Whether you're a new or intermediate Amazon seller, you may be wondering what the trick is to being approved to sell in certain restricted categories. If you've heard the term “getting ungated” and are curious what it means or why you should (or shouldn't) apply for one of these categories, keep reading for my recommendations and important tips to keep in mind.
What does ungating mean?
Amazon has several policies around listings, products, and categories. Some products are restricted completely, such as items that are illegal or have regulatory requirements. Other products that fit into certain categories require that a seller gets approval to sell in that category—what Amazon sellers refer to as “getting ungated”—before he or she can list any products in it. Additionally, some specific products require prior approval, even if the category does not.
There are about 15-20 categories that have requirements, such as Grocery & Gourmet Foods, Major Appliances, Wine, and Gift Cards. The requirements for each category differ, and Amazon may change specific categories and requirements throughout the year.
Head here to see the current requirements on Amazon for each category.
Why does Amazon restrict certain categories?
Ultimately, customers trust the Amazon brand. They have to maintain high standards and make sure that customers are not receiving counterfeit or low quality products. This approval process is a matter of quality control and ensuring that they meet any regulatory requirements.
Why should you sell in a gated category?
Since it’s more difficult to sell in one of these gated categories, there is less competition. This is beneficial for you as a seller because it’s easier to stand out—simply because there are less sellers to compete with.
Tips for Getting Ungated in a Category on Amazon
1) Meeting the minimum requirements is not a guarantee that you’ll get approved.
One mistake that some Amazon sellers make is assuming they will get ungated in a category as long as they meet all the minimum approval requirements. That’s not the case—the process is a bit more subjective and depends on some factors that are out of a seller’s control.
Think of it like a job interview. You need to put your best foot forward, but just because you meet the minimum requirements for a position, it doesn’t guarantee they’re going to hire you.
The same is true with getting ungated in a category. You want to make sure you follow the exact path that they tell you to. But remember that meeting these requirements is just the minimum needed to apply. Then Amazon will look at it and make a decision.
2) Ungating requirements change throughout the year.
Sometimes Amazon gets less stringent, and other times they become more stringent. The category manager may be extremely selective, depending on what else is going on. Let’s say they have a lot of new sellers applying or they’re having issues with quality, they’re going to scrutinize your application more closely and only accept really high quality applications or experienced sellers.
3) Wait until you have some experience under your belt.
If you are a new Amazon seller, I don’t recommend trying to sell a product that has requirements for getting ungated. As time goes on and competition is increasing, Amazon is getting more particular with their category requirements.
It’s going to be much harder for newer sellers to meet these ungating requirements. You’re not going to have the history, and even if you barely do, don’t be surprised if you don’t get approved right away. The process favors more experienced sellers who have an established track record that Amazon can see.
>> Wondering how to find the most profitable products to sell on Amazon as a beginner? Head here for my step-by-step guide. <<
4) There are no shortcuts.
Even as successful and established Amazon sellers, we still have to follow all the same rules to get ungated in a category. It can be a tedious process and is never simple, so I understand any frustration you may be feeling.
But if you stick with it long enough, you will get ungated eventually—it’s just a matter of how long it will take. Remember that everyone goes through the same process, and many of your competitors will give up along the way. If you’re persistent, you will get there eventually.