Restricted categories are the VIPs of the Amazon selling world. Only certain sellers are able to obtain the rights to sell these items, but because of the demand for them, everyone wants to sell them. Keep reading to learn more about what count as ‘restricted categories’ on Amazon and how you can join the elite ranks of those who get to sell them.
Many of the categories that Amazon controls seller access to is to help protect buyers from counterfeit items; products like name-brand clothes are often subject to knock-off imposters that cost pennies to make and can sell for hundreds of dollars. Because of this, clothing, jewelry, and various collectibles make up the bulk of the restricted categories list. View the full list here to see if the products you want to sell are restricted in any way.
Pay your dues. As with any business venture, any gain requires an investment. In this case, that investment is becoming a Pro Merchant with Amazon, at a cost of $39 each month. This membership is required to sell in any restricted categories.
Mind your reputation. One of the first things that Amazon will look at when determining your eligibility to sell in restricted categories is your reputation on the site. Your order defect rate must be less than 1%, your cancel rate must be less than 2.5%, and late shipment rates must be less than 4%.
Get Specific. Each category that Amazon has restricted has very specific guidelines for what is required. For many of the categories that are restricted to avoid counterfeit sales, you will likely be required to provide proof that you are either the brand owner or are purchasing the products directly from the manufacturer. Some of the categories also have image guidelines, such as fitting a certain size minimum or having the product displayed on a completely white background, and you will be asked to submit several images that fit those guidelines before you can be approved. Check each category here to find the requirements you need to meet for the category you wish to sell in.
Have stock ready. One thing that Amazon wants in pretty much every restricted category is stock ready to go. Amazon doesn’t grant permission to sell ‘just in case’ you decide to sell something from a restricted category sometime in the future; you need to have some ready to sell when you apply. No need to have large quantities on hand when you apply, but some stock is required.
Be patient. It is important to note that Amazon does not accept new sellers in every category all year. Some categories are usually locked, opening only a few times a year for new applicants. This means you must sometimes be patient, stay in good standing with your Amazon selling account until the site opens up applications for the categories you need to apply for, and remember to check the site often to be sure you don’t miss what can often be quick openings.