Amazon offers any product imaginable, but that doesn’t imply you should sell anything on Amazon. The e-commerce behemoth works hard to safeguard its customers from fake or dangerous items. Amazon offers numerous categories that are restricted to most vendors in order to fulfill its aims. They are known as ‘Amazon Restricted Product Categories‘ or ‘Ungated Categories.’
What are these categories, and how can you obtain clearance to sell items under them? We’ll help you snag a piece of the restricted pie with this comprehensive guide.
1. What qualifies as Amazon restricted product categories?
Amazon wants to ensure that its consumers have the greatest possible purchasing experience. Amazon has additional security procedures in place to assist make that happen when it comes to items that sellers may easily misuse and misrepresent.
So, what exactly is a limited product?
Again, because limitations differ per product, Amazon does not have a unified definition of what defines a limited product. They do, however, have general qualifications that we should bear in mind when we do product research. If you offer Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), check Amazon’s FBA Product Restrictions to determine which goods cannot be sold through FBA.
Amazon restricted product categories are divided into three main sorts in order to safeguard their over two billion unique monthly shoppers: Collectibles with particular condition standards; high-quality expert products; and commodities governed by state and/or federal legislation.
2. The policy of Amazon restricted product categories
The last thing Amazon wants is a lawsuit from a consumer who claims they purchased a product from an Amazon seller who failed to live up to the promises made in its listing. As a result, Amazon’s product claims policy closely complies to the FTC’s laws against “unfair or misleading” advertising.
That is also why every vendor should study the FTC’s guidelines on online marketing. As vendors, we are solely responsible for ensuring that our product claims are neither misleading or deceptive.
The Division of Advertising Activities of the Federal Trade Commission takes responsibility for protecting “consumers against unfair or misleading advertising and marketing practices that raise health and safety issues, as well as those that cause economic injury.” The claims policy for Amazon restricted product categories also prohibits the sale of items that claim to “cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent illnesses in people or animals without FDA clearance.”
When it comes to Amazon items that make environmental claims, they must not mislead buyers about the quality or features of the item being offered. Sellers must be aware of the rules around “green” marketing claims in order to ensure compliance with the FTC’s “Green Guides.” If you sell a product that has an environmental claim, it’s worth the time commitment.
3. Why Do Amazon Have Restricted Product Categories?
Sellers must be aware of the rules around “green” marketing claims in order to ensure compliance with the FTC’s “Green Guides.” If you sell a product that has an environmental claim, it’s worth the time commitment (eg. saying your product was made using renewable energy to avoid violating the Amazon restricted product categories.
4. A list of Amazon restricted product categories in 2022
To safeguard customers, Amazon has labeled certain categories as Amazon ‘restricted’ product categories. Before they can sell any items in these categories, Amazon sellers must first obtain clearance. Amazon offers a varied list of limited categories and prohibited items depending on the marketplace and national regulations. Although we will be focused on Amazon US in this tutorial, many of the steps for obtaining clearance are similar across nations.
Amazon has a large list of banned products, with the Amazon restricted product categories on the platform:
- Animals & Animal-Related Products
- Art – Fine Art
- Art – Home Decor
- Automotive and Powersports
- Composite Wood Products
- Cosmetics & Skin/Hair Care
- 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
- Pesticides and Pesticide Devices
- Plant and Seed Products
- Postage Meters & Stamps
- Recalled Products
- Recycling electronics
- Subscriptions and Periodicals
- Surveillance Equipment
- Tobacco & Tobacco-Related Products
- Warranties, Service Plans, Contracts, and Guarantees
- Other Restricted Products
- Refrigerants: Ozone-Depleting Substances and Substitutes
5. What happens when you violate the Amazon restricted product categories?
Amazon takes policy violations extremely severely. Consider the following implications while deciding whether or not to bend or breach their rules:
- Your listings may be removed.
- They may restrict your listing rights.
- Your listing rights may be revoked.
- They may completely revoke your listing rights.
- And it might be tough to get reinstated once Amazon takes disciplinary action against you.
The most secure course of action is to follow all of Amazon’s rules and regulations.
6. Amazon Category Approval Services
If you’re having difficulties navigating the application procedure with Amazon restricted product categories, you might want to consider using an ‘ungating service.’ Keep in mind that ungating services are not affiliated with Amazon. They can assist you with the application process, but they cannot promise that your application will be accepted.
If you’re having trouble with the application process, it may be useful to use an ungating service, although you may easily finish it yourself. Because third-party ungating services have received varied ratings, it is suggested that you complete the application yourself if feasible.
7. How To Get Approval To Sell On Amazon
Amazon category approval requests aren’t often difficult, but they can take some time to process. When you make an approval request, you may be automatically authorized in some cases. Moreover, if you have been selling on Amazon for a while and have a strong reputation, rather than if you are a complete newcomer.
So, go to your Amazon Seller Central account, check for product limitations, and then seek approval to avoid violating Amazon restricted product categories:
- Navigate to your Seller Central account and select Inventory.
- Choose ‘Add a Product.’
- Search the item you wish to sell.
- If it comes back as restricted, click the ‘Listing Limitations Apply’ button.
- Select the ‘Request Approval’ option.
If you receive a quick answer indicating that your request has been accepted, you will be overjoyed, and yes, this is possible!
If you don’t, you’ll be asked for further information, which can be a bit more complicated. You will very certainly be needed to present thorough wholesale invoices as well as information about your company and its items.
Amazon utilizes the invoices you provide, together with other factors, to make an educated judgement about whether to provide you access to the Amazon restricted product categories.
Other criteria that might be used include:
- An order failure rate of less than 1%
- Pro-seller strategy
- A well-maintained account
- At least three months of sales experience
- A return address in the nation in which you are selling OR the option of free delivery
- Customer service in the language of the customer
If you are requested to produce invoices, this is simply to demonstrate to Amazon that you are a real seller, therefore you will need to obtain wholesale invoices for a product that falls into the limited category.
If you are already selling a product that is under Amazon restricted product categories elsewhere, you will have this information. But, if you’re planning to source a new product and are worried about having to buy the stock before knowing if you’ll be permitted into the gated category or not, don’t sweat. There’s an easy method around this.
Top Tip: Your invoice does not have to be for the goods you want to sell; instead, acquire a wholesale invoice for any product that fits into the limited category.
Here’s how to accomplish it in three simple steps:
Step 1: Register with a Wholesaler.
You must confirm that the address you register with your wholesaler matches the information in your Amazon account.
Step 2: Make a wholesale purchase and obtain a commercial invoice.
Choose three distinct goods that are already being sold in the limited Amazon category in which you want to sell. Place an order with your supplier for ten of each. When you buy such items, you will be given an invoice. You might not even wind up selling those items on Amazon at all; this is just a practice run to see whether you can generate a qualified invoice.
Top Tip: Include the following information on your commercial invoice:
- Name, phone number, location, and website of the supplier.
- Your company information corresponds to your Amazon seller account information.
Step three: Scan and duplicate the invoice
You now have documentation of your wholesale purchase and product validity, and you can provide Amazon with the authentic original invoice data. The simplest method to accomplish this is to snap an image and submit it using the form provided. Don’t make any changes to the invoice. Take photographs of the items as they arrive to show Amazon that you have stock ready to sell. Then it’s just a matter of waiting for Amazon’s answer, which may take from few hours to a few days.
Moreover, please note that Amazon frequently refuses access to Amazon restricted product categories with little or no justification. If this happens to you, don’t give up; instead, keep trying. You may need to persevere and continue testing with other wholesalers, or you may need to attempt increasing your seller metrics until you receive permission.
8. What should you do to sell in Amazon restricted product categories?
Selling in Amazon restricted product categories necessitates becoming “ungated,” which entails acquiring specific authorization to sell in a category that does not enable sellers to just sign up for and begin selling in. The requirements for each category in terms of becoming unblocked vary, but this is the basic sequence of actions you should take.
8.1. Establish a Professional Seller Account
To become unrestricted in most categories, you’ll need to create a professional seller account rather than an individual one. There are some exceptions, such as collectible books (which are fairly easy to get ungated in), collectible coins (which are much more difficult), fine jewelry (which is quite expensive), gift cards (which are straightforward but with very black and white limitations), Kindle Accessories (which are simple but have huge fees), major appliances (shipping costs may be an issue), and others.
8.2. Establish a Wholesaler Account
Make sure the address on your wholesale account matches the one on your normal account when you establish it. Remember to provide both your LLC name and your Amazon name if they vary.
8.3. Begin keeping a short order history
You’ll need to buy around ten goods from three different categories in order to become unrestricted, such as ten collectible books, ten food items, and ten watches. You may retain these goods or sell them on your own listings, but don’t expect to make a profit. The objective here is to complete the ungating procedure.
8.4. Gather and Scan Invoices
When you receive the invoices, create duplicates and set away the originals for protection. The copies can be marked or added to, but not the originals. Also, while making copies, make sure you have the following items:
- Your seller’s name appears at the top.
- Each product in the invoice is labeled with its ASIN, UPC, and item model number.
- Images, whether you’re looking for unrestricted access to Shoes, Clothing and Accessories, Luggage and Travel, or Handbags and Sunglasses.
- The copies are high-resolution.
9. Tips to Get Amazon Restricted Product Categories Approval
While the application procedure is basic and clear, there are always things you can do to improve your chances of approval.
9.1. Create a positive vendor reputation
Obtaining approval to sell items in Amazon restricted product categories is contingent on your reputation and past. Amazon frequently rejects applications from new vendors. Building trust on Amazon takes time, so it’s best to start with unrestricted categories and work your way up.
9.2. Make use of brand products
You will have a far greater chance of success if you apply with well-known brand products. To safeguard consumer interests and reduce the sale of faulty or counterfeit goods, categories and items are prohibited. As a result, when applying to ungate a category, your private label may not always make the cut. Even if you do not intend to sell them, including brand products in your application will increase your chances of being approved by Amazon.
9.3. Check the amounts
Make certain that the minimum quantity criteria for each invoice are met. Check your application requirements again to ensure you satisfy them.
9.4. Purchase locally or directly from the manufacturer
When asking for a limited category or product approval, be certain that your product is sourced from a local provider. For an ungated application, Amazon seldom accepts invoices from international manufacturers. Purchase directly from the manufacturer whenever feasible to ensure the product’s safety and authenticity.
10. Final thought
Obtaining clearance to sell items in limited categories is difficult, but it is frequently worthwhile. Once you’ve overcome the initial barrier to entry, you’ll be able to differentiate yourself from other merchants. Amazon restricted product categories are also less saturated, resulting in less competition. This will assist you in gaining a greater market share and increasing your income. It also allows you to build a strong brand and reputation in these sectors. This is a fantastic opportunity to expand your business if you are prepared to go the additional mile.