Let’s see if anyone here has been here before. There is a problem with a restricted category on Amazon that stops you from moving forward with your killer selling idea. In this article you will learn how you can ungate Amazon in 2023 so you can really rock it.
How Does Being “Ungated On Amazon” Work?
There’s a phrase you’ve probably heard everywhere: ungated on Amazon. Why is that? What if you’re a seller and this gets in your way?
This simply means that Amazon restricts certain brands, categories, or subcategories from being sold. By doing so, new sellers are prevented from jumping into the marketplace without being approved.
So, when we refer to your goods as “ungated on Amazon”, we just mean that they have been approved for sale.
If the gate is closed (gated), then it isn’t possible to sell anything. You can sell everything if the gate is up (ungated).
All Amazon sellers are subject to gating and ungating, regardless of whether you dropship on Amazon or sell through Amazon FBA. Plus, ungating allows you to expand your selling opportunities, especially in less competitive categories.
There may be fewer sellers competing for sales in some categories since not everyone gets ungated. A low level of competition increases your chances of capturing online shoppers!
What Is The Reason For Amazon’s Gated And Ungated Categories?
There might be a question in your mind as to why Amazon has an ungated policy rather than a gated one. I find the whole process of being an Amazon seller very confusing, to put it mildly!
Amazon imposes its restrictions for a variety of reasons, including:
- Safety – ensuring a product is safe to consume.
- Liability – protects the consumer, seller, and even Amazon from any legal or health issues.
- Brand Integrity – maintaining a brand’s integrity and controlling the supply chain.
- Consumer Confidence – ensuring high quality standards and a positive user experience (UX).
- Fair Pricing – protects consumers in times of product shortages or extraordinary circumstances from unscrupulous sellers.
These two reasons tend to cause the most stringent restrictions – safety and liability. If products are mishandled or mislabeled, they can be unsafe for consumers. As discussed in the last section, Health & Personal Care falls under this category.
Furthermore, brands that are frequently counterfeited are usually subject to Brand Integrity restrictions or Consumer Confidence restrictions. There’s unfortunately no shortage of dishonest sellers who purchase knockoff products and then resell them as genuine products. Most commonly, counterfeit electronic and clothing products are sold.
Therefore, Amazon restricts access to these categories, subcategories, or brands. Selling these items requires that you “prove” that you are a responsible, trustworthy, and legitimate seller. The gated versus ungated categories are a result of this.
Restricted Categories On Amazon In 2023
Restricted categories on Amazon require you to have approval to sell them – in other words, they’re gated categories. Both terms are interchangeable, so it’s important to note that.
Following are Amazon’s restricted/gated categories as of 2021:
- Amazon Subscription Boxes
- Automotive & Powersports
- Collectible Coins
- Fine Art
- Made in Italy (Italian products)
- Music & DVD
- Postage Stamps
- Personal Safety & Household Products
- Sports Collectibles
- Streaming Media Players
- Toys & Games (during the holiday season)
- Video, DVD, & Blu-ray
Some subcategories are gated or restricted as well. In fact, this holds even when the general category is ungated.
There are no gates for Health & Personal Care products, however, the following subcategories have gates:
- Feminine Hygiene
- Sports Nutrition
- Dietary Supplements
- Hair Care & Beauty Appliances
- Medical Devices
- Topical Treatments
- OTC Medication
Furthermore, Amazon can restrict certain brands, even if they carry products in unrestricted categories. You’ll need to check whether the brand you wish to sell requires approval due to the fact that some of these are extremely popular and widely known.
Amazon offers the following gated/restricted brands as of 2021:
- Beats By Dre
- Dolce & Gabbana
- New Balance
- Ralph Lauren Perfume
Amazon’s policies can change from year to year regarding gated categories, subcategories, and brands. Ungated categories may become gated the following year (and vice versa). Therefore, in order to be a successful Amazon seller, you need to stay vigilant and perform your due diligence.
What is the procedure for becoming ungated on Amazon?
Fortunately, the Amazon ungating application process is fairly straightforward. Here are the basic steps to follow.
- Set up an Amazon Professional Seller account, which costs $39.99 a month.
- Select Add A Product under Inventory in Seller Central.
- If you decide not to sell that particular product after the ungating, then find a product in a category, subcategory, or brand you want to sell. If you look for products by their names, brands, or ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Numbers) you can do so.
- The Click Listing Limitations appear next to the search result.
- Click the Request Approval button. There are certain subcategories for which Amazon does not accept ungating applications.
It depends on which category or subcategory you’re trying to unregister for. Although most of them will require further documentation, some are more difficult and involved than others.
Included in this are:
- A detailed invoice (with your supplier’s contact information)
- If you are purchasing wholesale, ask the manufacturer/brand owner to send you a letter.
- There is a monetary fee
- Documentation or additional information
There may be additional requirements as well. An ungated position in the Fine Arts category requires three years of experience. Medical Products must be FDA-approved, and strict seller guidelines must be followed.
Applicants for ungating in some categories aren’t always accepted by Amazon.
At any given time, Amazon doesn’t state why it isn’t accepting applications. The Amazon ungating process can be extremely secretive at times, so they might have a backup of applications or may be revamping requirements.
When does Amazon ungate products?
There is no straightforward answer to this question- It depends.
Ungating on Amazon can take anywhere between a few hours and a few days depending on the circumstances. There are some categories that are easier to get approved than others. Plus, if you’re a veteran seller with a positive track record, it will speed up your approval process.
Almost instantaneous approvals are possible in categories with Automatic Approvals. So you were able to immediately gain access to the seller portal because of your seller record and performance metrics.
An email with something like: Congratulations is usually sent out when this happens. According to your performance history, your application for selling [brand/category name] has been approved.
The approval process, however, can sometimes take two to four weeks, depending on the category and the amount of paperwork needed. There may not be enough Amazon service agents to process all new applications and you may have to wait much longer if there is a large influx of applications.
Your ungating application will be rejected if it’s not accepted. Service agents usually provide a reason for their actions. However, sometimes the application is simply rejected without explanation, and this is not a given. It is not uncommon for an agent to merely tell you that it is “proprietary information” and to reapply.
There isn’t much detail and usually only a general reason given. If the service agent was not able to verify the information on your invoice, for example, then the agent might not have been able to assist you.
If your application is rejected, you have 14 days to appeal or submit whatever documentation they require.