If you're trying to sell products on Amazon, chances are that you'll run into the gated categories issue at some point. It can be frustrating and time-consuming to try and get ungated.
The process of getting Amazon category approval is a mystery for many sellers because it's not well documented or easy to find information about this topic online.
We've compiled an easy-to-read guide that will walk you through all the steps from start to finish so that you know exactly what needs to be done to sell in gated categories.
Read on to learn more about gated categories on Amazon and how to get ungated.
And if you want to learn the fastest and easiest way to make passive income online, make sure to catch our next webinar on our brand new “silver lining method”.
What Are Amazon Gated Categories?
Gated Amazon categories are categories that require approval from Amazon before you're allowed to sell in them. Gated categories are monitored closely by Amazon, and if you break the rules, you could get banned from selling in those categories. If your account is new, you will automatically be restricted from selling in most gated categories.
Why Does Amazon Gate Some Categories?
Before we learn about the types of Amazon gated categories and how you can get ungated, let's first discuss why Amazon restricts selling in some categories.
Amazon values its customers' security. Like any online store, they want to ensure that their users buy high-quality products and not receive items that will potentially harm them.
To do this, Amazon decides which categories it would like to gate and then requests sellers provide information about the products they sell in those categories. By doing this, Amazon reduces the risk of counterfeited and unsafe products entering the marketplace.
Gating categories benefit both sellers and customers. Sellers increase their sales because consumers are confident when shopping. Customers benefit from a safer shopping experience.
Types of Gated Categories
There are two types of gated categories: Category and brand restrictions.
Here is a list of Amazon gated categories as of September 2021:
Brand Restrictions Gates
Brand owners set up brand restrictions to monitor the sales of their trademarked items on Amazon. Brand gates are more challenging to get ungated because it can be hard for an individual seller to pass the vetting process with a brand owner.
Although there is no list on Amazon's website of restricted brands, we found some brands with restrictions. See below:
It's Not Just the Categories
Amazon has more restrictions than just gated categories. There are restrictions based on sub-categories, ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), holidays, programs, and product conditions.
Some sub-categories in Amazon are restricted, although the main category is open. Amazon prohibits listing in these sub-categories to meet their quality goals. Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the restricted sub-categories:
During the holiday season, some items are restricted from being sold. Holiday restriction is often for the Toys and Games category. This restriction is for sellers who use FBM(Fulfillment by Merchant), so FBA(Fulfillment by Amazon) sellers are free to sell in the category.
To learn more about Amazon fulfillment options read this guide on Amazon FBA vs. FBM.
The requirements are based on performance criteria such as defect and late shipment rates.
Some categories or brands can have certain ASINs restricted from being sold on Amazon. This helps in protecting the integrity of Amazon's catalog in terms of product safety and quality.
Programs and products restrictions
Certain programs and products require Amazon approval. Some of these are:
Product condition restrictions
Amazon requires that most products be new or factory refurbished to be allowed for selling on some categories. This means that used products cannot be sold in some categories, including:
However, you can sell toys and games in collectible condition. According to Amazon guidelines, the toys and games should be in a new, very good, or good condition to qualify.
How to get ungated
Amazon has steps you should follow when applying for approval to sell in restricted categories. Here are the steps:
You can also apply in advance to get approval to sell in Amazon restricted categories. Here are a few restricted categories and products, plus the requirements.
To sell laser products on Amazon, you have to apply by emailing these documents to an email provided by Amazon:
If you want to sell collectible coins, you must be a member of one of these organizations:
Below are the other requirements for selling in this category.
If you are an existing Amazon seller, you will be evaluated based on your performance history. New sellers are also assessed based on how many years they have been in business and trade show participation. Sellers should also have a professional selling plan and an order defect rate below 0.75%.
Sellers should also ensure their products meet the following requirements.
To sell jewelry on Amazon, sellers should have a professional selling plan and should meet the following criteria:
If you meet the above criteria, follow these steps to request approval: Go to your seller account and click "Add a Product" under the Inventory menu. Search existing jewelry and click on "Request Approval" to begin the application process.
If your application is approved, note that all products in the jewelry category must be new.
Music & DVD
The music and DVD (includes 4K and Blu-ray) formats category has some restricted products and some that require approval. Follow these steps to start the approval process: Log in to your Amazon seller central account and click "Add a Product." Search for the item and click on the "Listing limitations apply" link, and you might get a "Request for Approval" button. If you get this button, click on it to begin the application process.
If you do not get the "Request for Approval" button, Amazon is not accepting applications.
To start selling watches, sellers must meet the following requirements:
To start selling in this restricted category, your products must be new, authentic, and must meet the product safety standards of North America. You should also disclose if the products carry the manufacturer's warranty.
If you are an existing seller and want to sell sports collectibles, you should maintain a professional seller account, and your order-defect rate must be lower than 0.75%. The products you intend to sell must be authenticated or graded.
Some of the recommended third-party authenticators include Grey Flannel, Mounted Memories, and James Spence Authentication (JSA). Third-party grading companies include Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), Beckett Collectors Club Grading (BCCG), Sportscard Guaranty (SGC), and Becket Grading Services (BGS).
How to check if you can sell in Amazon gated categories
After submitting your application, you can check if it has been approved before listing in a restricted category. Go to the seller's central home page and select "Add a product" on the inventory menu. Search for the item you submitted for approval. Click on the "Selling application status" link. If your application is approved, you can list your products in the Amazon restricted categories.
What to do if your application is rejected
If your application for approval to sell in Amazon gated categories is rejected, you can resubmit your application. This is only possible if Amazon did not mention that the decision to reject your application was final.
When you resubmit your application, follow all the requirements, and you might get approved. If you follow instructions and your application is rejected, you are probably a new seller, or you provided invoices that are not official according to Amazon. If you are a new seller, reapply after three months or more when you have more sales.
The invoice(s) you submit should not be printed from your email. You can either take a photo of the hard copy or ask for a PDF from the company you are ordering from. Also, ensure your invoice details like company name and physical address match the details of your seller central account.
Is applying for approval worth it?
Yes, because you are putting effort where others are not succeeding so your sales might increase. You also want to expand your Amazon business, and selling in gated categories is a step towards achieving your goal and having good reviews and high ratings.
Prohibited product claims policy
The prohibited product claims policy ensures that sellers do not list products with misleading characteristics and qualities. Sellers must comply with all federal laws applicable to the products they want to sell.
All products listed on Amazon must follow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines. FTC protects and informs consumers about unfair and deceptive practices.
Products intended to diagnose, treat, and cure diseases in animals and humans should be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Products that have pesticide claims should be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
What happens if you violate Amazons’ restrictions?
The consequences of violation are:
Your best to bet is to stick to the rules because it is never easy to get reinstated on Amazon.
What happens if you violate Amazons’ restrictions?
A gated category on Amazon is a category that needs approval from Amazon to sell in. Almost all restricted categories are gated categories.
Gated categories have a high buying index. Sales in gated categories are considered as sales that come from experienced Amazon buyers.
Amazon has 33 main product categories.
Here is a list of unrestricted categories:
Some categories are ungated, but some of the sub-categories are restricted. They include:
Categories such as Consumer electronics and software are unrestricted, but sellers may require approval for specific products.
Sellers can ungate categories on Amazon by applying for approval. The process is done via the seller central account.
You can tell an item is gated by checking the Amazon list of restricted products and categories. If the item is not on the list, you can try adding it using the Amazon seller app or seller central account to know its status.
Although Amazon has restricted categories, certain categories don't have listing limitations. If you are a new seller, start with the unrestricted categories and grow your sales. An increase in sales means you can be auto-approved to sell in some restricted categories.
Follow the guidelines discussed in this article to succeed in your e-commerce business. Speaking of success, check out this article on how some sellers are making over $10,000 per month with their ecommerce business.
Finally, brand new sellers looking to get started with an Amazon business can read our step-by-step guide to becoming a reseller.
If you want a more in-detail how-to guide on how to get started in the best way possible creating passive income online, I highly recommend you attend our free training webinar.