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 To Get Ungated On 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:
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.
10 Tips To Help You Get Ungated On Amazon
As a whole, ungating for Amazon sellers is a bit mysterious – the Amazon agents who handle your application don’t explain in detail what they look for. There will be general instructions, but no tips on increasing your chances will be given to you.
You may not even receive a reason in some cases! Then you will be told it’s “proprietary information” and you will be instructed to apply again.
Keeping that in mind, we have compiled some helpful tips on how to ungate Amazon.
1. Indicate your supplier’s or sales representative’s contact information
You should always include the contact information for your supplier if you run a dropshipping store or sell via Amazon FBA. It is even better if you deal exclusively with one person, since you will have a personal relationship with them.
Due to Amazon calling suppliers more often, they’re effectively being treated like sellers’ references. As a seller, you need to pay your supplier on time so Amazon can establish your credibility, dependability, and trustworthiness!
In the Optional Comments section of the application, make sure you include the following contact information for your supplier or sales rep:
- Name (if applicable)
- Business phone
2. Send a finalized invoice
You generally need invoices to gain access to Amazon. While some categories and brands with more stringent requirements may ask for more information in the application, almost every ungating application will require an invoice.
Invoices should be sent once they are finalized. A fulfilled order must be shown on the invoice, since it’s a document establishing when an order was fulfilled. Thus, the order confirmation that you receive when you first place your order should not be used.
The official, finalized invoice usually resides inside the final package and lists what you ordered, not what you bought from the supplier. Moreover, the finalized invoice will differ from the packing slip in the package once it’s shipped.
We often lose track of paperwork when we have so much! The following will typically appear on an invoice:
- Invoice number
- The date the order was placed
- Billing and shipping addresses
- Detailed contact information for suppliers/manufacturers
- Number of the packing slip (if cross-referenced)
- A list of all the goods purchased, including their quantities, sizes, and weights
- Each product has a Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) or Universal Product Code (UPC)
- Term and information on payments
You can ask your supplier or sales rep for a mock invoice if you want to speed up the application process before you receive the final goods. As long as it includes all the necessary information, such as an itemized list of the products purchased and supplier details, you’re good to go.
3. Invoices should not be edited
Consider the fact Amazon uses gated categories as opposed to ungated ones to prevent unscrupulous sellers. In order to make the application process as legitimate as possible, all aspects should be maintained.
Make sure your invoice can’t be edited or easily doctored before sending it to Amazon’s customer service agents. Consequently, PDF files are more preferable than Word (PC), Note (Apple), or Open Office (Linux) files.
The invoice should be scanned and attached to your application if you get a hard copy. You should save it as a PDF file or as a picture file such as a JPEG or PNG. Invoices can also be photographed and sent, as some sellers have reported.
4. Pay attention to the address
An application can be tripped up by this technicality. You should ensure that the Ship To address matches the Bill To address in order to increase your chances of being ungated on Amazon.
The addresses must also match those on your Amazon Seller account.
You should always check your account for up-to-date contact information even before beginning the ungating application. It is these seemingly insignificant details that can bog down the process, and the service agents may not even point out what is missing or not correct.
5. Change your Amazon service agent
The whole process of ungating is a bit mysterious, as we discussed earlier. If you frequent Amazon seller discussion forums or social media groups, you’ll find that ungating is frequently discussed and how to best navigate this process.
As a result of these postings, applicants try to predict what service agents may be looking for in an application. In some cases, the service agent does not mention exactly why the seller was not ungated – rejected applicants don’t always get a reason for the rejection.
The experts seem to have arrived at a general consensus that some Amazon agents are tougher than others when it comes to decoding the ungating process.
Your application can always be withdrawn, waited a few days, and reapplied in hopes of getting a different service agent if the agent you applied to rejects it. There is no way to specify the name of a service agent, but sellers have reported that this strategy works sometimes!
6. Measure performance well
It’s important that you can sell in these restricted categories before Amazon opens up your account. To do that, you should build a good track record with customers and have a positive reputation.
The following should be your general aim:
- Order Defect Rate (ODR) less than 1%. Negative feedback rate is the number of orders that have a defect.
- Under 2.5% Pre-Fulfillment Cancellation Rate. The number of orders canceled before the shipment is confirmed.
- LSR of less than 4%. The percentage of orders shipped after the expected shipping date, also known as Late Dispatch Rate.
Maintaining high metrics will benefit your ungating process and keep your store more profitable and healthy.
Specific metrics are required for some gated categories. If you are marketing sporting goods, you should not have an Order Defect Rate exceeding 0.75 percent.
7. Choose recognizable brands
To submit an ungating application, you must submit an ASIN. Authorization is required for all types of categories, including subcategories and brands. To get approval in the category, you need to receive approval for the product.
The best companies to choose are the ones with a good reputation. Imagine, for example, that you want to get unrestricted from the Topical Treatments subcategory. If possible, you should apply Lancome products rather than private label products, for example.
Even if you decide not to sell that particular brand, the brand name will still play an important role in ungating.
8. Convert product ID numbers to ASIN
Take the time to convert the EAN, ISBN, and/or UPC numbers on your invoices to ASINs if you want to be on the Amazon service agent’s good side. The gated products, brands, and categories can be cross-referenced much more easily now.
As well as this handy EAN to ASIN converter, you can also use this UPC to ASIN converter to convert large lists. This bulk conversion tool for ISBN to ASIN can be used if you have an Amazon bookstore.
The final invoice should not be edited or doctored in any way. This will automatically result in the application being rejected. Instead, attach a separate document with the ASIN numbers and keep the EAN/UPC numbers on the invoice.
Occasionally, a product won’t have a global trade item number (GTIN), also known as a product ID. As a result, you cannot even convert them into ASIN format since they don’t have a UPC or EAN. Products like these are typically handcrafted, private-label products, automotive parts, or product bundles.
You can apply to have your GTIN exempted in this case. Amazon does however have a list of brands that require GTINs – if your product lacks a GTIN from one of these brands, you are automatically disqualified from applying for ungating.
9. During regular business hours in the US, submit the application
During regular business hours, if you want to speed up the application process, you can submit your application. It’s possible to get a response from a service agent on the same business day, if you’re lucky.
Don’t put off getting additional documentation when the agent asks for it! Your application may be inadvertently pushed back if you do so, as the agent deals with more applications flooding in.
There is no way around this unless the application is fairly fast.
10. Take advantage of Amazon’s ungating service
You can always hire an un-gating service if you don’t want to go through the hassle of un-gating yourself. If you’d like to expand into other categories or subcategories, these companies can handle all the logistics for you and – in some cases – even advise you on how to develop a superior “ungating strategy.”
These services are, of course, chargeable. Those who use them report that they can be quite pricey. It is certainly valid to justify such an expense if, in the long run, you are ungated in a lucrative category.
There are a number of things you can do to ungate your Amazon account, including:
- The Funnel Guru
- Amazon Category Approval
- Ungating Amazon
- AMZ Ungating
- Ungating Guru
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.