To request approval, you need to have a professional Amazon seller account by acquiring pro-merchant status, which requires a monthly fee of $39. Additionally, you must focus on reducing your order defect rate to less than 1%, lowering your pre-fulfillment cancel rate below 2.5%, and ensuring your late shipment rate is not higher than 4%.
8. Ungating the Kindle accessories category
Sellers looking to get ungated in the Kindle accessories category need to comply with Amazon’s device accessories fair use and compatibility guidelines. It’s important to note that Amazon takes a 45% referral fee for sales in this category, so sellers should ensure they can handle profit margins accordingly.
9. Ungating toys category
To sell in the toys category, you must go through a specific process to get the necessary approvals. First, you must provide a purchase invoice from the wholesaler or manufacturer of the toys, containing all the required details. Additionally, you must submit a brand authorization letter from the toy company, demonstrating their consent for you to sell their products and ensure brand integrity. Moreover, for certain toys, you need to obtain a Children’s Product Certificate to comply with local product safety regulations and protect children.
10. Ungating the collectible books category
Ungating the collectible books category is considered relatively easy and is ideal for beginners. Sellers need to have collectible books and list them with the International Standard Book Number (ISBN).
11. Ungating the major appliance product category
Getting ungated in the major appliance product category is relatively straightforward. Sellers need to fill out a basic application form, and some documents might be required to prove the source of the appliances.
12. Ungating the entertainment collectibles category
To get ungated in the entertainment collectibles category, sellers need to meet performance targets and follow the listing requirements. Unlike in other categories, sellers do not need to fill out an application form. Instead, they should email Amazon at [email protected] for further instructions.
13. Ungating the watches category
Getting ungated in the watches category is relatively straightforward, making it a good option for new sellers. Sellers need to test the watches for accuracy, have a UPC manufacturer’s code, and meet the performance targets set by Amazon.
14. Ungating the fine jewelry category
The fine jewelry category is considered one of the hardest categories to get ungated on Amazon. To get ungated, sellers need to have an established business generating around $50,000 annually, meet Amazon’s quality assurance standards, and pay an entry fee of $5000. Additionally, sellers need to maintain a low order defect rate and pre-fulfillment cancellation rate.
15. Ungating the Sports Collectibles Category
Sellers interested in selling sports collectibles on Amazon need to meet specific requirements to get ungated. These requirements include meeting the necessary performance targets and ensuring that the products are properly authenticated. Additionally, sellers must pay an entry fee of $5000 and maintain low order defect and pre-fulfillment cancellation rates.
16. Ungating the grocery category
If you’re an established Amazon FBA seller with good selling metrics, you may receive automatic approval for the grocery category. However, if you’re a newcomer to this category, you must follow specific requirements. Firstly, you need to provide invoices from reputable suppliers to establish your legitimacy as a seller purchasing groceries from reliable distributors. It’s crucial to avoid making false dietary claims and ensure that any claims, such as allergen-free, are substantiated by the appropriate organizations. Additionally, focusing on safety is essential, as high order cancellations and product defect rates indicate potential safety concerns.
Frequently asked questions
How do you apply to get ungated on Amazon?
You must understand the approval process for each category to become ungated. However, there’s a general process that you can follow to get ungated for the majority of product categories.
How long does it take to get ungated on Amazon?
There’s no defined time to get ungated. It depends on how fast Amazon reviews your application. However, getting ungated in some categories may take a few weeks.
How much money does it cost to get ungated on Amazon?
You can’t ‘buy’ permission to sell products on Amazon. You must follow strict requirements to sell in a gated category. However, some categories require you to pay a non-refundable approval fee of $5,000.
Is selling gated categories worth it?
Selling in Amazon gated categories can offer advantages due to lower competition compared to other popular categories. With fewer sellers in these restricted categories, it becomes easier to stand out and increase sales on Amazon. Although the approval process for these categories may require additional effort, it is recommended to assess the benefits and weigh your options.
Gain more profits through diligence
As an Amazon FBA seller, the goal is to gain higher profits as well as face fewer competitors. To achieve such objectives, you should endeavor to operate in restricted categories-which is not easy.
As you’ve already learned, Amazon is not using restrictions to punish sellers. There are genuine reasons why the company constantly imposes barriers on various categories.
In fact, the key to succeeding on Amazon is to exploit the chances that others are avoiding. By following the simple steps discussed above, you’ll soon emerge as a successful Amazon seller in restricted categories.
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