Are you an Amazon FBA or e-commerce seller looking to maximize sales and widen your range of products? Chances are, whichever type of seller you are, you’ll run into some restricted seller categories during your planning. These gated categories can prove frustrating, because no matter how great your selling strategy, you are prevented from gaining access to certain profitable user bases.
This is where learning how to get ungated on Amazon will come in handy, as this means you can sell anything within a particular niche. However, to do this takes careful strategizing, in order to prevent costly mistakes and provide the best service for your new customers.
Our handy guide on how to get ungated on Amazon in 2023 will explore what being ungated on Amazon means, why ungated categories exist, and what guidelines you’ll have to follow in order to become ungated for specific categories.
What does getting ungated on Amazon mean?
Becoming ungated on Amazon means that you have been given permission to sell products in specific restricted categories. This applies for both Amazon FBA and Dropship Amazon. However, in order to do this, sellers have to apply for approval.
This process is more straightforward than many people believe, but it still requires diligence and hard work to ensure that all relevant regulations and codes of conduct are followed.
It’s worth noting that, even within unrestricted categories, there are certain gated products that also will require approval – some examples of these include alcohol, laser pointers and jewelry. Selling gated products without such approval can lead to your seller account being suspended.
Depending on the age of your Amazon seller account and what you have already been approved for, there will be some categories that are ‘auto-ungated’. In other words, you can sell items automatically without providing any extra paperwork. However, this depends on which country you are selling in, as some categories can be gated in one country but open in others.
What are Amazon’s gated categories in 2022
The current list of gated categories contains categories which are both popular and niche. You’ll find that if you want to sell a wide range of products across all categories, most categories are open. So, for sellers that are just starting out, there are always these routes to go down. But, for some, a selling strategy may hinge on gaining access to particular gated categories.
Some of the current gated categories in the USA include:
- Fine art
- Gambling and lottery
- Collectible coins
- Collectible entertainment items
- Collectible sports items
- Join Amazon subscription boxes
- Amazon watch warranty FAQs
- Sexual wellness
- Blu-ray DVDs and videos
- Clothing and accessories
Why are categories restricted on Amazon?
It will come as no surprise that, as with any e-commerce site, Amazon wants its users to buy with confidence and have the best experience possible. With this in mind, they have a range of gated, or restricted, categories that only certain sellers can access. This has positive implications in terms of product safety, competitive pricing, customer satisfaction and brand integrity.
Imagine you are shopping for a particularly valuable collectible coin, or piece of sports memorabilia. How would you know that the product being advertised is the real deal, and not a knock-off designed to scam buyers? Gated categories help to minimize this risk and enhance the Amazon user experience.
As a trend, large brands are more and more likely these days to gate their products. For example, in order to resell items owned by the likes of Adidas or Apple, you’d need written permission from them in order to sell, obtaining which is usually unlikely.
General guidelines on how to get ungated on Amazon
Getting ungated on Amazon requires following both a general and category-specific set of guidelines that will aid your application.
We’ve included some general guidelines on how to get ungated on Amazon here:
Get an Amazon Professional Sellers Account
On Amazon, sellers need to follow a professional approach if they plan to sell their goods. If you don’t already, get a professional sellers account, which will allow you to sell restricted and unrestricted products.
Assess your Amazon accounts’ performance
The only way you will get to sell products on Amazon is if you have a healthy selling account. When you log into your account, navigate to ‘seller central’ and check the status of your product quality and customer satisfaction.
Choose and purchase products
Once you have a healthy professional sellers account ready to go, choose from a range of products in relevant categories. These categories include beauty, grocery and health and personal care. Click ‘add a product’ and find the ASIN or UPC for the product you wish to sell. From here, click ‘apply to sell’.
Be mindful of the fact that some categories, such as fine arts, will have other limitations and requirements, such as the amount of experience you have.
Find a reliable wholesale supplier
For sellers that are not auto-approved, a reliable wholesale supplier is needed to make sure you meet market demand. This authorized wholesaler should be able to provide invoices that include details that match those on your Amazon seller account.
Scan and submit invoices
The next step to getting ungated on Amazon is to scan the wholesaler invoices. It is important to not make marks on the original invoices – Amazon has a strict set of e-commerce measures to adhere to, and you must submit invoices in their original state. Therefore, scanning them is usually the best way to do this, although you can also take a picture of the invoice if it is high quality enough.
You’re almost there at this point! Firstly, check all of your personal details and that everything else is in order. Then, simply navigate to the right product category for your respective products, send in your selling application and wait for Amazon to get back to you.
Speed up your request approval by applying during US business hours, and reply to Amazon’s feedback as quickly as you can. They may ask you for additional information that you are missing and need to provide.
Category-specific guidelines on how to get ungated on Amazon
Each product category that is either wholly gated or holds gated products has its own set of specific requirements for sellers. There are many such categories with their own stipulations, and here are just a few:
How to get ungated in groceries on Amazon?
In order to get ungated on Amazon, you’ll need to follow a specific set of guidelines. Getting ungated in Amazon’s grocery product category can be very profitable, but also difficult. This applies especially to first-time sellers; if you have a healthy selling account with a good track record, there’s a decent chance you will get auto-approved.
First off, you need to create a professional sellers account, as well as an account linked with reliable wholesalers. Then, you need to scan and submit invoices that will prove you are a legitimate seller buying from established distributors.
Due to the nature of grocery supplies, it is important to accurately display information relating to diet and nutrition. For example, making false claims about a foodstuff being allergen-free when it isn’t can lead to serious restrictions on Amazon.
How to get ungated in toys on Amazon?
The toys and games section of Amazon has specific seasonal selling guidelines. In the fourth quarter of the year, Amazon imposes restrictions regardless of brand or seller. These holiday selling guidelines are in place mainly to prevent counterfeit items entering the market, and also to increase the quality and delivery of the products.
As with all gated products, you’ll need to scan and submit the correct invoices, with all the necessary details in place. Alongside this, you must also submit a brand authorization letter from the toy company, essentially indicating that you have consent to sell the products.
In some cases, a Children’s Product Certificate is also needed in order to satisfy Amazon that you have followed all relevant product safety regulations.
How to get ungated in beauty on Amazon?
One of Amazon’s most profitable product categories is beauty. But, they are also one of the most restricted, owing to the potential consequences of selling defective products. To get around this, you’ll need to get a number of approvals.
One rule you’ll need to follow regardless of brand or product is that goods must be kept in the original sealed manufacturer packaging. You must also make sure that all products due to be sold are unused.
After you’ve navigated through the main guidelines for getting ungated, you’ll likely need to provide Amazon with a range of legal documentation, such as a Good Manufacturing Practices certificate, a manufacturer invoice and FDA licenses. The latter is needed since the products have the potential to impact people’s health.
For beauty, it’s also important to note that you can’t sell defective products on the Amazon platform. If your product defect rate is above 1% then you may not be allowed to become ungated.
Likewise, your pre-fulfillment cancellation rate should be below 2.5%, and your late shipment rate below 4%.
Frequently asked questions
How long does it take to get ungated on Amazon?
In truth, there’s no one right answer for how long it will take to get ungated on Amazon. It depends on a range of factors, including the type of product category you are applying for, when you apply and how many different types of products you’re applying with.
If you apply during US business hours, with the correct paperwork and adhering to all regulations, it can take as little as a few hours. Sometimes it can take a number of days or weeks, especially if you are a first-time seller.
If you’re an established seller with a good track record and applying for the easier product categories to ungate, you may get auto–approval.
How will I know I’ve been ungated on Amazon?
When you become ungated on Amazon, you will receive a message from Amazon telling you that you have met the threshold for selling restricted products.
If your application is rejected, you will always receive an email notifying you that you have not met the product requirements. However, the service agent won’t always give you a reason why. Often, even if you are given a reason, it is relatively general and not highly specific to your case. Should you be rejected, you have 14 days either to appeal the decision or to provide Amazon with the correct documentation.
How much does it cost to get ungated on Amazon?
There is no specific amount of money that will get you ungated in all product categories on Amazon. It is a strict e-commerce platform where sellers have to prove they are a legitimate and safe seller, rather than one that can afford to sell particular products.
In some categories, a non-refundable approval fee of $5,000 is imposed.
Part of the cost of getting ungated on Amazon is creating a professional sellers account, which costs $39.99 per month.
Can I apply for ungating again if my application form gets rejected?
If you have been rejected for ungating, you can apply again by withdrawing your request and re-placing it. After correcting your application, the likelihood is you’ll be dealing with a different Amazon service agent, which means you may have another chance of being accepted.
Getting ungated on Amazon holds many opportunities for sellers of all kinds. Follow the rules, regulations and guidelines outlined in this guide, and you can find yourself with a whole new marketplace at your disposal.
It is worth remembering, should you face frustrations in your ungating quest, that Amazon is not imposing these restrictions in order to trip sellers up. Instead, these are necessary measures that are in place to protect the integrity of the platform as a whole – which benefits sellers as much as anyone.
Once you’ve become ungated on Amazon, you’ll want to start shipping your products internationally to meet your customers’ needs. But, going about this process independently means having to worry about customs compliance, registering as an IOR and following all relevant importing and exporting regulations.
That’s why it pays to work with a professional importing partner who can do all of this for you and more. Zee has an abundance of experience helping sellers overcome the stumbling blocks associated with importing, and has a network of established relationships guaranteed to provide competitive rates.