If you’re looking to expand your online arbitrage business, you might find yourself tempted by the potential of Amazon Restricted Categories. The benefits could be huge with less competition and more product options to choose from, but it’s easy to become daunted by the prospect.
Amazon restricts certain categories to safeguard its customer and its brand. As such, anyone selling in these categories must be reviewed and approved. By having sellers go through an application process, Amazon can vet sellers to make sure that their customers and brand perception are protected.
However, perseverance is the key. You just might find that you get the green light quicker than you expected. To help you get the ball rolling, here are the main things you need to know about how to get ungated on Amazon.
Amazon category ungating step-by-step process:
- Login to Amazon Seller Central.
- In Inventory in the top navigation, select ‘Add A Product’ from the drop-down list.
- Search for a product from the category that you want to get ungated for, e.g. a jigsaw for the Toys & Games category
- You should then see a "Listing Limitations Apply" note beside each of the products in the Results. Click on this to see the details.
- Click on the Request approval button to begin the application process.
- The process will ask for the specific information and documents needed for that category. These vary slightly from category to category, but you can read more about the documentation needed below. Once you’ve provided all of the relevant information and documents you can submit your application.
- This will go to an Amazon rep for consideration/approval, so it’s worth keeping an eye on your Amazon account to check on the application process and reply to anything you get back.
- If you get an initial rejection, it’s well worth challenging it, especially if it looks like the rep has missed something.
Make sure your Account meets Amazon’s standards
Amazon requires that to sell in gated categories, all accounts must have the following attributes, regardless of which category you are selling in:
- Good seller metrics
- Your account must be in good standing, so no late deliveries if you’re operating an FBM account
- An order defect rate of less than 1%
- Local language support
f your account doesn’t meet Amazon’s standards, your chances of becoming ungated are slim. This is an important element of the process, as Amazon reps will be looking at your sales metrics and customer service history to vet your eligibility for the category.
Check you have the correct documentation for the application process
Amazon requires that sellers fill in an application to sell products in their restricted categories. Some categories have additional requirements to become ungated, but these rules apply to all applications:
- Amazon will ask that you provide information about your business and the products you intend to sell. They will need to know if you are a seller, manufacturer or both. They will also need to know what kind of products you’re trying to sell and about the category you will sell in.
- You will need at least one purchase invoice from the retailer/ merchant proving that the products have been purchased and are in your possession. They must be dated within the past 180 days, and must include your name and business address. It must also include the name of the merchant/retailer and the address. The invoices needed to show a combined purchase of at least ten units of produce.
Once you’ve filled in the information and submitted your documentation you’ll be well on your way to becoming ungated.
What are the gated categories?
There are 16 gated categories in total, but health, beauty and grocery are some of the most popular ones to sell in for Online Arbitrage. In some cases, categories such as Toys and Games may become gated during the holiday season due to the influx of sales. The full list of restricted categories is as follows:
- Automotive and power sports
- Clothing, accessories, shoes and luggage
- Collectible books
- Collectible coins
- Entertainment collectibles
- Fine art
- Fine jewellery
- Gift cards
- Grocery and gourmet foods
- Kindle accessories
- Major appliances
- Sports collectibles
- Toys and games (Holiday guidelines)
- Video, DVD and Blue-ray
Is it worth the effort?
Though the process seems to be a gruelling one and not worth the hassle, it’s quite the opposite. Gated categories have less competition because people will often be put off by the application process, so there are more opportunities for sales. Though many may snigger at selling in the ‘sexual wellness category,’ you could be lapping up the sales that you’ll gain from other people’s lack of motivation to go through the process of becoming ungated.
Amazon is also constantly changing its rules and regulations on the site for people to become ungated. This is to make sure that all their products meet health and safety standards and to protect customers against counterfeit products.
Due to the ever-changing nature of restricted categories, becoming ungated early will help you to avoid the potential of more difficult application processes later on down the line.
Here are some of our best tips to improve your chances of becoming ungated:
Make things easy for the Amazon reps who will be assessing your application. Keep your submitted files all separate rather than under one heading and clearly titled.
Monitor your metrics. Don’t let them drop under the required levels needed to become ungated.
Ensure you reply quickly when the reps respond.
List your products in the correct category. It may seem obvious, but this can be a potential reason for you to be rejected in your application and you will have to restart the entire process again.