What Can I Sell on Amazon Without Approval? A Tell-All Guide for Amazon Sellers

Last updated on October 25th, 2023

Written by Himanshi Raj

The Amazon marketplace has a broad range of opportunities for every entrepreneur. But like the laws in the real world, Amazon has implemented certain restrictions to keep its over 2 million sellers in check. For this reason, old and new sellers have asked the same question: What can I sell on Amazon without approval? 

Knowing what to sell on the platform will prevent your Amazon seller account from getting your selling privileges revoked. So, explore the guidelines and restrictions today and learn what you can or cannot sell online.

The Nature of the Amazon Selling System

With more than 2.7 billion unique users visiting the site monthly, it isn’t a surprise that many entrepreneurs want to dip their toes into the digital market. Most probably think setting up camp on the platform is as easy as creating an Amazon Seller Central account.

But as always, it isn’t that simple. Given customer satisfaction and security in shopping experiences, Amazon must maintain specific regulations to protect sellers and buyers. As an online seller, you must abide by its required operating processes.

This includes: 

  1. Listing for your first product
  2. Creating detailed product descriptions and placing high-quality images to describe your products accurately to your customers
  3. Fulfilling customer order depending on the type of fulfillment method you’ve chosen upon adding said product
  4. Learning to manage and optimize your store for a smooth run

The ABCs of Amazon Selling

The first step of Amazon selling (product listing) is already a hurdle. One must initially confirm that the products fit into categories that don't need pre-approval for listing. But rest assured, we’re here to guide you through the ropes of the Amazon system.

Amazon may restrict vendors from selling certain products based on:

  • ASINs: Some products have restricted Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs) depending on the seller's location. Amazon may ask for transparency codes from the seller for verification.
  • Brand: Sellers must request a brand’s approval before creating listings and placing these items on their roster.
  • Category Approvals: Sellers need Amazon’s approval before selling items from certain categories.

If none of the categories fit the nature of a product’s restrictions, this item has other listing limitations. Thus, sellers simply cannot sell this product on Amazon. 

💡Tip: Familiarizing yourself with Amazon’s Restricted Products is crucial to stay within Amazon’s guidelines.

Why Are There Product Restrictions on Amazon?

Learning that you can’t sell everything on Amazon may be a huge bummer and may even douse the entrepreneurial flame in your heart. But these product restrictions exist for a crucial reason. 

Amazon’s policies protect intellectual property rights. With imposed restrictions, they prevent unauthorized third-party sellers from listing products that infringe on these rights. This way, original creators and legitimate brand owners can operate without fear of counterfeit goods flooding the marketplace.

Counterfeiting is a threat. By controlling what can be listed, Amazon can build a secure environment where customers can confidently shop.

Can I Sell on Amazon Without Brand Approval?

Yes! Certain categories don’t require approval or additional documentation, which gives Amazon sellers the freedom to sell these products.

But remember that it’s not that easy. Sellers must still know the ups and downs of Amazon’s product rules and guidelines for a thriving venture.

A Breakdown of Amazon’s Product Categories

With millions of products at Amazon, it can be tough to figure out if there are any specific rules for what you want to sell. But fear not! We’re here to help you with that.

In the following sections, you’ll see three: semi-restricted, gated, and ungated categories. Let’s find out whether there are any special rules you need to follow when selling in those categories. 

Unrestricted or Open Categories 

An ungated category is open for all sellers. Meaning, you won’t need any form of pre-approval from brands or Amazon to sell items from such categories.

Among these are Amazon Fire TV accessories, books, and major appliances. But it doesn’t stop here. Below are additional examples of unrestricted categories. 

graphic of the ungated categories on Amazon

Gated Categories

On the other hand, sellers must get permission from Amazon first before they can list and sell products from a restricted or gated category.

From gourmet foods to collectibles, pointers below are Amazon’s restricted categories:

graphic of the restricted categories on Amazon

Semi-Restricted Categories

Besides ungated and gated categories, Amazon has product categories that have special guidelines and limitations, making them semi-restricted. These are open and ungated for the most part, but there are instances where sellers need Amazon’s approval to sell these items.

For example:

  • Amazon restricts certain products (pet food, veterinary diets, pet snacks, etc.) from the Pet Supplies category to ensure the quality of such items follows FDA’s standards.
  • For some games under the Video Games category, sellers must meet certain Sony PlayStation requirements before selling these products.
  • Products under the Beauty category must be registered and approved by the FDA before sellers can create and sell listings for such items.
  • Under the Automotive and Powersports category, sellers must meet several requirements, such as placing compatibility information, fitment data, warranties, and other essential information regarding the product.

You can check more of the categories here:

graphic of the semi-unrestricted categories on Amazon

How to Make Amazon Categories Profitable

Knowing about these product restrictions and selling policies doesn’t only prevent sellers from account suspension. They can also develop better business strategies by maximizing the opportunities in such categories.

But how will you take advantage of it?

Start Your Amazon Journey with Open Categories

The most prominent strategy any beginner Amazon seller can come up with is to start their Amazon business with products under the open categories. 

Because they are still learning the ropes and testing the waters, it’s only logical that they sell products that don’t need additional documentation and selling permission from brands or Amazon.

Open categories can serve as an Amazon seller’s foundation in the marketplace. By selling items from ungated categories, they can:

  • get their products listed faster
  • gain brand visibility and exposure
  • swiftly establish their presence on the platform
  • immediately generate sales
  • focus on monitoring their progress and optimizing their account
  • zero in on improving their fulfillment operations
  • concentrate on growing their brand and business within the marketplace

Since market entry is also much easier and faster in ungated categories, sellers can use this opportunity to test product and marketing ideas. They can gauge their target audience’s interest in certain items and learn more about the Amazon crowd.

Widen Your Reach with Restricted Categories

Once sellers have found their footing in the Amazon ecosystem with ungated categories, they can quickly explore the restricted ones. 

Of course, since these categories vastly differ from open categories, they can expect to tap into uncharted territories and reach an entirely different customer base. 

Nevertheless, they can show their products to new audiences, find new sources of income, and potentially boost their sales if ungating is done right. Not to mention, business and brand growth will naturally follow. 

So, how can they widen their reach with the restricted category? The answer is simple: meet the conditions that Amazon has established. 

The requirements could vary depending on the category you want to sell in. However, Amazon generally requires sellers to have essential business information (valid addresses and IDs, etc.), meet performance standards (order-defect rates, late shipment rates, etc.), meet certain product requirements, and pay ungating fees.

As for the process of ungating categories, it comes with three stages:

  1. Application Process: The seller requests Amazon’s permission to sell in these categories.
  1. Submission of Documents: The seller provides the necessary information and documentation for approval (e.g., product images, supplier invoices, etc.).
  1. Category Approval Process: The platform reviews the seller’s application and approves or rejects it.

Experience a Smooth Amazon Selling Run with the Experts

shot of a group of people talking and smiling in their office

Source: Photo by Jopwell from Pexels.com

Amazon opens many doors for all sellers with these categories, but joining the same category won’t always be for everyone. Still, don’t let this sentiment get in the way of your Amazon success. Try hiring Amazon account managers to help you with your business venture. 

Consider Seller Interactive! We offer account management services to ensure our clients won’t encounter any roadblocks during their Amazon selling journey. Our Amazon experts can handle your account setup, optimize your listings, and ungate restricted categories, among other things.
Book a call today and experience an Amazon selling journey like no other.

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