There’s no doubt about it, toys are big business on Amazon. They’re a category that are popular all year round, due to non-seasonal gifting occasions like Birthdays, but on top of that you get the big seasonal events such as Black Friday and Christmas that drive a spike in sales.
With 10,700 people born in the USA every day, that’s a lot of birthdays.
Because of this many people want to break into the lucrative toy market and start selling toys on Amazon. If you’re running an online arbitrage business, toys might seem like a great product to sell as you’ll often be able to find them heavily discounted through big retailers such as Target or Walmart – leaving you with plenty of profit.
However, Amazon does have some quite specific criteria for anyone wanting to sell toys on their platform, so it’s a good idea to make sure you meet all of these before you even consider buying stock to sell. Luckily the experts here at SourceMogul can help guide you through the steps of getting approval to sell toys on Amazon and how you grow your online arbitrage business through this profitable category.
Why does Amazon restrict the sale of toys?
As we mentioned, toys are big business. Particularly in Q4 of the year, when toy sales skyrocket in the run up to Christmas. Amazon is committed to delivering excellent levels of customer service, and they know that some less reputable sellers might try to cash in and make some extra money selling toys and games over this period.
Unfortunately, this type of seller is less likely to care about the quality of the product they are offering, and also less likely to try and fulfill their orders in a timely manner. Both of the factors could lead to more unhappy customers, which in turn will reflect badly on Amazon.
Because of this Amazon has made Toys a “restricted” or “gated” category, meaning you have to get approval from Amazon before you can sell any product within this category.
It’s generally easier to get approval to sell toys if you’re doing FBA vs FBM. You’ll generally find that you’ll get accepted almost immediately if you’re doing FBA but FBM has certain criteria you need to meet before you sell toys. This can catch a lot of arbitrageurs out, as they may spot a discounted product they can sell, but then when they’ve ordered it, they find they then need to invest in shipping their products to an FBA prep service and then onto Amazon in order to actually sell them.
As an FBM seller Amazon will specifically make you aware of these rules prior to the 4th quarter of the year, usually in August. The criteria that they outline are as follows:
- Your first sale on Amazon must be prior to September 1, but does not need to be specific to Toys & Games. This helps to show Amazon that you haven’t just signed up as a seller to make a quick buck.
- Your pre-fulfillment cancel rate must be no greater than 1.75% from September 15, through until October 14. This demonstrates to Amazon that you are a responsible seller that won’t just cancel orders placed by customers. It also helps weed out unreliable dropshippers.
- You must have processed and shipped at least 25 seller-fulfilled orders from August 15, through October 14. This demonstrates that you have built up a good sales history.
- Your late shipment rate must be no greater than 4% from September 15, through October 14. Again, this helps to prove to Amazon that you are a reliable seller with a solid history of dispatching orders on time.
- Your order defect rate must be no greater than 1% as of October 14. This helps to prove that the products you are selling are of good quality.
As you can see, these criteria are all aimed at making sure you’re a trustworthy seller who is going to fulfill their orders with good quality products. Again – because of this, it’s far easier to get approval to sell toys if you’re doing FBA. However, Amazon do say the following:
“Orders that use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) will remain eligible to sell in Toys & Games regardless of your eligibility to sell in seller fulfillment. Your account must adhere to general policies and code of conduct. Amazon reserves the right to cancel listings, remove selling privileges, and prohibit the sale of specific products to maintain a quality customer experience and customer safety.”
Effectively, just because you’re on FBA doesn’t give you carte blanche to do what you want in the toys category – if you don’t adhere to Amazon’s seller practices, they reserve the right to stop you selling. For example, if your order defect rate consistently goes up over a period of time you may find yourself getting banned from selling toys.
Restrictions on specific brands
Even if you can get approval to sell in the toy category, this doesn’t mean that you can sell any and every type of toy. For example, if you try to sell Lego without having gone through the appropriate steps first, you’ll find that Amazon won’t let you. You’ll need to check the specific brand first but usually there’s a good reason for it being gated – in the case of Lego, for example, their products are very often counterfeited, and so they place significant restrictions on who can sell their products on Amazon.
For a start you will need to have an agreement to buy your product for a reputable wholesaler that already has an agreement with that brand. Usually a quick Google search will be enough to do this.
After you’ve chosen your wholesaler, you can then contact them and arrange to purchase a fixed quantity of your chosen product. You need to ensure you have a purchase order or invoice from your supplier as you will require this to get approval for your chosen product. As you might imagine this doesn’t really apply to online arbitrage – even if you can get Lego discounted to sell later on Amazon, you might struggle, as Amazon is unlikely to accept an invoice or a receipt from a retail store.
How to get approval to sell toys on Amazon
This section applies mainly to sellers who are using FBM and want to sell toys. If you’re on FBA, as we mentioned you will probably just get approved to sell whichever items you want to in the category (providing they aren’t a brand that has listing limitations applied to it). To find out if you need to get approval to sell toys and games on Amazon, simply follow the steps below.
- Login to your Seller Central account
- Click on “Inventory”.
- Click the “Add a Product” button.
- Search for the product you want to sell from within the “Toys” category.
- If it states you are restricted, click the “Listing Limitations Apply” button.
- Click on the “Request Approval” button.
In some cases you might get automatic approval, at which point you will get an immediate notification from Amazon to say you can start selling straight away.
However, Amazon may ask you for some additional information. Some of the things you could be asked for are:
- A purchase order for at least 10 units of the item that you’re wishing to sell. This ensures that you have a relationship with a reputable wholesaler. Obviously, if you’re doing OA and you source your products from retailers this isn’t going to be something you can provide, so just be aware of this. Of course – there’s every chance Amazon won’t ask for this, but they could.
- Details of your company name
- A business license (if needed in your country of sale)
- A list of product numbers or ASINs for the toys or games you want to sell
- Suitable compliant product images and manuals
- A list of all necessary safety information for the products you’re selling including any compliance markings, small parts, and choking hazards.
Once you have given Amazon all the information they require, you will have to wait for them to make a decision. How long this takes depends on several factors. You could get a decision within a couple of days, or it could take weeks. You may need to follow up with one of Amazon’s approval teams to move your application along.
We’ve written a full guide on some of the best tips for getting approval to sell gated products on Amazon. It’s well worth reading and can help speed up your approval process.
Wrapping things up
Getting approval to sell toys on Amazon can be a profitable way to grow your online arbitrage business, but there are a range of restrictions that you have to be aware of before you can start selling.
You need to be able to demonstrate a good seller history, maintain a low return rate, fulfill your orders on time, and ensure that you sell good quality products to prevent refunds. Depending on the type of product you sell, you may also have to get additional approval from Amazon themselves.
Although this may all seem like a lot of extra work, it can be worth it. Toy sales can help provide you with a consistent revenue stream throughout the year, which grows considerably during the peak holiday season during November and December. If you can tap into this key season, you stand a chance of making a great profit to end the year.
FAQ’s about selling toys on Amazon
Is it profitable to sell toys on Amazon?
Selling toys on Amazon can be an incredibly profitable business model. With high demand all year round for this type of product can help make your FBA business flourish. However, as with all products, the key to success is making sure you can source your products as cheaply as possible, so you can then resell them for more on Amazon.
This is where SourceMogul can really help. SourceMogul compares millions of products from some of the biggest retails across the US, including Target and Walmart, and finds items which can be resold for a profit on Amazon. It uses in-built analytics to show you the types of products you should be selling and how much you can sell them for in order to make a profit.
Why does Amazon restrict toy sales on Amazon?
Amazon wants to ensure that people using their platform are getting the best possible experience. They want to prevent less scrupulous sellers from trying to make a quick buck selling toys at Christmas and Thanksgiving, but who might then fail to fulfill orders or offer inferior or counterfeit products. Because of this Amazon put in some quite strict rules about who can sell toys and you will often have to seek approval from Amazon if you want to sell them.
Can you sell common toy brands on Amazon?
Yes – but certain brands put significant restrictions on who can sell the product. We’ve already given the example of Lego, who will only let you sell if they can see an invoice from an approved wholesaler, but some examples of other popular toy brands that restrict sales of their own products include:
As you can imagine, this has the potential to cause you some problems as an online arbitrageur, so make sure you check whether you’re allowed to sell your chosen product before you buy it.
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