Amazon has built its empire on convenience and availability. Anyone can purchase virtually any product and have it on their doorstep as soon as the next day. However, that’s not exactly true. The Amazon Restricted Products list is quite extensive and exists to ensure a safe, responsible, and trustworthy buying experience for its customers.
If you thought coming up with new product ideas and optimizing Amazon product listings was challenging, wait until you put in all that hard work to realize your new product launch falls under the restricted category! This post will give you a brief seller’s guide to Amazon’s Restricted Products list, including basic information and how to gain official approval to list and sell regulated items.
Why Does Amazon Have Restricted Products and Categories?
Amazon continues to grow and reign supreme as the world’s largest eCommerce platform. However, as the number of third-party sellers on Amazon’s platform increases, so does the risk to the company’s reputation. Amazon doesn’t just restrict certain products to manage its reputation. It also enforces restrictions for:
- Products that require special licensing or certification for resale
- Harmful or dangerous items
- Products with false or unproven claims (i.e., a supplement that claims to cure a disease)
Gated and Restricted Products and Categories
The first level on the Amazon Restricted Products list is “Gated,” meaning sellers must undergo a special approval process before they can list their products for sale. The next level is “Restricted” products, which have specific limitations and require additional approval. Finally, the last category is “Prohibited” products, which are outright banned and not allowed for sale under any circumstances.
Gated product categories include the following:
- Fine art
- Collectible coins
- Personal safety products
- Household products
- Holiday selling requirements (toys and games)
- Music and DVDs
- Join Amazon subscription boxes
- Sports collectibles
- Video, Blu-ray, and DVDs
- Streaming media players
- Made in Italy
- Certain automotive and powersports products
The number of restricted and prohibited product categories on Amazon is much larger, so we don’t have room to include every single one. However, you can head to the Amazon help page for a complete list of Restricted Content, Products, and Services and Prohibited Products and Services.
Actionable Advice for Selling Products in Amazon’s Gated and Restricted Categories
Obtaining approval to sell gated or restricted products on Amazon isn’t impossible, but it does take time, effort, and patience. While each product and category has specific approval requirements, the general process includes the following steps:
1. Upgrade to a Professional Seller’s Account
First, you’ll need to upgrade your personal seller account to a professional account and then to a wholesaler account. If the names of your Amazon store and LLC are different, remember to include both on your application.
2. Begin an Order History
The next step in the ungating process is purchasing about ten different products from three separate categories. For example, you could buy ten watches, ten Blu-ray discs, and ten sports collectibles. You can then decide to resell these items or keep them for yourself.
3. Copy and Scan Each Invoice
Once you receive the invoices for your purchases, make copies of each and put the originals in storage. Your invoice copies should:
- Include your seller name
- Have the UPC, item model number, and ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) next to each product
- Be clear and easy to read
Sellers who wish to become ungated and sell items in the product categories of Luggage and Travel, Handbags and Sunglasses, or Shoes, Clothing, and Accessories should include images on their invoice copies.
4. Fill Out an Application and Submit It to Amazon
After you fill out the correct application and submit it to Amazon, you’ll receive an approval or denial. First, though, you’ll need to take one more step:
- Log into your Seller Central dashboard and open the main menu. Click “Catalog,” then “Add Products.”
- In the search box, look for your product and select the correct one from the list that appears.
- Next, you’ll see a box on the right that displays the list of product limitations. Finally, click the “Apply to Sell” button.
It’s important to note that Amazon does not greenlight every application, and there is no guarantee your application will be successful. If Amazon denies you, you cannot sell products in that specific restricted category. However, sellers who receive approval will be officially “ungated” and able to list the previously restricted product in their store.
What Happens if You Sell Restricted Products on Amazon Without Approval?
Listing and selling items on the Amazon Restricted Products list without approval or failing to comply with the company’s limitations can result in severe consequences. The context and severity of your non-compliance will also impact your penalty. Here are some potential consequences you could face:
Cancellation of Product Listings: If you accidentally list a restricted product, Amazon may cancel and remove all your listings. Cancellation can still occur even if you have gone through the correct channels and are waiting for approval.
Suspension of Your Seller Account: If you have a history of listing restricted products without the necessary approval, Amazon can and will suspend your account. Sellers under suspension cannot sell any type of products on the platform, even those in unrestricted categories.
Banned From Amazon: The third strike from Amazon is an account ban. If you willfully and repeatedly violate Amazon’s restrictions or sell dangerous items after receiving warnings, expect to receive an account ban. Banned accounts can never sell or purchase products from Amazon ever again.
Navigate Amazon Like a Pro With Click Fluency
Although the Amazon Restricted Products list requires sellers to undergo a special approval process, it’s not overly complicated. However, even experienced sellers have trouble navigating Amazon’s hypercompetitive marketplace. So, if you’re struggling to succeed on the world’s largest eCommerce platform, consider partnering with industry experts, regardless of where you are on your selling journey. Click Fluency is a full-service Amazon agency with a team of talented marketers ready to help grow your business. Schedule your free Amazon Discovery call today at Click Fluency to learn more about our professional services and marketing solutions.