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Travis Fleming
by Travis F.posted on 23.04.2019

Amazon Restricted Categories and the Ungating Process

People have a lot of questions about selling on Amazon, but one of the things people ask about most is how to get ungated on Amazon.

In case you didn’t know, there are a number of categories on Amazon that are restricted. In order to sell products in one of these categories, you need to go through an application process. Depending on which category you want to get into, the process can either be quick and easy or long and rather complicated.

We’ve put together all the information you need to know about how to get ungated on Amazon. If you have a product you want to sell that’s in one of the company’s restricted categories, keep reading to learn how you can get approved.

What Does It Mean to Be Ungated on Amazon?

Amazon sellers have developed their own lingo over the years. A gated category refers to one of the many restricted categories on the website, and being ungated simply means you’ve become approved to sell in one of those categories.

For a lot of people, they’re quickly discouraged when they discover a product they want to sell is restricted. Many sellers believe that the Amazon ungating process is long and complicated, so they avoid it. However, in many cases the process is surprisingly easy. You’ll likely find that even the most difficult categories aren’t impossible to get approved for, they just require a little more work.

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So, if you find a product in an Amazon restricted category that you’d like to sell, don’t write it off so quickly. Review the information below and assess whether it’s worth it to try and get ungated for that category. It’s possible the process is easier than you think.

Why Should You Try to Become an Ungated Amazon Seller?

As mentioned above, many sellers avoid Amazon restricted categories. This is either because they feel the process is too difficult, or they don’t have the time or patience to do the necessary work required.

This provides a number of benefits for people who are willing to go through the application process in order to sell in restricted categories. Anytime you can overcome a barrier to entry that other people aren’t willing to endure, you’ll enjoy a clear advantage over your competition.

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In addition to providing you with more inventory options, ungated Amazon sellers also often face less competition. Because so many people aren’t willing to go through the approval process, restricted categories have fewer sellers. Furthermore, most of these categories have just as much demand, if not more, than the other categories on Amazon. That means more profits split between fewer sellers.

So, if you’re tired of selling in categories where the competition is endless, consider getting ungated on Amazon. Sure, it’s a little more work than selling in one of the other categories, but the payoff could very well be worth the extra effort.

Which Categories on Amazon Are Restricted?

There are currently 18 gated categories on Amazon:

  • Automotive and Powersports

  • Clothing, Accessories, Shoes, and Luggage

  • Collectible Books

  • Collectible Coins

  • Entertainment Collectibles

  • Fine Art

  • Fine Jewelry

  • Gift Cards

  • Grocery and Gourmet Foods

  • Kindle Accessories

  • Major Appliances

  • Sexual Wellness

  • Sports Collectibles

  • Textbook Rentals

  • Toys & Games (Holiday Guidelines)

  • Video, DVD, and Blu-ray

  • Watches

  • Wine

Restricted categories on Amazon generally contain products that are heavily regulated or have the potential to be counterfeit or fake.

For example, it makes sense that Amazon would want to be careful about whom it lets sell jewelry. There are a number of scam artists who sell fake jewelry, and as the world’s biggest and most respected retailer, the company wants to make sure that all the items sold on their website are as described.

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While it can be frustrating for legitimate sellers who have good intentions and sell quality products, you can understand why Amazon needs to put its customers first and restrict who can sell in these categories.

How to Get Ungated on Amazon in 4 Easy Steps

For a number of products, the application process is fairly straightforward. Some categories require additional information and steps, which we’ll cover below. But in general, in order to get ungated on Amazon, follow the steps below.

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  1. Sign up for a Professional Selling Plan: If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to sign up to become a Professional Seller. Only people with a Professional Selling Plan are allowed to sell in restricted categories. There’s a $39.99 monthly fee for this plan, but Amazon also takes less of a cut from your sales, so if you sell a large number of products per month this plan will actually save you money over time.

  2. Find the product you want to sell: Log into your Amazon account and under the inventory menu, select “Add Product”. Then perform a search for your product.

  3. Open the application form: Once you’ve found the product you want to sell in the search results, click the “Listing Limitations May Apply” link next to the item, then click “Request Approval”. This will take you to the application form needed to sell that product.

  4. Fill out the application: Follow the on-screen instructions and complete the application form for your product. As mentioned before, every application is slightly different. In some cases, you may need to provide invoices or images of the product, so make sure you have all the information you need before you start filling out the form.

How to Become Ungated on Amazon in Each Category

Some of Amazon’s restricted categories just require filling out a quick questionnaire, while others will ask you for additional documentation and information. Before applying to become ungated in one of these categories, it’s good to know what you’re getting into and what you’ll need in order to get approved.

Here’s a rundown of all of Amazon’s restricted categories and the steps you need to take to start selling these items.

Ungating in Grocery and Gourmet Foods Category

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This category has one of the more complicated application processes and some of the tightest guidelines. It’s also one of the most asked about, so we’ll start here. Take the following steps if you want to become ungated in the Grocery and Gourmet Foods category:

  1. Meet the Required Performance Targets: In order to sell in the Grocery and Gourmet Foods category, you need to meet certain targets in regards to your performance. Your order defect rate needs to be below 1%, your pre-fulfilment cancel rate needs to be below 2.5%, and your late shipment rate needs to be below 4%.

  2. Create an Account with a Wholesaler: Before getting accepted as a seller of grocery items, you need to have an account with a trusted distributor that’s already selling products in that category on Amazon. First, find a wholesaler you want to work with. Sellers have reported having good success with USGrocer and DollarDays. When signing up for an account, make sure to use the same mailing address and email address that’s listed on your Amazon account.

  3. Place an Order: You’ll need to place an order for the products you want to sell. It may seem odd to do this before you’re approved, but you’ll need to provide Amazon with copies of your invoices as part of the application process.

  4. Scan Your Invoices: Once you receive your items, check to make sure the information listed on your invoice matches the information on your Amazon seller account. If there are any differences in your address, email, or phone number, you’ll likely get rejected. Next, scan your invoice or take a photo of it. Finally, you’re going to need to do some minor photo editing and add in the ASIN number of the product on Amazon next to the item description on the invoice in the image. You can do this with any photo editing software.

  5. Take a Screenshot of the ASIN: Go on to the Amazon website and locate the listing for the product you want to sell. Scroll down the listing until you find the product information and take a screenshot of it. Make sure the image includes the ASIN, UPC, and item model number.

  6. Submit Your Application: Once you have all of these documents, you’re ready to submit your application. Responses generally take anywhere from three hours to a few days. If your application is rejected, Amazon will generally let you know why so you can correct these issues and try again.

Ungating in Fine Art Category

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This category is really only for fine art dealers and gallery owners. Here are the requirements:

  1. Already Be an Established Art Dealer: In order to sell in the Fine Art category, Amazon requires that you have already been in the business of selling art for three years.

  2. Have a Website: You’ll need to have your own website and a significant online presence. In other words, you need to be known within the industry.

Ungating in Fine Jewelry Category

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Fine jewelry is probably the hardest category to get into, for obvious reasons. Unless you already own your own jewelry store and are an expert in the field, it’s recommended to stay away from these products. Nonetheless, if you’re interested in applying, here are the requirements you’ll have to meet:

  1. Meet the Required Performance Targets: Your order defect rate needs to be below 1%, your pre-fulfilment cancel rate needs to be below 2.5%, and your late shipment rate needs to be below 4%. In addition, in order to sell jewelry on Amazon, you must have been a seller for at least a year, with annual revenues of no less than $50,000.

  2. Have an Established Jewelry Business: Only people already in the jewelry industry with an established business can sell these items on Amazon. The business must also have annual revenues over $50,000.

  3. Pay the Required Fee: In order to get ungated in this category, you’ll need to pay a $5,000 entry fee.

  4. Submit Your Products for Testing: You will be required to submit a number of your products for testing to ensure that they meet Amazon’s Quality Assurance Standards.

Ungating in Wine Category

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This is another category that most sellers should stay away from, as the requirements are just too strict. Still, this is what Amazon expects from its wine sellers:

  1. Be Registered as a Winery or Importer: Anyone who sells wine on Amazon needs to be registered as a domestic winery, a California winery or importer, or a wholesaler with retail sales privileges.

  2. Meet Shipping Requirements: All wine sellers must ship to at least one state supported by Amazon.

  3. Comply with Regulations: The alcohol industry is heavily regulated, and anyone selling wine must adhere to these regulations.

Ungating in Watches Category

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While the watch industry is known for frauds and fakes just like the jewelry industry, this category is a lot easier to get into. While there are still some requirements that need to be met, many sellers have had success ungating this category. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Meet the Required Performance Targets: Your order defect rate needs to be below 1%, your pre-fulfilment cancel rate needs to be below 2.5%, and your late shipment rate needs to be below 4%. You’ll also need to meet the requirements set by a third-party watch certification organization.

  2. Use the UPC Code When Listing Products: All watches must be listed with the manufacturer’s UPC code.

  3. Test Your Watches: When selling pre-owned watches, you’ll need to have the ability to test their accuracy and water resistance.

Ungating in Collectible Coins Category

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Due to the large number of requirements involved with selling collectible coins on Amazon, most sellers steer clear of this category. Still, if you’re interested, here’s what you’ll need to do.

  1. Maintain Proper Memberships: Collectible coin sellers are required to be members of one of the following organizations:

    • PNG

    • ICTA

    • PCGS

    • NGC/PMG

  2. Have Your Coins Graded: At least 70% of your coins need to be graded by either NGC or PCGS. All coins valued over $1500 must be graded without any exceptions.

  3. Have an Anti-Money Laundering Program: You’ll need to have an anti-money laundering program in place and be prepared to provide Amazon with copies of this program should they request it.

  4. Have a Company Website: Collectible coin sellers are required to have a company website and will need to provide a link to Amazon.

Ungating in Collectible Books Category

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Plenty of people sell books on Amazon without any hassle. However, if you have a book that’s a limited first edition or signed, and you want to advertise it that way, you’ll need to sell it under Collectible Books. Here’s how to ungate this category:

  1. Meet the Required Performance Targets: Your order defect rate needs to be below 1%, your pre-fulfilment cancel rate needs to be below 2.5%, and your late shipment rate needs to be below 4%.

  2. List Your Products Under Their ISBN: All collectible books need to be listed using the publisher’s ISBN-10 or ISBN-13, if it’s available. If the book was published pre-ISBN, then sellers will need to create a new product page.

  3. Books Must Be Collectible: Any book listed as collectible must be signed, be a first edition, or possess another quality that makes it more rare and desirable than other versions of the book. All products must authentic. No counterfeits, replicas, or knockoffs are allowed under any circumstances.

Ungating in Sports Collectibles Category

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Most online sellers recommend selling sports collectibles on other sites, such as eBay, since there are fewer restrictions. Nonetheless, if you want to sell products in this category, you must adhere to the following guidelines in order to be accepted:

  1. Meet the Required Performance Targets: All sports collectibles sellers on Amazon must maintain an order defect rate below 0.75%.

  2. Get Your Products Authenticated: The majority of your products must be authenticated or graded by one of the following entities:

    • Ace Authentic

    • Beckett Grading Services

    • Fanatics Authentic

    • Frameworth

    • Grey Flannel

    • Highland Mint

    • Icon Sports Memorabilia

    • James Spence Authentication (JSA)

    • Major League Baseball (MLB Authenticated)

    • MeiGray Group

    • Mounted Memories

    • NFL Players Inc.

    • Panini Authentic

    • Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA)

    • PSA/DNA Authentication Services

    • Steiner Sports

    • Topps Collectibles

    • Tristar Authentic

    • Upper Deck Authenticated (UDA)

    • Beckett Collectors Club Grading (BCCG)

    • Becket Grading Services (BGS)

    • Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA)

    • Sportscard Guaranty (SGC)

Ungating in Entertainment Collectibles Category

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Unlike sports collectibles, entertainment collectibles are one of the easier Amazon restricted categories to get ungated for. There are only a few requirements:

  1. Meet the Required Performance Targets: Your order defect rate needs to be below 1%, your pre-fulfilment cancel rate needs to be below 2.5%, and your late shipment rate needs to be below 4%.

  2. Comply with Listing Requirements: When creating your product listings, make sure to adhere to the category-specific requirements

Unlike other categories, there isn’t an application form to fill out. Instead, you’ll have to email cfa-application@amazon.com.

Ungating in Video, DVDs, and Blu-rays Category

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This is another category that’s hard to get into, due to the large amount of pirating that goes on in this space. If you want to sell any video content on Amazon, you need to adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Meet the Required Performance Targets: Your order defect rate needs to be below 1%, your pre-fulfilment cancel rate needs to be below 2.5%, and your late shipment rate needs to be below 4%.

  2. Provide Amazon with Your Inventory Sources: Because of the issues around pirating, you’ll need to let Amazon know where you’re getting your inventory from so they can confirm your products are legitimate. To do this, you’ll have to provide them with at least three invoices from all of your distributors.

  3. Let Amazon Know How Much You Plan to Sell: When selling any type of video content, Amazon requires you to estimate how many units you plan to sell.

Ungating in Toys & Games Category (During the Holidays)

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While toys and games aren’t usually an Amazon restricted category, the retailer does restrict who can sell these items during the holidays.Obviously, November and December are the busiest times for toy sellers, so make sure you meet all the requirements before the holidays arrive:

  1. Meet the Required Performance Targets: Leading up to the holidays, your order defect rate needs to be below 1%, your pre-fulfilment cancel rate needs to be below 1.75%, and your late shipment rate needs to be below 4%.

  2. Ship the Required Number of Products: You must have shipped a certain number of products leading up to November. These sales aren’t required to be from the Toys & Games category.

Ungating in Automotive and Powersports Category

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Any products that are used with motor vehicles will fall into this category. Luckily, there aren’t many requirements you’ll need to meet to get approved.

  1. Have Your Own Website: Automotive sellers will need to have their own business website before they can sell their products on Amazon.

  2. Use Compliant Product Images: You’ll need to use accurate images for your products that can be reviewed on an independent website.

  3. Use UPC Codes: All of your products will need to be listed with the proper UPC code.

  4. Review the Automotive & Powersports Part Finder and Fitment Data Page: If you plan to sell fitment-specific products, you’ll need to review this document.

Ungating in Clothes, Accessories, and Luggage Category

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This is one Amazon restricted category that’s fairly easy to get approved for. Besides filling out the application, you’ll also need to have your own retail store. However, an eCommerce website will do just fine. As long as you have your own website with a shopping cart, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting approved. Setting up an eCommerce website is actually fairly straightforward thanks to a number of handy templates, so don’t be scared off by this requirement.

Ungating in Major Appliances Category

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Amazon doesn’t list any requirements beyond filling out an application. However, according to a number of sellers, you may need to provide Amazon with various documents and invoices for your products. There are also a number of regulations that need to be followed with major appliances. For these reasons, most sellers avoid this category.

Ungating in Kindle Accessories Category

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The only requirement listed by Amazon when it comes to Kindle accessories is that “products sold with Amazon copyright names (Kindle, Echo, etc.) must comply with the Amazon Device Accessories Fair Use and Compatibility Guidelines.” Keep in mind that Amazon takes a 45% cut from Kindle accessory sales, so if you plan to go into this category make sure you have the profit margins to handle that.

Ungating in Sexual Wellness Category

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This is one of the easiest categories to get approved for. Simply fill out the application and wait for a reply. Most sellers report that they got approved without issue.

Ungating in Gift Cards Category

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The only thing Amazon states in regards to gift cards is to remind sellers to make sure the card actually has the advertised balance remaining. However, a number of sellers report that unless you’re the company that the gift card is for, Amazon isn’t accepting any applications for this category.

Ungating in Textbook Rentals Category

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Amazon is not currently accepting applications for this category.

Amazon Ungating Services: Are They Worth It?

Amazon ungating services assist sellers with getting approved to sell in restricted categories. The people who work for these services are experts and have been through this process thousands of times, so they definitely know what they’re talking about.

Generally, an Amazon ungating service will help you with the application process and ensure you have all the documentation you need to get approved. In some cases, these companies even claim they can assist you if you’ve been suspended or banned from selling on Amazon.

The services don’t come cheap though. Prices range anywhere from $200 to $900, depending on the company you use and the category you’re trying to get approved for. As you can see above, some categories require a lot more work than others. If you’re trying to get approved for a category that requires extra steps and documentation, then you’ll likely have to pay more.

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So, are Amazon ungating services worth it? That really depends on how much you value you your time.

Some of the application processes are rather complicated, but most should be doable for the average person if you put in the time and effort. Of course, you could also spend that time working on other areas of your business. You may also lose time if you make a mistake and get rejected, forcing you to start over.

Many Amazon ungating services advertise a 100% approval rate, so if you’re looking to get approved fast, this may be your best option. A number of them also offer a money-back guarantee if you’re not approved, so there’s some security there.

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Still, for most people this might just be too much money to spend on something they can probably do themselves.

These services are likely best utilized by larger Amazon sellers who can afford to spend the money and have many other areas of their business where their time is better spent. Also, if you’ve tried several times to get approved and were repeatedly rejected, then you may want to look into getting some help so you can be done with it and finally start selling.

In the end though, it’s up to you and will come down to what you feel is best for you and your business.

Conclusion

Many sellers don’t bother with the ungating process because they feel it’s just too daunting and not worth it. But as we discussed, the sellers who put in the time and effort can be greatly rewarded with less competition and greater profits.

What’s even more surprising is just how easy it is to start selling in some of Amazon’s restricted categories. By simply filling out an application, you can be approved within hours and have access to a new category that most other sellers don’t.

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Even some of the most difficult categories to get accepted for are entirely doable if you’re willing to take the time to gather the information you need and follow the correct steps.

The point is, don’t be scared away by products that are in restricted categories. While this may seem like a deterrent at first, the fact that it’s not located in one of the more popular categories to sell in might actually be an advantage.

So always do your research before writing off a restricted product. If you think you can get approved, go for it.

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