Amazon's Gated Categories: How To Get Approved In Restricted Categories
In this article, we will teach you the various gated and ungated categories in Amazon as well as what you should do to get ungated.
Amazon wants customers to be able to shop with confidence on Amazon. For certain products and categories, Amazon might require additional fees, performance checks, and other qualifications.
So before we jump into the proper process of getting ungated on Amazon, let's review the good news! Guess what? There are tons of categories that are automatically open to everyone, including new sellers!
These are the categories:
- Baby *
- New & Used Books (not including Collectible Books)
- Camera & Photo
- Consumer Electronics **
- Fine Art (but new seller applications are limited)
- Health & Personal Care***
- Home & Garden
- Kindle Accessories
- Musical Instruments
- Office Products
- Personal Computers
- Pet Supplies
- Software **
- Tools & Home Improvement
- Toys *
- Video Games **
* Some restrictions apply during the holiday season.
**Specific products may still require approval.
***There are sub-categories that may still require approval, and an application fee.
The Categories That Are Restricted On Amazon
So now that we have covered all the categories that are open to all sellers on Amazon and we have also cleared up some confusion about the categories that are sometimes (or were) gated, let's get to the real deal! what are actually restricted categories on Amazon?
These are the restricted categories:
- Automotive & Powersports
- Clothing & Accessories*
- Collectible Books
- Entertainment Collectibles
- Gift Cards
- Grocery & Gourmet Foods
- Industrial & Scientific (the BISS category)
- Jewelry (Note: Amazon is not currently accepting new seller applications for jewelry)
- Luggage & Travel Accessories*
- Major Appliances
- Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses*
- Sports Collectibles
These categories are listed as restricted in some places or pages on Amazon, but it actually appears that these are open, but just be careful because some BRANDS require approval.
Restrictions Based On Product Condition
Used items cannot be sold in the following categories:
- Clothing, Accessories & Luggage
- Grocery & Gourmet Food
- Health & Personal Care
- Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses
- Toys & Games *
NOTE: Amazon has long banned selling toys in used condition but would allow sellers to list them in Collectible condition. This is considered a “loop-hole” because that is where buyers and sellers go for “used” toys.
Why Does Amazon Restricted Categories Exist?
Understanding Amazon’s Point-of-View
Every single requirements page for the Amazon restricted categories reads the same:
“Amazon limits the addition of new sellers in [this] category to ensure that customers can buy with confidence from all sellers on Amazon.com.”
HOW TO GET UNGATED IN AMAZON RESTRICTED CATEGORIES
What is Ungating? – this is the process of getting approval to sell in Amazon restricted categories
You will really find that some Amazon categories are very restricted for new sellers. Sellers will need to get approved by Amazon in order to sell products in certain categories. There are a lot of benefits to getting ungated so if you want to expand your Amazon FBA business you should consider starting the approval process.
The harsh reality is that most of the best categories with the biggest opportunities are gated for new sellers.
So, what are the advantages of getting ungated on Amazon?
There will be LESS competition in the gated categories and therefore MORE opportunities for sourcing GREAT DEALS. It also means you will avoid any new rules and regulations as Amazon continues to make things more difficult. In gated categories, you tend to get more experienced sellers. This means less inexperienced penny pinchers constantly undercutting prices in a race to the bottom. Amazon sellers usually find their ROI (return on investment) is much higher once you are selling in gated categories.
E-commerce is growing and therefore there is a MASSIVE business opportunity to be had by those who see the potential. It will never be EASIER – Amazon is adding more rules and regulations all the time so we recommend you do it now while it is as EASY as it is ever going to be.
Requirements for getting approval in restricted categories
Before you start your ungating journey, you need to ensure your seller account meets some of Amazon’s minimum requirements.
Professional Amazon Seller Account.
A knowledge of good genuine wholesalers and not cash and carry firms.
Invoices correctly addressed to your Seller Account name and registered address and dated within the last 90 days, although our recommendation is to use very recent invoices.
You must be able to provide a return delivery address in the local country (Amazon provide this if you’re doing FBA).
You must be able to provide local language support for customer service in the country in which you wish to sell (gotta love Google Translate 😊).
Good Seller Metrics.
The Basic Process For Getting Ungated On Amazon
In some cases, you'll request approval to sell in a restricted category and will be approved automatically. This happens randomly and without notice. Amazon doesn't specify which brands or categories this works for.
In general, however, you'll request approval by following these steps to start the process:
- In Seller Central, click the inventory link and select Add a Product.
- Run a search for the item you wish to sell. Or ANY product that you know is listed in that category.
- In the search results, click the Listing Limitations Apply link across from the restricted item.
- Click the Request Approval button to begin the application process.
To check the status of an application, return to the Add a Product tool and click the Selling application status link located toward the top of the page.
Depending on the category you are requesting approval in, the process that happens after clicking request approval could be slightly different. We will cover some of the different processes below.
How to Get Ungated In The Grocery Category
Of the restricted categories, Grocery & Gourmet Food is probably the one that new sellers are most interested in. It has a wide variety of products that are familiar and easy to source, and with low investment. In fact, we wrote an entire book about how to sell grocery items!
Amazon outlines the process to apply to get ungated in Grocery & Gourmet Food on Seller Central, though sellers have had varying experiences with that process and have filled us in on tips that worked for them.
First and foremost, you'll need good seller metrics, an invoice showing proof of purchase, and possibly some other paperwork.
Seller metrics include:
Be a PRO MERCHANT – this means you are paying the $39.00 a month for your seller account.
- Order defect rate: < 1%
- Pre-fulfillment cancel rate: < 2.5%
- Late shipment rate: < 4%
The only reason you would fall below these as an Amazon seller is if you are doing Merchant Fulfilling. Since you are most likely just doing FBA, you will meet the above requirements no problem :)
We wish you every SUCCESS in getting yourself ungated and unlocking the possibilities available to Amazon Sellers.
Amazon is a GREAT platform for selling and the more products you can SELL, the more MONEY you can make!
Here are a few recaps:
- From the Inventory, menu select Add a Product.
- Search for the item you want to sell.
- In the search results, click the Listing limitations apply link next to the item.
- Click the Request Approval button to begin the application process.
Food & Beverage
Products that (1) claim to be organic, (2) claim to contain organic ingredients, or (3) use the U.S. Department of Agriculture ("USDA") organic seal must comply with the USDA organic regulations at 7 CFR Part 205. You are responsible for understanding and complying with all requirements of the organic regulations, including production, certification and labeling requirements. For more information, see Organic Products.
Examples of permitted listings
Properly prepared and sealed foods and beverages that are appropriately packaged and labeled. Products need to be shipped appropriately to protect the quality and safety of the food, to avoid spoilage, melting, damage, and so on. All food packaging must include the following:
- Product name
- Name and address of the packaging company
- Expiration date
- Net content quantity and weight (the weight of the contents, not including any packaging)
Lot-controlled products with a shelf-life of greater than 90 days.
- Perishable products must be removed from inventory 50 days before the expiration date.
- For Amazon-fulfilled orders (FBA), units within 50 days of expiration will be removed for disposal and will not be available for return.
Examples of prohibited listings
- Unregistered infant formula
- Goat's milk infant formula
- HIPP formula and milk products
- Products containing any meat imported from China
- Betel nut products or products containing betel nut flavoring
- Kaffir lime leaves imported from Thailand
Shipping and labeling requirements
Each shipment of produce must have: (1) the name and address of the shipper or owner; (2) the name of the person to whom the shipment is being sent; (3) the name of the country, state, or territory where the contents were grown; and (4) a statement of the contents. State and local governments may have additional requirements for both interstate and intrastate shipment and labeling of certain produce.
Additional useful information
See Selling Custom Variety Packs of Single-Serve Hot Beverage Products for additional Grocery & Gourmet Food guidelines.
Food & Beverage
Sourced Credit: Amazon Seller Central
Want to Launch Your Brand on Amazon?
Schedule a Consultation with us TODAY HERE!
- Arianne Cedeno