Amazon offers many different seller categories, but about 30 percent of them are restricted or “gated.”  This allows Amazon to keep a close watch on certain types of products—many of which are governed by various quality standards in their respective industries—to ensure that all of its merchandise is trustworthy.

Amazon has recently eased limitations on some of these categories. That means that more people can sell within these categories and get greater visibility than they might in other, more saturated classifications.

You do have to jump through some hoops; otherwise, everyone would be flooding into these categories.  To be approved by Amazon for these un-gated categories, you must fulfill the following requirements:

Open a Business Selling Account.  The fee for the account is about $40 per month.

Provide invoices, images, or questionnaires. Depending on the category, Amazon wants to see certain things that help them better understand your merchandise.  For some products, they might require invoices (not receipts).  Have them ready to present so that you can apply in a timely manner. Amazon will want to see images of products for other categories.  Be prepared to share high-quality images (not grainy, low-resolution ones). In other categories, Amazon may want you to fill out a form with details about your products in addition to providing images.

Prove your reputation.  Amazon will be more likely to allow you into an un-gated category if you have a good reputation in the marketplace.  How are your overall ratings?  Your metrics?  You should be able to demonstrate a stellar record for on-time shipping and a nominal order defect rate and pre-fulfillment cancellation rate.

As you attempt to throw your hat into the un-gated arena, you will be paired with an Amazon representative to help you navigate the application process. Make sure that you have completed as much homework as possible in advance.  Even if you’re prepared, there will likely be quite a bit of “back and forth” with the Amazon rep to get you approved.

For more information about the evolution of restricted categories, join us for next year’s internet retailer exhibition at Prosper Show.  You can network with other sellers, meet service providers, and attend workshops from leaders in the online selling industry.