How To Ungate Popular Toy Brands
Whether you are an FBA seller or a new Amazon reseller, you will always find great deals in lucrative categories such as Toys and Games, and any other child-related products.
These categories attract huge traffic during holiday seasons, and anyone who ventures into them is guaranteed to make a fortune.
Unfortunately, when it comes to safety and product quality, toys and games have the highest chances of falling into unauthorized sellers.
That is the main reason why there are not many sellers listing toy brands on Amazon. That, however, does not mean that only selected FBA sellers can sell toys and games on Amazon.
Considering the popularity and diversity of this giant e-Commerce platform, anyone can list their toys and reach their targeted market. Though, such sellers need to understand all the requirements needed to unlock toy brands and avoid falling into the restricted category.
Hence, this article is the ultimate guide on FBA toy brands ungating and how to maximize your chances of getting approved to sell toys on Amazon.
Why Are Toys Gated on Amazon?
Before feeding your desire to list toys on Amazon, you need to know when is the right time to do so and make a profit.
This includes understanding the seasons and Amazon’s toy-selling policies.
First, Amazon only allows a few FBA sellers to sell toys on the platform during the last quarter of every year (Q4).
It puts such restrictions in place mainly to build confidence in buyers and ensure only quality-certified toys are in circulation.
It also uses the technique to discourage many sellers who do not meet its business ethics from selling toys and other child-related products.
Besides, Amazon gates toys and games during holiday seasons for the following reasons:
To Ensure Timely Delivery and Quality Customer Services
One of Amazon’s core missions is to ensure customers get what they want at the right time. Any seller who does not support the mission is locked out. This creates a field only for those who deliver toys on time and professionally. Remember, if buyers get damaged goods or after late shipment, they will probably blame Amazon and not third-party FBA sellers. That is because they ordered the products through the Amazon platform and not sellers’ sites. Therefore, to make customers trust Amazon’s delivery services, it restricts some sellers, especially those with unprofessional selling activities.
To Enhance Toy Brands’ Reputation
Besides protecting its name through timely delivery and good customer relationship, Amazon also strives to enhance toy brands’ reputation by asking third-party sellers to produce pre-approval certificates from specific brands. The certificates show that certain toy brand authorizes the reseller to list its product on Amazon. Sellers who do not produce authorization letters from toy manufacturers are locked out of the market.
How To Know If You Are Gated with Toys on Amazon?
To keep sellers updated, Amazon sends yearly emails to all sellers every August.
Each email comes with different selling regulations, making sellers unable to predict what they need to do to get approved to sell toys.
Luckily, the policy changes are mostly meant for Merchant Fulfillment (MF) sellers, and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) sellers can ignore and list their toy brands.
Generally, the emails require Merchant Fulfillment sellers to maintain clean selling history to maximize their chances of getting approved to sell toys and games.
This includes selling authentic products and shipping orders on time.
However, the problem comes in during the end of Q4 when Amazon warehouses are full or out of reach to some FBA sellers.
In this case, FBA toy sellers are advised to add a Merchant Fulfillment strategy to their business mode.
This allows them to list toys and games directly on Amazon, especially when they cannot access Amazon warehouses.
Back to the question, whether you are a Merchant Fulfillment or an FBA seller, you can easily tell if you are gated with toys on Amazon by trying to add toys or toy brands to your inventory.
To do this, go to the Inventory section and click on the toy or brand you want to add.
If you are restricted to sell the product, Amazon will indicate that you need the approval to list the product in its ‘New’ condition.
What You Need to Get Approved to Sell Toys on Amazon
Every category has its ungating criteria, and unlocking toys on Amazon can be somehow different from other categories.
For instance, since the category encompasses child-related products, Amazon requires every seller to present product certificates and other authorization letters from regulatory bodies such as FDA. This is mainly to enhance child’s safety, especially during the peak holiday season. Therefore, before listing toys on their seller accounts, FBA sellers need to have these vital documents:
A Child Product Certificate (CPC)
Toys and Games is one category that every Amazon seller wants to benefit in during the Q4 of every year. This increases the risks of parents and children buying counterfeit products.
To minimize the risks, Amazon asks every seller to produce a Child Product Certificate before listing their products. This requirement alone can lock out many Merchant Fulfillment or FBA sellers, leaving space for only a few sellers.
Amazon also requires all sellers to have legit purchase invoices from reputable suppliers before they are allowed to sell toys and games on Amazon. The move targets to allow only those sellers with authorization letters from toy brands to access the category.
Proof of Product Compliance and Safety Regulation
All sellers should also prove their compliance with federal, state, and local laws regarding product safety by producing the following:
- Test reports from an ISO 17025-accredited laboratory.
- Copies of labels that show proof of compliance markings.
- Safety data sheets.
Getting Approved in Gated Toys on Amazon
FBA sellers can get approved for selling toys and games for Black Friday in two basic ways; automatic ungating and requesting Amazon approval.
Through automatic ungating, Amazon does not specify which toy brands or categories have free access for all sellers. That means sellers can unlock the category as if they are selling through retail or online arbitrage. However, such sellers need to have a long history of a good reputation and reliable seller data. After assessing the seller’s history, Amazon will reply immediately approving the seller to sell toys and games.
Contrary, sellers not eligible for automatic ungating need to request approval before they are allowed to list their products. In this case, these resellers can use the following steps:
- Go to the Seller Central account and click on the Inventory menu.
- Select Add Product.
- Search for the product you want to sell.
- From the new search result, check on the product and click on Listing Limitations Apply.
- 5. Click on the Request Approval button.
Examples of Toy and Games Brand Names
Fisher-Price | Disney | Mattel | Crayola | Hasbro | Mickey Mouse | Star Wars | White Mountain Puzzles | Paw Patrol | Melissa & Doug | LEGO | Jurassic World Toys
What Are Amazon Restricted or Gated Categories
Amazon gated or restricted categories are those with strict selling rules that no seller is allowed to sell freely. These categories, brands, and ASINs have specific approval guidelines, and any seller who meets the standards can enjoy a vast market with less competition. That means Amazon only has the power to draw the rules and open gates for more sellers to access the categories. The good news, however, is that Amazon does not always restrict the entire category, like in the previous gating practices. Instead, it gates subcategories, leaving some products open, even though they might be under gated categories. This explains why there is a short list of gated categories and a long list of restricted products or subcategories. Generally, any seller who wants to sell within a gated category such as toys and games must apply for toy brands ungating before Amazon lets them in.
Why Does Amazon Gate Toys Brands and Games Categories?
Most multi-million investments are built on trust, customer satisfaction, and a healthy working environment, and Amazon is no exception. Being a huge marketplace with millions of users globally, Amazon strives to maintain a good relationship with both buyers and sellers by ensuring only high-quality toys and games are in circulation. It achieves this by gating the toy category, brands, and ASINs. Therefore, among others, here are the main reasons why Amazon gates toy brands and other child-related categories:
1. To Monitor Product Standards
One of the first missions of a company is to ensure buyers are offered both high-quality and safe products. It does this by allowing only sellers whose products have undergone stringent quality assessment steps to access highly-demanded categories. Since the platform is home to millions of brands and buyers, there are high chances of buyers getting counterfeit products. Hence, it is Amazon’s responsibility to block such products by setting up strict selling rules and providing them with what to know about approval for toy brands during the holidays. That means only sellers who abide by the rules can sell toys and games on Amazon.
2. To Protect A Brand’s Reputation
Amazon also works jointly with big brands to ensure only authorized resellers can list products from certain brands. Therefore, to protect the brand’s reputation, Amazon asks sellers to provide legit documentation from these brands to show they are allowed to list their products. Resellers who do not provide proof of authorization are locked out of certain categories. Many large and well-known brands require pre-approval with them directly, before even applying to Amazon. This is true for both seasoned sellers, and individuals new to the platform.
3. To Enhance Customer Satisfaction
Besides ensuring buyers can get high-quality products, Amazon also restricts some categories to prevent sellers from exploiting buyers. That means only sellers with a positive track record can qualify for the toys category ungating and reach buyers. This enhances customer satisfaction and a positive rating. The company may also limit or dictate maximum pricing to ensure buyers are not being fleeced.
4. Adherence to FDA Regulations
Many items require the approval of the Food and Drug Administration to sell in the US marketplace. No retail platform, website, or other selling venue is permitted to offer any product that is not previously rubber-stamped by the FDA. The obvious reason for this is safety because specific laws exist to ensure that end users are not harmed. Further, items from foreign countries may not be permitted, as they do not meet standard codes from other regulatory bodies.
Categories And Products That Require Amazon Approval
As stated earlier, Amazon has a long list of gated products and a short list of restricted categories. That is because one category can have more subcategories, which can add up to tens of products. Therefore, when applying for FBA toy brands ungating, sellers need to consider three ungating levels; category, brand, and product ungating. They should also differentiate between category and product unlocking.
General Guidelines to Get Ungated on Amazon
Whether you are a new reseller or an established FBA seller, utilizing the vast market space offered by Amazon should never be a challenge again. Amazon’s mission is to see its users grow, and thus, increase sales and profitability. And this does not matter if you are listing your toys in a locked or unrestricted category. As a result, if you want to expand your selling portfolio by accessing restricted categories, here are the general guidelines to get approved for selling toys and games for Black Friday or any other peak season:
Sign Up for A Professional Amazon Seller Account
Professional Amazon Seller Account is the backbone of any seller as it records all the activities conducted by the seller on the platform. It is through this account that Amazon can tell your business position and determine whether you meet all the quality standards and qualify for any holiday season toys ungating. Therefore, if you don’t have one, you can create a professional Seller Account which goes for around $39.99 per month.
Analyze And Verify Your Account Health
Creating a professional Seller Account is not enough. You still need to maintain its health to maximize your chances of FBA toy brands ungating. Maintaining a healthy account includes meeting your customers’ expectations and adhering to Amazon’s business code. That means you should have a timely shipping record, good customer relations, competitive pricing, and avoid violating Amazon’s policies.
To check your account health, go to the Account Health section on the Seller Central Account and click on the Performance menu.
Check Specific Toy Brands Ungating Guidelines
Each category has specific ungating instructions, and you need to check them before requesting approval.
Some categories are complicated, while others have simple instructions that even new sellers can unlock easily.
For example, some categories require sellers to have at least three years of selling experience and running websites.
Choose A Reputable Supplier
Getting a reliable supplier is also a vital step, especially as your demand curve grows. Amazon will also ask you to provide legitimate invoices from trusted suppliers whose products fall under gated toys and games brands.
After choosing a supplier, you need to place at least three orders, with each order having at least ten pieces of the restricted product.
Retailers are not considered suppliers. You cannot go down to your local store and purchase a bunch of items for resale. The products need to come from verified wholesalers and distributors.
Be sure to do your research before sourcing and paying for any potential sales items.
Prepare Your Documents
Before submitting your approval request, you need to prepare your documents, which include recent purchase invoices from reputable wholesalers.
These scanned copies of individual invoices should have all the ASINs written next to the product name. Price and other confidential information should be locked for wholesaler privacy.
As a general note, it is usually best to send the documents in PDF format, so it can be easily seen that they have not been revised.
You may also be required to send information about your status or business trading information.
With all the documents and other requirements ready, you can proceed to request approval using the following steps:
- Getting a Pro-Merchant Status. You can get the status at only $39 per month. It becomes easier if you already have a Professional Seller Account.
- Search for the item you want to list
- Go to the Listing Limitations Apply
- From the new menu, click on the Apply to Sale button
- Lastly, click on the Request Approval button
Guidelines To Ungate Specific Categories on Amazon
Unlocking the toys and games category for Christmas goes a long way in understanding what the category entails and how to ungate it on Amazon.
For instance, the Grocery and Gourmet Food category requires sellers to have authorization from regulatory bodies like Food and Drug Administration.
On the other hand, some categories require sellers to have more years of selling experience and a good online presence.
Therefore, if you intend to get approved for selling toys and games for Black Friday, you need to consider the following best tips to maximize your chances of getting ungated:
- Getting a Pro-Merchant Status. You can get the status at only $39 per month. It becomes easier if you already have a Professional Seller Account.
- Maintaining your order defect rate below 1%. Since it is challenging to tell how fast some products can go bad, it is crucial to ensure your orders move as fast as possible to minimize cases of selling defective products.
- Maintaining your pre-fulfillment cancel rate below 2.5%. A higher pre-fulfillment cancel rate can impact your account health negatively. Thus, you need to lower your order cancelation to maximize your toy brand ungating approval chances.
- Lowering your late shipment rate to below 4%. Timely delivery is one way to get customer trust; hence, you should try as much as possible to avoid late shipment.
- Acquiring child product certificate. A Child Product Certificate is a must-have requirement if you want to sell in children’s categories such as Toys and Games. It also proves that you adhere to both local and federal product safety laws.
Final Thoughts on Ungating Toy Brands and Games on Amazon
Selling toys and games on Amazon is a profitable idea that most FBA sellers strive to seize, especially during the Q4 of every year. The category, considering it targets a younger generation, has proven to be lucrative, though it comes with stiff competition.
Therefore, to protect buyers and brands’ reputations, Amazon gates toy brands and games, creating a smaller room for only those who follow the selling guidelines.
Fortunately, if you seek approval in the toys and games category for Christmas, the above guide provides everything you need to know about FBA toy brands ungating during the holiday season.