Amazon is considered the biggest online marketplace in the world, and most people think of it as a place of endless possibilities and an easy way to start a retail business. However, most people are shocked by the number of restrictions they face when they want to start selling on this platform.
One of the problems most people face is navigating the gated categories on Amazon. Think of it this way. You decide to start selling on Amazon, have done your research, and picked out a product that you think will make you a fortune, only to realize that this product is gated. It is a potential mistake most rookies make.
Amazon is a very customer-centric platform, and it does its best to ensure that all its customers are protected from harmful and or counterfeit products. Most people are already wary of shopping online and would think twice about buying from a platform that sells substandard or harmful products.
To prevent this, Amazon gates these products by placing certain restrictions on them.
Thus, this article will take a closer look at how to unlock gated categories and tell you how you can go around these restrictions and start selling your product on Amazon. But first, let’s try to understand why some categories require approval.
Why Do You Need Amazon's Approval To Sell Products In Some Categories?
Let’s look at the statistics. About 9.7 million people are selling on Amazon, and more than 2 billion people buy from them monthly. It won’t be easy to keep tabs on what this amount of people are selling.
However, Amazon must ensure that people buying from the platform get the best possible deal. So they place restrictions on these categories to verify that the sellers are selling the best possible quality of products.
They do this for several reasons.
1. To Maintain A Good Reputation
Amazon has built a reputation as one of the largest and most trustworthy marketplaces.
Their entire strategy is based on this trust and reputation, so it is in their best interest to maintain this reputation.
Think of a situation where rogue sellers offer harmful, counterfeit, or substandard products. It would not be easy to maintain their reputation.
Gating those categories is most likely to deter and prevent bad products from being sold and is one of the ways they maintain their reputation.
2. For The Safety Of The Customers
Some of the gated categories on Amazon, like grocery and supplements, are ingested by consumers.
The impact of such products on the health and safety of consumers cannot be ignored.
Therefore, to ensure that its buyers are safe after eating the products, Amazon tries to verify all the products sold on the platform.
3. Amazon Is Bound By Federal, State, and Local Laws
There are laws guiding retailers at all levels of government. These laws mandate the quality and specifications of the products that retailers can sell.
Because Amazon is a platform for retailers, it is bound by these laws and has to ensure that the sellers on the platform adhere to the strict standards.
4. To Keep Out Substandard Foreign Products
Some products are easily sourced from other countries. Some of these products are substandard and not of the same quality in the country. These strict restrictions ensure that these products do not find their way into the platform so that the integrity of the standards is maintained.
An excellent example would be electrical items. They must meet the codes set out by various agencies such as the NEC, CEC, OSHA, and possibly others.
Four Examples of Gated Amazon Categories
Now that we understand why Amazon gates some of its categories, let’s look at specific categories, understand why they are gated, and look at some of the ways you can unlock them.
Cosmetics are products that are usually used directly on the body. You rub, spray, or pour them on your body for the cleansing or beautifying effects they have.
Products like creams, perfumes, makeup, shampoo, toothpaste, body sprays, deodorants, and even temporary tattoos fall under these categories.
Indeed, it should be obvious why Amazon gates these categories. Imagine what could happen if someone buys and uses a substandard beauty product and suffers the effects afterwards?
But, this does not mean that you cannot sell these products. You have to follow the compliance checklist set by the FDA and Amazon.
- You can sell cosmetics on Amazon as long as they are not adulterated. The product should not contain any substance that might pose harm in some way to the consumer. The FDA has a list of ingredients that manufacturers are prohibited from using.
- The cosmetics you intend on selling should not be misbranded. It should have a label containing all the necessary information, including the name, ingredients, usage, and identifying markers.
- You can sell cosmetics on Amazon if they are properly sealed and are in their original packaging.
- The cosmetics you intend on selling must be new and unused.
- The codes that identify the cosmetics must be clearly shown on the packaging or body of the cosmetics.
2. Personal Care
Like cosmetics, these products are to be used directly on the body. There is no definition by law for these products because, in some cases, personal care products are cosmetics, while some are drugs.
Some of the products can even be classified as cosmetics and drugs, as in the case of the anti-dandruff shampoo. Because of the nature and function of these products, it should be clear why they are gated on Amazon.
To be able to sell personal care products on Amazon, they should pass the following requirements.
- You can sell personal care products considered drugs if they have premarket approval from the FDA.
- While personal care products might not need approval from the FDA, they must not contain any of the stated prohibited ingredients.
- All personal care products you want to sell must be properly labeled. Amazon will not allow you to sell personal care products that are misbranded.
- The personal care products you want to sell on Amazon must be sealed, unused, and new.
3. Children’s Sleepwear
The restrictions placed on children’s sleepwear are for the protection of the child.
Children’s sleepwear is any piece of clothing that is intended to be worn for sleeping. So such things as pajamas, nightgowns, robes, and loungewear are considered children’s sleepwear.
Articles of clothing worn by those above size 14 are not considered children’s sleepwear.
There are requirements that any seller hoping to sell children’s sleepwear on Amazon must meet before they can list their products.
- The clothing items must be made of a material suitable for sleeping in and used for that purpose or related activities.
- It must meet the flammability standards stipulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. These standards are also listed on the amazon page.
- The sleepwear must be tight and snug-fitting. It also reduces flammability because tight sleepwear does not have much air under it and will not ignite easily.
- It can only be a one-piece or two-piece garment. If it is a one-piece garment, the entire length should not be longer than 25¾ inches, and if it is a two-piece, each piece should not be longer than 15¾.
- It should be properly labeled, and the label should carry the age of the children it was meant for in months.
All of these rules are to ensure that your products meet federal, state, and local laws and that the children wearing them are kept safe.
4. Infant Bath Seats
An infant bath seat is meant to support the infant while getting a bath. It supports the front and back of the infant to prevent injuries and death from drowning.
The standards set by Federal laws are meant for the exact purpose of preventing these injuries. They try to ensure that these infant bath seats are of the best quality and will offer the needed protection for the baby.
If you intend on selling infant bath seats on Amazon, then you must be ready to meet the requirements set by these laws. Some of them include:
- Performance requirements to ensure that the child is secure and stable throughout the bath. These require that the infant bath seats be tested according to the American Society For Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.
- The surface coating of the infant bath seats should contain less than 0.009 percent lead, and the entire bath seat should not contain more than 0.01 percent lead.
- The infant bath seats you intend must be tested by a third-party laboratory accepted by the CPSC and meet children’s product safety rules.
- The bath seats must have permanent tracking labels that contain basic information about the product and the manufacturer.
Should I Try To Sell Items In Gated Categories?
We understand why Amazon has these restrictions on these products. The question is, should you, as a new seller, bother with these products? Is it worth the stress that comes with it?
The truth is that there are product categories on Amazon that do not require you to meet such strict requirements, so would it not be easier to sell these products?
There is no clear answer to this question, but what we can do is tell you some of the benefits of selling products in these gated categories.
Amazon is one of the largest online marketplaces in the world, and many people see it as an opportunity to become entrepreneurs.
It offers you a low-cost platform for selling your retail products. The implication is that there are a lot of people selling on Amazon.
At the time of writing this piece, there were about 9.7 million sellers on Amazon, and this list will keep increasing daily.
Most of these sellers will not like to go through the stress of meeting the requirements to sell products in the gated categories, so they will stick to selling the products with fewer requirements.
The reality is the gated categories offer you less competition and higher profit margins.
Because not everyone is willing to go through the hassle, you have fewer people selling these products and fewer people competing with you.These advantages and the profit they promise should incentivize you to play by Amazon’s rules.
Amazon is a platform that has built a reputation as one of the safest places to make purchases online. This reputation is based on the trust their consumers have for them. To maintain this reputation, they have to ensure that the products on their platform meet certain standards.
But these verifications are not only for the sake of reputation. Sellers are supposed to follow federal, state, and local laws, and since Amazon is a marketplace where people buy and sell, it is also bound by these laws. It means that Amazon has to ensure that the products sold on the platform are in keeping with these laws.
It is for the sake of the consumers and the sellers too. Amazon is customer-centric and wants to ensure its users get the best. The barriers before these categories ensure that the buyers do not buy harmful and deleterious products. It will help build customer trust and increase the number of people willing to buy from the platform. Following the proper standards and selling on Amazon will be a profitable venture for you.