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Being gated on Amazon is one of the frequent problems for sellers who are following the best products that are rare on the marketplace. Amazon gated categories list is full of offers that might be potential hits, yet it’s not permitted to sell such exotic stuff here. Such categories like powders for athletes of unverified origin, fine art, or jewelry without certificates are the blackhat ones on Amazon.
The top 3 tools for product research like IOScout , Jungle Scout and Sellics allow users to detect prohibited product categories beforehand not to be trapped with a sudden ban in Amazon restricted categories. In this guide, we cover everything related to gating on Amazon and how to avoid it, so read up carefully.
What are Amazon Gated Categories or Amazon Restricted Categories?
The categories of gated or restricted products fall under the same logic according to the marketplace. Amazon restricted categories approval is what happens to every third-party seller, as their number has grown much higher in the past few years. Amazon doesn’t want to risk their reputation and always controls the new sellers. High standards of customer service quality prohibit the chance of sending customers faulty, low-quality, or fake items. The seller won’t be damaged because they receive the cash, and Amazon will handle all customer service for possible counterfeit sellers. This is why Amazon always monitors the added goods, especially by the new sellers.
Why does Amazon Restrict Categories?
Restricted categories on Amazon exist because of the user-focused policies of the store. On the requirement page of the Amazon products, you can find the rule that explains why the marketplace prohibits some goods:
“Amazon does not allow new sellers in the specific product categories to ensure the highest quality of purchased items for all buyers at Amazon.com”
Customer service standards are dictated by one certain rule. This rule is “customer always in the center of attention and rights” so don’t be surprised that Amazon prohibits categories that are available on other marketplaces like Aliexpress. Third-party sellers are placed in the frames of white product categories according to the Amazon version. That’s how it has worked for the past 20 years and will work in the future.
Are there Completely Ungated Categories?
There aren’t completely ungated categories on Amazon as of 2020. Gated products on Amazon exist even in the starter-friendly categories, including:
- Camera & Photo
- Clothes and Accessories
- Consumer Electronics
- Music Instruments
- Office Commodities
- Outdoor Goods
From the first glance, those categories are open and couldn’t have any restrictions from Amazon. Nevertheless, restrictions apply to subcategories, brands, and even single products that violate customer and seller policies.
Amazon Gated Subcategories
The list of gating stretches further into the subcategories of the allowed categories. In very specific cases, Amazon does not want to restrict the whole category, just some of its subcategories. For example, you can find Amazon gated products in the categories like Health and Beauty that are normally ungated. For example, topicals are the gated category and need special entry requirements. Considering that thousands of categories exist on Amazon, no wonder some of them might have gated subcategories. This is why prior research of subcategories is advised before selling anything
Amazon Gated Brands
Third-party sellers might face restrictions when selling brands like Adidas, Apple or Nike on Amazon. Extra checks of Amazon gated brands are required by the company to guarantee that customers are secured from getting counterfeit goods under the brand labels. Invoices with valid supplier information are usually demanded by product quality teams at marketplace support.
Amazon Gated Products
Amazon is especially sharp for the products that do not pass the fulfillment process. If they’re not accepted at fulfillment centers, sellers could face refusal, return, or disposal of the products that fall under Amazon gating conditions. Future shipments could be blocked from reaching Amazon warehouses and sellers could be charged for noncompliance. As a seller, you may even lose selling privileges if ignoring Amazon gating policies of the products you sell.
Amazon Condition Restrictions
Amazon has dynamic condition restriction across all categories of the marketplace. For instance, you’re selling used products in the category of accessories for cars, the next day the opportunity might be blocked entirely. Amazon allows only new items in the categories like clothes and accessories, watches, and items for babies. This is the example of the condition (only new items) for a category.
What categories are gated on Amazon?
Below are frequently blocked products for Amazon FBA restricted categories. They’re not limited to only the following, yet you should definitely know about them:
Automotive & Powersports
Automotive and Powersports category includes the products that can be used with cars, motorbikes, buses, and other vehicles. Specifically, Amazon pays extra attention to replacement and performance parts, tires, repair and maintenance tools, accessories, operational fluids.
To overcome Amazon’s gating in this category, use a professional selling plan, show real product images, obtain UPCs, and sell according to the Automotive & Powersports Part Finder and Fitment Data guide.
Clothes, Accessories, Shoes
This category relates to the Amazon department of wearable goods. All kinds of clothes, shoes, and luggage accessories are in this category altogether. Wearables for women, men, and children are gated unless you’re a professional seller who has filled the approval form. Traditional retail business is preferred to meet Amazon’s entrance requirements.
Amazon is the home to used books selling. However, they’re also in the list of Amazon gated products if sold as collectibles. By collectibles, Amazon considers the books that have unique properties of an item (signed by creator) that can alleviate its value for the owner much higher than the same used books without those qualities.
To get ungated for this category, sellers must have the lowest defect rates and high selling volumes along with positive ratings. The refund within 30 days of the return period must be provided as well.
The coins from special editions, the rare ones or released in a very limited number, fall under gated products too. To sell in this category, the sellers must have membership in one of the four organizations, PNG, ICTA, PCGS, or NGC/PMG. At least 70% of the inventory must be graded by NGC or PCGS or originate from the known government mint. Coins higher than $1500 must get grading from PCGS or NGC.
Like books or coins, entertainment collectibles have extra value to the owner or buyer. These could be props signed by famous actors or special editions of music plates. Something related to TV, theater, and movie spheres with unique properties relate to this gated category. Sellers must keep customer metrics at consistent levels, stay on a professional seller plan, and have clear return and refund policies to be ungated.
Art & Decor
Original fine art is almost a 100% taboo for the fresh sellers. Extreme value of some of the pieces makes the requirements for the sellers one of the most difficult on Amazon. The marketplace asks to be in the business of fine art for more than 3 years. The third-party website with exhibited goods for selling is also needed. If you’re selling the mass-produced art though, the sub-categories in Home & Kitchen are open to you.
All jewelries sold on Amazon must meet Jewelry Quality Assurance Standards. The price cap for such items is $300,000, you can’t sell beyond that point on Amazon. Professional seller plans with 12 months of prior experience in selling on the marketplace are obligatory along with $50,000 annual revenue. At least one physical retail store must be present as an active business in this case.
Amazon has prepaid gift cards for in-store purchases issued by retailers. However, if you’re not the actual verified company with a physical presence in the real world, Amazon wouldn’t let you sell “fortune papers” that easily. Only real businesses are allowed to distribute coupons and gift cards. For example, Starbucks does that for a long time on Amazon.
Any kind of food, hot or cold, can be sold on Amazon in the consumable product category. However, there are some restrictions that limit sellers from offering food that could harm customers. Amazon physically contacts you to ask for extra information apart from providing product invoices and corresponding information about the distributed foods. Order defect rate must be lower than 1%, pre-fulfillment cancel rate - less than 2.5%, late shipment rate - less than 4%.
The items that have the potential to boost sexual performance are banned by Amazon. However, most sellers indicate that distribution of toys or lubricants is not that hard. The company does not have predefined regulations aimed at sellers who spread the goods of such nature. Sexual awareness is not the category you’ll be gated firsthand, but some risks still appear because of the regulatory absence.
Toys & Games (Holiday Seasons)
Amazon reduces the number of sold toys and games for the sellers who are inexperienced and do not comply with the quality and quantity performance rates of the marketplace prior to the holidays. In particular, the cancellation rate must be lower than 1.75%, late shipment rates mustn’t jump over 4%, and order defect rate must be less than 1% during the first day of the holiday season respectively.
Media on DVD, Blu-Ray
Video on physical mediums is also not the safe spot for rookie sellers. You have to get the professional selling account, ODR - lower than 1%, cancellation - 2.5% or less, late shipment - 4% or less. Amazon also asks for the information to verify your stock. Primary inventory source, quantity of the units to sell, and more than 3 invoices to represent the type of items you’re offering must be provided.
Most casual watches are passable for selling. However, the luxury brands like Rolex and Tag Heuer are in the same weight category as jewelry. To sell those watches, the certificates that prove IP water and dust resistance rating as well as those proving timekeeping accuracy have to be provided. For professional selling account, the cancellation rate of 2.5% or less, ODR 1% or less, late shipment rate - 4% or less should be approved. UPC manufacturer codes also have to be present.
Wine is only allowed for sale in the areas where internet sales of this drink are allowed. The sellers must provide documents of domestic or Californian winery, as well as wholesaler or importer information. Plus, there should be a permission of the brands ownership on Amazon, along with full-fledge shipment to the states where Amazon operates. Finally, sellers must follow the state federal regulations.
What are the Basic Requirements to Get Started?
The basic requirements to get approved in the gated categories is not the easiest way to start on Amazon. The category that has gating requirements should be accessed by following the general conditions first. Unless those criteria are met, all applications from beginner sellers will be rejected by Amazon. Before going into Amazon gated categories, take care about the following:
- Obtain the status of a professional seller.
- Show the performance results according to gated category entry rates.
- Provide the evidence that proves originality of the selling products.
- Pack the acceptable invoices that show where your stock comes from.
- Create the brand or company website that displays alternative ways to purchase things from you.
General performance requirements set by all sellers whose request to sell in gated categories will be on the table of Amazon are equal for everyone:
- Order defect rate lower than 1%.
- Late shipment rate mustn’t surpass 4%.
- Pre-fulfillment cancellation rate has to be below 2.5%.
Originality proof takes place when you provide the data that links you as a seller to the original brand supplier or manufacturer. As you can see, Amazon does not have complex starting requirements to apply for gated categories. However, things become more elaborate when sellers dig deeper to meet the small details placed on the gated categories.
How to Get an Approval for Selling Gated Categories?
To get yourself approved as a seller in the gated categories, necessary steps have to be taken to upscale credibility from Amazon’s perspective, optimize the stock, and prepare needed documentation to be taken care of. The way to the gated categories unfolds in the following way:
- Create the reputation of a trustworthy seller who knows how to sell. Amazon is not friendly for the applications of the “green” sellers who are new to the marketplace and do not know the depth of rules to sell in the gated categories. That’s because of the lack of trust from Amazon - but it can be fixed, the situation is not that desperate. Two components usually define credibility in this case, namely history and trust in your operation. Some categories have so high gated terms, Amazon even asks sellers to proof their professional level via dedicated e-commerce websites owned by sellers who distribute the same goods as they intend on the marketplace. The best strategy to move towards ungating in the limited categories is to start from the categories that are open and friendly to novices. We mentioned them in this review earlier, check the info above.
- Start with brand items, then move to private labels. Amazon won’t let most users start with private labels in the gated categories. Once again, it’s all about trust and customer security from potentially low-quality goods. The wise strategy will be to start the ascension into the gated paradise by applying to brand items into the gated categories. Pro-shopper policy is like the exclusive, premium club in which sellers must have weight and value for Amazon. From the beginning, they do not know your private brand and level of quality you deliver to marketplace customers. Brand-known items during application facilitate the process of getting the pass to the gated categories.
- Review the stock quantity before application. Amazon has the defined number of stock quantities before applying to the gated segments. They ask for the invoices that prove the number of items you’re going to sell after ungating. The key takeaway here is that you have to provide larger numbers of those minimum quantity criteria to get the lucky pass from Amazon.
- Balance between price and quality when choosing the supplier. The marketplace is extremely careful of the unverified suppliers who do not guarantee the highest quality of the provided products. This is why the approach of choosing the most affordable suppliers or manufacturers does not work on Amazon. They rarely accept invoices from overseas suppliers or manufacturers. To increase the chance of entering the gated category, sellers have to give preference to the local suppliers. Another, even more straightforward, way is to find the manufacturer who will ship the goods directly to you. It lifts up your credibility as a gated applicant because you would never run out of stock.
- Be yourself and don’t think that outsource saves the day. Amazon will constantly try to get in touch with you directly when the application is pending approval. Many new sellers think that outsourcing is the smart solution that saves time and nerves. However, we do not recommend outsourcing the approval process. You have to reserve the time slot to handle the application through all stages of approval.
To request the direct approval, do the following:
- Open Seller Central, press the inventory link and choose Add a Product.
- Find the product or category in which you wish to sell.
- In the search results, find Listing Limitations Apply on the restricted item.
- Click Request Approval button to begin the application.
How does Amazon Ungating Service Work?
Amazon ungating service is the third-party solution that takes care of ungating from the specific categories for sellers’ payments. What those companies or services do is unlock the niches you want to start selling in, at least that’s what they promise initially. The deal seems a problem-solver for many sellers who do not want to manage all the hassle on communicating with Amazon and collecting data they demand.
Things are not that simple with ungating services though. First of all, the ungating services are expensive and take a long time to get you ungated. Secondly, those services never deliver a 100% result. They tell you a lot about the highest success rate and guarantees, but let’s be honest, Amazon hasn’t built an ungating mechanism in one night. It accounts for every sharp corner of your operation, so not contacting them directly and asking third parties to do that work is a dubious idea.
Amazon gated categories is the challenge for every seller who sooner or later considers entering this segment. The benefits of gated categories include high per-sold-item revenues, lower competition, and better credibility given from Amazon’s seller rating. This is why gated categories are a hot spot many sellers want to include into the agenda of their business operation.
How to Know which Categories I am Approved for?
If you get an approval, you’ll receive a message with the contents, “Your selling application is approved. Congratulations! Your selling application for (your brand/gated category) has been approved based on your performance history”.
What are the Requirements for Invoices?
The basic requirements for invoices include:
- Invoices must be at hand in the last 180 days.
- All docs have to be valid, not expired.
- Invoices have to be original without external manipulations to alter their data.
- They must contain 10+ purchased units at the related category, ASIN, or brand.
- Name and address must be included (compliance with selling account).
- Contact information like phone number, addresses, emails, and websites has to be provided.
Is it Worth to Start Selling in Amazon Restricted Categories?
It depends on the level of your experience and selling performance on Amazon. Products like luxury watches or collectibles will generate solid income but require supportive back up about your credibility as a seller.
What can I Sell on Amazon without Approval?
If you’re in doubt that a certain product will sell effectively on Amazon, click “Add a Product” in the “Inventory” section at the top of Seller Central. At this point, Amazon indicates whether the product you’re trying to sell comes from a restricted category or not.