Restricted Products on Amazon: Which Categories and Brands Require Approval
You can sell pretty much anything on Amazon. However, the company does have additional rules and regulations around selling certain items.
Some products are restricted and will require you to overcome a few barriers before you get permission to sell them. So, what products are restricted, how can you sell them, and is it worth going through the process to get approved?
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about restricted products on Amazon.
Table of contents
- What Are Restricted Products?
- What Categories and Products are Restricted by Amazon?
- What Brands are Restricted by Amazon
- How to See What Categories You’re Approved to Sell In
- How to Check if a Product is Restricted
- Is it Worth it to Sell Restricted Items?
- How to Unlock Restricted Products on Amazon
- Ungating Services
- How to Find Non-Restricted Products on Amazon
What Are Restricted Products?
These are any items that require special approval to sell on Amazon. Generally, these are products that either have a higher level of liability or are often the target of scams and fraud.
Because these things carry greater risk Amazon needs to verify that both you and the products you’re selling meet their requirements. This may include meeting certain guidelines, having your products reviewed by Amazon, and ensuring you’re adhering to local laws and regulations.
There are restrictions around both categories and certain brands, so make sure you do your research to find out whether a product is restricted before you decide to sell it. This isn’t to say that you should never sell a restricted product, just be aware that there will be some extra steps to go through before your listing can go live.
What Categories and Products are Restricted by Amazon?
While most categories and products are unrestricted there are still a fair number that are gated. The following types of items are either completely restricted or contain some restricted products:
Animals & Animal-Related Products
Automotive and Powersports
Books (mostly certain textbooks)
Composite Wood Products
Drugs & Drug Paraphernalia
Food & Beverage
Hazardous and Dangerous Items
Pesticides and Pesticide Devices
Plant and Seed Products
Postage Meters and Stamps
Tobacco & Tobacco-Related Products
Toys & Games
If any of the above categories or descriptions apply to your product you’ll likely have to go through a review process before being able to sell it.
What Brands are Restricted by Amazon
There are also certain brands that sellers need to be approved to sell. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t offer an official list. Instead, after you try to list a restricted brand you’ll be told you can’t sell it until you are approved.
That being said, here are some brands that are known to be restricted:
Black & Decker
Generally, most major brands will be restricted so if you want to avoid the approval process you should stick to selling more generic brands. If you’re doing retail arbitrage look for store brands and no-name products to steer clear of any restricted items.
How to See What Categories You’re Approved to Sell In
If you’re thinking about selling a restricted product the first step is to see what categories you’re approved to sell in. It may be that you’re already approved to sell the item in question.
In your Seller Central account:
Click on “Inventory”
Click “Add a Product”
Click “Selling application status”
From here you’ll be shown a table that includes all the different categories you’re able to sell in. If you’re in the process of getting approved for a category you’ll be able to see the status of your application here as well.
How to Check if a Product is Restricted
After looking at the lists above it’s possible that you still won’t be sure whether or not a product is restricted.
You’ll want to get to the bottom of this before you actually go ahead and order it from your supplier. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a large amount of inventory that you’re not eligible to sell.
The easiest way to tell if an item is restricted is to try and create a listing for it. You don’t need to wait until you have the product to do this. Just go through the process and see if you’re able to list the item.
If any restrictions are in place they’ll pop up at some point. And if you’re able to list the item without issue then you can go ahead and order your inventory knowing that you’re already approved to sell it.
Is it Worth it to Sell Restricted Items?
You’re probably wondering whether it’s worth the effort to sell restricted products or if you should just avoid them altogether.
In some cases, the approval process may be too long and complicated. However, in other cases you might find it’s relatively easy. Look through Amazon’s requirements for selling in a certain category and decide whether you think it’s doable. If you believe the product has a lot of potential then it’s likely worth a little extra effort.
Keep in mind that Amazon product restrictions serve as a barrier to entry. That means many sellers will probably just avoid them altogether. As a result, you might find that a number of restricted products have less competition.
Generally speaking, if you think the product will be profitable and the approval process isn’t too lengthy, go for it. It may turn out to be beneficial.
How to Unlock Restricted Products on Amazon
Let’s say you’ve found a new product you want to sell. It has a high level of demand, low level of competition, and the potential to be extremely profitable. The only problem is it’s restricted. So, how do you ungate these products so you can sell them?
Here’s the process to follow:
Make Sure You Meet the Requirements
While the criteria for selling restricted items will be different depending on the category or product you plan to sell, there is a certain set of requirements you’ll have to meet before selling any restricted product.
Be a Professional Seller: Only professional sellers are allowed to sell restricted products. If you’re an Individual Seller you will need to upgrade your account. The monthly fee is $39.99.
Have a History of Success on Amazon: You will need to have strong performance metrics. This generally means having an order defect rate under 1%, a pre-fulfilment cancellation rate under 2.5%, and a late shipment rate under 4%. If you haven’t met these benchmarks you’ll likely need to wait until your metrics improve.
A Company Website: By maintaining a company website it shows Amazon that you’re a legitimate seller. If you don’t have a website this is an easy thing to set up. There are a number of affordable services, such as Squarespace and Wix, that allow you to create your own website even if you don’t know anything about coding or web design.
Prove Your Product’s Authenticity: Amazon wants to make sure your product isn’t a fake. To prove it’s authentic you’ll need to show that your supplier is either the manufacturer or a licensed dealer.
Provide Invoices: Before you can sell a restricted product Amazon will want to know how you’re acquiring your inventory. You’ll need to provide them with invoices that meet the following criteria:
Dated no more than 90 days ago.
The information in the invoice must be legible.
The information must be typed (not hand-written).
Must include your company information. That information should match the information in your seller account.
Must include your supplier’s information.
Must include the products you purchased.
In addition to these requirements, there are some other criteria you’ll need to meet for certain categories:
Automotive & Powersports: You’ll need to have compliant images of your products listed on another website and be able to provide warranties for any refurbished products you plan to sell.
Art: You must have been selling fine art for at least three years and be able to provide proof that you’re a reputable dealer.
Jewelry: If you plan to sell fine jewelry (gold, silver, etc.) you must have been selling on Amazon for at least one year with annual revenues of over $50,000. You will also need to have at least one physical store location. Finally, you will need to pay a fee before you can sell in this category.
Wine: You need to either be a reputable wholesaler with retail privileges or a certified winery.
Once you’re confident you meet all the above requirements and have the necessary documents in place you’re ready to move on to the next step.
Get Amazon Restricted Categories Approval
When you’re ready to apply for approval log into your seller central account and follow these steps:
Click “Add a Product”
Select the product you want to sell
Click “Listing limitations apply”
Click “Request Approval”
The application process will be slightly different for each product. Generally though, you’ll be asked questions about the product you want to sell. If you have photos of your product you’ll be asked to upload them for review.
The approval process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. If you’re rejected you can review the criteria again and reapply. Make sure to adhere to all of Amazon’s rules. If you’re caught trying to cheat the system it could result in the removal of your selling privileges.
If you’re looking for help getting approved to sell restricted products, or you’ve applied several times and keep getting rejected, an ungating service may be able to help.
These experts are very experienced in getting approved for a variety of Amazon categories. They can help you through the process, from filling out the application form to ensuring you have the proper documentation. They’ll also review everything before it’s submitted to make sure it meets Amazon’s guidelines.
Just keep in mind that while using an ungating service may improve your chances it doesn’t guarantee your success. Some services are also better than others, so make sure you do your homework and read reviews before signing up with a provider.
How to Find Non-Restricted Products on Amazon
Do you want to avoid restricted products altogether and just focus on profitable products that don’t require you to go through an approval process? AMZScout’s Web App is an easy way to limit your search to only categories that you know aren’t restricted.
Here’s how it works:
Select the categories you’re interested in selling in. Avoid categories that are known to be restricted, such as Automotive, Jewellery, and Grocery.
Choose your product tier. It’s recommended to select ‘Standard’ as oversized items are more expensive to ship and store.
Choose your seller type. It’s recommended to select FBA to ensure you’re not competing against Amazon and other large retailers.
Enter your properties. Include the minimum monthly sales you’re looking for, the maximum number of reviews, the maximum weight, and any other requirements you have.
Perform your search and review all the products that meet your criteria.
You can get the Product Database as part of the AMZScout Toolset which also includes the Pro Extension for additional product and niche insights, the Keyword Tracker to help you find the right keywords for your product listings and ad campaigns, the FBA Calculator to help you calculate expenses and profit margins, and Stock Stats so you can spy on your competitors’ inventory.
Just because a product is restricted doesn’t mean you can’t sell it. If you meet the requirements and are willing to go through the application process you should be able to get approved for a number of gated categories. And because fewer people are willing to do this you might even find you end up with less competition.
For those who aren’t interested in selling restricted products on Amazon, the AMZScout Web App is a great way to filter those products out and only focus on items that you know you’re approved to sell.