Frequently Asked Questions for Ungating Amazon
Amazon has always remained a stop-over for many people looking to harness online visibility and expand their business. The platform has millions of buyers and sellers. And anyone who understands how this giant marketplace works is sure to make a fortune.
One big challenge, however, is that selling on Amazon is not as simple as on other online markets. That is because eCommerce has strict rules that lock out thousands of sellers who do not abide by its selling ethics.
Those who intend to expand their inventory and sell lucrative products are required to fulfill certain requirements and unlock more niches. And that is where ungating Amazon comes in. That said, if you want to boost your business on Amazon and make more money, here is a comprehensive guide to answer all your questions, but specifically … What is Ungating Amazon?
What Does It Mean to Be Ungated on Amazon?
As a new reseller or FBA Amazon seller, you are likely to see a pop-up saying “Access Restricted – You Must Apply for Approval” every time you try to list your products. The message may be intimidating to newbies. Though long-time sellers understand it as one mechanism Amazon uses to enhance the shopping experience. Therefore, the question is, why is an access restricted?
First, Amazon locks or restricts certain products, categories, and brands to prevent any seller from selling within them. The move targets to protect buyers from manipulation and enhance the shopping experience. Amazon also limits sellers from accessing restricted niches to ensure anyone listing their products follows all the selling guidelines. These include listing high-quality and safe products, maintaining timely delivery, and having excellent customer relations.
In simple words, Amazon ungating is unlocking restricted categories, brands, products, and ASINs. Sellers can only get ungated after requesting approval, after which Amazon reviews the request to determine whether such sellers are eligible for ungating. Remember, every seller needs approval, whether they are Merchant Fulfillment or Amazon Fulfillment sellers.
The step is also vital as it lowers the number of sellers competing for a few locked niches; hence, reducing competition.
What Is A Restricted Category?
As stated above, a restricted category is one in which an Amazon seller requires approval before they are allowed to sell within it. Also called gated or closed categories, these categories have strict restrictions that limit some sellers from accessing them. Hence, Amazon may ask sellers who intend to sell within these gated categories to perform some quality checks and pay certain fees before they are approved.
Amazon keeps changing restrictions every year, making it challenging for sellers to predict what is in store for them. That means a restricted category may be open only for a few years before Amazon locks it again. Another thing to note is that Amazon has three gating levels; brand, category, and product gating. When requesting approval, sellers need to understand how to unlock the entire category and not sub-categories only.
Why Does Amazon Have Gated and Ungated Categories?
Amazon’s primary gating purpose focuses on enhancing the shopping experience and protecting both parties. It does this by formulating rules that target to link buyers and sellers and minimize dangerous activities on the platform. That said, Amazon gates some categories for the following reasons:
a) To Enhance Product Safety
Amazon strives to enhance buyers’ safety by ensuring only high-quality products are in circulation. Before listing their inventory, Amazon requires sellers to pass their products through stringent safety checks to ensure they are of the needed standards. It also requires some products, such as food, groceries, and beauty products to have safety certifications from regulatory bodies like Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
b) To Enhance the Brand’s Integrity
Besides protecting buyers, Amazon also creates a good selling environment that enhances manufacturers’ integrity. This is through its requirements that demand sellers to produce authorization letters from certain brands that allow them to list specific products on Amazon. Those sellers who do not have authorization letters are locked out of certain brands.
c) To Build Buyers’ ConfidenceWhen the platform has clear selling boundaries, buyers will be confident enough to buy from certain sellers. Sellers who are allowed to establish their businesses within restricted categories or brands can enjoy higher trust levels from buyers. That is because customers believe such sellers only deal with high-quality and safe products before they are allowed on the eCommerce platform.
d) To Prevent Over-Pricing
Since Amazon has millions of buyers with unending demands, sellers are likely to take advantage of buyers and overcharge them. This is only possible if Amazon does not have strict selling rules that put all sellers within certain price ranges. Therefore, to prevent overpricing and buyers’ manipulation, Amazon allows only legitimate, responsible, and trustworthy sellers to access highly-demanded and profitable categories.
How To Get Ungated on Amazon
The good news is that by putting in the work, getting ungated on Amazon can be done. Once the seller is ready to establish their business on Amazon, all they need is to request approval and wait for Amazon to review and react to their request. To do this, sellers only need to follow these four vital steps:
- Create a professional Amazon Seller Account. The account records all the selling activities and allows Amazon to check the seller’s history. One can get Seller Account for only about $50 per month. They should also maintain their health during the entire period before they request to sell within restricted categories.
- With a seller account ready for verification, a seller can go to the Seller Central section, click on the Inventory menu, and choose to Add A Product option.
- Next, a seller should go through the gated category, subcategory, and brand and select the products they want to sell. In this case, they can search for products using the brand name or an Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN).
- After choosing a product, they should click on Listing Limitation Apply and finish by hitting the Request Approval button.
How Long Does it Take to Get Ungated on Amazon
Amazon can take a few hours, days, weeks or months to approve the request based on several factors.
These include the selling season in which the seller sends the request, the documents required, the seller’s history, and the number of requests received.
Other requests may also be declined, especially if the seller does not give correct and reliable information.
Examples of Gated Brand Names
Sony | Under Armour | Disney | Otter Box | NIKE | Nintendo | Canon | Yeti | Adidas
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, 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 must understand how ungating companies work before requesting approval.
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:
1. 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.
2. To Protect A Brand’s Reputation
Amazon also works jointly with big brands to ensure 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. That means sellers need to know how to get invoice for ungating at Amazon. Those 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
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, when trying to answer what is Amazon ungating, sellers need to consider three ungating levels; category, brand, and product ungating. They should also differentiate between category and product unlocking.
Are there 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, besides learning what is ungating Amazon, here are other general guidelines on how ungating works at 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.
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 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. Above all, you need to learn how to get invoice for ungating at Amazon. 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. Be sure to do your research before sourcing and paying for any potential sales items. This includes hiring professional ungating services to teach you more about what is Amazon ungating.
Prepare Your DocumentsBefore 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. 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.
With all the documents and other requirements ready, you can request apparel brand ungating approval using the following steps:
- Getting a Pro-Merchant Status. It becomes easier if you already have a Professional Seller Account.
- Search for the item you want to list
- Go to the Listing Limitations Apply
- From the new menu, click on the Apply to Sale button
- Lastly, click on the Request Approval button
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 Food and Drug Administration. 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 understand what does ungating mean. You should also consider the following best tips to maximize your chances of getting ungated:
- Getting a Pro-Merchant Status.
- 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 cancelation to maximize your apparel brand ungating 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.
- Acquiring child product certificate. A Child Product Certificate is a must-have requirement if you want to sell in children’s categories such as Toys and Games. It also proves that you adhere to both local and federal product safety laws.
Final Thoughts on Your Question What Is Ungating Amazon?
Selling on Amazon is a lifetime opportunity that no one would like to miss. That is because the platform has a steady demand for all products, ranging from household items to apparel and outdoor accessories.
Therefore, anyone who understands how online marketing works can easily convert Amazon selling into their primary source of income.However, before reaching this point, sellers need to break a thin line between gating and ungating. Luckily, the above guide on “What is Ungating Amazon” provides everything newbies and FBA sellers need to know about Amazon ungating.