Get Started Selling on Amazon: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide (Part 4 of 12)
Part 4: Getting Ungated for Restricted Amazon Categories
In Part 3, we covered how to Find the Right Suppliers for Your First Amazon Inventory Batch.
In this part, we will break down one of the most daunting, time-consuming and frustrating hurdles you’ll have to jump with Amazon- getting access to sell in restricted categories aka “ungating”.
“Un” what? Yes, Ungating.
As you establish your new income stream selling on Amazon, you will notice that there are many hurdles that you have to jump- this is just one of the many so don’t lose hope!
You’ve heard the saying, nothing good in life comes easy.
Well, this applies to some of the most popular categories on Amazon.com for regular & FBA sellers alike. They require getting approval from Amazon in order to sell in them.
Thought daunting at first, It is not that hard to get approval and this section of this 12-part series will hopefully give you all the information you need to know exactly how to go through this process and step-by-step.
At the time of this blog post, there’s currently 24 categories that require approval (ungating) before you can sell. See full list here.
However, In this post we will cover the following categories:
- Health & Personal Care
- Clothing & Accessories
- Shoes & Handbags
- Fashion Jewelry
What You Need Before You Start Your Approval Process
In my post 12 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Selling on Amazon, yeah well some of those things have prevented me from venturing into some lucrative categories (as you can see in my account’s screenshot below) but I’m here to ensure you avoid the same mistakes I made and that you do it right.
So, as shown above, in order to request approval to sell in any of the above categories you must meet the following minimum criteria:
- Be a Professional Seller (pay $39/month for your seller account. This is a good time to upgrade from the free Individual Plan)
- Order defect rate: < 1%
- Pre-fulfillment cancel rate: < 2.5%
- Late shipment rate: < 4%
Note: You might have all those numbers but still be denied. The reason for that is you might still be BRAND new. So make sure you have a few sales under your belt before you request approval.
When I first requested approval I think I had 2 sales. This might be different by now, but just have a few sales first before requesting approval.
Before Starting the Ungating Process
Before you start the Amazon restricted categories ungating process, you will first need to be logged into your Amazon Seller account. Once logged in, choose the link for the category you want to start the process for:
- Beauty (link)
- Health & Personal Care (link)
- Grocery (link)
- Clothing & Accessories (link)
- Shoes & Handbags (link)
- Fashion Jewelry (link)
- Watches (link)
Ensure you read over the requirements for the category and then click “Request Approval” and then continue through the process for each category you’re ungating.
Once you start, you want to go through with the entire process to avoid being put on hold for 2-3 months.
1) Getting Approval In Health & Personal Care, Beauty and Groceries Categories
The Beauty, Health & Personal Care and Grocery categories are some of my personal favorites. For you to get ungated (approved) for these categories, you simply need to provide Amazon with receipts and/or invoices.
Here’s how to go about it;
- Submit 3 Receipts for each category you are requesting an approval in with a 5 minimum quantity per item
- Use Photoshop, Fireworks, GIMP or PicMonkey.com to add your Full Name or Business name to your receipt if it’s missing (I use Photoshop or Fireworks for this)
- Use any of the above programs to blur out the prices you paid for the products (don’t blur the quantities)
- If possible, try and buy from reputable stores like Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Target etc (the physical stores not online)
- Add the ASIN to your receipts and ensure the products listed are from the category you are applying for
OUTSIDE THE USA: If you are buying from outside the US, you can also buy from DHGate and request the merchant to send you an invoice and send 3 of those instead.
Just buy from 3 different suppliers.
Amazon requires that you provide them 3 receipts from legitimate sources that show you are buying quality products to sell on Amazon.
As stated earlier, remember to buy items in quantities of at least 5 or more. This tells Amazon that you are not purchasing for personal use. If you make 3 transactions, each with 5 of 3 different items you should set! That will be a total of 15 items purchased for each of the 3 categories.
After you’re done, scan the receipts into your computer, or you can just take a photo of the receipt with your phone and email it to yourself then attach the digital copy of the receipt to attach with the application you submit for ungating.
The items you buy don’t have to be high dollar value, anything between $1-$5 is fine. Don’t focus on making any money with them either, they are purposely for ungating.
2) Getting Approval In Clothing & Accessories Or Shoes & Handbags Categories
For the Shoes & Handbags and Clothing & Accessories categories, the approval is shorter.
- Submit 5 white background images that abide with Amazon’s photo guidelines for the respective category
- Create and submit a “Flat File” which is pretty much an excel sheet in .CSV format that has a minimum of 5 products on it showing a parent/child relationships
For this ungating application process, Amazon will ask you questions about your business model, products you intend to sell and your intentions for the specific category you are applying in.
Then you’ll be required to submit images which will need to be the correct size Amazon requires images at least 500 pixels wide with on a pure white background. I have a design background so I do this all by myself but if you can’t, just can hire someone on Fiverr for $5 or use any of the many free online tools to achieve the same.
Your new “Flat File” will be used to let Amazon know that you know how to create a listing using their bulk uploader excel system.
Ensure that you fill out each category’s fields correctly and use the right terms found in the template provided after you submit your application and have your first round of images approved.
Amazon will review your flat file and verify that everything is exactly the way they like it. Normally, this process may require a lot of back and forth with them until you get it right- don’t give up!
3) Getting Approval In Watches & Fashion Jewelry Categories
The approval in the Watch & Fashion Jewelry categories is a pretty simple. Only two steps.
- Just like others, fill out the online application for the specific category
- Submit 5 images that meet Amazon’s images criteria for the selected category as explained in the previous category (but dont forget to and make sure you know what applies for the specific category)
Just like the other categories, Amazon will want to find out more about your company and what types of items you intend to sell.
After that, they will have you submit 5 images that meet their criteria.
Don’t stress too much, incase they don’t approve 1 or more of your images, you will get an email telling you which ones and why.
Just follow their instructions and resubmit within 48 hours.
Tip: When Amazon responds to you requesting something, make sure you respond right away before the allocated window expires.
I made a mistake of waiting too long before responding and they pretty much disqualified me and told me I was ineligible to apply for ungating for another 2 months.
You know better, don’t be like me 🙂
Ungating Assistance Service
I know how daunting and time consuming this entire process can be so if you need help, I will set up an ungating assistance service to help you out.
Just compensate for my time and I’ll handle it for you. But what I’ll do is pretty much everything I’ve outlined on this blog post for you to do.
Now that you are approved in these categories, it’s time to start making some serious money! Have fun!
As always, if you have any questions or are stuck and need help completing any of the steps outlined here, leave me a comment below or email me and I’ll be happy to help.
Up Next, Part 5: Listing Your Products on Amazon
This post is a part of the ongoing Get Started Selling on Amazon: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide series, follow the links below to read them:
Part 1: Creating Buyers & Sellers Accounts for Selling on Amazon
Part 2: Researching Hot & Profitable Products To Sell on Amazon
Part 3: Finding the Right Suppliers for Your First Amazon Inventory Batch
Part 4: Getting Ungated on Restricted Amazon Categories (Current)
Part 5: Listing Your Products on Amazon
Part 6: Testing the Market Before Making the Big Purchase
Part 7: Purchasing Stock to Sell on Amazon
Part 8: Shipping Your First Amazon Order, YAY!!!
Part 9: The Magic in Positive Ratings & How to Get Them
Part 10: Improving Your Seller Ratings & Ensuring Your Account is Not Suspended
Part 11: Moving Up to Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) (Coming soon)
Part 12: Scaling Up Your Amazon Operation (Coming soon)
Image Credit: urbanfragment.wordpress.com