Getting ungated on Amazon is a hot topic among new Amazon Sellers, and veterans alike, who want to break into the more restrictive categories on Amazon. In order to provide the best experience for customers, Amazon might require Sellers to pay extra fees, provide documentation, submit to performance checks, etc for certain ‘gated’ categories or products. Some products require additional approval, even if they are not sold in a ‘gated’ category.
- Laser pointers and related products in any category, see Laser Pointers and Related Products.
- Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging products in any category, see Frustration-Free Packaging.
- Hoverboard products in any category, see Hoverboards.
Amazon has this to say regarding why they require ‘ungating’ for certain categories: “Amazon limits the addition of new sellers in [this] category to ensure that customers can buy with confidence from all sellers on Amazon.com.” There are roughly 18 categories that currently require Sellers to get ‘ungated.’
Categories that require approval (aka ‘ungating’):
- 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
But how does an Amazon Seller go about getting ungated on Amazon for one or more of these categories?
The process can seem overwhelming and frustrating to figure out on your own. One of our Product Specialists, Blake, was kind enough to explain the process in six steps.
Step 1: Make sure your Seller Information is all correctly filled out
You need to have a Professional Seller account in order to get started. In this process, you will be purchasing a few different wholesale orders. The wholesale receipts MUST match your address on file with Amazon. THIS IS IMPORTANT.
Next, your account must meet these metrics. Make sure your metrics are better or on par with these.
- Order defect rate: < 1%
- Pre-fulfillment cancel rate: < 2.5%
- Late shipment rate: < 4%
To find these, log into your Seller Central account and click Performance > Customer Satisfaction > Account Health. After this you will see percentages. Make sure yours are the same or higher than these metrics or else you will be declined immediately.
Step 2. Create your wholesale account
The wholesale company we will be using for this exercise is abdelivers.com. Simply go to the website and click the “Wholesale to Public Enter Here” button on the home page. You will want to create an account. Remember, the address you are shipping to needs to be the same one on your Amazon account. Enter your account information on AB Delivers. *NOTE* If your LLC and your Seller name on Amazon are different, you can use both. In the “Company Name” field on AB Delivers, enter your Seller account name/LLC name as such: JimsProducts/JimboLLC. Doing this will simplify the process of having to write in your Seller name on the invoice also.
Step 3. Find and purchase your products
Pull up a window on amazon, and pull up a separate window or tab on abdelivers. If you are focusing on one specific category then click “shop by department” on amazon and find a matching item on AB Delivers, if you are ungating multiple categories then make sure to ensure the products fit multiple categories such as Health and also Beauty. Make sure that you find products that are already listed and being sold, either by MF or FBA and write down the ASIN’s. The next part is to make three separate orders each containing one item at a quantity greater than 10 AND include Baking Soda in each order. For example:
- Order 1: 10 Bar Soap & 3 Baking Soda
- Order 2: 10 Toothpaste & 4 Baking Soda
- Order 3: 10 Shampoo & 5 Baking Soda
Pay and complete the orders. It is VITAL that you place 3 separate orders, and you will have to pay shipping on each order. Amazon approves easier when they have THREE separate invoices; do not try to skimp and save by shipping all orders together. Complete each order and wait for them to arrive.
Below are the 3 examples of invoices:
Step 4. Getting your paperwork straight
After a few days, your orders should arrive. Keep your original invoices, do not mark on these at all. You will want to scan and/or copy these originals. After you are done, put the originals in a safe place, as you will be solely working with the copies. This way if you mess them up, you can copy the original and fix your mistake.
If you have not put your Seller name into the header, then do that first. If you have taken the previous step of including it into your Company Name on registration, then it should already be shown at the top of the invoice.
Write the ASIN AND the UPC for the products next to them on the invoice.
Black out all pricing. Amazon does not care about what you purchase it for.
There are two ways to complete this next step. Take a picture of the invoices after you have made your changes to them, one individual picture of each. To be safe, you can scan these into PDF’s, should Seller Support need additional copies. Make sure you can legibly read the ASIN, UPC, and Seller Information on these. They will be reviewing these to make their decision.
Step 5: Applying
Find the selling applications and submit for the categories that you are needing. Remember: this information is for specific use of the Health & Personal Care, Beauty and Grocery categories. It has also worked for Personal Care Appliances.
The first step is to correctly answer their questions:
- Sell only new items
- I will be selling 101-1000 items
- Most of these require answers that are “all of the above”, take your time on these
Finally, you will be asked for your 3 invoices. If you have these as JPEGS from a picture you can upload, or you can insert your PDF if you scanned them. Be sure to include that if you are putting one or the other that you can provide the alternate should they deem it necessary.
To help strengthen your case you can include any business paperwork necessary, Tax ID’s, Resellers Certificates etc. Just simply email these over in the case log after you apply so that the Seller Central Rep will have these, do this immediately after you apply.
Step 6: Approval
If you don’t get approved immediately, don’t freak out. Often, it’s something you have overlooked. If the Seller Rep does not tell you what’s wrong immediately, i.e. “Account address is different” then simply state that you thought all paperwork was in accordance to Amazon’s specifications and politely ask if they see anything immediately wrong with your application.