Amazon’s marketplace is gigantic, with over 536,000,000 products for sale. With that much inventory constantly changing hands, it makes sense that Amazon would want to protect its business interests and its good name against shady sellers peddling shoddy merchandise. After all, who wants to buy a gift card only to discover the entire balance has already been spent?! Enter “Categories and Products Requiring Approval,” Amazon’s list of restricted categories. Today, we’ll take a look at what categories require sellers to obtain prior approval before listing, and how to go about gaining that approval.
As of this posting, the following Amazon categories require prior approval:
- Automotive and Powersports
- Collectible Books
- Collectible Coins
- Entertainment Collectibles
- Fine Art
- Fine Jewelry
- Gift Cards
- Grocery & Gourmet Foods
- Independent Design
- Major Appliances
- Sexual Wellness
- Sports Collectibles
- Textbook Rentals (current not accepting new seller applications)
- Videos, DVD & Blu-ray
To view the most current list, navigate to Amazon→Selling at Amazon.com→Policies and Agreements→Category, Product, and Listing Restrictions→Categories and Products Requiring Approval.
Beyond restricted categories, the following restricted products also require prior approval from Amazon (even if their related categories don’t):
- Laser pointers and related products
- Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging Products
How to Gain Approval
Restricted categories are only open to Professional Sellers. That means you’ll have to upgrade your Individual Seller plan (or, in the UK, your “Basic Seller” plan) before you ever submit your application. In addition, each restricted category has its own unique requirements. These requirements are listed at the “View requirements” link next to that category. From here, you’ll see everything that Amazon requires to become an approved seller in that particular category.
Now, let’s take an in-depth look at one restricted category, and its requirements. Let’s say you run a neighborhood brick-and-mortar jewelry store. You have an overstock of a well-known brand’s popular model of men’s watch, and you want to start offering these watches for sale in your Amazon store. But first…do you need to be approved to sell them?
Once you navigate over to the restricted categories page, you see “Watches” is indeed on the list of categories requiring prior approval. On the “Watches” page (located in Seller Central), you see the following requirements:
Ok, that all sounds good so far: Your seller account meets all these metrics. But wait, there’s more:
Great! Your watches are new, authentic items, and they all carry a manufacturer’s warranty. Now, what do you need to do when listing these watches?
You can follow these instructions in your listing! It looks like you’re ready to get started, so you click on “Request Approval” at the bottom of the page:
It brings you to the application page, where you see the following:
From here, you need to upload at least one purchase invoice with a recent date, provide contact information, and agree to the selling conditions. After you’ve done all that, you click on “Agree and Submit” at the bottom of the page. (If you’re not quite read to do that, click on “Save draft” instead.) Then, your application will be reviewed, and you will receive a decision via email from Seller Support. This might take a day, or it might take a month…unfortunately, there’s no way to tell. Whatever you do, DON’T TRY TO BYPASS THE APPLICATION PROCESS! If you try to list these watches in an unrestricted category—like “Everything Else”—you risk account suspension, and a 90-day delay in receiving payment. It’s not worth it!
Gaining approval in restricted Amazon categories can be tricky, so review the individual category’s requirements carefully before submitting your application. If you need help, you can always reach out to Seller Support. Better still, you can lean on us! We’ll put our Amazon expertise to work for you so you can stress less and sell more. Reach out to us today!