It’s a scenario that happens all the time to sellers: they do Amazon product research and come up with a shortlist of viable, profitable items, negotiate good deals with suppliers… and learn what they want to sell falls under Amazon’s list of restricted products.
But with help from RepricerExpress, we’ll show you how to both avoid that disappointment and work your way around it.
Amazon Restricted Categories: What to Watch For
Depending on where you’re selling from and what marketplaces you’re selling on, the list of restricted products may vary. For example, Amazon has this list of restricted products if selling in the United States, with a sub-list of categories and products requiring approval to sell.
However, if you sell in the UK, you’ll see your list of category, product and content restrictions is a lot shorter. Always make sure to check the list of what’s restricted in your country/marketplace.
The reasoning for this is Amazon wants to avoid the issues that invariably crop up with selling illegal, unsafe, dangerous or otherwise restricted products. It can be a huge legal and liability issue, and they’ve decided it’s easier to avoid wading in them altogether.
Amazon wants its buyers to “buy with confidence”, so they either restrict certain products entirely or limit the number of new sellers until they’ve built up history and credibility.
As a seller, it’s paramount that you take this very seriously. If you ignore their list of restrictions, you could face consequences like listing cancellation, listing privilege limitations, suspension or even outright removal of your listing privileges. It’s a lot easier to learn the rules and where they can bend instead of trying to get your account un-suspended or un-removed.
If it’s your first violation, Amazon will send you a notification with the required action you’re to take. It can be frustrating if you’ve been able to sell that item in the past but can no longer do so, but the smartest course of action is to not argue and do as they say.
What Are the Restricted Categories on Amazon?
Amazon is moving away from applying restrictions to broader categories and restricting entry to sub-category niches. Here’s a list of the restricted categories on Amazon currently.
- Automotive & Powersports
- Collectible Coins
- Entertainment Collectibles
- Fine Art
- Holiday Selling Requirements in Toys & Games
- Join Amazon Handmade
- Join Amazon Subscription Boxes
- Made in Italy
- Music & DVD
- Personal Safety and Household products
- Sports Collectibles
- Streaming Media Players
- Video, DVD, & Blu-ray
What If You Want to Sell in Restricted Categories?
Selling in an Amazon restricted category requires getting “ungated”, which essentially means obtaining special permission to sell in a category that doesn’t allow sellers to simply sign up for and start selling in. What each category requires in terms of getting ungated differs, but this is the general sequence of steps you should follow.
1. Have a Professional Seller Account
To get ungated in most categories, you’ll need a professional seller account instead of an individual one. There are some exceptions, like Collectible Books (fairly straightforward to get ungated in), Collectible Coins (a lot harder), Fine Jewelry (pretty expensive), Gift Cards (straightforward but with very black and white limitations), Kindle Accessories (simple, but huge fees), Major Appliances (shipping costs could be an issue), and more.
2. Create a Wholesaler Account
When you create your wholesale account, make sure its address matches the one on your regular account. One thing to remember is that if your LLC name and Amazon name differ, include both.
3. Start a Short Order History
You’ll need to purchase about 10 products from three different categories that you want to get ungated in, e.g. 10 collectible books, 10 grocery items and 10 watches. You could keep these items for yourself or sell them on your own listings, but don’t expect to turn a profit. Your goal here is to get through the ungating process.
4. Collect and Scan the Invoices
When you get the invoices, make copies of them and put the originals aside for safekeeping. You can make marks or additions on the copies, but not the originals. And when making copies, make sure you’ve got the following:
- Your seller name is at the top.
- Each product on the invoice has its ASIN, UPC and item model number beside it.
- Images, if you’re trying to get ungated in Shoes, Clothing and Accessories, Luggage and Travel, or Handbags and Sunglasses.
- The copies are in hi-res.
Apply to Amazon for Selling Approval
For whichever category you want to get ungated in, Amazon will have a link on it where you can apply for selling privileges. We recommend emailing it in during normal business hours so you can get a faster response, which can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
If you get permission, you can start creating listings and selling items in that particular category. If you don’t, Amazon will give you an explanation why, which should help you modify your application and send it back in to try and get approved next time.
Selling in gated, or restricted, categories can be tough because the landscape is comprised of experienced sellers with healthy account metrics. You’ll need to be on top of your game to compete with other sellers who know what they’re doing, and one of the best ways is through competitive pricing.