When it comes to making more sales, one of the first thing Amazon sellers want to know is how to get ungated on Amazon. If you're relatively new to Amazon and don't know what it means to get ungated on Amazon then don't despair, we're going to cover the entire topic in this ultimate ungating guide.
Amazon is the world's largest online retailer, and it has millions of customers who are ready to buy your products however, there's certain restrictions in place on various product categories. This means that you must apply for and be approved by Amazon before you can sell products in a gated category.
In this blog post, we will walk you through the process of getting ungated on Amazon. We will also provide tips on how to increase your chances of being approved. Let's get started!
What Does it Mean to Get Ungated on Amazon?
To get ungated on Amazon means that you have been approved by Amazon to sell products in a gated category, otherwise known as a restricted category. Gated categories are special product categories that require additional verification before sellers can list and sell those products.
A few examples of gated categories include music and DVD, fine art, and topicals. Contrary to popular belief however, categories such as toys, grocery and gourmet foods, and beauty, are not restricted at the category level. These categories have many sub-categories and brands that are restricted, so they are not a free-for-all. We'll get into this in more detail further along in this guide.
When it comes to defining the word "ungating", it actually applies to both categories AND brands. For a long time now many people have used this word specifically for brands only, but these days it seems to be used interchangeably.
For example, you may see people in a group or forum ask how to get ungated on Amazon for grocery, or how to get ungated for Nike. This simply means, "how can I get approved to sell these categories or brands?"
Amazon Terminology Trivia: The words "gated" and "ungated" aren't even official Amazon terms. Amazon themselves simply refer to certain categories, products or brands as being restricted.
Why Does Amazon Restrict Products and Categories?
Amazon is very much a customer-first platform so there's a number of reasons they limit what sellers can list on the marketplace. Amazon restricted categories are generally in place to uphold consumer confidence, in addition to stopping fraudulent sellers from selling counterfeit products.
Restrictions are also in place for some brands because the brand owners want to uphold brand integrity. Brands also want to keep a tight grasp on supply chain control, which is why some brands are completely restricted altogether.
It's important to note that getting ungated for a category doesn't just give you free reign. Restrictions can apply on a category, sub-category or an ASIN level. Specific brands or ASINs within a brand family may also be restricted.
Let's take a look at the step-by-step requirements when it comes to getting ungated on Amazon.
What Are the Requirements for Getting Ungated?
The requirements for getting ungated will vary depending on the category and your selling history but typically, Amazon requires the following before they'll approve your request:
- A valid business address
- Business tax information (SSN or EIN)
- Copy of a valid government issued photo ID from either a seller or authorized representative
- Proof of vendor/wholesale distributor relationship
- Proof of purchase (invoice) of at least 10 items in the category or brand you are applying to get ungated in. (See invoice requirements in the next section)
- Photos of products to ensure packaging is compliant. Ensure that you take photos of all sides of the product.
- Certifications or testing documents to ensure the products meet safety guidelines, if required.
- Authorization letter from a brand owner (certain brands and circumstances only).
You should also have a healthy professional Amazon seller account with good seller metrics, such as the following:
- An order defect rate of below 1%
- Pre Fulfillment cancel rate of below 1.75%
- Late shipment rate below 4%
You may have to apply to be ungated for both the category AND the brand itself, so you need to go through this process more than once.
In addition to all of the above-mentioned items, sellers also need to understand the laws, certifications and limitations of anything they wish to sell.
Amazon Invoice Requirements
As part of the category or product approval process, you need to demonstrate that you have a relationship with a reputable wholesale distributor. This means you can't walk into Walgreens and buy a bunch of clearance items to help you get ungated, unfortunately.
Now that you know that retail receipts won't work for ungating you should know that Amazon is always changing and often does not follow their own rules.
As recently as December 2022 we know of people who have used online receipts from retailers (think Walmart) to successfully get ungated in certain brands. It won't always work but sometimes it does.
In order to show that you have a relationship with a legitimate supplier, Amazon will ask that you provide them an invoice for the purchase of at least 10 items.
The invoice that you obtain from your wholesaler is very important and it must contain and comply with the following:
- Invoices must be less than 180 days old from the date of your application.
- Your shipping address and business information on the invoice must be the same as the business information that you use for your Amazon seller account.
- The wholesale supplier's contact information must be shown including their business name, address, phone number and email. Amazon may contact the supplier to confirm that they are legitimate.
- Itemized details of the product order, showing the product details with a minimum purchased quantity of 10 (of the same item), must be included on the invoice. If one item is a multi-pack, you need to order 10 of that item so you may technically end up with more than 10 individual products.
- The product's Amazon ASIN should be written on the invoice (you can do this by hand). You can also put this into the notes section of your application.
- It must be a finalized or completed invoice, meaning that it indicates the products were delivered to you. It will usually be included in the package that arrives with your products. Pro-forma or order confirmation invoices will not be accepted.
- Ensure that the product information on the invoice contains a model number or UPC. Amazon needs to be able to validate this product online so they can match it to a product being sold on Amazon.
Here's some additional tips from my Facebook group that sellers have shared. Please note that they are solely based on the experiences of others, so they may or may not be helpful to you:
- Highlight the relevant areas of your invoice.
- Handwrite the product ASIN on the invoice.
- Crumple the invoice a little.
- Hold the products in your hand when taking photos and take photos of all sides.
- Scan invoice in to Word, Powerpoint, or an image editing software and draw arrows showing distributor name and write "distributor". Show arrows pointing to your own name and address. Literally spell everything out for them!
In addition to meeting all of the minimum requirements listed here, make sure you take a moment to review your application and ensure that Amazon can logically verify everything. If they can't, or if something is unclear or confusing, then it's likely that your application will get declined.
The easier you make it for Amazon to review the information you've provided, the better your chances will be of getting approved!
Does it Cost Anything to Get Ungated?
It doesn't cost anything to get ungated but you will have the expense of buying actual products so you can show Amazon your invoice. The trick here is finding a wholesaler with a low minimum order quantity otherwise you might find yourself out of pocket a few thousand, with no guarantee of even getting an ungating request approval.
Because you only need to buy 10 of the same product as part of the ungating process, you should be able to get away without spending too much.
And while getting ungated on Amazon isn't intended to be an immediately profitable exercise, it's still worth trying to find a good deal on the products you buy so you can on-sell them.
Top Tip on Being an Ethical Amazon Seller: Whatever you do, please don't return the products to the wholesaler after you get ungated on Amazon. This is going to force wholesalers to implement tougher policies that will eventually have a negative impact on the greater Amazon seller community (which includes you!)
Using Amazon Ungating Services
There are some services that offer to handle the ungating process for you, but I've always had my reservations about them to be totally honest. If you're part of any FB groups about Amazon FBA or the like, there's no doubt you've seen people asking the public to recommend the best Amazon ungating services.
The truth of the matter is, many Amazon ungating services are actually carrying out practices that go against the Amazon Terms of Service. Sellers that engage a service to carry out the ungating process on their behalf are putting their seller accounts at risk. This could mean suspension, which will crush any dreams of becoming a professional amazon seller.
In fact, AMZ Sellers Attorney have just flat-out called ungating services a complete scam.
My advice is, read through this guide thoroughly and join ungating conversations in Facebook groups, like FBA Today, and you realistically should be able to manage all of this yourself.
How to Get Ungated in Nike on Amazon
Nike is a gated brand, which means that you need approval to sell Nike products on Amazon. The good news is, it's very possible to get ungated in Nike on Amazon and it really doesn't take too much effort at all. The same also applies for other popular brands like Adidas, Hoka, and Converse.
How to Get Ungated in Toys on Amazon
The toy category on Amazon does not actually require approval, but many sub-categories and brands require approval. So generally speaking, most of the products and brands in the toy category on Amazon will require to go through the ungating process if you want to sell them.
Many sellers want to know how to get ungated in Lego on Amazon, which we will cover in this section along with some of the other popular toy brands.
If you're looking to get ungated in brands like Pokemon, Nintendo, Lego, Nerf, or Funko POP! then you can head over to EE Distribution to purchase your 10 products for ungating.
Due to the nature of toys, you may also be required to show the following:
- Images of the product manuals showing safety and compliance information and small parts/choking hazard warnings.
- A Children’s Product Certificate (CPC) for the ASINs you want to sell.
- Reports from an acceptable testing laboratory approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
Additionally, you'll find the following specific toy-related policies inside your Amazon seller central account:
Because toys are a top seller in Q4, you will discover that sometimes Amazon puts extra holiday selling guidelines in place. These restrictions mainly affect Merchant Fulfilled sellers, not FBA sellers. Amazon sends out an email notice regarding this policy if they implement it. They have not done so for the past few years though.
How to Get Ungated in Beauty on Amazon
The beauty category is another one that is actually listed inside seller central as not requiring approval, because it was ungated in 2017, but aspiring sellers for the beauty category will soon realize that this a huge category encompassing many different products.
For example, you may be able to sell some beauty or hair accessories without approval but you will need approval to sell certain cosmetic or skin cream products.
At the category level, beauty includes a wide range of products such as:
- Skin care
- Hair care
- Oral care
- Beauty related tools, brushes and accessories.
Like most categories on Amazon, you will also find many restrictions at the sub-category or brand level for beauty. Many well-known brands, like L'Oréal and Maybelline for example, will require individual ungating.
Some Amazon YouTubers have had success purchasing 10 products from Kohl's to help them get ungated in beauty, even though they are generally considered to be a retailer. If you try to use this method just know that Amazon may stop accepting Kohl's invoices at any time.
You may also have questions about the premium beauty category on Amazon. This used to be called luxury beauty and it was created for higher-end products that you might find in stores such as Sephora or Nordstrom.
By all accounts, there is currently no way for third-party sellers to sell products in the premium beauty category on Amazon.
The good news is that there are thousands of products in the beauty category that you can sell and make a great income from!
How to Get Ungated in Grocery on Amazon
While you don't need an LLC or a seller certificate, grocery and gourmet foods is one of those categories that is somewhat "protected". Grocery isn't a restricted category itself, but it has many restricted sub-categories and brands that are overly easy to get ungated in, especially if you're a new seller.
One of the most important parts of the process is finding a decent supplier to purchase a minimum of 10 products from.
Frontier Co-op Wholesale is a popular wholesale choice for grocery, but they do also have a retail website so make sure you purchase from the wholesale site.
If cost is a concern, an affordable product like tea is a good product to purchase for the ungating process for grocery and gourmet foods.
How to Get Ungated on Amazon for Topicals
Once you're ungated in grocery and/or beauty, you may also want apply to get ungated in Topicals. Topicals is one of the more popular restricted categories and it includes items like lip balm and other ointments that go onto the skin.
Topicals are actually a gated sub-category of beauty so even if you're already ungated on Amazon for the beauty category, you will need to specifically apply for topicals separately.
You should be able to follow the same process you used to get ungated in grocery, and you can even purchase from the same wholesale supplier Frontier Co-op. Just make sure your topicals purchase are a separate transaction to the grocery item.
How to Get Ungated in DVDs on Amazon
Even with the rise of streaming services like Netflix, there's still a great market for selling DVDs on Amazon. Let's quickly cover the simple process involved in getting ungated in DVDs on Amazon.
In searching for how to get ungated in DVDs on Amazon, I discovered an online store called Christianbook.com which has DVDs for less than $2 a piece.
Make sure you check Amazon for the product before making your purchase because as always, you need to tell Amazon the ASIN of the product you have purchased before they will ungate you.
Again, a warning that Amazon could stop accepting invoices from this company at any time if they deem them not to be a sufficient source any longer.
How to Get Ungated on Amazon for the Fine Arts Category
Fine arts is definitely one of the less common restricted categories on Amazon. It includes products such as one-of-a-kind paintings or limited edition photographs. Fine arts approval has some additional requirements to regular approval if you want to sell in this particular category.
You can check the fine art approval requirements here, but in a nutshell you will need to comply with some of the following requirements:
- You must have been in business for a minimum of three years
- A significant online presence, such as an Artsy website, is required for your business.
- History of your participation in specific art fairs
- Professional art organization memberships
Frequently Asked Questions - Amazon Gated Categories
Can I Just Avoid Gated or Restricted Categories?
Of course you can! Don't forget, however, that quite often Amazon gated categories are profitable categories so it's worth going through the approval process. New sellers may not have a choice but to avoid restricted categories or brands in the early stages until they get a little bit of history on their selling account.
What Items on Amazon Are Ungated?
Some categories don't require approval at all, which is where many sellers start. Some of the ungated categories include books (non-collectibles), camera and photo, home and garden, musical instruments, and sports. Please note however that you may still need brand approval and even sub-category approval within some of these categories.
I Was Ungated for a Brand But Now I'm Gated Again
It has been reported that this happens during Q4. It's also been reported that the Amazon seller app has a glitch where it says that you're ungated when in fact, you are not. Always apply for ungating from a browser on the Amazon website through your Seller Central account.
Why Are Some Sellers Automatically Ungated?
This happens to those that have a long history of selling on Amazon and they have a healthy seller account. Over time and as you build up more of a reputation as a good seller on Amazon, you too may get auto-approved for certain categories.
Tips for the Amazon Ungating Process
As we wrap up this somewhat lengthy article, here's some final tips I'd like to share with you to make this process as smooth as possible for you.
Choose Your Wholesale Distributor Wisely
Make sure you buy from a legitimate and proven wholesale distributor. Ask in Facebook groups or forums about recommended wholesalers and don't hesitate to contact the Amazon support team to check if a wholesaler is accepted.
Start With One Product Category
Aside from the fact that there are costs involved in this process, make sure you take things slowly and just apply for one product category or brand at a time. This way you can focus your efforts, which is definitely key to becoming a successful Amazon seller.
Sometimes you may find that an Amazon service agent rejects your application to sell restricted products. This decision isn't always final and from experience, it can take a few tries before you get your approval. Worst case scenario, you can just try different categories.
Buying Products is an Investment, Not an Expense
Many sellers are concerned with buying the 10 products required for ungating however, this cost should be viewed as an investment in your Amazon business. It would be nice to be able to re-sell these products for a profit but that won't always happen. Usually you can get away with buying affordable products for your invoice purposes anyway.
Do Not Return Your Products
After you've taken possession of your 10 products and your ungating application is successful, don't be tempted to return your products to the wholesaler. Not only is this unethical, it will make it harder for you as an Amazon seller down the track. Wholesalers will increase minimum order quantities and will tighten up on their policies. We have seen this recently with Frontier Co-op mentioned above. They have added a 20% restocking fee to all returns making them less competitive in the overall marketplace. Do the right thing, keep the products that you bought and sell them on FB marketplace, eBay, or donate them. You'll feel better for it. 🙂
Sometimes All You Need is Time
Some sellers get auto-approved for products or categories, but it's rare for this to happen for brand new Amazon sellers. Having a track record of selling on Amazon is going to help your cause greatly so be patient. Good things will come, in due time.
The Final Word on Getting Ungated on Amazon
Getting ungated on Amazon has become much easier than it once was, in my opinion. This is mainly due to the availability of support and information from fellow Amazon sellers. This trend could change at any time. What I have learned over the past 10 years of selling on Amazon is that things are always changing and will continue to change in the future.
While the information I've written in this article about getting ungated is easy-to-understand and relatively straight-forward to follow, you may still need to go back and forth with an Amazon service agent and you may even get denied at first.
As I already mentioned, just keep trying if you don't get approved right away. It will eventually happen for you.
So to wrap up, I want to thank you for making it to the end of this ultimate ungating guide! I sincerely hope it has helped shed some light on your ungating concerns.
If you feel like there's something I have missed or if you have any experiences of your own, please share them in the comments below.
Thanks again, until next time!