What Can I Sell on Amazon Without Approval?
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, what can you 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.
- What Can You Sell on Amazon Without Approval?
- What Is a Gated Category on Amazon?
- Gated vs. Ungated Categories on Amazon
- Why Are Some Categories Restricted on Amazon?
- What Is the Best Ungated Amazon Category to Sell In?
- How Do You Apply for Approval on Amazon?
- Final Notes
What Can You Sell on Amazon Without Approval?
When looking for products to sell on Amazon, most e-commerce businesses look for categories that don’t require pre-authorization to ensure they can begin selling right away. Fortunately, there are several lucrative Amazon ungated categories that you can sell in without going through the approval process. Most of the top product categories, such as books, toys, groceries, and home and kitchen goods, aren’t gated, allowing any registered Amazon seller to begin selling products in these open categories.
Out of 33 primary Amazon seller categories, 13 are entirely ungated. Ten others are ungated, but may have subcategories or specific products that require approval.
Selling products within ungated categories not only gets your Amazon store off the ground swiftly but also positively influences your seller performance. This can be crucial if you plan to pursue approval for gated categories in the future. Here’s a few of the ungated categories on Amazon:
- Amazon Device Accessories
- Automotive & Powersports
- Books (Non Collectibles)
- Camera & Photo
- Cell Phones & Accessories
- Home & Garden
- Industrial & Scientific
- Major Appliances
- Musical Instruments
- Tools & Home Improvement
What Is a Gated Category on Amazon?
A gated category on Amazon refers to a product category that requires sellers to obtain approval from Amazon 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. The list of gated categories for 2023 consists of:
- Collectible Coins
- Entertainment Collectibles
- Fine Art
- Gift Cards
- Music & DVD
- Major Appliances
- Postage Stamps
- Sports Collectibles
- Streaming Media Players
- Video, DVD, & Blu-ray
These categories can be sold on Amazon, but Amazon must approve all sellers before engaging in sales of gated products.
Why Are Some Categories Restricted on Amazon?
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 that “We want customers to be able to ship with confidence on Amazon. For certain products, brands categories, and sub-categories, Amazon requires sellers to obtain approval before listing 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.
What Is the Best Ungated Amazon Category to Sell In?
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 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 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: 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 for 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 book store 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 and consider your strengths when choosing the right ungated category to maximize your success on Amazon.
How Do You Apply for Approval on Amazon?
Amazon category approval requests usually aren’t complicated, but they do take time. Sometimes, when you send in a request, you 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
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 tools and resources to help you succeed as an Amazon seller, 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. If you’re wondering how to make money on Amazon, learn more about how Helium 10 can help.
Frequently Asked Questions
Any products that are in ungated categories on Amazon do not require approval to sell. A list of ungated and gated categories can be found in this post above.
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.
Yes, you do not need a business license to sell products on Amazon. Most products sold on Amazon are consumer goods that aren’t regulated by the federal government. There are some circumstances where there may be state or local laws, so check your local laws just to be safe!