As you are selling on Amazon, you would like to catch the product that would fly off the virtual shelves. However, as a new seller, you may find yourself at sea to unlock the mystery of selling highly profitable products that come under gated categories. Amazon has a few restricted categories, but that would not deter you from prospering as an FBA seller.
If you want the tips and tricks of selling products that are ungated, or want to unlock the restricted category and rise to success, you are in the right place. We have provided a detailed and comprehensive guide to assist you. There are some eminent product research tools like Jungle Scout, IO Scout, AMZ Scout, etc, to detect prohibited categories and prevent you from facing a sudden ban on selling by Amazon.
Stay tuned for a detailed review!
What are Amazon Gated Categories or Amazon Restricted Categories?
Amazon restricts the sale of certain items. Customer satisfaction is the most important area that Amazon looks after. Hence, the largest online platform for shopping imposes certain restrictions and rules on the sellers to improve the quality of products and heighten the customer service. The main categories of restricted items include collectibles that have specific condition requirements, high-quality expert items and goods regulated by state and/or federal law.
Amazon specifically targets new sellers with many restrictions. There are several categories on Amazon that are restricted to certain sellers. Gated categories require approval to be sold. Every product has a specific set of guidelines to become ungated.
Why does Amazon Restrict Categories?
Amazon has legitimate guidelines to impose restrictions on the selling of certain categories of products. They are aimed at maintaining the reputation of the platform and blocking the average seller from selling all products. The company values customer service, and wants the sellers to deliver high quality products, good customer service, and has a track record of providing a positive customer support. You need to fulfil certain criteria to become ungated.
For example, if you want to sell products in the Automotive and Powersports category, you must meet the following criteria:
- Your account has to be on the professional selling plan.
- You have to provide UPCs for products under major brands.
- You have to have a website for your online automotive store.
Are there Completely Ungated Categories?
The ungated Amazon categories include:
- Baby (Restrictions may apply)
- Beauty (Restrictions applied on subcategories)
- Camera & Photo
- Consumer Electronics
- Grocery & Gourmet Foods
- Health & Personal Care (Restrictions applied on subcategories)
- Home & Garden
- Industrial & Scientific (BISS)
- Kindle Accessories
- Luggage & Travel Accessories
- Musical Instruments
- Office Products
- Personal Computers
- Tools & Home Improvement
All these categories are not completely ungated. Certain products, subcategories and brands have limitations imposed on them.
Amazon Gated Subcategories
It may sometimes happen that the entire category is not gated, but a certain sub category may be restricted. It is recommended to research well before you choose the product, and check whether you can sell it without approval. For example, in the Health and Beauty category, the subcategory of Topicals is gated. You need an approval before selling and should meet certain criteria.
Amazon Gated Brands
Amazon is increasing the list of gated or restricted brands. It enlists certain criteria that need to be fulfilled before you get the approval for dealing in those brands. It is very necessary to research before selling as a seller might get warning mails from the brands, or find their account temporarily blocked for selling their items on Amazon.
In order to sell brand-gated products, third-party sellers need to prepare to overcome a variety of measures Amazon put in place to prevent violations. As an authorized reseller, you can expect to:
- be checked on your past performance
- have to fulfil certain qualification requirements
- pay fees
Brand gating requires third party sellers to fulfil certain criteria laid down by Amazon. This prevents unauthorised and counterfeit sellers from selling faulty merchandise. Amazon’s obsession with customer service imposes these limitations on brands.
Consequences of Violation
If you are violating the policies of Amazon and are dealing in gated products, you may have ti face severe consequences.
- Cancellation of listing
- Limits on listing privileges
- Suspension of listing privileges
- Removal of your listing privileges
- Termination of your agreement and such other arrangement with Amazon
- Informing the relevant governmental, legal and regulatory authorities for necessary action
Amazon Condition Restrictions
There are no regulated restrictions or guidelines laid down in considering products as gated. You may be selling used accessories of vehicles, because that is ungated. However, the ban may be imposed the next day. Also, the clothing, apparel, accessories and jewellery categories allows you to sell them only if they are new. Thus, there are certain conditions under which the restrictions do not apply.
What Categories are Gated on Amazon?
Now that you know the ungated categories, over which no restriction shall be imposed, let us take a look at the gated categories.
The following Amazon categories require approval:
Automotive & Powersports
Amazon does not allow the sale of motor vehicles that are required to be registered. You can sell automotive parts only if they comply with certain legal proceedings. Restrictions are exercised on tires, wheel weights containing lead, certain engine coolants, vehicle seat belts, vehicle airbags, airbag covers, airbag inflators, and airbag components.
Vehicle Identification Number Plates, Driver license and other government certificates are not allowed to be sold in the Amazon market. Any vehicle component that does not meet the standards of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS). Used tires and High-intensity discharge (HID) conversion kits are also gated categories.
You cannot sell collectibles on Amazon without approval. Although there is no restriction on selling used books, you cannot sell those used as collectibles. These include books that have the signature of the author, or some unique feature that increases its value. To get ungated in this category, you should have very low defect rates, high sales volume and you should guarantee refund within 30 days.
Clothes, Accessories & Shoes
Any clothing or fashion item, apparel, footwear or accessories comes under gated categories. Even luggage comes under this category. You cannot sell the clothing, accessories or shoes for men, women or kids until you have not filled an approval plan and unless you are a Professional Seller.
Fill up a form to ask for auto approval if you want to sell products in this niche.
Although the sub category of mass-produced art in the Kitchen and Dining niche is an open subcategory, the fine art and items of décor are restricted. You cannot sell them unless you are in the market place of selling fine arts for more than 3 years. Original art is an item of 100% taboo for sellers on Amazon.
Pre-paid gift cards can be sold only if the store has a physical presence in the retail world. The gift cards are available for in-store purchase by retailers. Only real businesses are allowed to sell coupons or gift cards. Fortune papers are not allowed to be sold here.
To sell valuable gems and jewellery on Amazon, it should meet the grades and standards laid down by Jewellery Quality Assurance Standards. In this niche, sellers are not allowed to sell beyond $300,000. You should be a Professional Plan with at least one year of experience in the market of selling jewellery. You need to have a revenue of at least $50,000 annually to be able to get the approval. It is also mandatory to have a physical retail store in order to be approved of selling jewellery on Amazon.
Be a professional seller with low defect rates, high sales volume, and clear return and refund policies to sell the entertainment collectibles. They can be props or items signed by famous personalities, actors, and so on, or have some unique properties that upscale their values. It may also be a special edition of a music album or movie, or related to television, theatre or movie spheres.
Coins that are special, or were produced in very low quantities and are rare in the present-day market, are considered as collectibles. Coins of special edition are such worthy collectibles that you need to have a registered membership in one of the organisations like PNG, ICTA, PCGS, or NGC or PMG. At least 70% of your inventory needs to be validated to have originated from government mints.
Sellers need to follow federal state regulations. There should be a permission of the brands to sell on Amazon. The seller should provide the information about the winery and the detailed import information as well as details of the wholesaler.
Amazon bans the sale of goods that are aimed at sexual wellness or boosting sexual performance. Although the sale of items aimed at increasing awareness is not gated, it is recommended not to sell these items as there is an absence of clear regulatory guidelines.
Video, DVD, & Blu-ray
You have to get the professional selling account, ODR – lower than 1%, cancellation – 2.5% or less, late shipment – 4% or less. Amazon asks for information to check the authenticity of your inventory. Primary inventory source, number of units you are selling, and more than 3 invoices should be provided in order to get the approval for selling Videos, DVD and so on.
Ordinary watches or wall clocks can pass for selling. However, those watches of established luxury brands like Rolex and Tag Heuer require the sellers to have a professional plan with the cancellation rate of 2.5% or less, ODR 1% or less, late shipment rate – 4% or less, since they are treated as jewellery. UPC codes should be present on the items.
Order defect rate must be lower than 1%, pre-fulfilment cancel rate should be less than 2.5%, and late shipment rate ought to be less than 4% in order to deal in this category. Some restrictions are imposed to prevent sellers from selling food that may be harmful to customers. Amazon asks for special information and also product invoices.
Toys & Games
If you want to sell toys and games in the holiday season, the cancellation rate must be lower than 1.75%, late shipment rates mustn’t jump over 4%, and order defect rate must be less than 1% during the first day of the holiday season. Amazon limits the number of units of the toy sold by a seller if he or she does not comply with the standards and quality laid down by the market.
What does it Mean to get Ungated on Amazon?
Amazon restricts certain categories to be sold. That leads to gating of products. However, if you get the approval of selling them, they become ungated.
Although the gating of products can be frustrating and can easily discourage new sellers, you can get them ungated by working a little more. Get over the barrier and enjoy the advantages over others in the competition. Since not many people are eager to work more to get ungated, you will not only get more inventory options but also less competition. Again, the gated categories have more demand, thus leading to increased sales volume.
If you are tired with the stiff competition, consider putting in a little more effort to get access to gated products. The effort pays off at the end.
What are the Basic Requirements to Get Started?
Amazon serves as the dreamland for all shoppers, but it doesn’t give the permission to sell all items. The restrictions have been imposed in order to protect the consumers from receiving faulty or harmful products, and prevent fraudulent service by the sellers on the platform.
To adhere to the strict standards of safety and regulations of Amazon, you as a seller would have to fulfil these criteria even before you apply for the approval-
- Be a professional seller- Pay $39.99 per month to be a professional seller and reap the innumerable benefits from the Professional plan.
- Have a good performance metrics- You should have a pitch perfect performance metrics. To get the approval for selling gated categories of products, your defect rate should be less than 1%, pre-fulfilment cancel rate should be less than 2.5%, and the late shipment rate should be less than 4%.
- Show the proof that your product is authentic- Amazon is interested in the customer satisfaction. You should prove the authenticity of your product before selling. Either your supplier should be the manufacturer or should be a licensed dealer.
- Maintain acceptable invoices for the inventory- Make sure the invoice is dated within 90 days with all correct information about your name, address, company and contact details as mentioned in the Seller Central Account.
- Maintain a web presence- Set up a website for your company. That would brand your company and get in touch with customers. This creates the impression that you are a trustworthy seller.
How to Get an Approval for Selling Gated Categories?
Once you have all the required documents ready, it is easy to ask for access. Follow these steps-
- Log in to Amazon Seller Central Account
- Go to ‘Add a Product’ in Inventory menu
- Search for the item you want to sell
- Click the Listing limitations apply link next to the item.
- Click the Request Approval button to begin the application process.
How does Amazon Ungating Service Work?
Amazon Ungating service is a third-party platform that offers to open the restricted products easily. It is a boon to all those who do not want to take the hassle of contacting Amazon and delivering the details and data they need to make the category ungated for you. The Ungating Service platforms promise to do this in an easy way. However, Amazon is extremely concerned with the customer service and satisfaction. So, the ungating does not occur overnight. It will take a lot of time. Also, Amazon might not consider it good to involve third party service for this. Thus, the Ungating service may turn out to be dubious.
In a Nutshell
The gating of products, brands and sub categories exist as Amazon exercises restriction on new sellers so that the customer experience is not hampered. This reduces the chance of supplying faulty or low-quality goods to consumers.
Although ungating requires a little effort, it opens up a vista of product opportunities and reduces the competition. Gated categories are in high demand and form a hot spot for sellers. Work a little more and get them ungated!
How to Know which Categories I am Approved for?
If your category is approved, you will receive a message congratulating you for getting an approval for selling the particular product, with brand and related details mentioned in the message, based on your performance history.
What are the Requirements for Invoices?
There are some basic requirements for the invoice:
- The invoice should be sent within 180 days
- The documents should be valid
- Original data should be provided without external manipulations
- At least 10 products related to the category, ASIN should be mentioned
- Name and address, as mentioned in the Seller Central, should be provided
- Contact details should also be provided
Do I need a business license?
Keep a business license ready. Some sellers may be asked for a business license, while others are not.
Can I get approval if I am a brand-new seller?
Some sellers can get approval while some may get rejected. It is advisable if you have some experience before asking for approval for selling restricted categories.
What can I sell on Amazon without approval?
If you are in a doubt about whether a product is gated or not, whether it will sell in the Amazon market, choose ‘Add a Product’ in the Inventory tab. You will be given the details and Amazon would declare whether there is a limitation imposed on the category or not.