How to Get Approved to Sell Starbucks on Amazon
Starbucks boasts a wide range of exceptional products, readily available in neighborhood meeting places. Some of the more popular Starbucks products include in excess of thirty blends of cofee and single-origin premium coffees.
They also offerr handcrafted beverages such as fresh-brewed coffee, Frappuccino® coffee, Starbucks refreshers, and Tazo teas.You’ll find their merchandise such as coffee makers and tea-brewing equipment, the Verismo System by Starbucks are quite popular with customers, as well as collectible mugs, books, music, and gift cards.
Lastly, fresh foods such as baked pasties, sandwiches, yogurt parfaits, fruit cups, salads, and oatmeal round out the complement of sales in their cafes.
At the same time that customers love to frequent these locations, sellers would absolutely love to offer any of these products to their own customers.
But since Starbucks is a major brand, you’ll need to understand how to unlock Starbucks on Amazon Seller.
Brief History of Starbucks
Starbucks is probably the largest coffee and coffeehouse chain in the world. The company started as a single small coffee store in 1971. Three men; Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Browker founded the company and set up its first shop in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market, Washington DC.
The three founders believed in their mission to “inspire and nurture the human spirit- one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time”.
From this small site, the triple could roast and retail fresh-roasted coffee beans, tea, and spices to their growing customer base. Starbucks’ success story is one to admire. From their name choice to opening five more stores within the first decade, the company was indeed recording fast growth.
Fast forward to 1982, Starbucks hired Howard Schultz as its retail sales and marketing manager. Howard made a trip to Italy where he tested and liked its coffeehouses. He was then determined to bring the experience back o Starbucks but faced opposition from the higher authorities. He, therefore, left the company and opened his first coffee bar in the Columbia Seafirst Centre in 1986.
A year later, Schultz’s coffee bars were thriving while Starbucks started facing frustration. As a result, Howard offered to buy Starbucks for $4 million for the first six-unit chain. It was at this point that Starbucks started growing rapidly again.
Today, the company has stores in many states, including Chicago, Vancouver, Canada, California, Washington DC, and New York.
It has also crossed the Pacific to set new locations in Japan, Europe, and China. In short, the company operates in about 67 countries with 22, 519 stores worldwide.
Starbucks And Amazon Seller
Being a multi-million company, every Amazon seller looking to make fortune would probably wish to sell Starbucks-branded items. This, however, comes at a cost because Starbucks, like any other big company, is restricted to Amazon.
That means anyone looking to list its products will have to go through all the approval steps before they are allowed access.
So, how does one succeed in this? Below are a few things to note about selling Starbucks-branded products and how to unlock Starbucks on Amazon seller.
How To Get Approved to Sell Starbucks on Amazon
First, Starbucks products such as drinks, brewing equipment, and collectible mugs are popular, easier to get, and cool to have. Their drinks are also tastier and healthier than other coffee variants. That means any seller planning to list Starbucks on Amazon as a third-party seller is guaranteed to benefit from this profitable brand. However, as stated above, unlocking Starbucks comes with its requirements that might seem technical to beginners.
To get started, third-party sellers can use these three primary steps on how to get approved to sell Starbucks on Amazon:
- Get an authorization letter from Starbucks that states the brand has approved them to sell its branded products on Amazon. Once they receive the authorization letter, they can now set a purchasing agreement with Starbucks to either buy from it directly or from one of its authorized wholesalers.
- Buy at least 10 Starbucks products from the brand itself or an authorized wholesaler. The step is crucial as it is the only way to get legit invoices sellers can use when applying for approval.
- Request for approval. This is the last step once the seller has everything needed for ungating. If Amazon finds the seller eligible for approval, it will unlock the seller’s account automatically and allow them to sell Starbucks.
Why Does Amazon Restrict Starbucks?
Some years back, Starbucks had not restricted its brand and anyone could sell Starbucks-branded products on Amazon without limitation. Things, however, changed when Amazon realized that many sellers were listing counterfeit coffee blends during the holidays and selling them at higher prices. Therefore, to minimize customer manipulation, Amazon worked jointly with Starbucks to restrict the sale of its products, allowing only authorized sellers to list them. Therefore, among other reasons, here is why Amazon gates the Starbucks brand.
- Some counterfeit products are sold as the name brand; hence, a need for the brand’s permission.
- Starbucks does not want its perceived value to drop due to a bunch of rogue sellers listing its products.
- The brand wants exclusivity, which is common, since they have an image to uphold. Plus, sales and growth figures need to be protected for profitability. Most brands that participate in the Amazon Brand Registry program feel the same way.
- Like other huge brands, Starbucks offers warranties and guaranties for their products. But the consumer can only benefit from this advantage from authorized and registered sellers.
How To Sell Starbucks Collectible Mugs
Since its creation, Starbucks has remained committed to the iconic value that has allowed it to offer only high-quality drinks with a great branding and high-level hospitality.
The company has grown to attract more customers with its products ranging from drinks to whole foods and merchandise.
Among its merchandise that have shown an extensive collection culture are the Starbucks collectible mugs.
Starbucks collectible mugs have always been on the rise. Today, the most expensive mug can go up to $12,000, a good reason why most sellers would like to sell them on Amazon.
However, unlike other items, Amazon does not allow the sale of Starbucks collectible mugs as “New”.
Instead, sellers are only allowed to list them in the Used Category. That is because, even if they are still new, it is only Starbucks that is allowed to sell them as “New” hence, no seller is allowed to list them.
Moreover, Amazon limits the amount of inventory one can list on collectible mugs. The move is aimed at regulating the circulation of these valuable items. That means any seller who lists the same collectible mug more times is probably evading the approval process and is likely to be locked out.
Another interesting thing to note is the Starbucks regional coffee mugs. These are collectible cups made and sold in specific cities, countries, or geographical regions. No seller is allowed to sell these regional cups outside their regions.
Also, regional coffee cups are made in different Global Icon series, including the YOU ARE HERE series (2012) and the BEEN THERE series (2018).
Just like any other valuable Starbucks merchandise, Amazon only allows sellers to sell these regional collectible mugs in the Used Category and limited numbers.
How To Become A Starbucks Third-Party Vendor
For Starbucks to reach more consumers worldwide, it also works jointly with third-party vendors who can retail its products in physical stores.
Although the terms “Third Party” and “Vendors” are sometimes used interchangeably, they generally mean business entities or individuals that sell Starbucks products and services directly to customers on behalf of the company.
Becoming a Starbucks third-party vendor has its requirements. For instance, vendors must have registered businesses dealing with products and services relevant to Starbucks before they are allowed to sell Starbucks items in their coffee shops, dinner joints, cafes, and restaurants. Further, third-party vendors are not allowed to list Starbucks-branded items on any online marketplace such as Amazon.
To further understand how Starbucks and Amazon work, here is a definitive guide on how to unlock Starbucks on Amazon seller.
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 such as Starbucks, 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 or brand like Starbucks must learn how to unlock Starbucks on Amazon seller before Amazon lets them in.
Why Does Amazon Gate Its 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 products are in circulation. It achieves this by gating some categories, brands, and ASINs.
Therefore, among others, here are the main reasons why Amazon gates Starbucks:
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 selling rules.
To Protect A Brand’s Reputation
Amazon also works jointly with Starbucks to ensure that only authorized resellers can list products from this brand. Therefore, to protect the brand’s reputation, Amazon asks sellers to provide legit documentation from Starbucks 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.
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.
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.
Six 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 products 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 ungated on Amazon:
1. 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.
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 getting approved. 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 Category Ungating Guidelines
Each Starbucks category has specific instructions on how to get approved to sell Starbucks on Amazon. 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 categories. 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 Starbucks 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 proceeding to how to unlock Starbucks on Amazon seller, 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 ApprovalWith all the documents and other requirements ready, you can proceed to request approval in your Amazon account.
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, before thinking about how to get approved to sell Starbucks on Amazon, sellers need to consider three ungating levels; category, brand, and product ungating. They should also differentiate between category and product unlocking.
Conclusion on How to Unlock Starbucks on Amazon Seller
As a determined Amazon seller, the last frustration you would expect is to get locked out of lucrative brands such as Starbucks.
Many sellers and third-party vendors looking to benefit from selling branded items will always go for established manufacturers like Starbucks. The move, however, comes with its challenges. These include brand approval, limited inventory, and strict selling policies.
Fortunately, the guide above provides everything to do with how to unlock Starbucks on Amazon seller.