Table of Contents
- 1 Why Some Categories Are Restricted on Amazon
- 2 Open Categories: Unlimited Access for All Sellers
- 3 Understanding Oversold Items in Open Categories
- 4 Health and Personal Care Products: Restricted or Unrestricted?
- 5 Toys: Open or Closed Category on Amazon?
- 6 Subsections Attracting Restrictions on Amazon
- 7 Restrictions Based on Product Condition
- 8 Items Sold in Restricted Categories
- 9 How to Get Approval and Remove Restrictions on Amazon?
- 9.1 Can I pay for approval?
- 9.2 Is approval guaranteed?
- 9.3 Do I need a business license?
- 9.4 Getting approval as a new seller
- 9.5 Validity of invoices from international sellers (e.g., China)
- 9.6 Bypassing restrictions in the Grocery category
- 9.7 Required documents to remove Grocery category restrictions
- 9.8 Invoice confirmation from Amazon
- 9.9 Can I start selling immediately after approval?
- 9.10 Selling to whom? Understanding invoice requirements
- 9.11 Additional tips for successful approval
- 10 Conclusion
Before you start selling your products on Amazon, consider your niche. Even seasoned Amazon users, who may have already retailed a product or two before, are often puzzled about what categories to trade in.
Often, folks will ask me what I sell on the platform, and I gladly confess that any item that will make me an extra buck is on my list. However, they are primarily unappeased by my rebuttal, as the hunger for the details on the types of these items is great.
Thus, in this post, I will dive into details on the different categories of items one can retail on Amazon. Just remember that some of Amazon restricted products require you to get approval from AMZ first. Many sellers find the licensing procedure long and tedious, but the competition in the confined section is low, with fewer sellers approved.
Believe it or not, even though it might need some additional effort, it’s still possible to trade in one of Amazon’s FBA-restricted categories. Indeed, according to a recent survey, 7% of platform sellers are successfully working with restricted items on Amazon.
Nevertheless, such categories do have specific regulations and rules.
In this article, we will delve into different restrictions imposed by the platform and explain how to neither violate Amazon rules nor engage in illegal, unsafe, and inefficient activity.
What does gated mean on Amazon? Let’s get into the details of what gated categories on Amazon are and what you can and cannot sell on the platform, right?
Why Some Categories Are Restricted on Amazon
The first step in ungating is understanding why the platform has specific categories restricted in the first place and why an Amazon seller requires approval. AMZ has a customer-centric view where protecting its consumers is the top priority. For the platform to secure its reputation, it limits and verifies the sellers of specific goods. By doing this, Amazon can lower the risk of counterfeit products selling on its platform.
Furthermore, such practice benefits all parties as clients become more willing to buy products on AMZ without thinking twice. Think of eBay or other online platforms; you might double-check before buying an expensive product and only reserve your business to history-proven and top-rated merchants.
Reasons for creating restricted categories on Amazon
Some Amazon restricted categories are restricted to maintain high trust and safety for buyers and sellers. These restrictions are in place for several reasons:
- Regulatory Compliance: Certain product categories, like pharmaceuticals or hazardous materials, have strict legal and regulatory requirements. Amazon restricts access to these categories to ensure sellers comply with all relevant laws and standards.
- Protecting Intellectual Property: Categories that often deal with branded or trademarked goods, such as clothing or electronics, may be restricted to prevent counterfeit or infringing products from being sold.
- Maintaining Product Quality: Categories that require specialized knowledge or skills to sell, like professional-grade tools or automotive parts, may be restricted to ensure that only qualified sellers with the necessary expertise can offer these products.
- Safety and Consumer Trust: Products that can potentially pose safety risks, such as firearms or explosives, are typically heavily regulated to protect consumers and prevent misuse.
- Minimizing Fraud and Scams: Some categories, like high-value electronics or luxury goods, may be restricted to prevent fraudulent activity or scams that can occur with expensive items.
- Controlling Supply Chains: Certain categories, especially those with sensitive or controlled supply chains like prescription medications, may be restricted to ensure that products are sourced and distributed through authorized channels.
Overall, these restrictions are in place to create a secure and reliable marketplace for both buyers and sellers, ensuring that transactions on Amazon are conducted in a manner that meets legal and ethical standards.
Open Categories: Unlimited Access for All Sellers
Before we examine the procedure of getting an AMZ restricted categories approval, let us check all the categories open, even to the new sellers. So what are Amazon ungated categories?
20+ categories of products on the platform are listed as open ones. Such categories require no specific permission to be sold. Besides, some of them only allow for new product listings. Such products listed can be used or refurbished. Please note that sometimes, a particular category is open. However, some products or brands within it can be restricted again.
Below, we provide an ultimate list of the ungated categories on Amazon the platform has recently officially released.
They comprise the following:
- Camera & photo
- Consumer Electronics
- Fine Art (however, new seller submissions are fixed)
- New & Used Books (excluding Collectible Books)
- Office Products
- Pet Supplies
- Home & Garden
- Kindle Accessories
- Health & Personal Care
- Musical Instruments
- Personal Computers
- Video games
- Tools & Home Improvement
So, what do you sell on Amazon? For starters, you might want to focus on products covered under one or more of the categories above. A good number of items for sale on AMZ are in the Amazon gated categories, though. If you want to apply for Amazon-restricted brands and categories, it is paramount to seek approval immediately. The marketplace also limits what you can and cannot sell during a festive period.
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Understanding Oversold Items in Open Categories
Oversold items in open categories happen when more of a product is listed for sale online than what’s actually available. This can occur due to mistakes in inventory tracking or technical issues. When a customer buys an oversold item, the seller might not have it in stock, leading to disappointment.
To prevent this, sellers need to keep careful track of their inventory and update listings promptly. Some use special tools or software to help with this. By avoiding overselling, sellers can provide a smooth shopping experience, build customer trust, and maintain a good online reputation.
Health and Personal Care Products: Restricted or Unrestricted?
For some time, Amazon had applied restrictions to the Health & Personal Care categories, including beauty products. As a result, the only sellers participating in Fulfillment by Amazon FBA that had unlimited access to it were the pioneers who had started retailing in the section since its inception. Conversely, Amazon policies were reviewed on these categories, and platform users were approved to sell without requiring exclusive concessions.
It is imperative to differentiate between a brand name restriction and a category restriction to avoid the generalization that the whole category is banned. While Health & Personal Care is no longer a restricted category, subcategories like over-the-counter medication will still require permission, and AMZ may levy some commissions on that. Restricting sensitive subcategories is done to limit the upsurge of illegal drugs that have begun popping up on the platform.
One may have to pay a hefty fee for an endorsement in these restricted categories. You can’t simply be granted free access to several of these categories. In a different circumstance, one may need explicit consent from a particular brand, requiring you to pay even more fees. Since it is more expensive, sellers don’t usually opt for this method.
Toys: Open or Closed Category on Amazon?
Like the Health & Personal Care category, the Toy category is also awash with incorrect information regarding their product listings in the restricted or open categories. Only recently did toys attract restrictions. How? Sellers who wanted to sell straight from their warehouses have contradicted the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) understanding. If a trader selling on Amazon is operating in line with the FBA program, there are no constraints on both the fresh and seasoned sellers.
Subsections Attracting Restrictions on Amazon
After knowing the categories open to all sellers, we must dive into the specifics of the Amazon prohibited products or those out of bounds for casual retailers.
Amazon restricted product list includes the following:
- Grocery & Gourmet Foods
- Collectible Books
- Gift Cards
- Clothing & Accessories
- Automotive & Powersports
- Industrial & Scientific ( the BISS category)
- Sports Collectibles
- Major Appliances
- Luggage & Travel Accessories
- Jewelry( currently locked by AMZ for new sellers)
- Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses
The niches mentioned earlier are gated in other sections on Amazon. However, they are not restricted, even though many BRANDS need permission to sell their products.
Restrictions Based on Product Condition
Previously owned items are not eligible for sale under these AMZ products requiring approval:
- Toys & Games
- Clothing, Accessories & Luggage
- Grocery & Gourmet Food
- Health & Personal Care
- Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses
For a while, Amazon has bootlegged the retailing of toys in ‘USED’ status but would permit traders to poll them in the Collectible condition division. It creates a technicality where traders buy and sell the ‘used’ toys.
Items Sold in Restricted Categories
The platform’s ungating service allows a trader to sell some products listed in the gated categories on Amazon. Among these items are Groceries and Clothing & Accessories. Groceries are easier to access because you can prove the good condition of the product by simply checking the expiry dates. Thus, Amazon seller requirements in the Grocery category include a detailed on-the-counter checking of the expiration dates before and during the dispatching of products to a fulfillment center.
How to Get Approval and Remove Restrictions on Amazon?
So, how to get approval to sell on Amazon? Your request for approval will rarely get an immediate positive response. If it does, Amazon will be vague on the specifics about which brands and categories you will have access to.
Still, if you want to access restricted Amazon categories, you might need to follow the steps below to request permission:
Step 1: Select Add a Product in Seller Central by clicking on the inventory link.
Step 2: Perform a search for the product you want to sell or any item you are sure is classified in the category you seek.
Step 3: Click the Listing Limitations Apply link in the search results
Step 4: Start the process of application by selecting the Request Approval button.
Step 5: To track the status of a request, select back to Add a Product tool and click the Selling application status link near the top of the page.
Step 6: Once you’ve asked permission to access the restricted category permission, you can proceed by clicking the request approval button.
Can I pay for approval?
You can’t unless you are paying someone to make your order on Amazon, which is unnecessary since it is easy to do it yourself. It is not advisable to pay for approval because Amazon requires official invoices. These invoices are attached to your package after you made the required ten orders while seeking approval.
Paying for approval endangers your chances of being approved because you are more likely to pay for forged documents, and Amazon has strict penalties for submitting fake paperwork. The absolute punishment is not being allowed to trade on the platform, and this beats the logic of why you are trying to pay for approval in the first place.
Is approval guaranteed?
There are no guarantees for approval. Even traders with the right paperwork will sometimes have to make multiple submissions. It is advisable to send in a couple of requests before giving up on the prospect of being approved.
Do I need a business license?
It might be confusing because some sellers submit a license, and others don’t. It varies as per Amazon’s discretion. Some sellers are required to produce an updated business license before approval, but some manage to get it even without it.
Getting approval as a new seller
Well, some new sellers have been approved, while others have been sent back. However, a little experience on Amazon will increase your chances of getting approved faster.
Validity of invoices from international sellers (e.g., China)
It is very rare for Amazon to admit invoices of Chinese origin. You better stick to the approval method we mentioned because Amazon will be very reluctant to approve you based on Chinese invoices because it is very difficult for them to ascertain the authenticity of the documents.
Bypassing restrictions in the Grocery category
Grocery & Gourmet Food is the restricted category that sparks the most curiosity among sellers just starting. The category contains a wide range of items that are familiar to the traders. They are easily available and attract substantially lower capital to venture into.
On Seller Central, Amazon explains one effective way of sending your submission to apply for permission to trade in this restricted category. Traders have reported relative experiences on their interaction with the licensing process outlined by Amazon, and one can do a few tricks to make the process faster and easier.
Firstly, you need affirmative seller metrics, paperwork ascertaining that you bought the items, and several other documents.
Seller metrics entail:
- Transform to a PRO MERCHANT – by paying the due rate of $39.00 per month for the seller account you are in possession of.
- Late shipment rate: <4%
- Pre-fulfillment cancel rate: <2.5%
- Order defect rate: <1%
The above conditions are easy to subscribe to because they are designed to work for the traders on Fulfillment By Amazon or FBA Amazon as opposed to those on Merchant Fulfilling, who are guided by a different set of factors such as shipping schedules, late shipment rate, and so forth.
Required documents to remove Grocery category restrictions
If you want to sell items classified under the Grocery category, you need to present to Amazon several important documents. Countercheck the details to ascertain that the information in the invoice does not contradict the account you use when selling on Amazon. Vital details, such as your business location, should be uniform with those registered in your seller account. Otherwise, Amazon will not approve your application.
Often, people intending to have brands or products sold on Amazon have been turned down because the location and address of their enterprises differ from those on their seller accounts. It is, therefore, of supreme importance that traders give their formal business address.
However, the invoice should not be taken as a replacement for a receipt offered by the barter stores. It should include crucial details such as the name, contact number, address, and, most importantly, the enterprise’s website. Excluding the website from the information in the invoice will not augur well with Amazon because the platform relies on the website to get all the information to establish the legitimacy of a seller.
Further, the website should hold this information on its first page to make it easier for Amazon to find the details on the first search because they will only spend a little time looking for the information on the other consecutive pages.
Among other details that a seller may be required to produce is a recent tax/business license. Even though Seller Central does not inform the traders about this requirement in advance, it is still crucial to produce this documentation. In that case, you are asked for further verification.
Standard exhibitions of ten different product items have been necessary for Amazon seller categories. It is up to the seller’s discretion to choose which distribution channel to use because Amazon does not require traders to confine themselves to one. Among the most used channels include Amazon Boot Camp and Hot Shots Hot Sauce, which traders have used to buy items and, in turn, successfully present the invoices to Amazon for approval for a less costly tag of about $50. Price Master has also been utilized as an alternative channel. However, the cost is higher as it requires a minimum of $200 on all the purchases made via the channel.
In summary, the primary elements that will get a fresh trader ungated are:
- Buying more than ten units of a product
- Getting the official invoice and presenting it to Amazon, accompanied by an updated business license.
Invoice confirmation from Amazon
You can use the second option if you can’t buy more than ten units of a product to get ungated. How do you do it? Here are the most important guidelines that you need to know:
One: Confirming that the Items You Intend to Buy are on the Amazon List
It is of the essence that you list an item on Amazon. Also, the items need to be cataloged in that particular category you seek approval in. The most efficient method to achieve this is by navigating to Seller Central and selecting Add A Product. Amazon will inform you what category the product is placed in immediately.
Two: Waiting for Official Invoices from Amazon After Delivery of Order
During the delivery of your order, Amazon will attach an invoice to the package you ordered. This is the formal invoice you will require when requesting permission to have the invoice scanned and send the copy to Amazon.
Three: Checking the Invoice for Details
You need to write the Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) of each item that you are sending to Amazon. Also, inscribe a footnote if there is a mix-up on the number of units you purchased.
Can I start selling immediately after approval?
After gaining approval for gated categories on Amazon, you typically can wait to start selling. Most gated categories require you to provide invoices or other supporting documentation to demonstrate that you have genuine and legitimate products to sell. Amazon reviews these documents to ensure product authenticity and quality. Once your documents are verified, you will be allowed to list your products in the gated category. The time it takes for approval can vary, so preparing your documents in advance is essential to expedite the process.
Selling to whom? Understanding invoice requirements
When dealing with Amazon gated brands, understanding the invoice requirements is crucial. Invoices from reputable suppliers or distributors must meet specific criteria, such as showing the product, purchase date, supplier’s information, and your business details. Amazon uses these invoices to verify the authenticity of the products you intend to sell in gated categories. Be sure to source your products from reliable suppliers and maintain proper records of your transactions to meet these requirements and gain approval.
Additional tips for successful approval
Approaching approval for gated categories on Amazon can be challenging, but there are some additional tips to increase your chances of success.
- First, ensure that your invoices are clear, legible, and match the criteria outlined by Amazon.
- Second, maintain consistent and positive seller metrics to demonstrate your reliability as a seller.
- Third, consider leveraging Amazon’s Brand Registry program if you’re selling branded products, as it can provide an additional layer of authenticity.
- Lastly, be prepared for potential follow-up questions or requests for more information during the approval process, and respond promptly to expedite your approval in gated categories.
Now, as a new seller, you will know how to sell things on Amazon without restricting what you can trade in because I assume that from the guide above, you will learn how to get approval.
As a new seller, you can now comfortably make a viable list of the products you intend to sell on Amazon. Now, your next problem is how to make a sale. If you want help reaching out to your target customers, SageMailer can help you.
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