Are you an Amazon seller who is looking to expand your business into restricted categories? You’re not alone.
Every day, thousands of sellers try to get their accounts ungated so they can start selling in those lucrative categories.
Getting ungated on Amazon isn’t always easy, and the process can take some time and effort.
But if you know how to go about it, chances are that you’ll eventually be successful in getting your account approved for selling in restricted categories.
In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide on how to get ungated on Amazon.
From understanding why it’s important and how the process works to tips for making sure that your application goes through smoothly.
We hope this guide will help make the process less daunting and give you more confidence when submitting your request!
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Which Amazon categories are restricted?
Amazon ‘gates’ or restricts certain categories to new sellers in order to maintain quality standards on the platform and consumer confidence in the Amazon brand.
If you’ve tried to list a product in a gated category, you’ve likely been met with the notice that ‘you need approval’ to sell products in this category.
The current list of restricted categories includes:
- Collectible Coins
- Personal Safety and Household Products
- Entertainment Collectibles
- Fine Art
- Toys and Games (Holiday Selling Guidelines Apply)
- Grocery and Gourmet Foods
- Made in Italy
- Music & DVD
- Automotive & Powersports
- Sports Collectibles
- Streaming Media Players
- Video, DVD & Blu-ray
In order to sell in these categories, you’ll usually need to get ungated.
If you’re looking to operate a wholesale or arbitrage business model, you may also come across specific brands that may be gated and require approval to sell in.
Big brands like Nike, Lego, and Lululemon are often gated in order to maintain brand integrity.
The good news is that it’s relatively straightforward to get seller accounts ungated so that new sellers can explore a range of product categories.
Related: Don’t want to wait to get ungated on Amazon? Then you may want to know which ungated Amazon categories you can sell in.
How to get ungated on Amazon
Sometimes getting approval to sell in restricted categories or gated brands is as simple as requesting approval.
To see if you need to get ungated to sell a certain product:
- Sign in to your professional Amazon Seller account.
- Go to Catalog, then select Add products.
- Search for the product you’re looking to sell.
- In the results, click on ‘Show limitations’ next to the relevant item.
- Click on ‘Apply to sell’ to begin the application process.
If your Amazon seller account is in good standing with healthy metrics then often you will get instant approval.
However, for some gated categories, the process is a little harder and you’ll need to carry out the following steps.
Step 1: Open an account with a distributor
In order to get ungated, you’ll need to open an account with a wholesale distributor or supplier of products within the restricted category.
The best way to find a distributor is a simple Google search.
For example, if you’re looking to get ungated on Amazon to sell Jewellery, search for a ‘wholesale jewellery distributor’.
That’s exactly what I did when I started selling toys on Amazon UK in 2017. I searched on Google and found a wholesale toy company called NDA toys.
Then, when you find a suitable distributor, open an account.
Be sure to use the same business details as your Amazon account, so the documents you need will get approved by Amazon.
Step 2: Order 10 units of a relevant product
In order to get ungated on Amazon, you will be required to provide an invoice for an order of ten or more items in the relevant restricted category.
So, order ten units of a product that is as close to the product you’re looking to sell.
Yes, this will cost you a small amount of money.
But if you’re a new Amazon seller this gives you a great chance to list a product for sale and learn the system in order to make this money back.
Step 3: Get an invoice
Once your order has been dispatched, you’ll need to get an invoice from the distributor.
This invoice needs to show how many units of the product were ordered, how much it costs, and include your business details as they appear on your Amazon account.
Be sure to save a copy of this document as you will need it when submitting your application.
Step 4: Submit the invoice to Amazon
Once you have all the relevant documents, sign in to your Amazon Seller Central account and go to the gated category or brand page.
Click on ‘Apply to sell’ and follow the instructions to upload your invoice.
Amazon will review this document and decide whether or not you are eligible for approval.
Submit your invoice in a non-editable file format such as a PDF or photo of a printout. Amazon will want to be confident that this is an original document.
If approved, you will then be able to sell in the restricted category or with the gated brand.
What are the common causes of rejected applications?
Unfortunately, even if you’ve done everything right, your application can still be rejected.
Some of the more common causes include:
- Having a very new account without a history
- Not having a professional seller account
- Low-performance metrics such as pre-fulfillment cancel rate
- Providing an invoice that doesn’t match the product you’re looking to sell
- Providing an invoice with business details that don’t match those on your Amazon seller account
But don’t worry, it’s not the end of the road.
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If my application is rejected, can I reapply?
Yes, if your application to get ungated on Amazon is rejected you are eligible to reapply.
Be sure to check the rejection reason and review how your application can be improved in order to maximize your chances of success the second time around.
Once you’ve checked everything and corrected any errors, re-submit your application.
You may find that the new application reaches a different Amazon service agent and this time it gets passed.
If you’re continuing to struggle and face repeated rejections, it may be worth reaching out to a specialist.
Are Amazon ungating services a good idea?
Using specialist services to help you get ungated on Amazon can be a good idea.
Not only do they understand the ungating process inside out, but as it’s their job to keep up with changes to the process, they know how to maximize your chances of success.
Plus, if you’re having trouble getting approved for a certain category or brand, they can help you find the right distributor and provide the documents you need to get ungated.
However, what you need to be aware of is that there are some less-than-legitimate ungating services around.
Some services will offer to provide invoices on your behalf but will create false documents which if discover could put your selling account in bad standing.
The best Amazon ungating services will work closely with you to provide legitimate documentation and support your application through to completion.
So, if you’re going to employ an Amazon ungating service be sure to do your due diligence.
How long does it take to get ungated?
The amount of time it takes to get ungated on Amazon can vary greatly depending on how promptly you provide the necessary documents and how quickly Amazon responds.
Amazon is known to take anything from a few hours to several days or even weeks in some cases.
In order to speed up the process where possible, make sure the documents you provide are in the correct file format and contain accurate information.
It’s also a good idea to contact Amazon support directly and let them know that you’re waiting on approval for your application.
This can help give it an extra push through the system.
What are the advantages of getting ungated on Amazon?
Getting ungated on Amazon has plenty of advantages and opens up a wider range of opportunities for sellers.
Larger Product Range
Once you’re ungated, you can expand your product range and start selling items in popular restricted categories such as grocery and gourmet foods and the fine arts category.
This means that with the right marketing strategy, you have the potential to greatly increase your sales.
Getting ungated in Amazon-restricted categories creates a moat in your business in that not all Amazon sellers will be able to sell products in these categories.
As such, there’s less competition and potentially more opportunity for both sales volume and profitability.
Less competition means less pressure on pricing.
By selling in gated or restricted categories you can often charge higher prices and improve your margins.
Bonus tips to help you get ungated on Amazon
If you want the best chance of selling as many gated categories as possible, you need to make sure all your bases are covered.
Here are a few extra tips to help you do just that.
Improve Your Performance Metrics
Your performance metrics are how Amazon measures how good an Amazon seller is likely to be within their marketplace.
Focus on making sure your customer service is impeccable, that your returns and refunds are minimal, and that orders arrive quickly and in good condition.
Doing this will give you a much better chance of getting ungated when you request approval for a particular category.
Apply In US Business Hours
Amazon’s customer service team is mainly based in the US, so applying for category approval during US business hours means you will get a faster response.
It’s also worth noting that Amazon’s US-based support staff are usually available from Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm PST.
Applying outside these hours can slow down your application.
Use Reputable Wholesalers
When providing invoices or proof of purchase to Amazon, make sure you only use reputable wholesalers.
Using a wholesaler with a good reputation will not only help your application but also guarantee that you obtain the products you ordered in the right quality and quantity.
Use Multi-Category Wholesalers
Using a multi-category wholesaler will save you time researching multiple suppliers and mean you can place the necessary orders for a number of gated categories at once.
This will also save money on shipping and help you meet minimum order quantities easier.
Source Correctly Categorized Products
To check that the products you’re sourcing are going to be in the right product categories to get you ungated, make sure the ASIN is active on Amazon.
This allows you to verify the product is in the right category, but also means you should be able to sell the wholesale products you purchase.
Source Products You Can Sell
By sourcing products that are already active on Amazon, it means you can sell the products too and recoup your investment.
That is of course unless you want to use them at home!
Use Recent Invoices
When you request approval for Amazon gated categories a recent invoice will be the main requirement.
So make sure you’re not submitting an invoice that is from too long ago.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
What categories are ungated on Amazon by default?
By default, Amazon sellers can sell in a range of categories without restrictions, including:
- Arts, Crafts & Sewing
- Home & Kitchen
- Industrial & Scientific
- Kitchen & Dining
- Office Products
- Patio, Lawn & Garden
- Pet Supplies
- Sports & Outdoors
- Tools & Home Improvement
There are some other profitable categories that are ungated but have sub-categories within them that require going through the Amazon ungating process.
An example of this would be the health & beauty category which is ungated by default, but the Topicals sub-category would require you to go through an approval process.
Do I have to pay to get ungated on Amazon?
No, you don’t have to pay any fees to get ungated on Amazon.
However, if your application is unsuccessful then you will be left with the cost of the wholesale order. Plus, if you decide to use an ungating service this will of course attract some fees.
The Bottom Line
Getting ungated on Amazon can seem daunting at first, but with just a few steps you can open up your Amazon business to selling in more profitable categories and with more brands.
To get ungated in your chosen product category, you’ll need to source products from a reputable supplier and provide legitimate invoices to Amazon and – subject to good seller metrics – you should be well on your way.
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