Amazon Ungated Categories: A Guide for Sellers

There’s never been a better time for online sales—and if you’re selling online, then you know that working with Amazon is a must. Amazon FBA sellers take advantage of the largest marketplace in the world and connect their businesses to the leader in fulfillment and distribution. 

Deciding what to sell includes understanding the Amazon stock limits, Amazon seller FBA refund policies, and limitations on the product category as well as researching what products are popular and easy to transport. You need to know which products are banned, which can be sold under specific rules, and how to decide whether it’s worth it to sell the latter. 

To begin, let’s unpack Amazon ungated categories.

What Is an Ungated Category?

When you’re trying to figure out whether you can offer a product for sale on Amazon, there are a few types of limitations to understand. These include: 

  • Legality – If it’s illegal to sell under the laws of your country or other jurisdiction, it’s off limits. While Amazon Seller Central provides detailed information on product categories and examples, it’s not a comprehensive resource. You’re required to understand and follow product sale laws and regulations whether explicitly detailed by Amazon or not. 
  • Amazon seller policies – Amazon policies impose an additional level of restriction on what can be sold and how. There are products and categories which are entirely off-limits as well as those which require following exhaustive checklists to sell. The permissions or category approval process is also referred to as gating. Gated product categories are items that can be sold after being granted permission, which turns them into ungated categories. 
  • Amazon FBA seller policies – Amazon FBA sellers ship directly to Amazon warehouses to rely on their international fulfillment and distribution services. In addition to strict Amazon packaging requirements, labeling, and shipping practices, there are product types and categories which are included in the Amazon restricted product list, which you need to be aware of.

For an Amazon FBA seller, an ungated category is a specific product that is legal to sell, allowable for FBA sellers to list, and has gone through the steps to obtain permission from Amazon (which moves it from gated to ungated). 

What Are the Open Categories?

Open categories are those that you can set up for sale on Amazon without any steps or limits on sale. Add them to your inventory and you’re good to go! 

The downside is that these products generally have the most competition; if it’s easy for you to sell, it’s easy for everyone to sell. You may need to work harder or have a clear marketing or acquisition advantage to succeed over all the similar product listings.

List of Amazon Restricted Categories

There are many Amazon restricted brands and product types Amazon restricts from its marketplace. Unlike gated categories, which require you to follow certain steps or provide certain proofs, restricted categories are built on a combination of things that are largely illegal or simply too difficult to legally distribute, including: 

  • Alcoholic beverages (except from pre-approved wine sellers) and raw alcohol
  • Products specifically marketed to customers over 21 years of age
  • Animals and animal byproducts (with limited exceptions such as shellfish and bait)
  • Fine art sculptures, textiles, and many types of paintings and prints
  • Products in violation of any copyright or trademark including unauthorized artwork
  • Many vehicle parts and accessories including used and prohibited components
  • Noncompliant composite wood products
  • Cosmetic or beauty topical products that do not meet strict labeling, ingredient, and other requirements
  • CPAP cleaning and disinfecting devices
  • Currency, coins (except for collectible), cash equivalents, and gift cards
  • Dietary supplements that don’t meet labeling, ingredient, and other requirements
  • Drugs, controlled substances, products imitating them, and most drug paraphernalia
  • Noncompliant and prohibited electronics
  • Explosives, weapons, and related items other than BB, paintball, and air ammunition
  • Items subject to International and Export Trade Regulations
  • Foods and beverages not compliant with strict labeling, FDA, and other requirements
  • Gambling and lottery tickets and machines
  • Hazardous and prohibited items such as non-consumer chemicals and fireworks
  • Human parts and burial artifacts, except for wigs and limited medical use exceptions
  • Noncompliant jewelry and precious gems
  • Laser products except for some consumer products that can be sold with permission
  • Noncompliant light bulbs, lamps, and conversion kits
  • Lock picking and theft devices
  • Medical devices and accessories except for some authorized over-the-counter products
  • Offensive/controversial materials other than books, music, video, and DVD products
  • Other restricted products—this is a long list, from coupons to presidential seals
  • Pesticides and pesticide devices unless compliant with applicable laws and regulations
  • Plant and seed products not sold by licensed U.S. vendors under certain conditions
  • Postage meters, counterfeit stamps or equipment, and USPS U.S. Flag Forever stamps
  • Recalled products
  • Recycling electronics
  • Refrigerants: ozone-depleting substances and substitutes
  • Strike anywhere matches
  • Subscriptions and periodicals
  • Surveillance equipment with some exceptions such as baby monitors
  • Tobacco and many tobacco-related products including marketing (i.e., hats, t-shirts)
  • Warranties, service plans, contracts, and guarantees
  • Upholstered furniture, bedding, and other quilted products not properly labeled

How to Get Approved for Amazon Gated Category

Once you have reviewed the applicable policies and found a product that can be sold after obtaining permission, there are a few steps beyond normal inventory setup to follow. These include: 

1. In your Seller Central account, click on the Inventory tab located and, from the dropdown menu, click on Add a Product.

2. Once you select the desired item, click on the Show limitations link by the product information.

From here, you’ll either see:

1. Notification that applications aren’t being accepted for this product at the time.

2. A Request Approval button that gets you started on the application process. 

Selling a World-Class Consumer Brand

Are you overwhelmed with the research and steps involved in getting your inventory in buyers’ hands? Forum Brands can help. Sell your Amazon FBA business to us and ditch the checklists. We acquire FBA businesses and offer entrepreneurs a way to quickly turn a business into cash to fund new ventures.

Sources: 

Amazon Seller Central. Alcohol. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200164340&language=en_US&ref=efph_200164340_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Animals & Animal-Related Products. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200164370&language=en_US&ref=efph_200164370_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Art - Fine Art. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=201279060&language=en_US&ref=efph_201279060_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Art - Home Decor. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200164390&language=en_US&ref=efph_200164390_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Automotive and powersports. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200164410&language=en_US&ref=efph_200164410_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Cosmetics & Skin/Hair Care. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200164470&language=en_US&ref=efph_200164470_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Restricted products. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/200164330?language=en_US&ref=efph_200164330_cont_G201730840

Amazon Seller Central. Currency, Coins, Cash Equivalents, and Gift Cards. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200164450&language=en_US&ref=efph_200164450_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Dietary Supplements. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=201829010&language=en_US&ref=efph_201829010_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Drugs & drug paraphernalia. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200164490&language=en_US&ref=efph_200164490_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Explosives, weapons, and related items. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200164950&language=en_US&ref=efph_200164950_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Food & Beverage. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200164550&language=en_US&ref=efph_200164550_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Hazardous and prohibited items. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200164570&language=en_US&ref=efph_200164570_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Human Parts & Burial Artifacts. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200164590&language=en_US&ref=efph_200164590_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Laser products. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=201689020&language=en_US&ref=efph_201689020_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Lighting. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=201997070&language=en_US&ref=efph_201997070_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Offensive and Controversial Materials. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200164670&language=en_US&ref=efph_200164670_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Other restricted products. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200685320&language=en_US&ref=efph_200685320_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Pesticides and pesticide devices. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=202115120&language=en_US&ref=efph_202115120_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Plant and Seed Products. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=201737480&language=en_US&ref=efph_201737480_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Postage meters and stamps. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200164730&language=en_US&ref=efph_200164730_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Surveillance Equipment. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200164870&language=en_US&ref=efph_200164870_cont_200164330

Amazon Seller Central. Tobacco & Tobacco-Related Products. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/help.html?itemID=200164910&language=en_US&ref=efph_200164910_cont_200164330

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