When sellers start an Amazon business, it is often an awakening when they realize that they can’t sell an “in-demand” product. Why? Because it belongs to the Amazon restricted categories, where you need permission before you can sell.
Amazon is not selective about the kinds of individuals who can sell on its platform. Anyone can sell on the platform as long as they have the necessary requirements. However, the website has a clear set of rules regarding which products are allowed on the platform. Not all products can be sold on the website by default. Some products even need special permission before you can start offering them in your store.
Do you fall into the category of sellers who had to let go of specific products they thought would do well for this reason? Were you initially unaware of Amazon’s restricted categories? If your answer is yes, then this post will give you a better understanding of the Amazon-restricted categories. Familiarizing yourself with these categories can help you stay ungated on the website.
What are Amazon Restricted Categories?
When you start registering on the website, you have two options to choose from. These are the Individual account and Professional Seller accounts. The individual Amazon seller account is free to create. However, you need to give AMZ a commission of $0.99 whenever you make a sale if you sign up with an Individual account. Furthermore, you cannot sell in restricted categories too.
When you sign up for a professional Amazon seller account, you don’t have to pay $0.99 every time you make a sale. However, you need to pay a monthly subscription fee of $39.99 to use this service. There are many perks when signing up with a Professional seller account though. Aside from the fact that you can use other features such as third-party tools, you can also sell on restricted categories.
Restricted categories, also known as gated categories are select categories that require sellers to request approval before listing products that belong there. While this might be what you call “gatekeeping”, it is also essential to do this. Doing this ensures that all sellers are verified and will adhere to the platform’s high standards.
What does being “ungated” on Amazon mean?
Every industry has its lingo. Being ungated is the Amazon seller’s way of saying you have Amazon’s approval. If you’re new, you have probably wondered what it means to be ungated.
Since gated categories are restricted categories on Amazon, being ungated means you have gotten approval to sell in one of these categories.
For a lot of people, they’re quickly discouraged when they discover a product they want to sell is restricted. Several sellers avoid the approval process since they believe it is lengthy and complicated.
Most of the time, however, the process can be quite simple. Even restricted categories that you consider difficult to get approved for can be pretty easy, they just require a little more effort.
What is Amazon FBA’s influence on being “ungated”
There are two fulfillment methods usually adopted by sellers on the platform. These are FBM (fulfillment by Merchant) and FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon).
In FBM, the sellers are the ones who pick, pack, ship, and deliver the products to their customers. It is usually the default way of fulfilling orders even if you sell on other websites such as eBay, Etsy, or Walmart.
On the other hand, FBA utilizes and leverages the network of AMZ when it comes to fulfillment. All you have to do as a seller is send your inventory to AMZ’s warehouse. Once they receive an order from your customer, they will be the ones to pick, pack, and ship the orders. This means that you don’t have to worry about fulfillment anymore.
So what is FBA’s influence on being ungated as a seller? Simple. Using the FBA service gives you a better chance of being accepted in a restricted category. AMZN tends to trust sellers who use FBA because they can also offer free shipping and give access to Prime members. If you want to get “ungated” faster, using the FBA as your fulfillment method can definitely help.
What are the ‘Gated’ categories on Amazon?
Because the regulations differ from one restricted category to the next, AMZ does not have a standardized set of determining factors on whether you can start selling in a restricted category without having to provide additional information for approval.
However, getting approval to sell in a particular category may require you to pay certain fees and undergo a series of procedures. Here is a list of restricted categories on Amazon and how to sell in these categories.
Automobile parts and accessories include products designed for cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles. Products consist of tires, wheels, tools, fluids, and other products suitable for use in automobiles.
To sell any product in this category, you must:
- Be on a professional selling plan
- List all major brands using UPC (Universal Product Codes)
- Licensed refurbished Automotive & Powersports products must carry a warranty from the original manufacturer or remanufacturer.
- Images that can be reviewed by independent websites or image hosting sites must be compliant.
- Have a website if you are a reseller, however, if you are a private label seller, you may not need to worry.
Expensive wristwatch brands such as Rolex, Cartier, Chopard, Rado, and the likes also fall under Amazon’s list of restricted products.
To list a product in this category, you must:
- Be able to test for waterproofing and timekeeping accuracy.
- Be on a professional selling account
- According to Amazon, meet all requirements set forth by a third-party watch certification organization.
- Meet the following Performance metrics:
- Pre-fulfillment cancellation rate of 2.5% or less, ODR 1% or less, and late delivery rate of 4% and below.
- List all products in this category using the manufacturer’s UPC.
Collectibles related to movies, music, television, and historical items that have been signed, are limited edition, or possess some other qualities that make them valuable to collectors are entertainment collectibles.
Although this restricted category is considered easier to get AMZ’s approval for, sellers still have to follow certain guidelines. To list a product in this category, you must:
- Be on a professional seller central account
- Maintain the stipulated seller metrics. Pre-fulfillment cancellation rate of 2.5% or less, ODR 1% or less, and late delivery rate of 4% and below.
- Stick to listing requirements for items in this category.
- Product order and purchase procedures should be carried out on the website.
Unlike other categories, sellers cannot apply for approval to sell in this category, online. To start the application process, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Items in this category include unique art pieces and these products are usually very expensive. AMZ does not permit sellers who represent themselves. Fine art is only available only for galleries and art agencies.
To list a product in this category on Amazon, sellers must:
- Have been selling art collections for at least 3–4 years.
- Have a solid online presence.
- Include a curatorial element by including yearly exhibition schedules, essays, or exhibition catalogs.
Related: The Top 10 Best-selling product categories on Amazon
Video, DVDs, and Blu-ray
This category covers all video media. Sellers who want to sell products in this category must:
- Be on a professional selling account or upgrade to a professional account after approval
- Comply with the seller performance metrics. Pre-fulfillment cancellation rate of 2.5% or less, ODR 1% or less, and late delivery rate of 4% and below.
- Provide information on primary inventory sources, estimate no of units for sale, and purchase invoices from your inventory source.
AMZ has put strict regulations in this category to ensure that counterfeit DVDs and videos are not sold on its platform.
Collectible coins are some of the hardest gated categories to get into. There are so many rules and regulations that you have to follow before you can sell in this category. And that is not for lack of prudence.
Because of so many fake and counterfeit coins circulating around, AMZ requires a lot of things before you can sell products here. Not to mention the fact that counterfeit coins look so real that an untrained eye can easily get duped.
Below are some of the strict requirements before you can scale through the application process to sell in these collectible coin category:
- Be a member of PNG (Professional Numismatist Guild)
- Maintain membership in ICTA (Industry Council for Tangible Assets)
- Be a member of PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service)
- Maintain membership in NGC/PMG – (Numismatic Grading Corporation/Paper Money Guarantee)
- At least 70% of the seller’s inventory should be graded by either PCGS or NGC
- Inventory of the seller should come from a legally-recognized mint (such as the US Mint)
- The seller should provide copies of its anti-money laundering program to Amazon
- Coins that are listed above $1,500 must be graded by NGC or PCGS
- Ungraded coins must be graded by the seller.
- Bags, tubes, jars, rolls, or any other unknown coins sold in bulk are not allowed.
- Sellers must maintain their own personal website where the coins sold can be viewed
- Be on the Professional Seller plan
When it comes to membership in the said organizations above, at least one organization is accepted. You don’t have to be a member of all the organizations to sell in these Amazon-restricted categories.
As you can see, membership acceptance in the collectible coins category is quite difficult. This is to protect potential buyers from being scammed. This is really a heads-up act on the part of AMZ.
Just like coin collectibles, the sports memorabilia category is one filled with lots of counterfeit items. It’s very easy to modify and fake credentials such as autographs from famous players. Claims such as “game-worn” items can also be hard to refute as a buyer. This is why strict requirements are in place before selling in these gated categories.
Here are some of the seller requirements in the Sports Collectibles category:
- Have a Professional Seller Central account
- Maintain a defect order rate that is lower than 75%
- Products must be graded and authenticated (unless the item is a sealed box of trading cards)
Some of the accepted authenticators are Beckett, Panini Authentic, Steiner Sports, Professional Sports Authenticator, Topps Collectibles, Fanatics Authentics, and James Spence Authentication.
Other Amazon Gated Categories
- Household products
- Toys and Games
- Amazon Handmade
- Videos, DVDs, and Blu-rays
What Qualifies As a Restricted Product on Amazon?
Not all product categories on AMZ are restricted. Of course, there are ungated Amazon product categories. In fact, most products belong to ungated categories. So, it is important for sellers to be able to differentiate ungated Amazon categories from restricted ones.
AMZ does not have a fixed set of guidelines to help sellers identify Amazon FBA Restricted products. But be sure to review the list of restricted products on Amazon to see the specific products that can’t be sold via Fulfillment by (FBA).
Restricted products are products that:
- Require you to provide additional information before you can list them.
- Carry the FDA logo in their listing images.
Amazon’s List of Restricted Products
- Animals & animal-related products
- Art-Fine Art
- Art-Home Decor
- Automotive and Powersports
- Composite wood products
- Cosmetics & Skin/Hair Care
- CPAP Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Currency, Coins, Cash Equivalents
- Dietary Supplements
- Drugs and drug paraphernalia
- Explosives, Weapons, and Related Items
- Export Controls
- Food and beverage
- Gambling & Lottery
- Hazardous and prohibited items
- Human Parts & Burial Artifacts
- Jewelry & Precious Gems
- Laser products
- Lock Picking and Theft Devices
- Medical devices
- 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
- Warranties, Service Plans, Contracts, and Guarantees
- Upholstered Furniture, Bedding, & Other Quilted Products
How To Request Approval To Sell In Gated Categories
Contrary to the opinion that many sellers have, getting approval to sell in gated categories is relatively easy. But before you begin the approval process, you should check if your product belongs to a gated category or not.
Here’s how to check product eligibility:
- Log in to your Amazon Seller Central account
- From your homepage, click on the ‘Inventory’ tab near the top-left corner.
- Click ‘Add a Product’ in the dropdown menu.
- Select the item you would like to sell.
- Then, click the ‘Show listing limitations’ button located to the left of the product information.
- Click on the ‘Request Approval’ button if you would like to start the approval process to sell restricted products on Amazon. If approval requests are not being accepted, you will receive an email stating that.
Requirements for Approval to Sell in Restricted Categories
Selling products in the restricted category is usually beneficial because there’s not a lot of competition for these products. So, if you are able to apply and get approval from Amazon to sell these products, this is a great way to generate more sales and thus make more profit.
Getting approval does not come easy and there is no formula to getting approval, however, there are some requirements that can help your case when applying for approval.
Great Seller or Performance Metrics
Amazon typically takes a look at your seller metrics before approving your request to sell in gated categories. So, having great performance metrics is one thing you should pay attention to if you intend to seek approvals to sell restricted goods in the future. Some performance metrics to look out for are:
- A defect rate of less than 1%
- Pre-fulfillment cancellation rate of less than 2.5%
- Late shipment rate of less than 4%
You must be a professional seller
Only professional sellers stand a chance to sell in restricted categories. Although using a professional seller account would cost you about $39.99 monthly, you may want to consider this as the price you’ll have to pay to sell in a gated category.
Have updated invoices
Your business invoice must tally with the invoice on your seller central account. Ensuring you keep an updated invoice is not only a requirement for approval, but it is also beneficial for your business. Invoices are required to be dated 90 days prior to applying for approval.
You must possess evidence of product authenticity
This means that you need to have proof that your product supplier is either a licensed dealer or a product manufacturer. All products must be original and safe. You may also be required to provide a return address in the country you are based.
Can new sellers request approval to sell in gated categories?
Since Amazon checks seller metrics before approving requests to sell in restricted categories, new sellers may be unlikely to gain approval if they do not have a solid seller reputation.
Can I use a retail receipt instead of an invoice when applying?
No, You can not. You need to provide the official receipt of your business.
Does Amazon only restrict product categories?
No, Amazon has brand and product-condition restrictions in place too. Brand restrictions prevent sellers from listing certain brands. Adidas, Gucci, Nike, Christian Dior, Bose, Fissler, and similar brands are some of the brands that Amazon has placed a restriction on.
Amazon has also placed product-condition restrictions on some categories to prevent sellers from selling used items there. Health and personal care products, Grocery and gourmet food, baby products, Jewelry, watches, handbags, sunglasses, baby products, clothing accessories, beauty products, and clothing are some of the categories that have a product-condition restriction.
‘Prohibited Product Claims’ policy
Product claims policy follows the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) guidelines around misleading advertisements.
Sellers are mandated to make sure they go through the FTC guidelines and make sure that their product advertisements are not deceptive or misleading. Also, AMZN’s claims policy does not allow sellers to claim that their products can be used to treat, mitigate, or prevent human or animal diseases except if the products have been approved by the FDA for such use.
You shouldn’t have to let go of the next ‘in-demand product you get because it’s on the list of restricted products. Restricted categories have a huge potential for sales if you are willing to put in the work and comply with AMZN’s requirements.
Whether you plan to sell in restricted categories on Amazon or not, you need to find products to sell. And when it comes to finding products to sell for your store, Zonbase is a tool that you should have.
ZonBase is considered one of the best-value software tools for AMZ sellers, Zonbase can help you find winning products. With 20+ tools and services to help sellers do product research, keyword research, and product optimization, Zonbase is the only seller tool you need.
Interested to see what Zonbase can do for you and your online business? Sign up for a free trial of Zonbase today.