How To Ungate Your Amazon Account To Sell in Uk
Whether you want to step into multichannel European e-commerce, have an established online brand and looking to expand your market presence, or you just have a passion for online marketing, Amazon.co.uk is the best place to start.
The United Kingdom online market presents a huge potential for aspiring and seasoned sellers looking to reach more buyers. From the latest statistics, the UK has the fifth largest online market, with more than 55.2 million people preferring online shopping.
The country recorded over $143 billion in online sales in 2022, ranking slightly behind Germany which recorded over $148 billion in online sales in the same period. What do these statistics say about Amazon shopping?
According to 2021 statistics, Amazon was the top UK online store, with nearly 90% of online shoppers preferring it to other e-commerce marketplaces. The giant e-retailer recorded a 12.7% year-over-year increase in net sales in 2021, with over 15 million Prime members and 21 fulfillment centers. That means anyone looking to register as an Amazon seller is sure to make a fortune through an expansive market.
Although, like any other European country, ungating Amazon United Kingdom and reaching millions of buyers comes with its challenges. Besides setting up a verified and professional selling account, new sellers should also learn about all the aspects involved in the UK online market, as discussed in this article.
Ungating Amazon United Kingdom
As one of the largest e-commerce spaces, selling on Amazon UK seems like a lucrative idea with millions of shoppers looking for essential products every day. The marketplace records over 261 million unique visitors every month. Additionally, besides the higher number of return consumers, Amazon UK also has millions of registered business customers which makes B2B selling a straightforward process. However, as profitable as it seems, selling on Amazon.co.uk requires all B2B and B2C sellers to follow certain criteria to avoid colliding with the Amazon team.
Ungating Amazon United Kingdom starts with understanding essential selling practices and knowing what customers want. That means, besides selling authentic and safe products, aspiring Amazon sellers should also have legitimate documents such as invoices, business registration, and individual identification documents as seen later in this article. With these compulsory requirements in place, they can proceed to request approval, launch their businesses, and start to list their products.
One good thing about ungating Amazon United Kingdom is that approved sellers can access all European marketplaces (Amazon.es, Amazon.de, Amazon.it, Amazon.fr, and Amazon.nl). Also, it does not matter whether they want to list one item or millions of products. All they need is to create Amazon Europe Marketplace accounts that allow them to switch to Seller Central Europe and manage their inventory from the UK.
How To Create An Amazon UK Seller Account
To get started with selling on Amazon UK, new sellers need to have their accounts up and running. The accounts allow them to list products, manage their inventory, engage with customers, and access all selling tools they need to amplify their businesses. Amazon also relies on verified accounts to tell its resellers’ and customers’ metrics.
New sellers can choose between Individual and Professional selling plans. An Individual plan is ideal for new sellers who are unsure of what to sell or do not plan to sell more than 35 items per month. It costs £0.75 per item with additional fees like referral.
A professional plan, on the other hand, is ideal for growing sellers and those planning to sell more than 35 each month. It is also suitable for sellers who want to benefit from Amazon advertising and Buy Box. It costs a flat rate of £25 per month with additional referral and maintenance fees.
Regardless of the plan sellers pick, they need to equip themselves with this requirement before they start the registration process:
- A valid business mail address or Amazon customer account.
- A chargeable credit card. They can also use international cards.
- A valid passport, ID, or any approved identification document.
- Company registration details such as VAT compliance number. New sellers can click here to learn more about VAT compliance.
- Phone number.
- A bank account to receive payments and proceeds from Amazon.
Amazon UK Seller Central Account
With all the details ready, aspiring sellers can proceed to create their seller accounts via Amazon.co.uk. They will be prompted to sign up for new accounts or enter their login details if they already have Amazon customer accounts. Next, they will need to choose the location of the business, business name, and business type. Lastly, they will wait for Amazon to verify their details and documents before they are allowed to list their products.
Once Amazon verifies their accounts, sellers can automatically access the UK Seller Central account dashboard. The dashboard allows them to manage their selling accounts, edit product information, update their inventory, manage their sales and customer feedback, and access vital selling content. The portal also allows sellers to contact Amazon customer support and open help tickets using the Case Log.
Ungating Amazon FBA UK
As one of the last registration steps, Amazon UK sellers will need to choose how they intend to ship orders to their customers (fulfillment options). Amazon offers two primary fulfillment methods: Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
Fulfillment by Merchant means sellers handle their orders and manage storage, shipping, and customer service by themselves.
Whereas, Fulfillment by Amazon means Amazon handles all order aspects such as picking, packing, and shipping products to customers. All sellers need to do is ship items to Amazon fulfillment centers and let Amazon pick from there.
When ungating Amazon FBA UK, sellers also need to identify their suitable fulfillment program based on their business model, the number and type of products they sell, and the location of their customers. Picking the right fulfillment programs allows them to identify whether it is profitable and if they can reach as many customers as possible. Popular Amazon UK FBA options include:
- European Fulfillment Network (EFN). The option allows them to store their products in one fulfillment center and sell them across all European marketplaces.
- Pan-European Program in which sellers only pay a local fulfillment cost and ship orders to different European marketplaces.
- Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) where sellers can sell from their (or third-party) sites with Amazon picking, packing, and shipping orders to customers.
Ungating Amazon Grocery Category UK
Grocery is one of the most sought-after categories on Amazon UK e-retailer. From the records, the UK online grocery market is worth over £1.5 billion, and still growing each year. The growth is attributed to a shift in shopping culture where more people are now looking for reliable sources to get their everyday food easily.
Also, as the online shopping curve continues to rise, more people are now taking advantage of fast and free shipping programs such as UK Amazon Prime and FBA Subscribe and Save that allow them to sign up for recurring and scheduled grocery deliveries.
To access and benefit from this profitable venture, sellers need to start by ungating Amazon Grocery category UK. Unlocking the Grocery category is not different from other categories, although it may have distinctive requirements that new sellers must know about. For instance, sellers must know what is permitted and what is not permitted before they think about selling groceries on Amazon UK.
Popular grocery requirements that sellers should know include :
- All food products must be correctly packaged, labeled, and delivered.
- All grocery listings must comply with EU and UK regulations. They must also provide all necessary information.
- All food ingredients must be within legal quantities and concentration limits.
- All grocery listings must be labeled in English.
- All groceries must meet shelf-life and expiry requirements. For FBA sellers, their products must arrive in fulfillment centers with a shelf life of more than 105 days.
To know more about ungating Amazon Grocery category UK, read our detailed Grocery ungating guide.
UK Amazon Prime
Amazon UK also has one of extensive Prime features, centered around speedy and free shipping to its members. The program was launched in 2007, with fast shipping as the first benefit. However, over the years, Amazon has continued to expand its Prime program by introducing more features and welcoming more members. For instance, over 19 million people are estimated to be individual Prime members as of 2023, while about 27 million people can access the program.
The UK Amazon Prime has also undergone numerous price changes since its inception. Currently, Prime members can enjoy its extensive benefits for £8.99 per month or £95 per year. Those who want to access Prime Video only can pay £5.99 per month. Moreover, students can access a free Prime trial for six months, after which they will pay half price of £4.49 per month or £47.49 per year.
Besides key features such as Prime Video, Prime Reading, and Amazon Prime Music, Amazon FBA Prime sellers can also access Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) which allows them to deliver orders directly to domestic Prime members. Sellers with the Prime badge can also fulfill orders with approved Prime deliveries at no extra cost to customers. This allows them to use the right transportation solutions and meet high demand from customers.
What Are Amazon UK Restricted Or Gated Categories
Amazon UK 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 must apply through Amazon.co.uk 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 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 Netherlands 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.
Adherence to MHRA and FDA Regulations
Many items require the approval of the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) before they are sold on the UK marketplace. Like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), MHRA also checks and regulates products sold between two countries. No retail platform, website, or other selling venue is permitted to offer any product that is not previously rubber-stamped by the FDA and MHRA.
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 permitted, as they do not meet standard codes from other regulatory bodies.
Categories And Products That Require Amazon Approval in the UK
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, 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 UK
Whether you are a new reseller or an established Amazon UK FBA seller, utilizing the vast market space offered by Amazon.co.uk 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:
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 £25 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 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 Amazon UK 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.
Guidelines To Ungate Specific Categories on Amazon
Selling specific categories goes a long way in understanding what each 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 MHRA and FDA. 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 sell in any gated category, 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 £25 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 cancellation to maximize your 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.
Final Thoughts on Ungating Amazon UK
Ungating Amazon United Kingdom can open floodgates of selling opportunities with an expanded market and a wide range of categories to choose from. However, the process may have its unique challenges such as high competition, language barriers, VAT obligations, and different customer behaviors.
Therefore, before kick-starting the ungating process, sellers need to research the market, define their business plans, and know how to get customers easily.