Gated categories on Amazon are categories that require approval from Amazon before a seller can list products in that category. The process of getting said approval is called ungating.
Why bother getting ungated?
The steps for getting ungated might seem a bit arduous for some especially considering that Amazon may deny the ungating request. But if you think about it, because there is some hassle to getting ungated, it means that not all sellers decide to go through it and as such, there is less saturation. Getting ungated in categories or brands also means that you have more options when sourcing.
4 Steps to getting ungated on Amazon
Although there is no one-size-fits-all way to becoming ungated on Amazon (various categories may require different techniques), there are some similarities that apply to most categories.
1: Open a wholesaler account.
You can sell on Amazon with an Individual account but to get ungated, you may need an Amazon Wholesaler/Business account if you don't already have one. The account should have the same email address as your individual Amazon account. If you have a business name that is different from your Amazon name, use both names while creating the wholesale account, this makes your account verification easier.
2: Make a few purchases
To get ungated, you need to purchase and get invoices from reputable wholesalers. You can either do research and find these wholesalers yourself or you could buy a list of wholesalers vetted by a long-time Amazon seller.
Find products in the categories you want to get ungated in and place orders for ten of each. When purchasing, keep in mind that your goal is to become ungated, not to make a profit.
According to Vlad Coki, full-time Amazon seller and co-founder SellerUnion, there are some recommended products per category when you want to get ungated:
Grocery - Buy 10 Swizzels Sweet Treats from Harrison Direct
Beauty - Buy 10 Dove Soap Shea Butter
Health and Personal Care - Buy 10 Sensodyne Mildmint 75ml
3. Pay extra attention to the details on your invoice
To get ungated in an FBA category, you have to buy and receive an invoice either directly from the brand or a wholesaler.
Ensure that the billing address you entered (which will reflect on your invoice) is an exact match to the address used in your Seller Central account.
3: Keep copies of the invoices.
Double-check that all of your personal information is right. Also, keep the invoices separate and do not make any marks on the originals once they come. Any changes you make should be made to copies rather than the originals.
If your seller name isn't on the top of the invoices, add it before scanning. On the invoice, record the ASIN, UPC, and item model number for each product. It's also worth noting that you'll need to submit photos instead of invoices if you're trying to get ungated under Shoes, Clothing, and Accessories, Luggage, and Travel, or Handbags and Sunglasses.
4. Send in your application to be ungated
The selling applications can be found in the categories you want to sell in. Simply submit your application and wait for a response, which could take anywhere from a few hours to several days. Send your application within regular business hours to improve your chances of receiving a (quicker) response.
On uploading pictures,Vlad Čoki has a couple of tips he sticks to
- Take pictures of single units (if you take pictures of multiple units, it's case box etc. they often decline approval requests)
- Pictures should be very clear and all writings should be very easily readable. Ensure to take pictures in areas with good lighting
- Don’t send in too many pictures; 3-4 pictures are ideal
- Pictures should show the full product, cropped corners of the product on the picture might cause declination
- The first two pictures should either be front side and back side OR top side and bottom
- If one or more sides have some writing, take a third picture that clearly shows the writing
- The last picture is the most important - zoom in / take a picture showing the details of the manufacturer's address (ensure it’s very clear).
Congratulations if you were successful! It's also time to start creating listings in order to sell your products.
What to do if your ungating request is denied
It's okay if you don't succeed. You'll be given an explanation for the rejection, which should serve as a roadmap for the changes you should make before reapplying. Amazon typically gives 3 reasons for declining an ungating request
- Invoice is not accepted
- Pictures are not accepted
- Both the pictures and invoice are not accepted.
Carefully review your application once more depending on the reason you got. If you did everything according to the book and followed the tips given here, close the request and apply again and you might be lucky enough that your request lands on the table of a more lenient Amazon employee.
Updated January 2022