Is It Possible to Get Ungated on Amazon?
Learning how to get ungated on Amazon is certainly a step in the right direction to reach more customer engagement, traffic, and higher profits.
The first question, though, that most Amazon-aspiring sellers asks is, will the selling process be easier? Or, will Amazon allow them to sell anything they want?
These questions can trace back to older times when anyone could sell anything online without any restrictions.
However, as both physical and eCommerce stores continue to record technical advancements, it is clear that things are no longer the same.
Online shopping now comes with strict restrictions, primarily influenced by the high rate of counterfeit goods and sellers taking advantage of less-educated buyers.
Amazon as one of the largest eCommerce platforms is an example of such strict trading centers. Sellers looking to list their products on the marketplace must go through the verification process, commonly known as the ungating process, to be allowed to access certain categories.
In short, sellers have to learn how to get ungated on Amazon to establish their businesses on the platform. Although the process is somehow complicated for beginners, it comes with numerous merits as discussed below.
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How Do I Get Ungated on Amazon?
Becoming ungated on Amazon involves obtaining approval from Amazon to sell within certain restricted categories. This requires providing relevant requested documentation, often including invoices and certificates, to demonstrate your reputable supply sources.
The process is handled through Amazon Seller Central, and while responses sometimes come within a few days, this is often not the standard rule of thumb. Once approval is gained, then you may set up your listings and sell.
What Does Gating Mean?
Amazon is a reputable selling platform that believes in customer satisfaction, safety, and a good buyer-seller relationship.
These core values, however, are challenging to achieve without strict and functional measures in place.
Therefore, to ensure sellers can stick to the set rules and maintain a conducive working environment, Amazon restricts access to some categories, brands, sub-categories, and even ASINs.
Only sellers who fulfill the requirements are allowed to list in such restricted sectors.
Gating, therefore, is a term that refers to certain criteria sellers need to fill and allowed access to restricted or locked categories. Gated categories, brands, or ASINs have stringent rules that only a few sellers can list.
Hence, sellers who want to experience less competition with more selling opportunities must learn about how to get ungated on Amazon and complete the verification process.
Which Categories, Brands, And Products Are Gated or Restricted on Amazon?
For a long time, many people believed that gating only applies to brands and categories.
However, the truth is that Amazon has a long list of restricted brands and categories that extends to subcategories, products, and Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs).
The reason for the extension is that a brand can have more categories of products with different selling requirements.
That means, while some categories may be restricted, others can be freely accessible to all sellers.
Similarly, a category can have many subcategories, both restricted and unrestricted. Even if a seller gets approved to sell in one category, they may still need the approval to sell certain individual subcategories under the same categories.
Summarily, sellers looking for how to get ungated on Amazon should know about four unlocking levels; category, brand, subcategory, and product ungating.
Why Does Amazon Require Sellers To Seek Approval?
From the start, Amazon is more of a customer-first platform that values customer safety. Though, it also strives to maintain a good relationship with sellers and brands by setting up rules that favor both sellers and buyers equally.Therefore, among other reasons, here is why Amazon may ask for sellers to get approval:
To Ensure Customer Satisfaction
Amazon only allows sellers who can deliver high-quality products on time to access highly lucrative categories. To ensure this, it vets its sellers based on their past delivery record, customer engagement, and pricing criteria. Also, by limiting or dictating maximum pricing, Amazon can easily enhance customer trust and prevent fleecing.
To Enhance Adherence to FDA Regulations
The US market at large believes in product safety and high-quality product standards. That means no platform or selling venue, including Amazon, can allow the sale of any products that violate the set Food and Drugs Administrations (FDA) regulations. Therefore, as one of the requirements on how to get ungated on Amazon, sellers need to have their products rubber-stamped by the FDA before they can list them. This is more stringent to sellers listing in dietary, health, and wellness categories.
To Protect the Brand’s Reputation
Amazon also asks sellers dealing with specific brands to provide legit documentation from the said brands to show they are allowed to list their products. Since these letters of authorization can only come from the said manufacturer of the brand, it means Amazon also works jointly with brands to protect their reputation. Many established brands also require both new and seasoned sellers to be pre-approved by them directly before moving to Amazon.
How To Get Ungated on Amazon
The fact that there is no universal way how to get ungated on Amazon means sellers can face different challenges when trying to access locked categories or brands. As stated earlier, the ungating process can be straightforward or challenging based on how one approaches it. But to make it convenient for any selling level, here are the primary ungating steps:
Create A Professional Amazon Seller Account
Amazon has, for a long time, established itself as a professional and trusted selling venue that expects its sellers to engage customers professionally. Hence, the first step to getting considered by this huge marketplace is to have a professional Amazon Seller account in place. Through this account, Amazon can determine your business activities, evaluate your business position, and consider you for approval.
Evaluate Account Health Status
Before sellers can think about how to get ungated on Amazon, they need to evaluate their accounts’ health and ensure they have all the positive ratings in place. For an account to be healthy, it should show a timely shipping record, good customer engagement, competitive pricing, and adherence to Amazon’s business policies. Sellers can, therefore, check their account performance by going to the Account Health section on the Seller Central Account and clicking on the Performance menu.
Follow Specific Category Ungating Guidelines
As mentioned, a brand can have more categories with different ungating requirements. Also, sellers who want to get ungated in different categories or brands will need to follow specific ungating guidelines to get approved on Amazon. For instance, while some categories like Fine Arts will ask for a minimum of three years of selling experience and a legit website, others such as Toys and Games will ask for Child Product Certificate.
Get A Reliable Supplier
Since Amazon shop keeps expanding every day, it sometimes becomes challenging for sellers to keep up with the rising customer expectations. Therefore, to remain relevant and manage to satisfy the increasing demand, sellers need to have trustworthy suppliers who provide the necessary stock regularly. As a requirement, Amazon asks sellers who want to list under limited categories to provide legitimate purchase invoices from suppliers or wholesalers whose products fall under gated categories. The products should also come from verified wholesalers or distributors, and not retailers or discounters.
Submit Original Invoices
Amazon takes every documentation seriously and requires sellers to provide all accurate information when requesting approval. As a result, sellers should provide scanned copies of their original invoices and other documents showing the seller’s name, UPC, ASINs, and model number for each product. They should also submit the documents in PDF format to show they are not edited. Moreover, Amazon may ask sellers to send more information about their business status.
Request Approval for Ungating
The last step on how to get ungated on Amazon is to submit the approval request. To request approval, sellers only need to follow these simple clicks:
- Click on Add Product on the Inventory menu.
- Search for the product they want to list.
- Go to the Listing Limitations Apply.
- Click on the Apply to Sale button from the new menu.
- Hit the Request Approval button to finish the process.
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Getting Ungated on Amazon Brands Step by Step
If you have a brand you want to sell on Amazon that is restricted, the process to get ungated is a bit more complex than categories.
This also means it could be harder to overcome. People try to counterfeit products, steal items to resell, or sell a brand without their permission all the time, and this is a way to ensure that it does not happen on Amazon.
Regardless, if you have all the right permissions from the manufacturer and have maintained a good standing with Amazon (aka positive reviews and a history of following the Amazon rules and regulations), you should be fine.
For this one, the step by step process looks like this:
- The first thing you should have completed before entering the process is ensuring that the brand you want to list is brand registered under BR 2.0 and is also trademarked under USPTO. If you do not have this ready, then you will get denied instantly.
- Next, you will need to check to see if your Amazon ASINS brand is gated or not. You can do this by trying to add the product. If you get a notification that you need approval, then click the associated option labeled “Request Approval” to get the process going.
- You will then be instructed to enroll in the Amazon brand registry, which is where you will be able to showcase the necessary brand information to support your application request. If you have a lawyer, then have them work on this portion for you. This will ensure that everything is legally covered and also demonstrates to Amazon that you are taking the process very seriously, which can give you more brownie points to get approved.
- During this time, you should also make sure to provide Amazon any third-party names who are also eligible to sell the same brand. This is not mandatory, but you will want to include others who are selling the same product to avoid potential future conflicts. However, if you are the only one, then you can skip this altogether.
- The ungated Amazon brand process generally takes about 4 to 5 weeks to complete. They may ask for more information during the duration as well, which could make it last a bit longer. If you get approved, then you can proceed to sell the brand you were looking to display. If not, then read why you were denied, remediate with more documentation and/or polish your account as needed, and then try again.
Tips To Maximize Amazon Approval
Getting approved to sell in gated categories, brands, and ASINs can be a dream for beginners and mid-level sellers. However, established sellers understand that, although the process can be demanding, it comes with unmatched fruits that they cannot afford to miss. Such sellers strive to maintain a good relationship with Amazon over their selling period. They also go a step further to utilize the following tips before requesting approval:
- Obtain pro-merchant status.
- Maintaining your order defect rate below 1%.
- Keep a pre-fulfillment cancel rate of below 2.5%
- Maintain your late shipment rate below 4%.
- Acquire all necessary certificates such as Child Product Certificate (CPC), FDA certificate, and Certificate of Analysis (CoA) for categories that touch safety, health, and wellness.
Final Notes on Our Guide to How To Get Ungated on Amazon
How to get ungated on Amazon is a comprehensive topic that sellers should learn before embarking on their selling journey. Remember, Amazon does not intend to hurt or scare its sellers by implementing such strict regulations.
Instead, its ultimate goal is to create a common ground where sellers and buyers can meet, agree, and transact safely and conveniently.
Therefore, sellers who want to succeed should be ready to take risks that their competitors cannot take and unlock more categories. This allows them to unlock more opportunities, reach new markets, and record more sales. If possible, they can reach out to Amazon’s ungating services who will help them maneuver through the obstacles easily.