It seems these days that you can buy just about anything on Amazon, so for a seller, this means you can sell just about anything too. However,
Amazon has some restricted categories that aren’t available for sellers until they’ve gained approval and others that are off-limits permanently.
What can I sell on Amazon without approval?
Among the categories available for open selling include Major Appliances, Home and Garden, Books, Beauty, and Amazon Kindle. However, within each of these categories, there may be restrictions on the condition and subcategory that’s allowed to be sold without approval.
Amazon makes it easy for sellers to determine what products can be sold openly and those that need approval, but there’s a lot of information to get through.
We’ve tried to simplify the process with our guide to gated and ungated categories on Amazon and what they mean for you.
Why Are Some Products Restricted for Sellers on Amazon?
As the world’s largest online marketplace, Amazon has a reputation to uphold.
The e-commerce giant wants to ensure that its customers feel confident about the purchases they make, so they place certain restrictions on merchants and the types of products they can sell.
When a new seller joins Amazon, they’ve yet to build up a positive reputation themselves, which means they won’t immediately be able to sell certain items.
This is to protect the customers who buy from them but also to ensure the seller has good intentions and will continue to uphold Amazon’s stellar status.
The restricted categories and products on Amazon are usually those that might pose a financial, security, or safety risk to customers. This includes fine arts, sports collectibles, fine jewelry, clothing, accessories, shoes, and luggage.
Buyers want to feel secure about making such purchases, so they can only be bought from approved sellers.
The most common terminology used within Amazon is a gated or ungated category, referring to its availability to a seller.
Gated categories need the approval to get into but ungated ones are open and a seller can start listing items immediately within them once they create their Seller Central account.
Amazon’s Restricted Categories
Amazon has a long list of restricted categories and products that must be adhered to, and within each one, there’s a specific set of requirements that one needs to meet before they can sell them.
Some products cannot be sold on Amazon at all, even with approval, so it’s worth being aware of. Here are the restricted categories that need approval before you can sell:
- Collectible coins
- Entertainment collectibles
- Fine art
- Sports collectibles
- Video, DVD, and Blu-Ray
In addition to those gated categories, there are open categories that have some product restrictions within them. These include:
- Toys and games
- Video games
- Pet supplies
- Office products
- Grocery and gourmet food
- Health and personal care
- Baby products
- Consumer electronics
What Products Can You Sell Without an Approval?
New sellers to Amazon will need to start selling within categories that don’t require approval, and thankfully there are a lot of them.
These are the categories you can sell in that have no limitations on products within them, except for the condition they must be in, including:
- Amazon Kindle and Amazon Device Accessories
- Camera and Photo
- Cell Phones and Accessories
- Home and Garden
- Industrial and Scientific
- Kindle and Amazon Fire TV Accessories
- Major Appliances
- Musical Instrument’s
- Tools and Home Improvement
It’s worth noting that just because you’re selling in a category that doesn’t require approval, that doesn’t mean all products within it are available to sell.
Amazon stipulates that certain items like hoverboards and laser pointers require an application and approval before you can sell them, regardless of what category they fall into.
How to Obtain Approval For Certain Items
Those wanting to sell a product within the restricted categories will need to apply for approval with Amazon before they can.
Depending on the status of the product, there are two ways to do this to gain approval within a gated category.
Applying to Sell An Existing Product
If the product you want to sell already exists on Amazon, you can easily apply for it through your Seller Central dashboard.
Open the Catalog menu and then select ‘Add a Product’. Search for the product you want to sell and once you find it, select ‘Show limitations’ to the right of this, and then ‘Apply to sell’.
This will take you through the application process, and once done, you’ll need to wait for Amazon to respond to your request.
Applying to Sell a New Product
Sellers with a new item will find it a little harder to gain approval within a gated category, but not impossible.
If the item you’re listing is not within the Amazon catalog, you’ll need to find the ‘Categories and Products That Need Approval’ help page and look for the link to the specific category it belongs in.
Each link takes you to an application form that’s unique to the category, and it must be filled out and submitted for each new item.
What Happens If I Can’t Get Approval?
Amazon has strict guidelines in place for its sellers so that buyers can be protected, and there may be times when your selling request is denied.
A response will usually be given to you explaining why your application was rejected, and you’re able to try again at a later date once you’ve rectified the issue.
Regardless of the circumstances, you should never attempt to list items that are restricted to you as a seller on Amazon. In their Restricted Products article, Amazon explicitly states that they will take corrective action if a seller doesn’t abide by the rules they’ve laid out about restricted categories.
Among the consequences listed by Amazon, they state that they can destroy all of your stock that they hold in their fulfillment centers, terminate your account, and return your inventory.
Furthermore, there are civil and criminal penalties attached to the selling of illegal products, so it’s not worth trying to cut corners.
Can You Earn Money on Ungated Categories?
If you’d rather sell products without the effort of having them approved, it’s still possible, however, it will limit your capabilities as a seller.
When done correctly though, you can still earn a profit selling ungated categories, but you will have to work harder.
To determine the most profitable products to sell, you’ll need to analyze how well certain brands and products perform on Amazon and then determine which of those can make you the most profit. Amazon has such a tool available in their brand analytics search terms report, but it’s only accessible by brand registered sellers.
Using this tool, you’re able to determine which product categories have the highest demand and focus on selling those.
Although you’ll be limited when you compared it to the range of products available for sale within gated categories, there’s no need to apply for approval to sell which saves a lot of time.
An Easier Way to Sell
Amazon is a seller’s paradise with no shortage of categories and products available to be sold and with relatively minimal effort.
Learning the difference between restricted, open, gated, and ungated categories will make your job as a seller a little easier though, so it’s worth doing your research before you start listing.
As a seller on Amazon, there’s a lot of information you need to be aware of any specific restrictions and guidelines to follow.
To help make the process simpler, we’ve answered some commonly asked questions about selling on Amazon so you can get through the basics.
Is Lego Restricted on Amazon?
There are some brands, like Lego and Hasbro, that have distribution agreements for how their products are sold, and this includes platforms like Amazon.
You may not be allowed to sell certain brands and products because of this, and at other times will need to apply for approval to be able to do so.
What Can’t You Sell on Amazon?
Amazon has a list of restricted goods that can’t be sold on their platform, and this differs for every country.
The most common restricted goods that you can’t sell on Amazon include animals, alcohol, tobacco, pesticides, fireworks, and fine art, but it’s worth checking the list of restrictions as they pertain to your location.
Can You Sell Used Clothes on Amazon?
Amazon has certain products and categories that must be sold in a new condition, and clothing is one of them.
Used clothing would be better sold on a marketplace like Etsy or eBay, as long as it meets their requirements.