What Can I Sell on Amazon Without Approval?

Introduction

When online selling first became possible and popular a few decades ago, anyone could sell anything. Clever sellers could go to outlet malls, buy brand-name items, and sell them at a discount without an arrangement with the manufacturer, and without proof that the products they were selling were genuine. However, over time, major e-commerce platforms began to implement restricted and gated categories, including Amazon, which followed suit in 2016. While there are still categories of products you can sell without approval on Amazon, that list grows shorter every year to ensure consumers are receiving quality products for the price they’re paying.

So, you may be asking yourself “What can I sell on Amazon without approval?” In this guide, we’ll go over Amazon ungated categories, so you can find a niche or market you can tap into without having to gain approval to sell.

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What Are Gated Categories?

A gated category on Amazon refers to a product category where sellers are required to obtain approval from the site before they can list items within that specific category. This approval process is designed to ensure that sellers meet certain criteria, which may include factors such as product quality, authenticity, and compliance with Amazon’s policies and guidelines.

To sell in these categories, sellers must submit relevant documentation, demonstrate their expertise, or meet specific performance metrics set by Amazon. The categories are gated to protect customers and sellers, particularly from forgeries and counterfeits. It’s important to know that there are restricted name brands, known as brand gates, that you can’t sell without approval, and that approval is often not easy to get.

Why Does Amazon Restrict Certain Categories?

Amazon imposes restrictions on certain product categories for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, it’s about maintaining a high level of quality, safety, and trust for its customer base. By limiting access to certain categories, Amazon can more closely monitor the products being sold and ensure they meet rigorous standards.

A primary concern of Amazon is ensuring the authenticity of products. In gated categories, Amazon can verify the authenticity of items more effectively, reducing the risk of counterfeit or fraudulent goods. Additionally, some categories involve products that require specialized knowledge or compliance with legal regulations. Restricting access ensures that sellers are well-informed and compliant.

Amazon has said “We want customers to be able to ship with confidence on Amazon. For certain products, brand categories, and sub-categories, sellers learning how to list products on Amazon will have to obtain approval from the site before they list those products for sale. The approval process may include document requests, performance checks, and other qualifications”.

While these restrictions may seem challenging for new sellers, they ultimately serve to protect both customers and reputable sellers, maintaining Amazon’s reputation as a trustworthy e-commerce platform.

Full List of Gated Categories

The list of gated categories for 2024 consists of:

  1. Collectible Coins
  2. Personal Safety and Household products
  3. Fine Art
  4. Holiday Selling Requirements in Toys & Games
  5. Jewelry
  6. Join Amazon Subscription Boxes
  7. Made in Italy
  8. Music & DVD
  9. Requirements for selling Automotive & Powersports products
  10. Services
  11. Sports Collectibles
  12. Streaming Media Players
  13. Video, DVD, & Blu-ray
  14. Watches

These categories can be sold on Amazon, but Amazon must approve all sellers before engaging in sales of gated products.

What Are Ungated Categories?

In simple terms, ungated categories on Amazon consist of item categories that do not require Amazon’s approval for you to sell them. This lets you start selling the products as soon as possible.

For new Amazon sellers, the extended process of getting approval for gated products can quickly become a nuisance and may even discourage potential sellers from achieving success.

Due to this all too common scenario, it can be a good idea to sell ungated item categories on Amazon. This will help you skip the hassle and get right down to learning how to make money on Amazon as quickly as possible.

An additional thing to note is that there are a few ungated categories that feature both popular and profitable products, so don’t worry that you’re missing out by not selling gated categories.

By performing well in ungated categories, you can even make the transition to selling gated categories on Amazon easier thanks to a streamlined approval process.

Full List of Ungated Categories

  1. Amazon Device Accessories
  2. Amazon Kindle
  3. Baby Products (excluding apparel): certain subcategories require approval.
  4. Beauty
  5. Books
  6. Camera & Photo
  7. Cell Phones & Accessories
  8. Grocery & Gourmet Foods: certain subcategories require approval.
  9. Health & Personal Care: certain subcategories require approval.
  10. Home & Garden
  11. Industrial & Scientific
  12. Kindle Accessories and Amazon Fire TV Accessories
  13. Major Appliances
  14. Musical Instruments
  15. Office Products: certain subcategories require approval.
  16. Outdoors: certain subcategories require approval.
  17. Personal Computers: certain subcategories require approval.
  18. Pet Supplies: certain subcategories require approval.
  19. Software: certain subcategories require approval.
  20. Sports
  21. Tools & Home Improvement
  22. Toys & Games: certain subcategories require approval. Additionally, approval may be required during the winter holiday season.
  23. Video Games: approval may be required for specific products.

What Can I Sell as a New Seller?

While there are lots of products that you can potentially sell on Amazon without approval, success usually depends on the specific category. Thankfully, there are many great categories to choose from including Kindle, books, beauty, cell phones & accessories, camera & photo, home & garden, musical instruments, major appliances, tools & home improvement, and quite a bit more.

Another thing to note is that each category is further divided into distinct subcategories which contain specific products. This makes it easier for both buyers and sellers to find the products they’re looking for.

Furthermore, there are even a handful of profitable categories here that can be sold without Amazon’s approval. Both the main categories and subcategories contain these profitable sections.

Getting down to the specifics, out of the 33 main seller categories on the site, 13 of them do not require Amazon’s approval at all. Additionally, 10 more of these categories are ungated but contain subcategories that are gated.

The large portion of ungated categories on Amazon is great news! This means that there are many options new sellers can take advantage of when starting to sell on Amazon.

New sellers, if they so choose, can even discover products that fit nicely into their chosen niche market as they begin to sell on Amazon without approval.

Best Ungated Products to Sell on Amazon

Determining the “best” ungated Amazon category to sell in can be subjective and depends on various factors, including your expertise, interests, and market trends.

There are numerous ungated categories you can sell in and find success in on Amazon. The following products are ungated, but not all categories are entirely open. This list does not include all ungated categories found on Amazon, and there may be some restrictions on some sales in them. Here are a few of the best ungated Amazon categories to sell in:

Amazon Kindle: Kindle allows for the sale of digital and audible books. These books can be self-published yourself or by traditionally published authors. If you use Kindle Direct Publishing to publish and sell your own work, you can get started in about 24 hours.  

Baby Products (excluding apparel): Products in this category can range from baby shampoo to car seats.

Beauty: Makeup for consumers, along with health and beauty products that might be used by a professional, are common products found in Amazon’s beauty category.

Books: Learning how to sell books on Amazon can be highly lucrative if you do it right. New and used books, along with Kindle books, can be sold without pre-authorization. However, you will need to be approved to sell collectible and rare books.

Cell Phones & Accessories: Smartphones, cell phones, phone cases, batteries, and headsets can be found under this ungated category.

Consumer Electronics: Small appliances for your kitchen and personal grooming are popular examples of consumer electronics you can sell.

Grocery & Gourmet Foods: Examples of grocery and gourmet foods include baby food, prepared food, fresh meal kits, along with specialty foods like vegan, keto, and calorie-based foods

Home & Garden: Things to use around your house, like rugs and lines, are included in the Home category, while garden planters and lights are part of the Garden category.  

Industrial & Scientific: This category includes industry-specific products related to the industrial and scientific center, such as printers and lab equipment.

Kindle Accessories and Amazon Fire TV Accessories: Selling accessories to Amazon products, such as Kindles and Fire TVs, are unrestricted

Office Products: Office products include office supplies, furniture, and equipment.  

Pet Supplies: Food, treats, and furniture for different types of pets fall under the pet supplies category.  

There are some categories that tend to fare better than others. While not guaranteed to be lucrative, there are certain Amazon categories that can help you earn the most money, such as:

Toys & Games: While not entirely ungated, selling popular toys can provide opportunities for profit

Electronics: Most of Amazon’s best-selling products are electronic peripherals, such as computer mice, keyboards, and cables.

Camera & Photo: A subset of electronics, this category includes cameras, photography equipment, camera accessories, and more.

Video Games: One of Amazon’s most profitable categories is video games, as Amazon is heavily involved in game development, with game streaming being a significant source of income for Amazon.

Books: Digital, hard copy, new, and used books can be a top-selling category. Amazon started as an online bookstore and has remained an enormous force in publishing ever since.

Clothing, Shoes, & Jewelry: In most cases, you can sell clothes on Amazon, as long as you’re not selling clothes from brands that are gated.

The best category for you will depend on your product expertise, sourcing capabilities, and market research. It’s essential to conduct thorough research—which can be made simple with our FREE Chrome Extension—and consider your strengths when choosing the right ungated category to maximize your success on Amazon.

Other Considerations When Selecting a Product

Determining if a product you’re interested in selling requires Amazon’s approval or not is not the only factor you need to consider as you start selling on Amazon. Rather, there are a handful of important aspects to keep in mind that will tell you whether a product is a good investment or not.

While this may seem like an exhaustive process, keep in mind that the amount of time and money required to sell any product on Amazon will only continue to rise, so ensuring that you have a viable product now will help you stay on track.

Check out the top factors to consider as you’re going through your product research:

Demand

A product’s search volume is a key factor to consider when carrying out keyword research. To make this process easier, third-party tools—such as Helium 10’s Cerebro—can help you find the exact numbers.

When looking at search volume, it’s important to remember that high search volume is synonymous with high demand. If there are thousands of searches for a potential product, you may have found yourself a winning product.

As you’re discovering more and more high demand products to start selling, keep an eye out for the ones that also don’t have a lot of competition. While it is possible to find success with a product that everyone is selling, you’ll have an easier time with ones that aren’t like this.

You should also take a look at the product reviews for each item you’re looking at to determine whether the competition is fierce or quiet. If you come across products that have high demand but only a handful of reviews, it may be wise to move on.

Additionally, you should always focus on getting as many reviews as possible. Doing so will help your product become more visible, ultimately leading to more sales. If you find that your competitors only have a few reviews for their products, this could be your chance to make it with this product.

Seasonality

There are many products on Amazon that get really popular at certain times of the year (such as Christmas or Halloween). We refer to these as seasonal products. While these products can be popular, it’ll only be for a short time. Because of this, you’ll need to ask yourself whether the trade-off is worth it as you’re checking the seasonality of a product.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with selling a seasonal product—it may even be a good idea, in some cases—new Amazon sellers just getting their feet wet may find it easier to pick a product that is in demand all year round.

Starting Costs

It’s a fact that some Amazon products are cheaper than others, both to buy and sell, and this will definitely influence the overall investment you’ll have to initially make.

Think of it this way: if you sell one of the top selling items on Amazon that are really expensive and that can net you a large sum of money, it’ll also cost you more to get started. Additionally, the risks of selling an expensive product can even be higher than selling a lower-cost one in some instances.

As you’re carefully picking a product to sell on Amazon without approval, it’s best to find one that isn’t too expensive. Aim for something that’s not too cheap and not too expensive; there are many products like this and choosing one will help you lower the overall risk to your new business.

Choose Familiar Products

By picking a product category that you’re familiar with, you may actually find your odds of success higher than if you chose a product you knew was popular, but that you knew nothing about.

No matter what form of Amazon selling you choose—be it retail arbitrage or selling FBA private label—picking products that you know can actually help you develop a real interest in what you’re selling.

As an added bonus, when you love what you’re selling, you’ll be able to relate more to your customers, helping you meet their needs and answer questions with ease. This is even easier if you’re a part of the Amazon Influencer Program since your customers will be able to associate a friendly face to the brand they’re buying from.

Additionally, it may be a good idea to learn how to make an Amazon storefront that focuses on one particular niche that really speaks to you and work to sell a handful of products in that category.

Remember, your customers will know when you truly love a product since it will come out in the way you market the item and how you talk about it in your copy. This, in turn, helps massively boost their confidence and may even make them take that final step and buy your product.

Win the Buy Box

One of the most important things to consider when selling on Amazon is how to get the Buy Box. This is important because whoever has the Buy Box has a fantastic opportunity to make a huge amount of sales.

As you can imagine, there are many factors that you’ll have to consider when aiming for the Buy Box including your reputation level, whether you chose FBA vs. FBM, price of your product, and much more.

While this may seem like a difficult thing to achieve, the path to the Buy Box can actually be made much easier when using dedicated tools like Helium 10’s Xray. This tool can help you win the Buy Box with key features that’ll give you an edge over your competition.

How to Get Approved for Gated Products on Amazon

Amazon category approval requests usually aren’t complicated, but they do take time. Sometimes, when you send in a request, you’ll get automatically approved. This usually happens if you’ve been selling for a while and have done well.  

So, go to your Amazon Seller Central account, check for restrictions on the item you want to sell, and then request approval following the steps below:

  • Sign in to your account and click on inventory
  • Select the “Add a Product” button
  • Search for the products or items you want to sell
  • If it returns as restricted, click “Listing Limitations Apply”
  • Click on the “Request Approval” button

You may receive an immediate response that your request has been approved. If not, the system will ask you to supply more information. The additional information can be a little more complicated. You may have to submit detailed wholesale invoices and information about your existing business and products.

Amazon considers the invoices you provide, as well as other factors when deciding whether or not to provide you access to the restricted category. Amazon may want to double-check the following items before making a final decision:

  • An order defect rate of less than 1%
  • A plan for pro-sellers
  • A good-standing account
  • A minimum of three months’ worth of sales history
  • A return address in the country where you’re selling OR a guarantee of free delivery
  • Support for customer assistance in the local language

Conclusion

You can make or break your own Amazon seller experience. On Amazon, you have a lot of room to build your experience and reputation as a seller. Once you’ve done that, you can consider whether you should begin selling in one of Amazon’s gated categories. At Helium 10, we have the Amazon seller tools and resources to help you succeed on the platform, whether you’re looking to start selling on Amazon without inventory or gain access to tools like our Amazon listing optimization tool to help your products rank. Additionally, if you’re wondering how to make money on Amazon, learn more about how Helium 10 can help.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have already been selling and have a good selling history on Amazon, then it is usually pretty easy to get approved for restricted categories. Many new sellers can get approved to sell restricted categories as well, but the approval process may take longer.

You can simply apply again after 30 days if your application gets rejected. During these 30 days, you can also think about why your application was rejected or if there was something you could’ve done differently.

author-photo
Copywriter

A dedicated copywriter with nearly 4 years of experience, Josh works with Amazon sellers and helps his clients succeed on the platform.

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