Marketing on Amazon can seem like a minefield; to the consumer, it may appear that anything is possible when it comes to selling on the platform, however sellers soon find out that many products and categories are restrictive and require approval to be sold. In addition, resellers selling multiple brands where they are not the brand owner may encounter issues around authorisation. Amazon has strict policies surrounding authorised sellers, so how do you master the art of Amazon product and category approval?
Below is a list of the main categories that require approval to sell on Amazon. The list of categories and products is ever-changing, so there may be some product categories that have not been captured. The restricted categories include:
- Personal safety and household products
- Holiday selling requirements in toys and games
- Grocery and gourmet food
- Organic food, organic feed, and organic pet food
- Beer, wine and spirits
- Streaming media players
- Selling books, music, video and DVD products
Top tip: if you’re unsure whether you need the approval to sell, log in to your Amazon Seller Central account and go to the ‘Inventory’ tab in the menu bar. Select ‘add a product’ and type the product type you wish to sell in the search box, for example, wine, coffee or protein powder.
You will be directed to another screen with one of two options. Either ‘apply to sell' demanding category approval for the product type, or ‘sell this product’, allowing an immediate commencement of product set-up, with no approval required.
For categories and products that require approval, you will need to 'apply to sell'. During the product set-up stage, you will be asked to input specific information and share certain documents. You must share exactly what Amazon is asking for down to a T; ensuring that your business information matches any documents you share. For example, the business name and address added to the seller account should match the invoices’ details. Any discrepancies in data may lead to rejection. It is equally as vital to ensure the documents you upload are formatted correctly e.g. in PDF format, the right way up and within the date range requested. The approvals team are handling a high volume of requests, so by getting the basics right, you will avoid a rejection, resulting in a loss of precious selling time. If a category approval request is denied you can apply multiple times, however, evading this in the first instance will not only save Amazon’s time but a long-drawn process for yourself and your company.
In addition to category and product approval, some brands are gated on Amazon and selling these brands as a reseller will require another layer of approval. Brand gating means that not all resellers can list products that sit under certain brands on Amazon. For gated brands, a seller must be authorised and have approval from the brand to list and sell their products on Amazon. You will be informed when listing your products if a brand is gated, with an ‘apply to sell’ or ‘request approval’ button appearing against certain branded products.
It is clear to established Amazon sellers that product and category approval can be a tricky business. Nonetheless, if conducted well your Amazon selling experience will be a breeze. Whether you're in the food industry or specialise in clothing and retail, category, and product approval can take time, so make sure you set aside enough time and resources for the process to occur. The key to category and product approval is getting your products set up correctly from the off, so when setting up new products on Amazon, have your vital documents to hand, and double-check the business information provided. Amazon guidelines are an ever-changing game, however by using Seller Central to your advantage, and with your eCommerce Nurse guide, you’ll always be on top of things.