Imagine the following scenario: you’ve carefully researched profitable items that tick all the boxes, you’ve created a shortlist of products you want to stock your inventory with, and you’re getting ready to set it up on Amazon. Only there’s one problem, and that’s that the categories you’re looking at are restricted. If you’ve had this happen to you, don’t worry because Repricer.com will show you how to get around Amazon’s gated categories.
Why Does Amazon Restrict, or Gate, Certain Categories?
Why Amazon restricts (or “gates”) some of the categories on the marketplace all ties back to their A-to-z guarantee. They want buyers to have the best experience possible, and that means policing how and where some items are sold.
Unfortunately, shady sellers have cropped up all over Amazon, advertising counterfeit, low-quality or faulty products and leaving a trail of unhappy buyers in their wake. To combat this, Amazon designated some categories as restricted to try and cut down on this problem.
But restricted doesn’t mean not allowed, as some sellers are able to get permission to sell in those categories. To do that, they must submit special applications and get them approved by Amazon before they can start listing in the gated categories.
How Amazon Designates Restrictions
We talked mostly about gatted categories, but there are actually five types of restrictions you’ll encounter on Amazon.
- ASIN: Occasionally, Amazon will restrict certain ASINs, so you’d have to get permission for individual codes before being able to list them.
- Condition: Depending on the category your potential product belongs in, it might have to be listed in certain conditions, like only new. For example, Clothing & Accessories mandates that all garments must be in new condition.
- Brand: Some brands (e.g. Acer, Barbie, Adidas, Apple, GoPro, etc.) are very — and rightfully — worried about unscrupulous merchants selling their brands, so they’ve told Amazon to add on another layer of application before sellers can list their products.
- Categories: This is likely the most common restriction you’ll encounter on Amazon where whole categories are gated. If you weren’t grandfathered into these categories, you’ll need to apply for approval.
- Subcategories: Within main categories are subcategories, and Amazon sometimes decides that these subcategories tend to contain items at risk of causing negative buying experiences. So while you may be okay to sell in Toys & Games, you might need to apply to sell in the subcategory of Building Block Toys.
What are the Amazon Gated Categories?
Depending on where in the world you’re selling from, your list of restricted categories may differ. But for simplicity’s sake, this is the list of restricted categories for US sellers:
- Toys & Games (holiday selling requirements)
- Amazon Watch Warranty
- Made in Italy
- Video, DVD, & Blu-ray
- Collectible Coins
- Streaming Media Players
- Personal Safety and Household Products
How to Get Ungated in Amazon Restricted Categories
Before you even think about applying, you should review your metrics to make sure you qualify.
- Order Defect Rate needs to be less than 1%.
- Late Shipment Rate needs to be less than 4%.
- Pre-Fulfillment Cancellation Rate needs to be 2.5%.
While the process may change for individual (sub)categories, brands or ASINs, there’s a general formula to follow for all of them:
- In your Seller Central account, navigate to the Inventory menu and click on Add a Product.
- Type in your product in the search bar.
- When the search results pop up, click on the Listing Limitations apply link beside the product.
- Click on Request Approval so you can start the application process. You’ll likely have to provide supplemental information, which can include any combination of the following:
- Wholesale invoices. These need to be legible and scanned/photographed in high quality, contain the name of the product and where they were sourced from, the physical address and phone number for both you and the supplier (your address needs to match what’s in your Seller Central), and, depending on the category, they need to be recent (e.g. Grocery requires invoices from the last 180 days).
- A letter from the manufacturer or brand owner to prove authenticity.
- Other product- or category-specific documentation (Amazon lists all the requirements specific to categories).
- A fee
- A company website
Note: Amazon says that if you successfully apply for approval to sell in a restricted category, you need to upgrade to a Professional Selling plan and you must list products in the appropriate categories.
Getting approval to sell in Amazon gated categories might be able to really benefit you as a seller, as you’ll have the confidence in knowing you’re going up against other sellers who have their act together — and that means they’re predictable, so you can form a consistent plan of attack to outrank them.
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