Selling on Amazon can cause a few headaches, as you probably understand if you’re searching for Amazon Gated categories, or how to get ungated on a restricted category within Amazon.
Although it’s not ideal and we’d prefer not to have the hassle, I understand why sellers have restricted categories. After reading this post, you should too!
Today, I have the definitive guide on Amazon gated categories, which will help you to fix your selling privileges and gain the ability to list restricted products. This is perfect for you, if:
- You want to learn what being Ungated actually entails.
- You want to know which categories are restricted as ‘default’
- You want to know how to gain auto-approval to sell in Amazon restricted categories
- You want to know why Amazon gate specific categories
Learning about Gated Categories is part of the learning process. You don’t need to be worried that you don’t know everything about seller central. Honestly, for most, if not all sellers, every day is a learning day with Amazon FBA.
The Biggest Misconception about Amazon Restricted Categories
When I tell you about this misconception, I’m not looking down at you. I fell for this mistake when I first started, and from most FBA Sellers that I’m connected with, there are two things that you will always remember. Your first sale & your first mistake!
My mistake came in the form of Gated categories on amazon. Quite simply, I didn’t know that Amazon restricted products that could be sold by sellers. Well, I expected things like Alcohol and Tobacco to be banned, but when I found that the Toys & Games category was unavailable I got pretty confused.
My first thought was that I needed to be a registered toy shop or something, and that actually held me back for around three weeks. Astonishingly, I didn’t Google it or even query it with the helpful Amazon Support team. I just presumed.
Amazon will restrict new sellers from participating in every single category. New sellers will be required to complete an application process, although it really isn’t as bad as it sounds.
You have to click two more buttons than normal, and upload an invoice! We will be looking at an example of getting ungated a little later, so don’t worry right now.
It’s normal to have listing limitations when you first sign up, this is Amazon’s way of vetting you as a seller. They don’t want a high risk individual, they want you to be good and successful so they can make money, too.
Don’t get disheartened if you are gated, it’s a pretty simple process to get ungated.
As you will find out on your own journey, not every category is gated equal. Some gates are pretty pointless.
Other categories on Amazon will be more difficult and require a little more Admin. This may include filling out paperwork, uploading a purchase invoice and confirming receipt of your inventory. We prefer the auto-ungates, but at the same time don’t understand the need for Category approval if they’re just going to allow it anyway!
Hwo do I know if I am gated by Amazon?
Often, new sellers make the mistake of contacting seller support to check if they are gated. The truth is, Seller Support will provide copy and paste answers and you’ll end up going around in circles.
If you use SellerAMP and have connected your seller account to the app, you’ll know on there if you are ungated. An even easier thing you can do, is attempt to add the product.
If you add the product code, ASIN or EAN to Amazon in the Add Product section, it will tell you quite blatantly if you are gated or not.
Above, we have a gated product. This one shows us an ‘Apply to Sell’ button, which means that we need to complete the application process, in order to sell in this category. Once you press the Apply to sell button, you will later see a request approval button.
Selecting this will continue with the application process for this brand or category. New sellers may be a little worried here, if you are, just check out the below. The application process is really simple.
It’s literally ticking a few boxes and uploading your receipt. You can add optiona l comments if you want to, but there’s no point pleading with Amazon for approval to a particular category and I’m not entirely convinced that it’s a human checking this out!
After you have applied to be ungated, you will most likely have to wait for a short period. From my experiences, I’ve waited anywhere from 1 hour to 48 hours. It’s not always good news, as sometimes the support team may request additional documentation. However, if I had to put a percentage on the times that this has happened, I’d say around 5%.
Most of my failures have been because Amazon rarely accepts invoices that contain less than 10 units of a specific item. If you want to sell in that category, I’d advise ungating with an order of at least 10.
Can I continue with my purchase whilst Gated?
One of the best ways to get ungated on Amazon, is to request approval to sell the specific items that you’ve purchased. This will vary, depending on the product, category and even sub category, but quite often you will be asked to provide invoices for these items. It’s important to provide legit invoices too, I don’t recommend a photoshop dab-hand as Amazon will insta-ban you if they find out that you’ve fraudulently modified invoices. (They also spot-check certain invoices with the place that provided the invoice as a double measure).
I promise I’m not on the payroll for SellerAmp, (although I am an affiliate), but this is where using their Chrome Extension will pay dividends. It automatically tells you if you’re gated, and even attempts to auto ungate you.
Typically if I am gated and have found a profitable item in a restricted category, I will purchase the quantity required that can get me ungated. If you can meet the requirements and get the invoice, you’re more or less guaranteed to get ungated.
If I can make money at the same time why not? As I’m about to show you though, there are certain categories where getting ungated can become expensive.
Should I get Ungated? How much does it cost?
You should definitely set your sights on getting ungated in the categories where you’re finding profitable items for sale. I know it can sound like an hassle to get ungated at first, but if you think that fewer sellers may be on these type of listings, other sellers will be fighting over the ungated products whilst you’re doing your thing and finding a niche.
Although it doesn’t cost you a single penny to get ungated, the requirement for 10x units on the invoice can make the approval to sell process an expensive one. So, it’s free, but it can be expensive! (That Sounds odd!).
I’m taking the Star Wars Imperial Cruiser as another example here. This is a set that’s currently £109.99 on sale. As per the above Amazon ungating process, I would be required to upload an invoice with 10 units purchased.
That’s going to cost me over £1,000 to gain access to this restricted category.
You aren’t throwing money away, as you’ll recover those costs on the sale of the item. However, not every seller starts out with a huge bankroll funding these purchases. If you’ve started with less than £2,000 you won’t want to use half of this on the Lego set. It just doesn’t make sense.
Now there are little tricks that you can use for ungating, I won’t reveal them in this post as that would be a bit of a nightmare for the LRA Discord Members. However, you can get really creative and attempt to ungate premium brands and it can be done with orders less than £10! How’s that for motivation?
10 of the below would cost you £30 plus delivery. However, it would be much more difficult to break-even here, yet alone make a few quid. It would be a much faster way for someone that has lower funds though.
Why am i Gated on Amazon?
Amazon have a strict approval process, which will prevent brand new sellers from selling certain products they may want to sell. There’s a reason behind this, part of this is an ani money laundering program, but it’s mainly here for the personal safety of online shoppers.
Online shoppers want a trouble-free environment, and if you cause the buyer an issue, they won’t know that it’s your storefront at fault… they’ll blame Amazon. This is bad publicity for Amazon, who will have verified your seller central account in the first place.
There are also specific manufacturers which request their brand to be gated on Amazon. This means that you would have to fill out the ungate request & prove that you’re a legitimate seller. This is another reason for Amazon’s restricted categories.
It reduces the opportunity for counterfeit goods, as the buyer typically has to upload documentation to prove the legitimacy of the items.
It’s completely different to sites like eBay. When a buyer presses the Amazon Buy Now button, most of them don’t know about the fact that independent storefronts sell on Amazon. They think they’re buying from Amazon.
With eBay, one of the first things that a buyer can do is click the seller page and view the feedback. (You can actually do this when you sell on amazon too, but it really stands out on eBay).
This is why Amazon implement certain category and brand restrictions. We are representing them.
Amazon’s Gated categories
There are two main types of gated categories; Brand Gates and Category Gates.
Typically, a Brand gate is more difficult to obtain than a category gate. This is because certain brands put product restrictions on the market, they simply do not want others sellers to list their item for sale. There may also be other motives to this; maybe they are partnered with another store, or they are selling on Amazon themselves!
You can find all of the categories that require approval here. Don’t worry though, you can continue reading and I’ll explain them all.
The main ones that require guaranteed approval are:
- Beer, Wines & Spirits
- Music & DVD
- Holiday Selling Requirements in Toys & Games
- Made in Italy
- Music, DVD
- Organic Food, Organic Feed, and Organic Pet Food
- Beer, Wine & Spirits
- Streaming Media Players
- Selling Books, Music, Video and DVD Products
So as you can see, there is quite an extensive list of categories that you will need to work through. Some of these are quite niche though and you probably won’t ever ungate them.
Another thing that you will need to consider is the sub category restrictions. This is where things can get a little confusing. Especially when you encounter your first one.
You may become Ungated in Toys and Games, but one day when you try and sell a Leap Pad you would have to apply to sell it.
This is because there’s a sub category for learning and development toys.
Selling Restricted Products on Amazon
There are other restrictions that you may encounter on your FBA journey. The next one that we will discuss is Used Items.
Amazon apply restrictions, preventing you from selling used items in specific categories. This appies to quite a few categories, the biggest being Toys & Games, Baby Products & Grocery.
However, you can actually sell used toys if they are deemed ‘Collectible’.
I’ve left ASIN restrictions until last, as I have found that these are quite rare if you’re selling established brands and products. An ASIN restriction will immediately remove an item from sale, returning it to yourself or destroying the item.
This is incredibly rare, I’ve had it happen once and the items were returned to my house. The reason for them? Amazon has received information that the item has product quality, safety or IP Infringements.
There are other sorts of restricted products which will require you to apply for further licensing. The main one is Dangerous Goods, and in most cases will be Aerosols and gift sets.
Are Restricted Products worth it for Amazon Sellers?
Restricted products are definitely worth it, providing you have calculated the profit margins. If you’re selling Dangerous Goods, you need to make sure that you’ve calculated the extra postage costs, as UPS will not collect this through the partner programme (which reduces delivery costs).
If you are Gated from a specific brand or category, you can typically get ungated really quickly. It’s worth popping the ASIN into the Add Products area, just in case it auto approves you!
If you aren’t auto-ungated, you can still purchase 10+ units and upload an invoice which should then see your restrictions removed. At this point, I would definitely be pointing you towards my Selleramp review, which can help you to easily identify restricted category & other warnings.
Another thing that’s worth noting is that there are a huge percentage of Amazon FBA sellers out there now, which don’t deal with Dangerous Goods or bother get ungated in certain categories. That’s a huge reduction in competition, which is somewhere you can make some quick wins as an Amazon Seller.
Restricted Product Policy & Violations
If you decide to run the risk against Amazon, you will end up paying the price. There are sellers out there, that even though they had a professional seller account with lots of feedback, decided to run the risk with a specific product.
It always ends in pain.
Amazon don’t have a rulebook as per the consequences, but the most common reactions by amazon are:
- To cancel and delete any current & future listings
- To return your FBA Inventory, or even destroy it
- Remove your chance to appear on the Buy Box
- Apply Further Restrictions & Re-apply previous Gated categories
- Apply Listing limitations so you can no longer sell on amazon
- Subcategory restrictions
- Complete closure of your Amazon Account
You don’t want any of these to happen to yourself. It’s just not worth going up against Amazon, and if your account is closed down, you will never be able to create an account again. (Sure, you could try and open one in another persons name, but you’d never pass the identity checks… or laws and regulations regarding business ownership).
Can I get ungated with every Brand and Restricted Category?
It’s definitely possible to get ungated in every category, providing you can provide all of the documentation that Amazon require approval for. However, this may be counter-productive for yourself as you might not gain approval, or even sell items withing specific categories.
When starting out with Amazon FBA, most sellers will have their own specific niche, which should be the sub category niches that you look to focus on. However, Retail Arbitrage does lead us to have an inventory link which has a wide range of products, so it’s good to get the right balance here.
Regarding Brands, there are no guarantees that you will get ungated for every brand. Even the most experienced sellers will at some point be the subject of an IP Claim, which is where the brand owner complains to Amazon regarding the item for sale on Amazon.co.uk. This would leave you with an IP Claim on your account and also the listing would be taken down.
I wouldn’t worry too much about these, as they can occur at anytime, and it’s a straightforward process to overcome.
How to get Ungated on Amazon FBA
By now you should have a solid understanding of why Amazon gate your account. So Let’s get ungated!
The process to apply for approval in restricted categories is really simple. All you have to do is:
- Log in to your Amazon Seller Account.
- Select Catalogue > Add Products
- Enter the Amazon ASIN which you want to be ungated for. Click Apply to Sell
- The page will refresh and show the application button. Select this.
- The next step is to complete the Selling Application for the brand. You will need to follow the required steps, meeting each requirement and uploading the invoice.
- Once Submitted, the support team will look into this and make their final decision. Note, it can be appealed if it’s bad news! However, Amazon do work pretty hard to ensure that FBA sellers are looked after & will advise you exactly what you need to provide in order to be approved.
It’s as easy as that!
What is Auto Approval?
Auto Approval is a blessing. It will eliminate the need for chasing invoices, receipts and remove the stress of Admin away from your business.
So what is Auto Approval?
Auto Approval is where you won’t need to complete the application process in order to list your products in new categories.
This won’t be often for new sellers though, as Amazon need to build a level of trust with you.
However, we do have some success with specific ASIN’s that appear to auto-ungate us for categories and brands. There’s some out there on Google, but the others are lurking within the LRA Discord. Why not join us?
How Can I get Auto-Ungated for Approval to Sell?
There isn’t really a process for gaining auto ungating abilities. Sometimes, you will fall lucky on a specific ASIN, but on other occassions you would be required to provide invoices.
Especially so if you’re a new seller. Amazon want to see that you aren’t a scammer or fraudster.
Amazon Gated Categories: Final Thoughts & Reminders
I hope that you can take a lot from this article, I know there’s a lot to learn but I’m hopeful that I’ve explained it well enough without overloading you with information that’s irrelevant.
I’m not sorry for the gate picture, though!
Signing off on a serious note; I understand why Amazon Gate specific products and categories. It’s not worth a potential law suit for Jeff & Co. Going down the same route, I would advise against falsifying any invoices etc in attempt to get ungated fast.
I once ungated No.7 and Amazon got in touch with them, then initially declined my application due to finding out the item had not been received. So they do look!
If you are looking for software that can help you with Ungating, I’m a big fan of what SellerAMP offers. I’d recommend you take a look at their software.