On Amazon, there are different types of gating and restrictions; the most common ones being gated categories and gated brands.
If you're wondering why these categories have restrictions, it's because Amazon wants to ensure that customers can "purchase with confidence" in these areas, thus they limit the number of new vendors until they can establish their quality.
The types of Amazon restrictions are:
- Gated categories
- Gated brands
- Restricted products
- ASIN restrictions
A gated category is one that requires Amazon's permission before products under that category can be listed by an Amazon seller. For specific products and categories, Amazon may impose performance checks, additional fees, and other qualifications. The categories are gated to keep both buyers and sellers safe.
To ensure that real sellers are listed in some sales categories, Amazon will not allow a seller to list a product until they submit an application and have it approved. Amazon will require receipts from authorized suppliers confirming the purchase of a minimum quantity of units, distributor/manufacturer invoices, business licenses, and other documents demonstrating/proving your status as a legitimate business reseller for unlocking gated categories.
Until Amazon authorizes your seller status in a category, all products in gated categories are completely locked and can’t be listed for sale. When you try to list an Amazon product in a gated category, you'll get a message that says you're restricted and a button to submit an application to remove the restriction.
Amazon restricted categories that require approval to sell include the following:
- Automotive and Powersports
- Collectible Books
- Collectible Coins
- Entertainment Collectibles
- Fine Art
- Fine Jewellery
- Gift Cards
- Grocery & Gourmet Food
- Major Appliances
- Sexual Wellness
- Sports Collectibles
- Streaming Media Players
- Textbook Rentals
- Video, DVD, and Blu-ray
Ungated categories are those that do not have the restrictions mentioned above, allowing sellers to list the products without having to wait for approval.
However, gated brands may exist in ungated categories, meaning that even if you have been permitted to sell in the category, you may not be able to list a particular brand on Amazon if it is Brand Restricted. You will require a brand application and approval before the products can be listed.
For example, while ‘Electronics' is in the ungated category, attempting to sell brands like Apple and Bose on Amazon will result in restrictions.
Known brands (and some smaller brands) are increasingly having their products "gated" on Amazon to prevent counterfeiting and brand devaluation. You would need approval from these brands to sell their products.
It's impossible to get written authorization, or even a response, from big firms like Apple. Some brands are exclusively available in particular countries; for example, you may be allowed to sell in the United Kingdom but not in the United States. Some brands may only allow you to sell a limited number of products. You could be able to sell Canon printers but not their cameras, for example.
What's the difference between restricted brands and gated brands?
Restricted brands and gated brands ultimately mean the same thing as sellers are restricted from listing them until they pass Amazon's approval process.
There are also sub-category restrictions - that is the category itself is unrestricted but certain sub-categories under them are restricted. Amazon categories with these kinds of sub-category restrictions are Baby, Beauty, Health & Personal Care.
Some products are restricted to sell even if you might be ungated in the category itself. Amazon's restricted products include:
- Animals & Animal-Related Products
- Art - Fine Art
- Art - Home Decor
- Automotive and Powersports
- Composite Wood Products
- Cosmetics & Skin/Hair Care
- CPAP Cleaning and Disinfecting Devices
- Currency, Coins, Cash Equivalents, and Gift Cards
- Dietary Supplements
- Drugs & drug paraphernalia
- Explosives, weapons, and related items
- Export Controls
- Food & Beverage
- Gambling & Lottery
- Hazardous and prohibited items
- Human Parts & Burial Artifacts
- Jewelry & Precious Gems
- Laser products
- Lock Picking & Theft Devices
- Medical devices and accessories
- Offensive and Controversial Materials
- Pesticides and pesticide devices
- Plant and Seed Products
- Postage meters and stamps
- Recalled products
- Recycling electronics
- Refrigerants: Ozone-Depleting Substances and Substitutes
- Strike anywhere matches
- Subscriptions and Periodicals
- Surveillance Equipment
- Tobacco & Tobacco-Related Products
- Warranties, Service Plans, Contracts, and Guarantees
- Upholstered Furniture, Bedding, & Other Quilted Products
Amazon restricts specific ASINs on the basis that the particular product or product variation may be prone to IP infringement or there are concerns regarding product safety or quality.
How to identify Amazon gated brands and categories
The easiest way to find out if you are gated in an Amazon category or brand is to try to list the product. To check if a product is gated or in a gated category, try to add the product through your Amazon Seller Account.
Software like SellerAmp will also state when you're viewing an Amazon product you might not be eligible to sell.
Certain Amazon brands are not yet gated, but their owners will take action to prevent other sellers from selling them.
You will be able to list the product on Amazon, but you may receive a notice stating that you have been suspended due to Intellectual Copyright Infringement.
It can be incredibly difficult and costly to have your account reinstated once it has been suspended.
Some ways to identify potential IP listings are;
- Some categories are riskier than others. Sports and Outdoors, Baby, Jewellery, Watches, Grocery, and Health and Beauty.
- Keep an eye out for Private Label sellers. They are fairly easy to recognize because the listing usually only has one Amazon seller. If you've never heard of the brand and it's not widely available in stores, it's probably a Private Label.
- If a popular product has only a few sellers, all of whom are established registered businesses. The brand is likely to have taken action to remove all of the smaller unofficial merchants from the marketplace.
- Keep an eye out for the Copyright or TM symbols in the title of the Amazon listing.
You can usually tell if there will be an issue if you look closely at the products you want to buy or add to your list. There are numerous risks involved in listing products in restricted categories or brands so it's best to take precautions.