How To Ungate Your Amazon Account To Sell in Germany
Amazon is an American multinational tech conglomerate that focuses on e-commerce, artificial intelligence (AI), digital streaming, and digital advertising. Often considered the most influential e-commerce force in the world, Amazon launched in Germany on October 15, 1998, opening its virtual shelf Amazon.de to the German public.
Founded by Jezz Bezos in 1994, and initially an online marketplace for books, Amazon expanded to include millions of products across several categories. And its one-stop-shop status has earned it dubbed The Everything Store. In 2021, Amazon surpassed Walmart as the world’s largest retailer outside China, thanks largely to its rich list of features that include cloud-based streaming, computing, smart speakers, and Amazon Prime subscription plan.
When Amazon.de first opened in Germany, its online offerings contained roughly 700,000 books in German and English languages, a best-seller book list, a search tab, and a gift service that packed and dispatched books to customers. Fast forward to 2023, Amazon Seller Central Germany features a product selection of over 300 million articles. Alongside books, electronics, films, computer games, and home appliances have turned out to be popular categories in the past two decades.
Amazon settled seamlessly in Germany, thanks to the country’s commitment to innovation and digital investment. Since setting up its first logistics center in Regensburg, Amazon has expanded to more than 60 locations in Germany in a bid to cater to the growing demand from German customers. As a result, Amazon’s German logistics partners have enabled more than 45,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to sell on the platform, reaching a broader market both domestically and internationally.
Presently, more than 80% of German SMEs who sell via Amazon Stores export their products to customers around the world. That makes selling through the platform a lucrative venture that can significantly enhance your revenue potential. If you are an Amazon FBA Germany seller looking to ungate your account for access to Amazon’s restricted categories, this article highlights the necessary steps and requirements needed to sell successfully.
Selling on Amazon FBA Germany
Amazon has been and continues to be a key retail player in the German economy. According to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, SMEs generated over 2.5 billion euros worth of exports in 2018 alone. Additionally, tens of thousands of German SMEs selling through Amazon Stores countrywide exported more than 90 million products, with shipments going as far as Trinidad and Tobago, Sri Lanka, and Jordan.
German SMEs are the second top exporters (After British SMEs) in Europe, and Amazon continues to show its commitment to enable German-based third-party sellers to reach millions of customers worldwide. Through its platform, Amazon Seller Germany offers a wide range of tools that SMEs can use to enter international trade with little to no additional effort.
For example, Amazon uses its global sales, marketing, and delivery solutions, and its logistics network (through Amazon FBA Germany) to facilitate export trade for German businesses. Additionally, the platform translates millions of product pages for SMEs to different languages to enhance customer experience. As such, no time is as opportune as now for you to ungate Amazon’s gated (restricted) categories and unlock bigger profit margins.
But why should you sell on Amazon Germany? Amazon remains firmly anchored in the German economy, offering a vast array of product categories that continue to drive German shoppers to the platform. From Germany’s wealth of consumer electronics and kitchen appliances to computer games and films, the possibilities are endless. Amazon chips in as an able intermediary, enabling sellers wanting to target German and international customers with the aforementioned products. Amazon’s fulfillment centers facilitate packaging and delivery.
As of August 2023, Amazon is ranked number 1 as the most visited e-commerce and shopping platform in Germany, followed by ebay.de and kleinazeigen.de in the second and third positions, respectively. In terms of revenue, Amazon is a dominant force too. According to a 2022 report by E-Commerce Market Germany, Amazon generated a staggering Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of €46.2 billion, ranking first ahead of other marketplace giants such as eBay (€10.5 billion) and Otto (€7 billion).
Amazon Seller Central Germany Account Setup Guidelines
Amazon.de continues to dominate the online retail space in Germany, and this showcases Amazon’s widespread popularity and trust from German consumers. Merchants with Amazon Germany Seller Central accounts have access to the platform’s selling and product promotions tools, not to mention the services offered by Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) centers in Germany. Furthermore, German shoppers with Prime membership enjoy features associated with Amazon Prime.
If you an established brand or a new entrant looking to tap into the massive Amazon German marketplace, or its vast global customer base, this section will guide you on how to sell on Amazon Germany, including all the necessary guidelines on Amazon Seller Central Germany that all aspiring sellers must fulfill to capitalize on the platform’s growing demand:
- Access the sign-up page at Amazon.de and register with Amazon Germany Seller Central.
- Choose a selling plan between Individual and Professional. The former is limited to 40 items and charges €0.99 per sale, while the latter charges a monthly fee of €39 regardless of the volume of sales.
- For seller account registration and verification, you’ll need the following; a business email or an existing Amazon customer account, company details including a VAT identification number, a valid ID or passport, a phone number, a bank account, and a debit or international credit card.
- If you are looking to take your business overseas, beware of VAT and EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) obligations and registration requirements. EU sellers are obligated to pay VAT (value-added tax), just as US sellers pay sales tax. Note that EORI numbers identify countries operating within the EU, and selling without one results in extra costs and delayed shipments.
- Once all the tabs have been completed and you now have access to the Amazon German Seller Central, create a listing.
- Ensure your products bear identifiers such as EORI, SKU, UPC, ISBN, or EAN, as well as pricing details, quantity, and shipping options.
- Select the nature of fulfillment between Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBM). These are the two ways in which sellers can ship their inventory to customers. Each option has its pros and cons.
- Ensure your account is in good standing. Amazon expects German sellers to uphold certain performance standards, emphasizing metrics such as order defect rate and timely shipments. So be sure to track sales, fulfill orders, and stay ethical in your customer interactions.
The guidelines outlined above apply to most categories but can vary from one brand or product type to the other. On the same breath, certain product categories like Grocery, Health & personal care, Clothing, and Beer & wines, and spirits are restricted by Amazon and, as such, German sellers would need approval to list and sell in those categories.
This is why you may need to consider Amazon’s ungating service for Germany to get access to such gated categories.
Quick Facts about Amazon Seller Germany Marketplace
Amazon made an entry in Germany on October 15, 1998, via its platform Amazon.de, making Germany the first Amazon marketplace in Europe. Initially, the e-commerce conglomerate had a few dozen employees in Regensburg who took care of packaging. Fast forward to today, Amazon.de is a full-fledged marketplace, enabling over 45,000 third-party German sellers to reach a wider audience and enjoy enhanced revenues. Among others, here are some notable facts about Amazon seller Germany:
- The German marketplace is Amazon’s oldest outlet in Europe, having existed for over two decades since 1998.
- Since entering the market, Amazon has enabled more than 45,000 German SMEs to sell and achieve a 37% increase in sales on average. This is down to the logistical convenience of Germany’s FBA, which slashes delivery times.
- In 2022, Germany was ranked as the second biggest Amazon marketplace with $37 billion, behind the US’s $356 billion and ahead of the UK’s $30 billion.
- Amazon is a major player in the German economy, creating more than 28,000 permanent jobs, which are scattered across its 60+ logistics locations in the country.
- Amazon.de expanded from books and DVDs to include millions of products across more than 20 product categories. This opened up a new market for third-party sellers wanting to target German consumers.
- Amazon’s version of the German marketplace, Amazon.de has more than 300 million products on offer.
- Amazon’s market share in Germany has grown in the shortest time possible, dethroning former e-commerce dominant players like ebay.de and kleinazeigen.de. As a result, the e-commerce giant presently stands as Germany’s top online retailer.
- When selling in Germany or other EU Amazon marketplaces, sellers can fulfill their orders using one of three programs, each with its unique advantages, namely: Pan-European FBA, European Fulfillment Network (EFN), or Multi-Country Inventory (MCI).
- Amazon Germany Seller Central account holders should be aware of the legal obligations imposed by the German Amazon marketplace. These include consumer rights, product labels, customs requirements, VAT, and environmental, health, and safety regulations.
Nevertheless, Amazon seller Germany is a lucrative marketplace for sellers looking to ungate into niche categories to unlock the profits that come with selling in Amazon’s restricted categories.
Amazon Germany Seller Central
Amazon Germany Seller Central is a dedicated dashboard that helps German sellers manage and oversee the growth of their business on Amazon.de. From this platform, sellers get to track sales, manage payments, and handle shipping.
Amazon Prime Germany
What are the Features of German Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime is one of the most popular services on offer from Amazon, and its reception in Germany has been nothing more than excellent. This feature provides convenience, savings, and exclusive benefits to members, and its steady subscription rates are indicative of Germany’s appetite for online shopping and streaming services.
Amazon Prime debuted in Germany in 2007 and offers customers enhanced benefits. Prime members have access to Prime Video with more than 20,000 films and series, Amazon Music, Prime Reading, Twitch Prime, Prime Photos, and early access to flash sales, among others.
Furthermore, Prime members in Germany have access to Amazon Alexa, a cloud-based voice service that customers can utilize to play music, check out the weather, call friends and family, and use voice control integration on compatible Smart Home devices.
What Are Amazon Restricted Or Gated Categories in Germany?
Amazon gated or restricted categories in Germany 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 must apply for Amazon to let them in.
Also, enlisting the services of third-party ungating companies is another way on how to get ungated in Germany for Amazon.de.
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 its categories:
To Be Able 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. That is why ungating service for Germany requires sellers to show authorization and necessary documentation from agencies that oversee all safety standards concerning ingredients or raw materials, packaging, product labeling, and expiry dates.
For the Protection of Every Brand’s Reputation
Amazon also works jointly with big brands to ensure that 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.
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.
Categories And Products That Require Amazon Approval in Germany
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 approval, German 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 Germany
Whether you are a new reseller, FBS, 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.
If you want to expand your selling portfolio by accessing restricted categories, here are the general guidelines to get ungated on Amazon Germany.
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 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 like CA Grocery & Gourmet ungating service may 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 store and purchase a bunch of items for resale. The products need to come from verified wholesalers and distributors.
Prepare All 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.
With all the documents and other requirements ready, you can proceed to request approval from Amazon.
Final Thoughts on Ungating Service for Germany
Amazon, as an e-commerce platform, continues to evolve in a bid to cater to the demands of local and international markets. And while they do make constant changes to their policies, this article pretty much sums up how to sell on Amazon Germany.
For German-based sellers looking to get access to Amazon’s restricted categories, the ungating service for Germany is available to help you navigate the rather tedious process and help you unlock more revenue potential.