Selling on Amazon is often a highly accessible entrance to entrepreneurship. Undoubtedly, the platform is one of the largest marketplaces, which offers endless possibilities for sellers. However, “gated categories” on Amazon make the journey to success a bit more difficult but not impossible. It is a common mistake among new sellers to find a perfect product to sell, only to realize Amazon restricts the listing.
Similarly to any other business, Amazon actively tries to protect its customers from harmful products. Consequently, this has led to targeting new sellers with these category or product based restrictions.
If you wish to understand Amazon gated categories and how to get approval to sell these products, this is the guide for you.
Why Do Some Categories Require Amazon’s Approval?
Worldwide, Amazon offers a vast online marketplace for over 2 million active sellers and over two billion monthly shoppers. Undoubtedly, the reason why Amazon restricts certain categories is based on their interest to maintain a good reputation. Verifying the sellers and listed items reduces the risk of fraudulent products selling on the site.
Moreover, Amazon values its customers’ safety, meaning all the sellers have to follow Amazon’s compliance and safety regulations. For specific products, brands, categories, and sub-categories, Amazon requires sellers to obtain approval before listing products for sale.
Why Sellers Sell Items in Gated Categories?
Especially if you are a new seller, you might be wondering why should I go through the trouble of selling items that are restricted. Admittedly, it is true that listing items that are not obligated for Amazon’s approval requires less effort and are suitable targets for beginners.
In general, fewer sellers are willing to go to that extra mile and handle all the hassle that relates to gated categories. However, due to this exact reason, there is an opportunity to increase your profits.
Selling on Amazon has become increasingly popular, and many want to jump on the bandwagon to profit from the most current trends. Therefore, certain markets are saturated and competition among existing listings is fierce. Moreover, finding new profitable items to sell on Amazon has become harder and harder.
Therefore, approaching possibilities that others consider too troublesome is your chance to Amazon success. Due to far less competition and possible higher profit margins, suddenly, the idea of selling restricted items sounds intriguing. All you have to do is to learn to play by Amazon’s rules.
What Are Gated Categories on Amazon?
Amazon classifies gated categories restricted in order to protect consumers. For this reason, Amazon sellers who wish to sell their products under any of these categories, need to apply for Amazon approval first. The approval process might involve additional fees, performance checks, or other actions Amazon sees necessary. Furthermore, keep in mind the process varies depending on the item as well.
List of Amazon Gated Categories in 2021:
- Collectible Coins
- Fine Art
- Holiday Selling Requirements in Toys & Games
- Join Amazon Subscription Boxes
- Made in Italy
- Music & DVD
- Personal Safety and Household products
- Postage stamps
- Requirements for selling Automotive & Powersports products
- Sports Collectibles
- Streaming Media Players
- Video, DVD, & Blu-ray
Amazon FBA List of Gated Categories
If you sell through Amazon FBA, you should be extra careful on the products you sent to fulfillment centers. In most cases, violating the policies can become costly. For example, Amazon might dispose of hazardous materials without reimbursement for the seller.
Before you ship your items, make sure you review Amazon FBA-specific product restrictions to see which items you are not allowed to sell.
Ungated Categories on Amazon
Fortunately, many categories are automatically open for all Amazon sellers, including new ones. These are an excellent start for most sellers and often a way to get experience.
The list of ungated categories on Amazon in 2021:
- Baby *
- Beauty *
- Camera & Photo
- Clothing & Accessories
- Consumer Electronics
- Grocery & Gourmet Foods
- Health & Personal Care *
- Home & Garden
- Industrial & Scientific (BISS)
- Kindle Accessories
- Luggage & Travel Accessories
- Musical Instruments
- Office Products
- Personal Computers
- Pet Supplies
- Shoes, Handbags, & Sunglasses
- Tools & Home Improvement
- Video Games*Despite these categories being far more accessible, some restrictions may still apply regarding subcategories. Additionally, during the busy holiday season, restrictions apply to anything in the Toys and Games category.
Gated Products on Amazon
In addition to categories, Amazon restricts the listing of certain products.
Additionally, it’s important to note that Amazon restricts the brands that are being sold on their platform. The reason for that is to reduce the risk that the item is fake or stolen from a retail store. Furthermore, often the brand themselves want to exclusively sell their items elsewhere or don’t want their brand value to decrease.
List of Amazon restricted products in 2021:
- Animals & Animal-Related Products
- Art – Fine Art
- Art – Home Decor
- Automotive and Powersports
- Composite Wood Products
- Cosmetics & Skin/Hair Care
- CPAP Cleaning and Disinfecting Devices
- Currency, Coins, Cash Equivalents, and Gift Cards
- Dietary Supplements
- Drugs & drug paraphernalia
- Explosives, Weapons, and Related Items
- Export Controls
- Food & Beverage
- Gambling & Lottery
- Hazardous and Dangerous Items
- Human Parts & Burial Artifacts
- Jewelry & Precious Gems
- Laser products
- Lock Picking & Theft Devices
- Medical devices and accessories
- Offensive and Controversial Materials
- Other Restricted Products
- Pesticides and Pesticide Devices
- Plant and Seed Products
- Postage meters and stamps
- Recalled Products
- Recycling electronics
- Refrigerants: Ozone-Depleting Substances and Substitutes
- Subscriptions and Periodicals
- Surveillance Equipment
- Tobacco & Tobacco-Related Products
- Upholstered Furniture, Bedding, & Other Quilted Products
- Warranties, Service Plans, Contracts, and Guarantees
Both lists for categories and products are long and Amazon might change them if necessary. Double-check the most recent regulations from Amazon Seller Central.
How to Get Approved for Amazon Gated Categories?
At this point, you are asking how to get approval for selling restricted categories? Luckily, getting the Amazon gated categories unrestricted is rather easy.
However, not all products or seller accounts are eligible to sell. The following steps instruct you on how to check if yours are eligible.
Here is the process to apply for approval:
- Log in to Seller Central.
- Select “Add A Product” in the inventory link.
- Find the item you wish to sell.
- Click on “Show limitations” for more information.
- Click to “Apply to sell” to request approval.
Getting Auto-approval on Amazon
Sometimes sellers report that their ASINs got automatically approved. However, this seems to vary from seller to seller. Regardless, you should apply for the process. The chances are that Amazon automatically approves certain ASINs for you.
What is Amazon’s Prohibited Product Claims Policy
As mentioned before, Amazon is very strict when it comes to protecting the consumers and maintaining a good reputation. Prohibited Product Claim Policy protects the customers from sellers setting false or unrealistic expectations.
Make sure you read through and understand the FTC’s guidelines. The purpose is to protect “consumers from unfair or deceptive advertising and marketing practices that raise health and safety concerns, as well as those that cause economic injury.” As a seller, you are responsible for making sure the product statements are not misleading or deceptive.
Be careful if any of your products make any “green” marketing claims on Amazon, for example regarding climate, environment, and sustainability. In this case, the products must be compliance with the FCT’s “Green Guides” as well.
What Happens if You Violate Amazon Policies?
Overall, Amazon takes all the policy violations very seriously. If you break the rules, you may find yourself in a situation where your whole business is at risk.
In general, the safest way to avoid any negative repercussions is to do your research and comply with all of Amazon’s rules and regulations. However, if Amazon finds you violating their policies, the possible consequences are:
- Listing cancellation.
- Limits on your listing privileges.
- Suspension on your listing privileges.
- Removing your listing privileges.
However, Amazon does not necessarily limit the disciplinary actions to these. In extreme cases, Amazon may permanently withhold payments or terminate the business relationship. Also, sellers should be careful because selling illegal or unsafe products may lead to legal actions.
What to Do If You Get Rejected?
First of all, before you apply, double-check that you have all the information Amazon requires and it’s correct. Make sure you research the most recent restriction rules from Amazon Seller Central. If you get rejected despite all the precautions you took, unfortunately, Amazon does not tell you the exact reason for rejection. However, there are some actions you can take to increase your chances of getting approved.
- Make sure you are a professional seller. Despite the costs, it has many benefits compared to the individual selling plan.
- Check your performance. Problems such as bad reviews, late shipments, and product defects have a negative impact on your seller metrics. As a consequence, Amazon may see you as a less trustworthy seller.
- Work with a domestic supplier. One way to prove your authenticity is to present invoices to Amazon. However, in the past Amazon has been rejecting invoices from Chinese suppliers. Instead, find a domestic supplier to work with.
- Get experience. Sometimes new sellers get rejected, other times approved. Generally, Amazon tends to prefer sellers who already have some experience and have proven to be trustworthy. You can start selling with ungated categories on Amazon before expanding to the restricted ones.
- Maintain a company website. A well-maintained company website indicates to Amazon and your customer that you are a trustworthy seller.
In conclusion, the path to getting your gated categories or products approved is not the easiest road. However, if go through the process the outcome is often worth the effort. Facing fewer competitors and gaining higher profits is a desirable goal for any Amazon seller.
As said before, Amazon gated categories are a barrier for many sellers. The key to your Amazon success is to focus on the opportunities other are not looking for or chances they are not willing to take. Additionally, when you enter that market, you have the confidence to take on the limited competition, and you can create solid strategies to outrank them.
However, remember you are not on this journey alone. If you have trouble, our expertise team at Eva, are here to help you with +20 years of experience.