Everything You Need to Know about the Sub-Category Called Topicals
Amazon has all the aspects that can make a seller nourished in their online marketing. Starting from the safe and customer-centric marketplace to non-declining demand for various products.
However, with all these advantages comes the question of how risky the market can be to less-knowledgeable buyers.
To enhance user experience and customer safety, Amazon keeps updating its selling guidelines frequently.
The move targets to regulate the number of sellers dealing with lucrative and highly-demanded products such as foods, electronics, groceries, and many more.
Any seller planning to invest in these niches must seek approval from Amazon before listing their products on the platform.
Therefore, if you also want to sell in restricted categories like topicals, here is an ultimate guide to demonstrating how to get approved for topicals on Amazon.
What Are Topicals?
Before reaching the stage of selling topicals on Amazon, you may want to know what they are and in which category they fall.
Simply put, topical is any beauty or skin-enhancing product applied directly to the skin.
Topicals are used externally only and are formulated to deal with skin issues such as dryness, acne, or black spots.
They include gels, creams, sprays, serums, and anything applied to the skin. Since these products are applied directly to the skin,
Amazon has been very strict on their sale, limiting the number of sellers listing topicals on the platform.
This is a vital step to ensure only safe and FDA-approved topicals reach the final consumers.
Do You Still Need the Approval to Sell Topicals If You Are Already Ungated in The Beauty and Health Category?
Most users have been asking if it is worth it to seek approval to list topicals even after getting ungated in Beauty and Health category.
The shortest answer is Yes.
The longest answer, however, has everything to do with Amazon gating levels. Amazon has four gating levels; brand, category, subcategory, and product or ASIN gating.
Before sellers are allowed to sell anything through this giant e-Commerce, they must pass all the levels, which allows them to reach their intended consumer base with less hustle.
That means, even after getting ungated in the main category, sellers must also seek approval in subcategories, brands, and specific products before they can enjoy the wide market.
Health and Beauty, therefore, is the main category that consists of various brands, ASINs, and subcategories like topicals.
Sellers interested in selling topicals on Amazon must learn about subcategory requirements to unlock Amazon topicals.
Is Applying for Approval in Topicals Worth It?
Ungating topicals on Amazon, or any other Beauty and Health subcategory, comes with its benefits.
Among them is less competition with a higher profit margin. The gating process aims at reducing the number of sellers and leaving space for a few dealers with a standing reputation.
Once you get approved to sell topicals, it means you are among a few sellers who can supply buyers with their demanded skin-enhancing products.
This also means you will experience less competition since the platform has millions of buyers globally looking for topicals and only a few sellers.
Amazon approval also enhances buyers’ trust. Since Amazon is a customer-centric platform, it always strives to ensure customers can trust anything that passes through it and enjoy a good buying experience.
Therefore, sellers with Amazon’s approval are guaranteed buyers’ trust, leading to an established topical business.
Key Steps for Topical Approval on Amazon
Unlocking Amazon topicals subcategories is an easier task, after figuring out the key points to ungating the main category. However, before you begin the approval journey, ensure you meet the following five subcategory requirements for topicals Amazon:
1. Have A Professional Seller Account
You need a professional selling plan, which you can get at $39.99 per month, for Amazon to consider your approval request. The account, once verified, allows you to sell unlimited items. That means you can sell anything within a gated subcategory such as topicals.
2. Positive Account Metrics
You also need to maintain positive metrics on your account to maximize your chances of getting approved. These metrics define your account health, which Amazon considers to determine if you are worth dealing with highly-demanded products. Among others, here are some metrics you need to monitor to have a healthy account.
- An order defect rate of less than 1%.
- A pre-fulfillment cancel rate of less than 2.5%.
- A late shipment rate of below 4%.
3. Recent Purchase Invoices from A Reputable Wholesaler
Amazon will also ask you to verify the source of your topicals before approving your ungating request.
This is to ascertain the authenticity of your products and ensure you do not run out of inventory once approved.
Therefore, before thinking about ungating the topicals category on Amazon, you should choose a reputable wholesaler or manufacturer.
Order at least 10 products in the restricted topicals subcategory. However, ensure you select ASINs that are already listed on Amazon.
When preparing invoices, ensure you include your email, address, phone, and name. The information should match what you already have in your seller account.
Also, write the ASIN, UPC, and model number of each topical product on the invoice. Don’t forget to write the name of the wholesaler at the top if it is not there.
4. Safety Data Sheets
Besides verifying your source of products and having a healthy seller account, you also need to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDS) before ungating topicals on Amazon.
Safety Data Sheet is anything that shows your products and suppliers or manufacturers are worth buyers’ trust.
Remember Amazon values customer safety, and anything likely to compromise its mission is locked out.
The sheet, therefore, shows all information about the product, including ingredients, uses, and possible interactions.
5. Product Image Requirements
A product image is a vital aspect because it is what buyers see first before deciding to buy anything on the platform. As a way to attract more buyers, sellers need to use high-quality product photography to minimize confusion. As a result, Amazon has strict image requirements for topicals, which include, but are not limited to the following:
- Use live photos, instead of computer-generated images.
- Displayed images showing all sides of the products or packaging.
- Product description in the country’s local language.
- Photos showing model numbers, product names, or both.
- Name and physical location of the manufacturer or supplier.
Can You Use Your Invoices If You Are a Private Labeling from China?
To make your approval application easier and smoother, Amazon recommends using known and trusted suppliers when preparing your invoices.
That means your application is likely to be rejected if you use private-label products from China or any source outside the USA.
However, you can sell your private label topicals once you have successfully ungated the subcategory on Amazon, though the products should be already listed on Amazon.
Examples of Topicals Brand Names
Olay | Avon | Chloe | Dr. Brandt | Garnier
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 subcategory such as topicals must learn how to get ungated in topicals on Amazon before they are allowed in.
Why Does Amazon Gate the Topical Subcategories?
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 health and beauty buyers and sellers by ensuring only high-quality clothing products are in circulation.
It achieves this by gating some categories, brands, and ASINs.
Therefore, among others, here are the main reasons for Amazon topicals subcategory restrictions:
1. To Monitor Product Standards
One of the first missions of the 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 Amazon topical selling rules.
2. To Protect A Brand’s Reputation
Amazon also works jointly with big beauty brands to ensure only authorized resellers can list products. 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. In fact, 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 access the categories 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.
A good example is the Amazon topicals subcategory that falls under Beauty and Health category.
Therefore, when ungating topicals on Amazon, sellers need to consider four ungating levels; category, subcategory, brand, and product ungating.
General Guidelines on How to Get Ungated in Topicals on Amazon
Whether you are a new reseller or an established FBA seller, ungating topicals on 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 products in a locked or unrestricted category. As a result, if you want to expand your product portfolio by selling topicals on Amazon, here are the general guidelines to get ungated:
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 or not.
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 unlocking the topicals category on Amazon.
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 Subcategory 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.
Therefore, when dealing with topicals, always check the subcategory requirements for topicals Amazon.
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 skin care 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 topicals related brand ungating 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.
Request Approval for Skin Care
With all the documents and other requirements ready, you can follow these key steps for topical approval on Amazon:
With all the documents and other requirements ready, you can request brand ungating 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 Amazon Topicals
Selling topicals on Amazon goes a long way in understanding what the subcategory entails and how to ungate it on Amazon. For instance, the Beauty and Health category requires sellers to have authorization from regulatory bodies like Food and Drug Administration.
Contrary, some subcategories under this main category require sellers to have more years of selling experience and a good online presence.
Therefore, if you intend to sell gated Amazon topicals, 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 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 Getting Approved to Sell Topicals on Amazon
No matter your business model and the targeted market, the only way to succeed on Amazon is to follow the set guidelines and list only effective products.
The rules apply to all sellers, whether they are Merchant Fulfillment (MF) or Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) sellers.
Therefore, if you want to establish your business and make profit selling topicals on Amazon, the first step is to learn how to get ungated in topicals on Amazon.
Luckily, the above guide gives you everything you need to kickstart your topical ungating journey.