There are many obstacles to success on Amazon…and gated products may feel like one of the most literal. So why does Amazon restrict products and what can you do to break free? In this episode of Amazon Seller School, Todd breaks down how to “ungate” yourself and boost your bottom line. After all, your success shouldn’t include restrictions.
There are several ways Amazon restricts sellers from doing their thing. 1) Amazon often gates specific products. These include items like food and vitamins as well as DVDs, watches, and clothing. The list is ever-evolving. 2) Sometimes Amazon gates products from larger brands like Nike. And 3) Amazon may ban individual products at the ASIN level.
Why The Restrictions?
Because many sellers won’t do their due diligence and will sell knockoff clothing and jewelry, clothing is a category that Amazon likes to restrict. When it comes to health and wellness, Amazon may gate products like food, pet foods, and vitamins for liability purposes. Also, if complaints about knockoff products are tied to one brand or product in particular, Amazon may restrict the product to ensure quality control. Finally, sometimes larger brands will request that no one sell their product on Amazon without the brand’s approval.
What Can I Do?
Like all obstacles, restrictions have ways around them. First thing’s first, have a professional Amazon account. Second, have paid, legitimate invoices for at least 10 units of product. Invoices must be from brands or distributors – Amazon will not accept invoices from wholesalers.
Also, when Amazon asks you questions about the product, be honest, but always put yourself in Amazon’s shoes before answering. No one will want to take the risk of letting you sell grocery products if you’re only planning to sell five. And if you’re in a unique bind, consider having a brand write you a formal letter that authorizes you as a seller of their products.
Always make sure the information on your invoice matches that in your Amazon account and avoid the comment section. There’s no reason to give Amazon any additional ammunition when they’re reviewing your account. And beware of services that promise they’ll ungate you. This will get you banned from the platform and that’s just not worth it!
While there will always be hoops to jump through, taking your business seriously and working hard as a legitimate seller will help you sail straight through them. For more resources, check out Todd’s email templates and his cashflow budget.
As always, happy selling.
Resources From This Episode
Outline Of This Episode
[00:38] Todd’s introduction to this episode
[01:27] Different types of Amazon restrictions
[03:23] Why are products restricted?
[05:30] How to get ungated
[14:53] Todd’s closing thoughts on this episode
Todd Welch (00:00):
If you’re going to get into the Amazon wholesale game, you’re going to run into restrictions on products that you can sell gating. You’re going to be gated in certain products, certain brands, certain categories. So stay tuned to this video to learn how to quickly get around these gatings
Speaker 2 (00:26):
Todd Welch (00:26):
What’s up everybody? Todd Welch here from Amazon Seller School, and we’re going to dive into the world of gating in Amazon and how to get ungated in products. Because if you’re going to sell Amazon wholesale, you’re going to get into this game. You’re going to run into gating and gating is basically when Amazon restricts you from selling a product unless you meet some criteria. So make sure down below before we get started, hit subscribe, hit that bell to get notified of more videos like this. I release videos on keeping you moving forward in this Amazon wholesale game pretty regularly. So make sure you do that. And let’s go ahead and dive into this. First off types of gating. So the big way to get gated is categories. So categories frequently are gated on Amazon and some of the categories that are currently gated. There’s quite a few of them, but some of them, for example, our clothing and food, collectible coins, watches, music and DVDs and et cetera, et cetera.
Todd Welch (01:43):
The list is always changing and involving as Amazon changes their terms, so this means that to be able to sell in a specific category, let’s take food and grocery for example. If you want to sell in that category, you need to jump through some hoops to prove to Amazon that you are a legitimate business before you can sell any of the products that fall under that category. The second type of gating is brand gating, so let’s take Nike for example. Nike is gated on Amazon. You cannot sell Nike until you get approved to sell Nike and once you get on gated for Nike, then you can sell all of the Nike products for the most part that are on Amazon and you can start selling them. The third way of being gated is product or ASIN level. ASIN is the number that Amazon gives each unique product.
Todd Welch (02:45):
Some products specifically will be gated and you cannot sell that product without, again, jumping through the hoops that Amazon forces you to do to get ungated. All right, so those are the main three ways that Amazon gates things so that you need to jump through some hoops, improve yourself to start selling those products. Now, the reason that Amazon is usually gating some of these categories is one of the big ones is knockoffs and counterfeits. That’s one of the reason a lot of the clothing is gated and watches jewelry, things like that. Knock offs can be a big deal in those categories. So Amazon, Gates, those categories to try to weed out some of the sellers who are not so wholesome, not following the rules and selling those counterfeits and knockoffs. So that’s one big reason that Amazon Gates these categories. Now, another one is health and safety.
Todd Welch (03:50):
So if you think about vitamins and grocery, these are things that you’re putting in your body. Even some pet categories are gated as well. Dogs who are eating the food, cats are eating the food, et cetera. There’s health risks to that. So they don’t want just anyone jumping on there selling anything. Some knock off dog food that’s going to kill your dog obviously. So they gate those categories for health and safety reasons. Quality control is another big reason that Amazon gates products specifically and some brands as well, they want to make sure that a product is doing well. So if they’re getting lots of reports of maybe products that are being returned a lot or reports from the brand that a product is a knockoff or a counterfeit, then they’re going to start restricting those brands and those ASINs so that again, you have to prove your chain, your inventory chain, that you’re getting your products from legitimate sources.
Todd Welch (04:56):
And the fourth reason is brand requests. This doesn’t happen a lot, but I have heard it from some big brands that they are requesting Amazon to gate their brand so no one can sell their products without approval. So that is happening some as well for the really big brands. So now let’s go ahead and dive into the meat of this episode and that is how you can go about getting ungated. So number one, you’re going to have to have a professional Amazon sellers account. You’re not going to be able to get ungated with a free Amazon account. Any legitimate business is going to have a professional account. So get that professional account right away. 35 bucks, just get it. So once you meet that requirement, when you click on a product or a category and you try to add a product from that category, from brand or even a product that is gated, it’s going to take you to a screen that is asking for some information.
Todd Welch (06:07):
The main screen that you’re going to see is this one right here that I’ll put on the screen for you, and it requires that you submit a invoice for these products. Now there’s some requirements for the invoice. This is another example of what you might see for trying to get ungated for category. I’ll put that one here on the screen as well so you can see it, but you need an invoice from a legitimate brand or a legitimate distributor that shows a purchase of at least 10 units of that specific product. If you’re getting ungated for a specific product or products in that category, combined products in that category. If you’re trying to get ungated for a category or same thing for a brand, the invoice is going to have to be within the last 180 days. It’s going to have to have the name and address of the distributor or the brand that you bought the product from and it’s going to have to have your name and address on the invoice.
Todd Welch (07:16):
You can emit the pricing on the invoice if you choose, but you don’t necessarily have to. I don’t usually I just send it in. I figure Amazon is going to get that information regardless of if you send it to them or not. But the big thing on these invoices, so this is absolutely critical and this is where most people get in trouble. The address of your business, the phone number of your business, the email of your business that is showing on that invoice needs to match what is in your account on Amazon. That is the biggest reason that people get denied for getting ungated in a categories because something is off in the invoice. Now, if you get rejected for being ungated, they’re usually pretty cryptic about what they tell you. They don’t tell you exactly what was wrong with the invoice. Now they’re getting a little bit better with that, but still you’re probably going to have to guess.
Todd Welch (08:16):
So if you get rejected, double check the invoice, make sure everything matches what is in your Amazon account because that is the main reason that you’re going to get denied and rejected from selling a product or getting ungated for a category. In addition, make sure that the invoice is a paid invoice. You’re not going to be able to submit any unpaid invoices or purchase orders or anything like that. You want to be submitting a paid invoice to Amazon, so that is another thing that could stop you from getting ungated in a category or brand or whatever you’re trying to get ungated for. Now, in addition, sometimes Amazon will ask you some questions about what you’re going to be doing in a category. You want to answer those questions honestly, but also use some intelligence about it. For example, one of the questions that they ask sometimes is how many of these products do you think you’re going to sell?
Todd Welch (09:19):
And they might have like one to five, five to 10 or 20 or more. Don’t select that lowest amount, like one to five. You need 10 minimum on an invoice. So if you’re only going to sell five, you’re not going to get on gated because the invoice is not going to be any good to get ungated, so select those higher amounts. If you’re doing this Amazon wholesale, you’re obviously going to be buying and selling more than that to make it worthwhile. So answer honestly, but also think about it. Put yourself in Amazon’s shoes. What are they looking for? If you’re going to get on gated to sell in grocery and you tell them you’re only going to sell five, it’s probably not worth them to take that risk on someone who’s not going to sell more products than that. Now when you’re getting ungated, a lot of times they’ll have like an optional comments section.
Todd Welch (10:13):
I never put anything in there. I figure just give them what they need. We don’t need to give them extra ammunition to deny us, so just give them exactly what they’re looking for and nothing more. Make sure you put a valid email address that they can get ahold of you at and a valid phone number so that they can call you if they need anything. So with that, if you follow those steps, it’s not really that hard. A lot of people get a little nervous about being ungated. Maybe they’ve gotten rejected in the past, but nine times out of 10 it really comes down to having that invoice, being a proper invoice and making sure that invoice is coming from a legitimate brand directly from the brand or a legitimate distributor. Amazon will not take wholesale invoices. So a lot of people confuse a distributor with a wholesaler.
Todd Welch (11:12):
And the difference is a distributor has a direct relationship with the brand of a product. They’re buying the products directly from the brand where a wholesaler is getting their products from, maybe businesses going out of business, customer returns, close outs of products, liquidations and things like that. And Amazon will not accept a wholesaler’s invoice for getting ungated. So make sure you’re getting your products from a legitimate brand direct or a legitimate distributor that has relationships with those brands. That’s very important and that’s one mistake I see a lot of people make. In one more word of caution. A lot of people out there will try to sell you ungating services or recommend ungating services. Just do not use those. Amazon is getting smarter all the time. And these ungating services that used to work now are just getting people banned from selling on Amazon.
Todd Welch (12:17):
So ask yourself the question, is it really worth paying someone to fraudulently get you ungated and risk the health of your account? Risk your account being shut down. If you’re truly trying to build a real business, the answer is absolutely not. So do not do not use ungating services. I cannot stress that enough. Do it the right way. If you are doing this properly, as I told you in this video, getting the proper invoices from legitimate brands, legitimate distributors, you’re not going to have a problem getting ungated. Now the last way that I wanted to talk about for getting ungated is getting a letter directly from the brand. So if you have a relationship directly with the brand of a product that you’re going to sell, simply have them write you a letter. The letter has to be on company letterhead. It has to have the name and address, phone number and email of the business that you’re getting it from.
Todd Welch (13:22):
Needs to be signed off on on the bottom and basically just saying that I authorize whatever the name of your business is on Amazon to sell our products on Amazon, upload it to the gating or to the ungating request application and that will quite often get you ungated as well. That’s a little bit more difficult to get those if you don’t have a direct relationship with the brand if you’re going through a distributor, but I’ve used that in the past without having an issue because I actually had a product that I was ungated for or didn’t have any gating. I purchased the products. Then I added the product to my Amazon and I was all of a sudden gated. So one important thing to remember, if you’re buying product out there, make sure you’re always adding the product to your Amazon seller central before purchasing the product.
Todd Welch (14:23):
I’ve made that mistake in the past and I was able to get around it thankfully by getting a letter from the brand or I could have just made another order. It wasn’t a really big deal. It was only an order of five, but it can happen and I used the letter from the manufacturer to get around that. All right, so there you go. That is how to get ungated in Amazon, in the Amazon wholesale world. You’re going to run into it. I hope that helped you. Let me know in the comments. If you’ve run into other issues with getting ungated, how you got around them and things like that. I’ll reply to all of those comments and while you’re down there, make sure you click the subscribe button and the little bell to get notified of more videos. Just like this one. I’m also going to have links down there if you want to get my email templates that I use, the contact brands and distributors as well as my exclusive agreement. You can get that I’ve set up with brands and I’m also giving away my cashflow budget that I use every two weeks when I get that disbursement from Amazon. So click that link down below to get those and it’ll help you move forward in your Amazon adventure as well. So with that, this is Todd Welch with the Amazon Seller School signing off. Happy selling everybody.
Speaker 2 (15:53):