Access to restricted product categories on Amazon can significantly expand your selling potential. Known as “ungated Amazon.” This process involves meeting specific requirements Amazon sets to list products in these categories.
By becoming ungated, you open up new opportunities for your business to grow and reach a wider customer base. In this article, we'll guide you through the steps to ungate these categories, ensuring you can maximize your selling power on Amazon's platform.
Understanding Amazon's Gated Categories
What Are Gated Categories?
Gated categories are specific product categories on Amazon that require approval before you can start selling items within them. These restricted categories are implemented to ensure the quality and safety of products sold on the platform.
For sellers, gating means you must go through an approval process for specified categories before listing your items for sale.
Examples of gated categories include the following:
Join Amazon subscription boxes
Made in Italy
Music and DVD
Sony Playstation requirements in video games
Streaming media players
Video DVD, Blu-ray
Amazon's gated categories may vary over time, as the list is regularly updated. To find out if a category is gated, you can check Amazon Seller Central for the list of restricted products and categories.
Why Does Amazon Implement Restrictions?
Amazon implements restrictions on certain categories to:
Maintain customer trust and safety: Amazon wants to ensure that customers receive high-quality products and are not exposed to counterfeit or potentially harmful items.
Comply with legal requirements: Some products may be subject to federal, state, or local regulations, and Amazon must ensure that sellers abide by these laws.
Protect intellectual property rights: Gated categories help prevent the sale of counterfeit or unauthorized products that infringe on trademarks, copyrights, or patents.
Preserve brand reputation: Amazon wants brands to feel confident that reputable sellers accurately represent and sell their products.
The Impact of Gated Categories on Sellers
Gated categories refer to product groups that require special permissions from Amazon to sell, while ungated categories allow sellers to list and sell their products without additional approval or requirements.
Understanding their impact on your business can empower you to make informed decisions. Here are some key aspects to consider:
Competition: Gated categories can limit your competition, as they reduce the number of eligible sellers. By successfully obtaining Amazon's approval to sell in a gated category, you may face less competition and have better chances to thrive.
Marketplace Access: Selling in ungated categories might be more accessible for new sellers and businesses. You won't need to wait for Amazon's approval, which allows you to start selling right away and generate revenue more quickly.
Seller Requirements and Investment: It's essential to know that ungated categories often come with fewer requirements and lower investment costs. However, to sell in gated categories, you need to meet specific standards set by Amazon and invest in certifications, samples, or other necessities to gain approval.
Navigating Amazon's Category Restrictions
Common Restricted Categories
Amazon restricts a range of categories for various reasons, including high returns, counterfeit issues, or sensitive products. Some examples of restricted categories are:
Animals & Animal-Related Products
Art – Fine Art
Art – Home Decor
Automotive and Powersports
Composite Wood Products
Cosmetics & Skin/Hair Care
Currency, Coins, Cash Equivalents, and Gift Cards
Drugs & drug paraphernalia
Explosives, Weapons, and Related Items
Food & Beverage
Gambling & Lottery
Hazardous and Dangerous Items
Human Parts & Burial Artifacts
Ink and toner cartridges
Jewelry & Precious Gems
Lock Picking & Theft Devices
Medical devices and accessories
Offensive and Controversial Materials
Pesticides and Pesticide Devices
Plant and Seed Products
Postage Meters & Stamps
Subscriptions and Periodicals
Tobacco & Tobacco-Related Products
Warranties, Service Plans, Contracts, and Guarantees
Other Restricted Products
Refrigerants: Ozone-Depleting Substances and Substitutes
By understanding these nuances, you can better navigate and unlock new opportunities for your business on the platform.
Understanding the Approval Process
As an Amazon seller, you may come across certain product categories requiring special approval before you can list and sell items.
This is known as the ungating process, designed by Amazon to maintain product quality and safety standards.
To get approved, it's important to familiarize yourself with the process of ungating and the requirements needed for unlocking restricted categories. (which we will discuss below)
How To Apply for Ungating on Amazon
Preparing Your Documentation
Before you begin the process of getting ungated on Amazon, it's essential to gather the proper documentation. This includes invoices, product compliance documents, and other relevant paperwork. Here's a list of items you may need:
Invoices: Obtain original invoices from your manufacturer or distributor. These should show your company name, address, product details, and quantities.
Product Compliance Documents: Obtain compliance documents related to the product's safety, quality, and regulatory standards.
Other Relevant Paperwork: Include any additional documents for your product or category.
Tip: Ensure that all documentation is clear, legible, and up-to-date, as any discrepancies can delay the approval process.
The Step-By-Step Application Process
Now that your documentation is ready, you can start the ungating process on Amazon. Follow these steps to increase your chances of gaining approval:
Log in to your Amazon Seller Central account: Access your account to manage your listings and product categories.
Navigate to the Add a Product page: Click on "Inventory" in the main menu, then select "Add a Product."
Search for the restricted product or category: Enter the product name or ASIN in the search bar, and click on the restricted item in the results.
Click on 'Request Approval': Find the "Listing limitations apply" notice and click on "Request Approval" to start the application process.
Complete the application form: Fill out the required information, ensuring accuracy, and attach the necessary documentation.
Submit your application: Once everything is complete, submit your application and wait for Amazon's response.
Amazon usually takes around 24-72 hours to review your application. You may be asked to provide additional information or clarify certain details during this time.
Patience and attention to detail are crucial in this process. Some sellers may also opt to use ungating services to assist with the approval process.
Remember, each product category or brand may have different requirements, so review Amazon's specific guidelines for the items you want to sell.
Strategic Approaches To Getting Ungated
As an Amazon seller, it's essential to focus on strategies to help you get ungated in various categories and brands. Here are some effective approaches you can take.
One important factor to consider is brand integrity. Consistently offer high-quality products, provide excellent customer service, and ensure each item is accurately listed. This helps build your brand reputation, making it easier for you to get ungated on Amazon.
To streamline the process, concentrate on the following methods:
Research: Understand the gated categories and their specific requirements. This allows you to determine which one aligns best with your business goals.
Stick to reliable brands: Focus on selling products from renowned and trustworthy brands or companies. This increases your chances of getting ungated in restricted categories.
Next, you'll need to apply to sell in the desired categories. Amazon has two main methods for ungating:
Auto-ungating: Amazon may lift category or brand restrictions automatically based on your seller performance.
Traditional ungating: Purchase products from authorized distributors or wholesalers and submit the invoice to Amazon for approval. Remember to maintain a good relationship with the distributor for smooth communication.
Make use of these tools to help you along the way:
Key Considerations After Getting Ungated
Once you've successfully become ungated on Amazon, it's crucial to maintain a healthy seller account and stay on top of your performance metrics. This section will discuss two key aspects: Maintaining Account Health and Monitoring Performance Metrics.
Maintaining Account Health
After getting ungated, keeping your Seller Central account in good standing is essential. Here are a few tips to help you maintain account health:
Stay compliant with Amazon's rules and policies: Familiarize yourself with Amazon's guidelines to avoid any potential issues. Be attentive to changes in policies and adjust your practices accordingly.
Monitor your Order Defect Rate (ODR): Amazon calculates ODR based on the percentage of orders with defects, such as negative feedback, A-to-z Guarantee claims, or chargebacks. Keep this rate below 1% to maintain a healthy account.
Manage your inventory effectively: Ensure you have enough stock to fulfill orders promptly. Use your Seller Central account to closely track inventory levels and avoid stockouts or long lead times.
Maintain excellent customer service: Respond quickly to customer inquiries and handle any issues professionally. This will not only help your account health but also contribute to positive customer reviews and repeat business.
Monitoring Performance Metrics
Keeping an eye on your performance metrics is crucial for identifying areas of improvement and ensuring the longevity of your ungated status. Some important metrics to track include:
ODR: As mentioned earlier, strive to keep your Order Defect Rate below 1%. This indicates that your customers are satisfied with their purchases and reduces the risk of penalties from Amazon.
Seller Performance: Amazon measures seller performance through various metrics such as ODR, late shipment rate, and Pre-fulfillment cancellation rate. Regularly review these numbers in your Seller Central account to optimize your business operations.
Sales Velocity: Track your sales volume and trends to understand your best-performing products and focus on optimizing those listings. Additionally, monitor sales data to identify seasonal trends and adjust inventory accordingly.
Remember, staying proactive and vigilant about your Seller Central account health and performance metrics will not only help you retain ungated status but also create a strong foundation for future growth and success on Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Purchase an Amazon Account That Is Already Ungated, and Is It Safe?
Yes, you can purchase an already ungated Amazon account, but it can be risky. While it may save time, it may also violate Amazon's terms of service.
Verifying the account's legitimacy and conducting thorough due diligence before purchasing is essential. It's always better and safer to apply for ungating using your own account.
As a New Amazon Seller, Am I Eligible to Apply for Ungating, and What Are the Requirements?
Yes, as a new Amazon seller, you are eligible to apply for ungating. The requirements include having a valid business address, tax information (SSN or EIN), a government-issued photo ID, proof of a vendor/wholesale distributor relationship, and an invoice for at least ten items in the category or brand you are applying for.
What Are Some Reputable Wholesalers I Can Use to Help With My Application to Get Ungated on Amazon?
Choosing a reputable wholesaler is crucial for your ungating application. While the exact wholesaler might vary depending on the product category, some popular and reputable wholesalers include Worldwide Brands, SaleHoo, Doba, and Inventory Source.
It's vital to research each wholesaler, read reviews, and verify their legitimacy before committing to a partnership.
Navigating the world of ungated Amazon categories can be your ticket to greater visibility and sales on the platform. This guide aims to simplify the approval process, providing you with the practical steps to expand your product offerings.
If you're still facing challenges with keywords or other listing challenges, our Online Seller Solutions is here to help. Take advantage of our expertise to enhance your Amazon presence. Ready to unlock new selling opportunities?
Reach out for personalized support and start enjoying the benefits of ungated Amazon categories today.